In the eight stage path of yoga Samadhi represents the culmination of all efforts. Bliss,
nirvana, heaven or enstasy describe this condition. All the previous stages have been exercises and preparations
for this final experience. Ironically Samadhi is not always guaranteed to all yog is/inis.
And the ultimate irony is that Samadhi may be experienced spontaneously by someone who has done no formal yoga preparations.
`As salt mingles with and dissolves in water, such is dissolving or merging of the mind and the Self with
God`. (Hatha-Yoga- Pradipika by Yogi Swatmarama)
Samadhi is sometimes
described as the `perfect forgetting ` of being in the state of meditation (dhyana). In meditation the
practitioner may use a starting point or seed in savikalpa meditation. In this form enstasy (Samadhi) may
be experienced where there is an identification with a higher thought form – samprajnata-samadhi.
In nirvikalpa meditation there is no formal seed and this is the form which is said to lead to Self-realisation,
or liberation where there is no awareness of consciousness – asamprajnata-samadhi.
Spontaneous Samadhi which may take place even during the normal embodied/conscious state is known as sahaja-samadhi.
It is a feature of the lives of some of the great saints such as Ramana Maharishi who frequently lost consciousness
as he moved spontaneously into Samadhi.
All forms of Samadhi lead ultimately to moksha
or liberation from the idea that the psyche and the Self are separate.
Students will also come
across the term Maha-samadhi. This the ability of the accomplished realised yogi to know their own time
and date of physical death. For the yogi Samadhi is also the grave into which they are placed in a seated
cross legged position. For those who have not achieved the purification of yoga cremation has been the
traditional way of releasing the soul for its next incarnation.