Samadhi-padah, about contemplation. Definition and explanation from the Yogasutras of Patanjali

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馃晧 Now the teaching of Yoga. Yoga is the arrest of mental processes. So the witness establishes itself in its own nature. Otherwise, it assumes the form of mental processes. There are five types of mental processes and can be subject to or be free from afflictions.

The 5 types of mental processes:

  • Pramana, knowledge.
  • Viparyaya, error.
  • Vikalpa, conceptualization.
  • Nidra, dream.
  • Smrtayah, memory.

Knowledge is perception, inference and verbal testimony. Error is a false knowledge that does not correspond to the shape of the object. Conceptualization is consubstantial to linguistic knowledge and lacks an external referent. Sleep is a mental process that depends on the perception of absence. Memory is the non-misrepresentation of a perceived object.

Detention occurs through practice and detachment. In this case, practice is the effort to achieve stability. This is strengthened, when cultivated for a long time, without interruption and with consideration. Detachment is the consciousness of self-control that a person has when not attached to the objects of this world or those of the hereafter. Beyond this detachment is the absence of desire towards the constituents that is born from the same vision of the purusa.

Cognitive contemplation assumes different forms: the rough, the subtle, the joyous and the one referring to the self. The other is preceded by the practice of detention and is reduced to latent impressions. It is innate for the incorporeal and for those who are reabsorbed in the primordial nature. In all other cases, it is preceded by confidence, energy, attention, concentration and vision.

It is closer for those who are very diligent. Differences occur depending on whether the grade is mild, medium or strong. Or thanks to continued meditation on the Lord. The Lord is a special purusa who is not affected by afflictions or by his/her actions; neither by fruiting nor by karmic deposit.

In this purusa is found, in the highest degree, the seed of omniscience. He/she is the master of the primordials, as he/she is not subject to time limitation. The word that expresses it is pranava (the syllable OM). The repetition of this OM produces the understanding of its meaning. Then inner vision is achieved and mental obstacles disappear.

The obstacles are properly the mental dispersions:

  • Vyadhi, disease.
  • Styana, apathy.
  • Samsaya, doubt.
  • Pramada, negligence.
  • Alasya, laziness.
  • Avirati, intemperance.
  • Bhranti darsana, wrong view.
  • Alabdha-bhumikatva, the inability to reach a level.
  • Anavasthitatvani citta, the precariousness or instability of the mind.

These obstacles are generated by heavy breathing and produce pain, frustration and trembling in the body limbs. In order to eliminate them, you must focus your attention on a single object.

Peace of mind is obtained by cultivating friendship with those who are happy, compassion for those who suffer, joy with the virtuous, and indifference towards the wicked. This indifference occurs through the expulsion and retention of air. Then the appearance of a subtle perception that is capable of producing stability by being fully concentrated on a single object. Something painless and brilliant. Or through a mind that targets those who are free from passion. Or taking as support the own knowledge of sleep and deep sleep, meditating on the desired object.

The scope of this peace ranges from the subtlest atom to the highest magnitude. Absorption occurs in the case of a serene mind that, like a pure diamond, assumes the color of the place where it lies, be it the perceiving subject, the very act of perceiving or the perceived object.

Rough discursive absorption occurs when the linguistic conceptualizations of the word, the object and the knowledge begin. For this reason the purification of memory produces its opposite, the rough non-discursive absorption that, when showing itself empty, reveals only the perceived object. In the same way, subtle discursive and non-discursive absorption are explained in what concerns the subtle.

The realm of the subtle reaches as far as nature does not manifest. All these contemplative states contain the seed. When the subtle non-discursive absorption reaches its maximum degree of purity, the transparency of the soul arises. Then infallible knowledge appears: the vision filled with truth.

It has a different scope from that which concerns verbal and inferential knowledge, its object is particular. The latent impression that arises from this, stops the others. And when it also ceases, following the arrest of all, non-germinal (seed-free) contemplation appears.


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