A poem by Paramhansa Yogananda
Vanished the veils of light and shade,
Lifted every vapor of sorrow,
Sailed away all dawns of fleeting joy,
Gone the dim sensory mirage.
Love, hate, health, disease, life, death,
Perished these false shadows on the screen of duality.
Waves of laughter, scyllas of sarcasm, melancholic whirlpools,
Melting in the vast sea of bliss.
The storm of maya stilled
By magic wand of intuition deep.
The universe, forgotten dream, subconsciously lurks,
Ready to invade my newly wakened memory divine.
I live without the cosmic shadow,
But it is not, bereft of me;
As the sea exists without the waves,
But they breathe not without the sea.
Dreams, wakings, states of deep turiya,sleep;
Present, past, future, no more for me,
But ever-present, all-flowing I, I, everywhere.
Planets, stars, stardust, earth,
Volcanic bursts of doomsday cataclysms,
Creation’s molding furnace,
Glaciers of silent x-rays, burning electron floods,
Thoughts of all men, past, present, to come,
Every blade of grass, myself, mankind,
Each particle of universal dust,
Anger, greed, good, bad, salvation, lust,
I swallowed, transmuted all
Into a vast ocean of blood of my own one Being!
Smoldering joy, oft-puffed by meditation,
Blinding my tearful eyes,
Burst into immortal flames of bliss,
Consumed my tears, my frame, my all.
Thou art I, I am Thou,
Knowing, Knower, Known, as One!
Tranquilled, unbroken thrill, eternally living, ever new peace!
Enjoyable beyond imagination of expectancy, samadhi bliss!
Not a mental chloroform
Or unconscious state without wilful return,
Samadhi but extends my conscious realm
Beyond the limits of the mortal frame
To farthest boundary of eternity
Where I, the Cosmic Sea,
Watch the little ego floating in me.
The sparrow, each grain of sand, fall not without my sight.
All space like an iceberg floats within my mental sea.
Colossal Container, I, of all things made.
By deeper, longer, thirsty, guru-given meditation
Comes this celestial samadhi.
Mobile murmurs of atoms are heard,
The dark earth, mountains, vales, lo! molten liquid!
Flowing seas change into vapors of nebulae!
Aum blows upon the vapors, opening wondrously their veils,
Oceans stand revealed, shining electrons,
Till, at last sound of the cosmic drum,
Vanish the grosser lights into eternal rays
Of all-pervading bliss.
From joy I came, for joy I live, in sacred joy I melt.
Ocean of mind, I drink all Creation’s waves.
Four veils of solid, liquid, vapor, light,
Myself, in everything, enters the Great Myself.
Gone forever, fitful, flickering shadows of mortal memory.
Spotless is my mental sky, below, ahead, and high above.
Eternity and I, one united ray.
A tiny bubble of laughter, I
Am become the Sea of Mirth Itself.
Samadhi means the oneness of human consciousness with cosmic consciousness. Man’s consciousness is subject to relativity and dual experience. In meditation, there are three aspects: the meditator, the act of meditation, and God (the object of meditation).
Samadhi is final union, which comes from deep, continuous, correct meditation. In this state, the three factors of meditation become one. Just as the wave melts in the sea, so the human soul becomes the Supreme Spirit.
Through Oneness in samadhi, the dualities of human experience disappear. Everything is perceived as only a manifestation of the Supreme Spirit. In this state, the soul can perceive the spiritual ocean with its waves of creation; or see the same ocean transcendentally calm, existing without its waves of creation.
In the first state of samadhi (known as sabikalpa) the yogi, his soul united with the Spirit in deep meditation, becomes so absorbed in the Spirit that he is oblivious of the material and subtler created universes. A somewhat similar experience, on a lower plane, is experienced when one becomes so absorbed in a book, or in thinking, that he is unaware of anything happening around him. This state is not unconscious, for unconsciousness implies both inner and outer lack of awareness. Such unconsciousness is easily induced by drugs, anesthetics, and other artificial means. The full spiritual consciousness of even the lower samadhi, however, can be attained only through the regular, continuous, right discipline of meditation; it has nothing in common with unconsciousness.
The first state of samadhi, in which the yogi finds everything withdrawn and absorbed into Spirit, is known, as I said, as sabikalpa samadhi. The higher and greater state of samadhi is
nirbikalpa, in which the yogi, having realized the Spirit alone without its Creation, perceives the Spirit also, simultaneously, as both beyond Creation and untouched by it, and also manifested in all Creation. Here, one’s consciousness becomes cosmic consciousness. His domain of consciousness now extends out from his body to include the whole universe. He becomes the Ocean of Spirit, simultaneously watching the little bubble of his body bobbing about, as it were, on that sea. His consciousness perceives all motion, and each mutation of life from the circling stars to the fall of a sparrow and the whirling of the smallest electron.
The yogi who has entered this final, highest state of samadhi sees all things also in their subtlest essence: Solids melt into liquid and molten states; liquids into gases; gases into energy; and energy into cosmic consciousness. He lifts the four veils of solids, liquids, gases, and energy and beholds the Pure Spirit underlying them, and thus knows himself as Spirit. He sees how the objective universe in Nature and the subjective universe in each individual conjoin in Spirit. His expanded self merges into the great, spiritual Self; they become one. The spiritual Self, being the first cause, and capable of existing without material manifestation, is infinitely greater than the little, egoic self.
Thus, the negative conception of God, as having nothing in common with human ways, is removed. The yogi, instead of finding a cessation of all life and joy—even a vast void, as unenlightened followers of the Buddha believe—becomes the eternal fountain-head of bliss and of all life. The tiny bubble of laughter becomes the sea of mirth itself. In knowing God one does not lose anything at all: He gains everything!
It should be added that it is still possible for the yogi to fall from the state of sabikalpa samadhi, for, from that lower samadhi, he must return to ego-consciousness. One is freed forever once he attains the highest state: nirbikalpa samadhi.