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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 3 - Union achieved and its Results
3. When the chitta becomes absorbed in that which is the reality (or idea embodied in the form), and is unaware of separateness or of the personal self, this is contemplation or samadhi.

The simplest way in which to comprehend this sutra is to realize that every form or object is a manifested life of some kind or another. In the early stages of the meditation process, the student becomes aware of the nature of the form and of his relation to it. The two states in which he is conscious of himself and of the object of his meditation are entirely mental conditions; they exist within his mind.

This condition is followed by one in which his realization travels inward on to the subjective plane and he becomes aware of the nature of the life which is expressing itself through the form. Quality and subjective relationships engross his attention and the form aspect is lost sight of, but still the sense of separateness or of duality persists. He is still aware of himself and of that which is the not-self. Similarity of quality and response to analogous vibration are his, however.

In the two stages of dharana and dhyana, of concentration and of meditation, the mind is the important factor and is the producer in the brain. A great Hindu teacher, Kecidhvaja, expresses this idea in the following words:

"The soul has the means. Thinking is the means. It is inanimate. When thinking has completed its task of release, it has done what it had to do and ceases." (From the Vishnu Purana. VI. 7, 90.) [249]

The truth of this makes any description or explanation of the high state of samadhi or contemplation exceedingly difficult, for words and phrases are but the effort of the mind to submit to the brain of the personal self that which will enable it to appreciate and comprehend the process.

In contemplation, the yogi loses sight of:

  1. His brain consciousness or the physical plane apprehensions as to time and space.
  2. His emotional reactions to the subject of his meditation process.
  3. His mental activities, so that all the "modifications" of the thinking process, all the emotional reactions of the desire-mind (kama-manas) vehicle are subdued and the yogi is unaware of them. He is, however, intensely alive and alert, positive and awake, for the brain and the mind are held by him in a steady grip, and are used by him without any interference on their part.

This literally means that the independent life of these forms through which the real self is functioning is still, quieted and subdued, and the real or spiritual man, awake on his own plane, is able to function with full use of the brain, sheaths and mind of the lower self, his vehicle or instrument. He is, therefore, centered in himself or in the soul aspect. All sense of separateness or of the lower personal self are lost sight of, and he becomes identified with the soul of that form which has been the object of his meditation.

Unhindered by the mind stuff, or by the desire [250] nature he "enters into" that condition which has four outstanding characteristics:

  1. Absorption in the soul consciousness and therefore awareness of the soul of all things. Form is no longer seen, and the vision of the reality, veiled by all forms, is revealed.
  2. Liberation from the three worlds of sense perception, so that only is known and contacted which is free from form, from desire and from lower concrete mental substance.
  3. Realization of oneness with all souls, subhuman, human, and superhuman. Group consciousness somewhat expresses the idea, just as separated consciousness, or realization of one's own individual identity, characterizes consciousness in the three worlds.
  4. Illumination or perception of the light aspect of manifestation. Through meditation the yogi knows himself to be light, a point of fiery essence. Through facility in the meditation process he can focus that light on any object he chooses and come "en rapport" with the light which that object is hiding. That light is then known to be one in essence with his own light-center, and comprehension, communication and identification then become possible.

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