Probable Statements of Sahaja Samadhi
Many sages have, or may have, experienced Sahaja Samadhi without referring to it by that name. Here are some statements of attainment which suggest that these sages experienced it under different terms.
If we keep in mind our definition of sahaja samadhi, then we may enjoy looking at these descriptions of enlightenment or the situation of the practitioner afterwards to see what signs there are that they experienced Sahaja. It isn’t possible for us to reproduce the other situational evidence they also give which further supports that conclusion; here we only have their bare statements.
Our definition, as contained in the third article of this series, is that Sahaja is our original or natural state, uncovered as a result of a permanent heart opening, of effortlessly and permanently residing in a state of absorption into the Self without concept or any other movement of the mind.
Keeping the definition in mind, and remembering that this is the state we’ll be in after Ascension, consider these assertions and exclamations:
Sage Vasistha: “The mind of the knower of truth is no-mind: it is pure satva [gentleness, purity, serenity]. After living with such no-mind for some time, there arises the state known as turiya-atita (the state beyond the transcendental, or the turiya, state).” (1)
Julian of Norwich: “The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything.” (2)
Meister Eckhart: “The Godhead gave all things up to God. The Godhead is poor, naked and empty as though it were not; it has not, wills not, wants not, works not, gets not. It is God who has the treasure and the bride in him, the Godhead is as void as though it were not.” (3)
Sen T’sen, the Third Zen Patriarch: “When the ten thousand things are viewed in their oneness, we return to the origin and remain where we have always been.” (4)
Shankara: “There is a continuous consciousness of the unity of Atman and Brahman. There is no longer any identification of the Atman with its coverings. All sense of duality is obliterated. There is pure, unified consciousness. The man who is well established in this consciousness is said to be illumined. For him, the sorrows of this world are over. Though he possesses a finite body, he remains united with the Infinite. His heart knows no anxiety.
“Even though his mind is dissolved in Brahman, he is fully awake, free from the ignorance of waking life. He is fully conscious, but free from any craving. Such a man is said to be free even in this life.” (5)
Sri Ramakrishna: “But there is a stage beyond even Brahmajnana, After jnana comes vijnana [literally, perfect wisdom].” (6)
Sri Ramakrishna: “The vijnani … realizes that the steps are made of the same materials as the roof: bricks, lime, and brick-dust. That which is realized intuitively as Brahman, through the eliminating process of ‘Not this, not this,’ is then found to have become the universe and all its living beings. The vijnani sees that the Reality which is nirguna, without attributes, is also saguna, with attributes.” (7)
Sri Ramakrishna: “A man cannot live on the roof a long time. He comes down again. Those who realize Brahman in Samadhi come down also and find that it is Brahman that has become the universe and all its living beings. … The ego does not vanish altogether. The man coming down from Samadhi perceives that it is Brahman that has become the ego, the universe, and all living beings. This is known as vijnana.” (8)
Swami Brahmananda: “Samadhi is generally classified as of two kinds. In the first, the savikalpa samadhi, one experiences the mystic vision of the spiritual form of God, while the consciousness of individuality remains. In the second, the nirvikalpa samadhi, a man loses his individuality and goes beyond the vision of the form of God. The whole universe disappears.
“Besides these two there is yet another kind of samadhi called ananda (blissful) samadhi. If an ordinary man attains this experience, his body and brain cannot stand the intense ecstatic joy; he cannot live more than twenty-one days.” (9)
Franklin Merrell-Wolff: “And what I’ll say now goes beyond the literature. Whether this is the door open to all who take this step, whether this of which I am about to speak is the door open to all, I know that it came to me and there walked into my consciousness THAT which transcended the nirvanic as the nirvanic transcended the sangsaric [sic]. Its quality was totally different.
“Not one of this delight, but a Principle of Equilibrium that united all pairs of opposites including Samsara and Nirvana. In some ways a kind of neutral Consciousness that knew that it could enter the nirvanic state and leave it at will, enter the sangsaric state and leave it at will. Nowhere in literature did I find any reference to anything of this sort.
“And then, at its peak, the sense of I vanished and the object of consciousness, which now had appeared as the Robe of the Divine, also vanished, and only Consciousness remained. Not the consciousness of some entity, but Consciousness Self-existent, and the Source of all selves and all worlds. This is Enlightenment. This is the KEY to the Buddhist scriptures, the Doctrine of the Voidness, and so forth.” (10)
Bernadette Roberts: “I am convinced that the contemplative life is composed of two distinct and separate movements, well marked and defined by the nature of their experiences alone. The first movement is toward self’s union with God which runs parallel with the psychological process of integration, wherein the emphasis is on interior trials and dark nights by which the self is established in a permanent union with God — the still-point and axis of its being. In this process we discover that the self is not lost; rather a new self has been found that now functions as an undivided unit from its deepest, innermost center.
“Following this first movement is an interval (twenty years in my case) during which this union is tested. … It seems that at the end of this [intervening] period a point is reached where the self is so completely aligned with the still-point it can no longer be moved, even in its first movements, from this center. It can no longer be tested by any force or trial, nor moved by the winds of change, and at this point the self has obviously outgrown its function; it is no longer needed or useful and life can go on without it. We are ready to move on, to go beyond the self, beyond even its most intimate union with God, and this is where we enter yet another new life — a life best categorized, perhaps, as a life without a self.” (11)
“Since I knew that this experience was not articulated in our contemplative literature, I went to the library to see if it could be found in the Eastern religions. … [In Hinduism] the final state is equivalent to the Christian experience of oneness or transforming union. If a Hindu had what I call the no-self experience, it would be the sudden, unexpected disappearance of Atman-Brahman, the divine Self in the “cave of the heart,” and the disappearance of the cave as well. It would be the ending of God-consciousness, or transcendental consciousness — that seemingly bottomless experience of ‘being,’ ‘consciousness,’ and ‘bliss’ that articulates the state of oneness. To regard this ending as the falling away of the ego is a grave error; ego must fall away before the state of oneness can be realized. The no-self experience is the falling away of this previously realized transcendent state.
“Initially, when I looked into Buddhism, I did not find the experience of no-self there either; yet I intuited that it had to be there. The falling away of the ego is common to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Therefore, it would not account for the fact that Buddhism became a separate religion, nor would it account for the Buddhists’ insistence on no eternal Self – be it divine, individual, or the two in one. I felt that the key difference between these two religions was the no-self experience, the falling away of the true Self, Atman-Brahman.
“Unfortunately what most Buddhist authors define as the no-self experience is actually the no-ego experience. The cessation of clinging, desire, the passions, etc., and the ensuing state of imperturbable peace and joy articulates the egoless state of oneness; it does not, however, articulate the no-self experience or the dimension beyond.” (12)
Bernadette Roberts: “Four years later, however, I came across two lines attributed to Buddha describing his enlightenment experience. Referring to self as a house, he said, ‘All the rafters are broken now, the ridgepole is destroyed.’ And there it was — the disappearance of the center, the ridgepole; without it, there can be no house, no self.
“When I read these lines, it was as if an arrow launched at the beginning of time had suddenly hit a bull’s-eye. It was a remarkable find. These lines are not a piece of philosophy, but an experiential account, and without the experiential account we really have nothing to go on. In the same verse he says, ‘Again a house thou shalt not build,’ clearly distinguishing this experience from the falling away of the ego-center, after which a new, transformed self is built around a ‘true center,’ a sturdy, balanced ridgepole. (13)
Da Free John: “In February I passed through an experience that seemed to vindicate my understanding. For several nights I was awakened again and again with sharp lateral pains in my head. They felt like deep incisions in my skull and brain, as if I were undergoing an operation. During the day following the last of these experiences I realized a marvellous relief. I saw that what appeared as the sahasrar, the terminal chakra and primary lotus in the head, had been severed. The sahasrar had fallen off like a blossom.
“The Shakti, which previously had appeared as a polarized energy that moved up and down through the various chakras or centers producing various effects, now was released through the chakra form. There was no more polarized force. Indeed, there was no form whatsoever, no up or down, no chakras. The chakra system had been revealed as unnecessary, an arbitrary rule or setting for the play of energy. The form beneath all of the bodies, gross or subtle, had revealed itself to be as unnecessary and conditional as the bodies themselves.
“Previously, all the universes seemed built and dependent upon that prior structure of ascending and descending energy, so that values were determined by the level of chakra on which consciousness functioned, and planetary bodies as well as space itself were fixed in a spherical or curved form. But now I saw that reality or real consciousnes was not in the least determined by any kind of form apart from itself.
“Consciousness had shown its radical freedom and priority in terms of the chakra form. It had shown itself to be senior to that whole structure, dissociated from every kind of separate energy or Shakti. There was simply consciousness itself, prior to all forms, all dilemmas, every kind of seeking and necessity.” (14)
Adyashanti: “Then one day I was sitting reading a book, and I folded the book to put it away and realized that somewhere in some magic time, something had dropped away, and I didn’t know what it was. There was just a big absence of something.
“I went through the rest of the day as usual but noticing some big absence. Then when I sat down on the bed that night, it suddenly hit me that what had fallen away was all identity. All identity had collapsed, as both the self in the ego sense of a separate me, and as the slightest twinge of identity with the Absolute Self, with the Oneness of consciousness. There had still been some unconscious, identity or ‘me-ness’ which was the cause of the discontent. And it all collapsed.
“Identity itself collapsed, and from that point on there was no grasping whatsoever for little me or for the unified consciousness me. Identity just fell away and blew away with the wind.” (15)
(1) Sage Vasistha in Swami Venkatesananda, ed., The Concise Yoga Vasistha. Albany: State University of New York, 1984, 306.
(2) Julian of Norwich in Brendan Doyle, ed., Meditations with Julian of Norwich. Santa Fe: Bear, 1983, 60.
(3) Meister Eckhart in Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy. New York, etc.: Harper and Row, 1970; c1944, 25. [Hereafter PP.]
(4) Sen T’sen, the Third Zen Patriarch, in PP, 74.
(5) Shankara in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., How to Know God. The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. New York, etc.: New American Library, 1969; c1953, 64.
(6) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 288. [Hereafter GSR.]
(7) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 103-4.
(8) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.
(9) Swami Brahmananda in Swami Prabhavananda. The Eternal Companion. Brahmananda. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1970; c1944 , 189.
(10) Franklin Merrell-Wolff, “The Induction,” 24 January 1970. http://www.selfdiscoveryportal.com/arInduction.htm . Downloaded 2 January 2006.
(11) Bernadette Roberts, The Experience of No-Self. A Contemplative Journey. Boston and London: Shamballa, 1985, 11-2.
(12) Bernadette Roberts, “The Path to No-Self” in Stephan Bodian, ed. Timeless Visions, Healing Voices. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1991, 136-7. [Hereafter PNS2.]
(13) Bernadette Roberts, PNS2, 137.
(14) Da Free John, The Knee of Listening. Original Edition. Clearlake, CA; Dawn Horse Press, 1984; c1973, 116-9.