Stages of Samādhi
i.17-18 There are varying degrees of samādhic attention
1.17 (Samprajnata Samadhi) distinguishing objective-meditative stimuli via four cognitive tools: through form (gross level); through discriminative participation on more subtle levels; through inspirational means leading to a state of bliss; through direct sublimational identification, I-AM-NESS.
The beginning of this series established Yoga as Samādhi; now we have arrived at a junction wherein the stages of samādhi are broken down. In Yoga Sutras of Patañjali with the Exposition of Vyāsa, Pandit Usharbudh Arya, D. Litt, breaks-down the centuries-old renowned commentary by Vyāsa and relays in this particular section:
Now, when one’s vrttis of the mind-field have been brought under control (niruddha) through the two means (abhyāsa and vairāgya), in what ways is samprajñāta Samadhi said (to ensue)?
[Sūtra:] Samprajñāta, the samādhi of wisdom, occurs through the accompaniment of the appearances of gross thought (vitarka), subtle thought (vichāra), ecstasy ( ānanda), and I-Am-Ness (asmitā).
The definitions of samprajñāta in general are based on the derivations of the word from:
sam: well, proper, deep, harmonized, balanced, holistic
pra: forth, expansive, perfect, complete
Reference has been made time and time again in these blogs of the Lankavatarian adage: What the mind focuses on determines its [body] of reality. There’s also a parallel saying in Proverbs (Prov. 23:7) stating “as a man thinks so he becomes”. The Dhammapada also begins with the assertion that “what one thinks, one will bring into reality”. Hence, this particular sutra of Patañjali breaks-down the four cognitive-variables that make up this process. Ultimately, though, this whole endeavor is mere mental gymnastics and is inadequate to the Supreme Yogic thrust, one that bypasses the whole cognitive mechanism and emphasizes its cessation in order to Recollect THAT which is prior to it all. The following sutra drives this point home.
1.18 The Supreme Stage of Samādhi (Asamprajnata) is activated through one-pointedness of Mind wherein all outside vexations of the lesser clouded-mind are quieted and eventually cessated.
In this stage there is no further objective or lesser-subjective phenomena that are sustainable, hence all former cognitive associations are now imperceptible. When engaged in this state literally whatever used to keep the Mind preoccupied is disengaged, and there is as it were no longer any form of image (form, imagination, sensations, and relationships) to cling to for illusional support of any kind. It’s like one is hanging naked in the depths of spacelessness. This is a stage that mystics like John of the Cross refer to as “The Dark Night of the Senses”; John would say that nada, nada, nada is left to lend any sensorial support. The beauty is that when all of this former mind-stuff is disengaged, the Reality of the Unborn Dharmadhatu is revealed in all of Its imageless splendor.