Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, and Meditation – Enlightenment Meditation

This is a very technical article, but a careful reading will be of very real benefit to the person who intends for yoga to be his life’s central endeavor.

Dharana, dhyana, and samadhi

According to Taimni, author of The Science of Yoga, yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and pratyahara should be thought of as bahiranga yoga, external yoga, and dharana, dhyana, and samadhi should be considered antaranga yoga, or internal yoga. So when we come to dharana, dhyana, and samadhi we are entering a new yogic realm.

Patanjali says in Yoga Sutras 3:4, 5: “These three [dharana, dhyana, samadhi] together constitute samyama [unity or mastery], and from mastery of that [samyama], prajna [pure consciousness] is attained [as a permanent state].” Vyasa: “This triad of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi is the direct means to samprajñata samadhi.” Shankara: “Yoga can be effected even without going through the five limbs of yoga–by the mere accomplishment of the triad of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. But without that triad yoga is not possible for anyone, because yoga is essentially associated with the operation of dharana and the other two. For the nature of yoga is perfection of the chitta.” And: “Mastery of asana or other instructions of yoga are not, in the case of distracted [i.e., restless or mentally uncontrolled] people, productive of [the state of] yoga. But getting rid of the [mental] defects and samadhi–these two will certainly produce it [yoga], and nothing else will.”

Of the eight “limbs” of Yoga, yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and pratyahara are discussed in the second division of the Yoga Sutras called Sadhana Pada that deals with sadhana–the search for reality–mostly in the form of outer practice. But the last three, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, are included in the third part called Vibhuti Pada. Vibhuti means both manifestation and divine glories. By this arrangement Patanjali is indicating that dharana, dhyana, and samadhi produce the actualization of spiritual realities and automatically manifest the divine glories of the spirit. Shankara says: “even though the previous five limbs of yoga may not have been perfected, effort should be made at these three.” All three of these are directly related to the practice of meditation–are meditation, in fact.

Yoga Sutra 3:1 says: “Dharana is the confining (or fixing) of the chitta in a single area [desha].” The practice of meditation right away puts the chitta into the stream of the subtle sound of Om. It is interesting that Patanjali does not say that dharana is fixing the mind in a single spot (bindu), but rather says desha, area. This is because though the Chidakasha is indeed a single thing, it extends through the entire range of existence as the inner thread or sutra on which all is strung or fixed like beads in a necklace or rosary. “It [dharana] is binding the chitta as a purely mental process,” says Vyasa. “The focussing [vritti] of the chitta, held in that place without being dispersed, is called dharana, as a purely mental process. It functions simply as the awareness of that area without any disturbance,” adds Shankara. This is meditation.

“Dhyana [meditation] is the unbroken flow of awareness [ekatanata] of that [desha or object].” Ekatanata can also mean the unbroken extension or movement along something–in this case the subtle stream of Om. Meditation is the unbroken experience-awareness-movement within the subtle sound-mutations of Om. “Meditation is continuity of the experience of the meditation-object in that area–a stream of identical vrittis [waves, modifications] untouched by any other vritti,” says Vyasa. To induce meditation we produce a stream of identical waves in the chitta by the mental intonations of Om until that stream becomes a continuous unitary flow of increasingly rarefied sound, a single object or wave that is “untouched” by any other thought or impression. Meditation (dhyana) is “a stream of identical vrittis as a unity, a continuity of vrittis not disturbed by intrusion of differing or opposing vrittis. This is dhyana.” So says Shankara. And He contrasts the beginning stage of meditation, dharana, with dhyana, saying: “Whereas in dharana there may be other impressions of peripheral thoughts even though the chitta has been settled on the object of meditation alone–for the chitta is functioning on the location [desha] as a pure mental process–it is not so with dhyana, for there it [the object of meditation] is only the stream of a single vritti untouched by any other vritti of a different kind.”

“The same [i.e. dhyana] when there is consciousness only of the object of meditation and not of itself [the chitta] is samadhi.” This sutra is extremely difficult to translate. It can also be put: “When that object of meditation alone appears therein in its true or essential form [swarupa] as shunyam [empty or void of all else, as a single thing alone], that is samadhi.” Vyasa comments on it in this way: “Dhyana, when it comes to shine forth in the form of the meditation object alone, apparently empty of [or beyond] its own nature as a vritti, and [the meditator] having entered the being of the meditation object and become it–that is samadhi.” Shankara’s expansion on this statement of Vyasa makes it clear that meditation is being spoken of: “Meditation, consisting of the idea-stream, having apparently given up being a stream of one idea [vritti], is radiant as the form of the object, just as a clear crystal shines out as the material on which it has been placed, and is apparently empty of its own nature, and when, ‘having entered the being of the meditation object,’ that being the cause of the thought [vritti], ‘becomes it,’ that very dhyana is samadhi.” That is, when the idea-stream of the repetitions of Om ceases to be a stream or movement and becomes the shining of the pure consciousness of the self (spirit), seemingly having become “empty of its own nature”–but only apparently so, for consciousness is the essential nature of all being–including God. And when the meditator has “entered the being of” Brahman and become It…that is samadhi. Shankara then concludes that meditation is “the method whereby what was a stream of ideas becomes, from entering the being of the meditation object, the very form of that object.”

To sum up: When all other possible objects of awareness are excluded and the object of meditation is perceived in its essential form absolutely devoid of any connotations or even its nature as an object to be perceived–when it has become a “no thing” through absolute oneness with the meditator–that is samadhi, the culmination of meditation. Samadhi means oneness or sameness, the state when the meditator, object of meditation, and meditation have become ONE.

Samadhi is an intriguing mystery to the aspiring yogi who usually mistakes it for a psychic state productive of such physical phenomena as loss of outer consciousness, being without breath or heartbeat, and suchlike. Consequently many practice drastic and strenuous methods, especially breath control, attempting to stop their breath and heartbeat. And they are usually frustrated in their attempts and feel that they are not really making progress. One of the first saints I met was truly an earthly angel who by a single look could awaken the spiritual consciousness of others. He spontaneously healed souls and bodies. Yet, because of the influence of a guru he had studied with in his early years of spiritual quest, he often lamented to others: “I have not really gotten anywhere. In all these years I have not experienced the breathless state even once. So I have not even begun to progress.” He was mistaking a physical condition for a spiritual one, as is common in both India and the West. So it is very important for us to understand what samadhi really is.

First of all, samadhi is our natural spiritual state. “The self is actionless and always in samadhi,” says Shankara in his comments on the first Yoga Sutra. And: “As we have said, steadiness is samadhi. Rightly has the commentator [Vyasa] said that it is a quality of the mind in all the states.”

Samadhi is the state of consciousness in which oneness with the object of concentration or meditation is experienced. In meditation it is the experience of oneness with the individual spirit (purusha) or the Supreme Spirit (Param Purusha). Swami Sivananda, in the Yoga Vedanta Dictionary, says: “Here the mind becomes identified with the object of meditation; the meditator and the meditated, thinker and thought become one in perfect absorption of the mind.” From this we can see that samadhi is exclusively a state of awareness. Physical phenomena simply do not come into it, although certain conditions of the body may result as a side effect–especially in the case of beginners or those whose body and nervous system are not fully purified (refined) or controlled and so become overwhelmed and manifest various abnormal conditions. Because they are so dramatic, the states of breathlessness, absence of heartbeat, immobility or levitation are usually thought of in the West as being samadhi. As just stated, such states may accompany samadhi, but they are neither samadhi nor requisites or proofs of samadhi. “The fact of a person being in real samadhi is determined solely by the condition of his mind and not at all by the inertness of the physical body,” asserts I.K. Taimni.

Patanjali discusses two forms of samadhi: samprajñata and asamprajñata. Sivananda defines them in this way: “Samprajñata samadhi: State of superconsciousness, with the triad of meditator, meditation and the meditated. Savikalpa samadhi.” “Asamprajñata samadhi: Highest superconscious state where the mind and the ego-sense are completely annihilated.” Both are produced by the practice of meditation–first samprajñata samadhi and then asamprajñata samadhi.

Samprajñata samadhi

“Samprajñata samadhi is that which is accompanied by reasoning [vitarka], reflection [vichara], bliss [ananda] and sense of pure being [asmita]” (Sutra 1:17).

Although it leads to chittanirodhavritti, the inhibition of the waves in the chitta, samprajñata samadhi is not that state–at least not fully. For it even to occur a great deal of the mind-waves must have gone into abeyance; still, it is not asamprajñata samadhi which is the full inhibition of all vrittis. It is, however, a genuine state of samadhi and a prerequisite for asamprajñata samadhi. For this reason we should analyze its characteristics.

Although, as previously mentioned, many of the vrittis are inhibited, in samprajñata samadhi the vrittis of vitarka, vichara, ananda, and asmita may occur or be found underlying the consciousness of the yogi. We will consider each in turn.

Vitarka literally means reasoning or discussion–even argument. Within samprajñata samadhi it means the capacity for rational concepts to arise in a reflective or illuminating stream. I say “concepts” because words in the sense of internal silent speaking do not occur in samprajñata samadhi. Ordinary thinking is suppressed (actually superseded) in samprajñata samadhi, and the yogi’s intelligence functions much further down the “thought chain” in simple, direct concepts. That is, in samprajñata samadhi there is non-verbal reasoning, but not thinking in the ordinary meaning of silent internal verbalization or “talking to oneself.” This is important to know, because if inner verbalization occurs it is a sign that our diving consciousness has begun to float up toward ordinary consciousness and that meditation needs to be induced again. What does all this mean practically? It means, for example, that if the light goes on in the room we will conceptualize that it has come on, further conceptualize that it cannot go on of its own accord, and conceptualize that someone may have entered the room. Then we will open our eyes to see who is there. Or, if we are meditating and the whole room begins to shake, the concepts of earthquake and the need to go to a safer place will arise. But in both instances only the concepts–not words–will arise if samprajñata samadhi is still being retained. The practical value of this is that what we might call root-reason continues in samprajñata samadhi. And this can be to our benefit, obviously. When the doorbell or the telephone rings we are aware of it and also aware as to whether we need bother to answer or not. A momentary “discussion” in the form of a chain of conceptualizations may occur, but still the primary meditation-samadhi state is retained. This then leads us to realize that in time, with practice and progress, the state of samprajñata samadhi may be maintained even outside meditation–virtually all the time. This possibility was referred to by Ramana Maharshi: “Better than spells of meditation is one continuous current, steady as a stream, or downward flow of oil” (Verse seven of Upadesha Saram–The Essence of Instruction). Meditation opens the door to this possibility.

Vichara means deliberation or reflection. Whereas vitarka is the power of conceptualization related to outer phenomena, vichara relates to inner happenings during meditation such as inner distractions, the involuntary out-turning of the mind, or movement of the mind in a wrong direction such as outlined by Ramana Maharshi in section 2:16 of Spiritual Instruction: “It is important for one who is established in his Self (atma nishta) to see that he does not swerve in the least from this absorption. By swerving from his true nature he may see before him bright effulgences, etc., or hear (unusual) sounds or regard as real the visions of gods appearing within or outside himself. He should not be deceived by these and forget himself.” When any of these things occur in samprajñata samadhi, the concept-reflection or non-verbal comprehension of their nature arises and we consciously stop, turn away, or reverse them. For example, when a memory of something arises we realize that it is a distraction and refuse to ruminate over it; when we find our mind floating up and out of meditation we consciously induce meditation again. And if experiences of the kind mentioned by Ramana Maharshi occur we ignore them or stop them. Vichara is not only conceptualization of a subtle sort, it is also a subtle form of will which can manifest as a deliberate in-turning of the mind for the continuance of meditation. Vichara also develops our capacity for objectivity of mind, even outside meditation. This greatly contributes to our inner peace and the ability to intelligently respond to the situations of daily outer life.

Ananda is internal bliss, or joy. Meditation produces profound peace and relief from the internal effects or ravages of the outer storms of life. When this great peace and ease of heart are experienced in meditation, the experience of bliss–the “hem of the garment” of the Self–is not far away. Although there is indeed a state beyond bliss as an experience–asamprajñata samadhi–still ananda is a legitimate component of samprajñata samadhi.

Asmita is I-am-ness, the sense of individuality, of pure being, the feeling of “I exist.” In meditation the yogi comes to be absorbed in this awareness of simple being, of I-am-ness. Yogic texts utilize the term asmita samadhi to denote what Sivananda says is the “superconscious state immediately below asamprajñata [samadhi] with the only or sole feeling of aham asmi: ‘I am’ or ‘I exist.’” Vyasa comments: “Having discovered the self which is subtle as an atom, he should be conscious of ‘I-am’ alone.” “This is meditation on its most refined cause, with everything else gone,” adds Shankara. That is, there is no thought involving a defining or descriptive-adjectival condition, such as “I am sitting,” “I am young,” “I am serious,” or “I am enlightened.” Nothing whatsoever of the yogi’s makeup or experience impinges on the pure “I am” awareness–not even “I am aware.” Just the pure consciousness of consciousness itself in the form of the true self, or spirit, prevails in samprajñata samadhi. This is made possible by meditation.

Vitarka, vichara, ananda, and asmita may also be looked upon as the steps of samprajñata samadhi leading to asamprajñata samadhi. They are legitimate stages of deep yogic experience, both vital and valid and not to be scorned. So it is important that the yogi not become impatient and try to “go beyond them,” for they alone are what leads us beyond. “There is no reason why the samadhi should not be in the form of ‘I-am,’ because this is meditation on its most refined cause, with everything else gone” (Shankara). “Of these, the first samadhi–with vitarka–is associated with all four. The second–with vichara–is without the verbal associations of the first. The third–with ananda–is without the subtle associations of the second. The fourth, being pure ‘I-am,’ is without the association of ananda. All these samadhis rest on an object” (Vyasa). That is: “In this sequence of four [stages], an earlier one is associated with the qualities of all the later ones, and a later one is without the qualities of any earlier one.…Lest from the expression ‘I am’ it might be supposed that among these samadhis there is one without an object, he says, ‘All these rest on an object.’ It might be thought that ‘I-am’ is something without any idea in it. But it is not so,…. And so he will say later, ‘“I-am” is a feeling [bhava]’” (Shankara).

Lest we think that samprajñata samadhi and its most refined state of pure “I am”-ness is utter blankness or experience of nothing, Vyasa states that all the four stages of samprajñata samadhi, including the final one, “rest on an object.” This highest (or deepest) stage of samprajñata samadhi is not the experience of void, but of one’s own true self in the form of consciousness. The stages of vitarka, vichara, and ananda “rest” upon the most subtle components of our relative existence, the causal levels that are so rarefied that they are naturally mistaken for the consciousness of the self. But when they are transcended, the “sense of pure being”–asmita–alone remains as the spirit rests (is centered) within its own self/nature, experiencing itself alone. So Vyasa later comments that “asmita is a sense,” the most subtle sense or awareness of pure being.

Stating the practical value or effect of samprajñata samadhi, Vyasa says: “The samadhi in the one-pointed mind makes clear the object as it is, destroys the taints, loosens the karma-bonds, and brings the state of inhibition [chittavrittinirodhah] into view; it is called samprajñata [cognitive].” Shankara comments that Vyasa is speaking of a “one-pointedness where there is no subjection to a state.”

Since we are so egoically obsessed with the need to be or have the “highest” and the “best,” we are in danger of putting little value on our experience of samprajñata samadhi during our practice of meditation and trying to force or push ourselves “higher” or “deeper” into asamprajñata samadhi. Not only is such an attempt futile, we are indulging in foolish disregard of something that is supremely valuable and worthy of all respect. Vyasa warns us from this error by assuring us that “the omission of the word ‘all’ [in speaking of the suppression of vrittis in the Yoga Sutra 1:2] shows that samprajñata samadhi also is yoga.” Shankara, commenting on this statement, says that yoga “is well known to include meditation on objects.” Although the highest yoga (asamprajñata samadhi) is without objects, the lesser yoga (samprajñata samadhi) does include awareness of the subtle inner functions already listed. Therefore he continues, commenting on Vyasa: “He has not said that cognitive samadhi is putting down the mental process entirely.…Cognitive samadhi is still accompanied by certain mental objects.”

The stages of meditation leading to transcendence (asamprajñata samadhi) are also yoga. Furthermore, they are of great practical value. Vyasa assures us in the previously-cited comment that meditation in the form of samprajñata samadhi:

As we say in our American slang, this is nothing to be sneezed at! These four effects of samprajñata samadhi are directly linked to its four stages or qualities: vitarka, vichara, ananda, and asmita. Moreover, these effects are not confined to the time of meditation practice, but extend into the daily life of the yogi as well. So the practicer of meditation must greatly value even the “lesser” stages of meditation which produce these marvelous results so effortlessly.

The vitarka–subtle reasoning power–which is produced and developed by meditation practice “makes clear the object as it is.” That is, it enables the yogi, both in and out of meditation, to see clearly whatever comes into the purview of his mind-consciousness. He sees the truth of a thing–both its subtle behind-the-scenes nature and purpose as well as its ultimate truth as a manifestation of Pure Consciousness: God.

The vichara (reflection) capacity which is produced and developed by meditation practice “destroys the taints” known as kleshas in the Yoga Sutras 2:2,3: “The samadhi produced by meditation is for the removal of the kleshas. The kleshas are: ignorance, egoism, attraction and repulsion for objects, and fear of death.” These kleshas are the root causes of all the afflictions and misery encountered in human life. And meditation dissolves them all.

The ananda–bliss–which is produced and developed by meditation practice “loosens the karma-bonds.” This is because desire for happiness or joy is the root motivation of all actions producing karma. But when that ananda is gained through the practice of meditation, the compulsion toward material, external actions for egoic attainment ceases, for fulfillment is found.

The asmita–awareness of pure being–which is produced and developed by meditation practice “brings the state of inhibition [chittavrittinirodhah] into view.” That is, it gives a touch of the ultimate state of asamprajñata samadhi (“brings it into view”) and impels the consciousness onward to that higher state.

All these effects come from a great deal of meditation–not just after a few days’ practice. But the results are assured to the faithful yogi.

Asamprajñata samadhi

“Asampajñata samadhi was defined in the words, ‘Yoga is the cessation (nirodha) of modifications (vritti) in the mind-substance (chitta),’” says Shankara. And Vyasa: “Asamprajñata samadhi is when there is inhibition of all mental processes.” Asamprajñata samadhi is yoga in the most absolute sense. It is both the end of yoga and yoga itself. This of course must become our permanent state. Therefore practice is still needed even after its attainment.

In contrasting the two types of samadhi, samprajñata and asamprajñata, Shankara avers: “The definition as inhibition [of vrittis] applies exactly to asamprajñata samadhi, but only loosely to samprajñata samadhi” since in samprajñata samadhi, though there is a great–almost total–inhibition of the vrittis, still some do occur as contrasted with asamprajñata samadhi in which absolutely no vrittis arise. And further: “Asamprajñata samadhi cannot be defined by anything else except inhibition. Inhibition alone is its definition because nothing else is there, whereas samprajñata samadhi is definable in terms of special characteristics like verbal [i.e., conceptual] associations.…It is settled that asamprajñata samadhi is defined by the bare word ‘inhibition.’…The commentator will sum up later in these words: ‘It is asamprajñata in the sense that in it no thing is cognized [samprajñayate]: this yoga is inhibition of the mental process.’” He also has written in his Yoga Sutra commentary: “The one-pointed [ekagra] state of the mind is a stream of similar thoughts.…The inhibited [niruddha] state is a mind empty of thoughts.” And: “In inhibition [nirodh] the mind is not restricted to a particular object, for there is no subject for an object.”

In Yoga Sutra 1:18 Patanjali speaks of asamprajñata samadhi in a most interesting manner: “The other is when by practice [of samprajñata samadhi] the last vestiges of the contents [the vrittis] of the mind cease [or are dropped].” “The other” is asamprajñata samadhi, but it is significant that he neither names it nor speaks of it as being produced or even occurring by the cessation of all vrittis in the chitta. This is because it is not an entity, thing, or even–speaking precisely–a state, but a result of the cessation of all such things and their experience and effect. Vyasa puts it this way: “In this state [of asamprajñata samadhi] what remains is samskaras, and it is the seedless [nirbija] samadhi. There is no cognition of anything in it, so it is asamprajñata. This yoga is inhibition of the mental processes.” Shankara, commenting on this says: “The meaning is, that here the seed is gone; in this all the seeds of taint and so on are gone.” Also, by using the expression “the other” for asamprajñata samadhi Patanjali is following the lead of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy in which Reality is not designated as One, but rather only as Not Two [Advaita]. This is because asamprajñata samadhi is the eternal, ineradicable state of the spirit–of consciousness itself. Having always been, it can neither be attained nor produced. It always IS, for it is the state of I AM.

Samprajñata samadhi is savikalpa samadhi, and asamprajñata samadhi is nirvikalpa samadhi. Savikalpa means “with content” and nirvikalpa means “without content.” By “content” is meant impressions in the mind that will manifest subsequently in the form of positive states of consciousness and positive karmas, and the experiences of objects, however subtle. Savikalpa samadhi produces something, whereas nirvikalpa samadhi is the cessation and prevention of all “somethings.”

The following valuable simple exposition of the various yogic states is given by A. W. Chadwick in A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi: “Savikalpa Samadhi is the state of deep meditation when one is sunk in peace but still retains the consciousness of one’s identity. One knows that one is meditating and can still consciously continue one’s Sadhana. In Nirvikalpa Samadhi one has attained to a state where the identity has been lost and sunk entirely in the highest Self. However long it may last it is only temporary, one must return eventually to one’s normal state of consciousness. One is unable to function in this state and so long as it lasts one is in a state of trance. It is usually preliminary to the final state [of Sahaja Samadhi]. Sahaja Samadhi is the final and most blessed state, the goal of all Yogis. In this state the individual has become completely merged in the Supreme Self. His identity which became lost in Nirvikalpa Samadhi has become enlarged and is now the Supreme Self and knows itself as such. Trances are no longer necessary, a person can still carry on with the ordinary day to day business but he no longer identifies himself with the activities, but watches them like a dreamer watching a dream. There is no more to do, and no more to be attained. This is the Supreme State of Absolute Bliss.”

In samprajñata samadhi we experience the self only, and in asamprajñata samadhi we experience God, the Self of our self. Saint Paul speaks of it in this way: “For now we see [in samprajñata samadhi as though] through a glass, darkly; but then [in asamprajñata samadhi] face to face: now [in samprajñata samadhi] I know in part; but then [in asamprajñata samadhi] shall I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13:12). In the matter of asamprajñata samadhi we are not talking about an attainment, but a rediscovery, a remembering–literally a realization. Not being the result of an action it is therefore permanent and ineradicable.

A further word

In Philosophy of Gorakhnath, Banerjea makes some observations that seem a fitting conclusion to this entire subject:

“The difference between the nature and the degree of the spiritual enjoyment of one plane and those of another can not of course be understood by any person living and moving and having his being in the normal physical and sensuous plane of experience by means of any amount of subtle intellectual reasoning or any stretch of imagination. Yogis who attain experiences of those higher planes can not also make them intelligible to the men of the lower planes by means of verbal descriptions. Nevertheless, many yogi-teachers have, with the help of various kinds of similes and metaphors and poetic imageries, made some attempts to give vague and inadequate ideas about their inner experiences for the benefit of earnest truth-seekers, who might in the light of these descriptions feel the urge to advance in this path and subject themselves to the necessary discipline under proper guidance with the purpose of being blessed with similar experiences.”

And: “It may be noted in this connection that Samadhi, which is the most concentrated state of the empirical consciousness, a state in which ail differences apparently vanish, may be attained in every plane of the consciousness, specially in each of the chakras mentioned by the enlightened yogis. But the results of the Samadhi in the different planes, in the different chakras, are not the same. The samadhi-state of the consciousness may superficially appear to be similar in every case; but the realizations depend upon the nature of the planes and the nature of the objects or ideals upon which the mind is concentrated. Samadhi in every plane and upon every object of meditation does not lead to spiritual illumination. The psycho-vital energy has to be purified and refined and raised to higher and higher planes for higher and higher orders of spiritual experience; perfect illumination is attainable in the highest plane–in the highest chakra.”

About asamprajñata samadhi: “In the Yoga-Shastras the transcendent experience in the state of nirvikalpa or asamprajnata samadhi is found to be described in terms of shunya (void or vacancy or negation of everything) as well as purna (fullness or perfection or unification of all). It is a state of ‘void within and void without, like an empty vessel in the sky; fulness within and fulness without, like a vessel full of water immersed in the ocean’ (antah-shunyo vahih-shunyah shunya-kumbha ivamvare antah-purno bahih-purnah purna-kumbha ivarnave).

“Since in that experience there is nothing which is experienced as its object, there is no subject-object relation and no process of experience, there is no consciousness of any inside and outside or any before and after, it may quite appropriately be spoken of as a state of absolute Void, (shunya), absolute negation of existence and consciousness in the empirical sense. On the other hand, as it is the state of the perfect fulfillment of all earnest and systematic endeavors for liberation from all limitations and realization of the Absolute Truth, as it gives the sense of complete satisfaction to the human consciousness seeking for Truth and Freedom and thus results in perfect calmness and tranquility and bliss, as after the attainment of this blessed state nothing else appears to remain to be known and enjoyed, it is rightly described as the state of absolute fulness and perfection, the state of the realization of Perfect Existence, in which all orders of phenomenal existences are not simply negated, but realized as resolved into Absolute Unity. What appears to be Shunya or Asat (negation of all existences) from the empirical viewpoint is really the Purna-Sat (Perfect Existence), in which the ultimate character of all orders of existences is unveiled as One Self-luminous Differenceless Non-dual Spiritual Existence. This Perfect Existence is immanent in all empirical realities, which are only partial imperfect conditioned self-manifestations of It in the spatio-temporal order.”

Further Reading: