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Chapter XIV: The Enlightened Person

Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Enlightenment Sickness, A Fallen Yogi, The Blades of a Fan, Self-Realization/Self-Actualization, The Self-Actualized Person.

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Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby TomKazula » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:20 pm

Shankara- "Reflection (manana) is hundred times superior to listening (sravana);
meditation (nididhyasana) is hundred times superior to reflection; nirvikalpa samadhi is infinitely superior."[8]
What is the difference between Self Inquiry/Atma Vichara and nididhyasana? How do you practice once you assimilate the knowledge?
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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby Mira » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:26 pm

Hi Tom,
Welcome to the forum!

Shravana is the first step, where you listen to Vedanta. Manana is the second step where you ensure that all your doubts are answered. I needed to correspond with a teacher in this step.

Once you are certain beyond any doubt that you are sat chit ananda or awareness or consciousness then you begin the (long) process of assimilating this knowledge. This is the phase of nididhyasana. For me, this phase involves reading and listening to talks on Vedanta by trusted teachers.

Nididhyasana for me also involves sadhana (or practice). I try to practice Vedantic meditation all the time by simply 'being the self'. Of course, my mind often gets extroverted and the meditation ends--but not for long these days and I'm back on track doing Vedantic meditation as often as possible during the day. Of course, there is no greater joy than being the self (since you are joy itself) so the mind is naturally inclined to practice Vedantic meditation! In vedantic meditation, I also see the world as simply names/forms of the self.

I also recently spontaneously started practicing yogic meditation (sitting, closing eyes, chanting AUM)--but I am not able to do it everyday.

I also try to approach situations more intelligently than I did before. For example, in any given situation, I try to see what gunas or vasanas are acting up. Or, if I am beset by a desire and act on it, then afterwards I ask myself, did fulfilling that desire give me lasting happiness (the answer is always no and it helps me get back to vedantic meditation). In this way the teachings are being constantly mulled over.

I would say that the goal in nididhyasana is to abide as the self constantly. You need a calm mind to do this and different people will have different ways of accomplishing that. Or you can phrase it differently and say that nididhyasana is when the knowledge is completely stable that you are not the mind-body-doer.

To answer your question more directly: Self Inquiry seems to have different meanings. To me, Self Inquiry happens more in the Shravana and Manana phase. But if by Self Inquiry you mean a process which helps you abide as the self, then that is nididhyasana.

Finally, nirvikalpa samadhi is more the goal in Patanjali yoga. In Vedanta we speak more of sahaja (natural) samadhi which to me, is Vedantic mediation (i.e., abiding as the self).

Great question! Thanks for asking and I hope others will chime in too about their practice.

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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby TomKazula » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:51 pm

Great post! Thank you very much. I am interested in "vedantic meditation". So it is "abiding as the Self" and observing objects/experiences as names and forms? Can you (or anyone else) expand on vedantic meditation? Any specific techniques, words, examples?- Thanks again :-)
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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby JayJaya » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:12 pm

Some thoughtful words...When the point of vision is Self Abiding, Self pervades the field through the subtle body instrument, entanglement with identification with what is being witnessed is lessened and finally cut off,a sense of spacious unbound awareness where no beginning or ending, where all that arise bears no impact on your intangible fullness, where the changeless Awareness can no longer be identified by any word or concept.....where freedom is just an idea that motivated you to finally be freedom in the sense that youSelf can no longer be contained by anything, you no longer fit into anything, nor are you seperate from anything nor do you care about anything, yet action happen and are witnessed, without attachment or detachment, Self is naturally in it natural state where functioning flows with ease and comfort, tension in body mind fall away more easily, where the space of silent peace is witnessed more and more, where the ability to transcend the body mind is effortless by withdrawing attention away from the minds motion......peaceful om shanti is your hangout.....just some fun thoughts to play with, It's about making Self Real to the life that is appearing to You As Self!!!!!
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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby Wayne » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:20 am

Thankyou Tom for sharing your Fb group topic here. I had hoped you would.

For me, the most interesting part of this quote is Shankara saying that nirvikalpa samadhi is superior to niddhyaasana.

I hadnt read the quote before. But feel it useful to inquire into it. Niddhyasana is the actualization of knowledge, Shows that there is no difference between one and the self. It is the final stage of our sadhana.

Nirvalkalapa Samadhi is the experience of no self, no objects,no thought. This is when the 'experiencer' is not present.

How 'practical' is it, in daily life, for Nirvalkalpa Samadhi (making the difference between it and Savikalpa, where thought is present)?

I'm not presuming to Talk against Shankara, hehe. One the knowledge is actualized, Samadhi may be on-going, in levels anyhow. With Savikalpa for example, one can go about their daily business. Planting daisies as they walk, hehe.



Warmest wishes

Wayne
So how do I live my life? ‘Be’ the absolute reality and enjoy the appearing-reality. Simple.

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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby TomKazula » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:16 am

Thank You Jay and Wayne for your comments.
Here is another vendantic quote on samadhi, from Panchadasi
59. As a result of this (nirvikalpa) samadhi millions of results of actions, accumulated in this beginningless world over past and present births, are destroyed, and pure dharma (helpful to the realisation of Truth) grows.
60. The experts in Yoga call this samadhi'a rain cloud of dharma' because it pours forth countless showers of the bliss of dharma.
61. The entire network of desires is fully destroyed and the accumulated actions known as merits and demerits are fully rooted out by this samadhi.

My focus now is on Nididhyasana and doing the work, I am not looking for any experience, but I understand how Samadhi can be hundred times more powerful than Nididhyasana. By the grace of God, when I was 19 and completely lost, my idiot friend gave me LSD for my bronchitis. That experience changed my life completely. It completely dissolved all vasanas, all identifications, sense of location, separation. It was a total purification and oneness with everything. Complete actualization of all the teachings of vedanta in one moment.Like waking up from Matrix. After 2 days experience went away but I knew that I will never accept duality and anything in this world except for total oneness with "God". So I can resonate with that quote about Samadhi :-) . Problem is- experience is not in our control and it doesnt last so the best thing we have is VEDANTA! :-) What I would like to talk about is what are your practices, techinques, daily sadhana, prayers, affirmations, Karma Yoga. We talk a lot about theory and philosophy, not enough about spiritual practice and discipline.
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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby JayJaya » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:24 pm

TomKazula wrote:Thank You Jay and Wayne for your comments.
Here is another vendantic quote on samadhi, from Panchadasi
59. As a result of this (nirvikalpa) samadhi millions of results of actions, accumulated in this beginningless world over past and present births, are destroyed, and pure dharma (helpful to the realisation of Truth) grows.
60. The experts in Yoga call this samadhi'a rain cloud of dharma' because it pours forth countless showers of the bliss of dharma.
61. The entire network of desires is fully destroyed and the accumulated actions known as merits and demerits are fully rooted out by this samadhi.

My focus now is on Nididhyasana and doing the work, I am not looking for any experience, but I understand how Samadhi can be hundred times more powerful than Nididhyasana. By the grace of God, when I was 19 and completely lost, my idiot friend gave me LSD for my bronchitis. That experience changed my life completely. It completely dissolved all vasanas, all identifications, sense of location, separation. It was a total purification and oneness with everything. Complete actualization of all the teachings of vedanta in one moment.Like waking up from Matrix. After 2 days experience went away but I knew that I will never accept duality and anything in this world except for total oneness with "God". So I can resonate with that quote about Samadhi :-) . Problem is- experience is not in our control and it doesnt last so the best thing we have is VEDANTA! :-) What I would like to talk about is what are your practices, techinques, daily sadhana, prayers, affirmations, Karma Yoga. We talk a lot about theory and philosophy, not enough about spiritual practice and discipline.




Yes i hear what you say about your mind blowing LSD experience. I was exposed to these experience throughout the 60's 70's. It was after one experience that i became a serious spiritual seeker after enlighten meant. You are right no experience remains, no matter how wonderful or mind blowing. Again you are correct you must do the work to purify the vasana stream that is being delivered into your subtle body via Isvara. This needs to happen to make the subtle body, be the precise instrument to do the inquiry into the nature of experience and Self. In order to neutralise the ignorance through knowledge. This brings about complete understanding of the nature of Self, God and World.....resulting in Self recognition of your Pure Self identity.

Now the question of practice, if i had the karma to meet Vedanta and a qualified teacher 40 years or so ago my work would have probably gone more smoothly, and would have been completed a lot sooner....Although there really is no real mistakes going on at the Macro level so everything is moving according to karmic dispositions.

So my main practice was meditation, i naturally gravitated towards sitting for long periods of time. Along with this was a fairly constant inquiry that was going on deeply within my subtle body....because i was involved with a number of different types of teachings, this also added many layers of false concepts that had to be later let go of. As for as the nuts and bolts of the practice, i would sit calm the mind and i would actually be in samadhi but due to ignorance i did't understand my experience but also i would be blessed with many revelation direct from the casual body that would arrive into the subtle body with insights and inspiration along with mind blowing experiences. Along with these practices were a deep devotion towards what i called the Lord who i saw has a vast all pervading spaciousness, which was actually my Self, but due to ignorance i didn't understand this for a long, long time...why because i was set up to have many years of purification going on...also 2 steps forward one step back....If i had a proper foundation of karma yoga in my life, it would have saved me a lot of wear and tear on my physical and subtle bodies and i would have been a happy camper....

I wanted to express the above so you wouldn't take what i say as some dry intellectual philosophy. I don't have any formal practice anymore. I am Self what to practice!..I swim and do chi qi merely for looking after my physical body, good dharma for the body..been living simple for a long time ..I love knowledge so i am spending many hours exposed to the beauty of Vedanta, I like to read where other people are in their spiritual endeavours, so i maybe have better insight in how to serve Isvara if opportunities arise to talk of Self truth, which i mostly love to do but rarely meet in the flesh anyone. I accept and serve Isvara in what ever way presents itself to my appearance, like writing these long winded words......

So the teaching are clear, one must be qualified for Vedanta to be able to practice jhana yoga, Self inquiry. This practice is discrimination between the Sat and Mithya...This is between what isn't changing and what is changing, negating everything as not Self that is changing and this reveals eventually your Real unchanging Self to Your Self....

Now if you don't have the qualification to do Jhana yoga. The recommendations if your a person with a busy lifestyle and or a busy mind, Karma yoga is the activity one needs to practice and master....Also there are many upasana practices. All these can be found in the wonderful shining world website with a wealth of material available....I would leave you with one other point, one needs to do a brutally honest investigating inventory of where one is at in their Spiritual journey to Self Realisation/actualisation..and their motovation for what they want..then roll up the sleeves and get to work....So I pray this helps you but in truth it's all in Isvara's domain, i, play the part isvara designed for me......Om Shanti, ShivaOM
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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby TomKazula » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:42 pm

Great post. Thank You JayJaya!
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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby JayJaya » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:12 pm

TomKazula wrote:Great post. Thank You JayJaya!


Happy that it served. :D
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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby Wayne » Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:37 am

TomKazula wrote:Thank You Jay and Wayne for your comments.
Here is another vendantic quote on samadhi, from Panchadasi
61. The entire network of desires is fully destroyed and the accumulated actions known as merits and demerits are fully rooted out by this samadhi.


I'm wondering should this be inquired into. It seems Panchadasi is speaking about samskaras and Karma. I suggest he is also be speaking of actualization, moksha.

Though what I am getting at, is that Nirvilkalpa is an experience. It may or may not bring about the above, that will depend on whether the jiva understands what is happening and what it means. In this way, a fly laying on my nose may bring about the same. :).

TomKazula wrote:My focus now is on Nididhyasana and doing the work, I am not looking for any experience, but I understand how Samadhi can be hundred times more powerful than Nididhyasana.


When I first game top Vedanta, and for some time while i was doing Vedanta sadhana, I was experiencing samadhi's almost at will. I decided, along with the guidance of my teacher, that I would regard them with dis-interest, after all, all experience it temporary. Knowledge is what stays. For me, Niddhyasana is what worked.

Having said that, on-going samadhi experiences once the knowledge is actualized, is understandable. To me, that is a by-product of the actualization from Niddhyasana. But samadhi's are only 'experiential enlightenment'

i'm making a clear difference between experience and knowledge. i'm glad the quote was posted in the forum. I feel it could be read into that experience is a 'goal/method' in Vedanta. Samadhi may be nice, but self-knowledge is king, :)

It's maybe important to recall Papaji's 'infamous' quote on lollipops. I feel great discrimination is needed, when looking at, or even subtly wanting/wishing any kind of experience, even samadhi. This is a general comment, not aimed at you Tom. :)

Warmest wishes

Wayne
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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby georgschiller » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:36 pm

Yes, I would like to point out as well as Wayne the difference between knowledge and experience:

Samadhi is something finite, something that is limited, something that comes and goes. The Jeeva (the intellect) is also finite and limited and the mix of the two will never get one to limitlessness.

This process of thinking requires the intellect,and the discrimination between infinite and finite is called atma-anatma-viveka.

For example,

Finite + Finite = Still finite
Insecure Person + insecure thing = even more insecure
insecure person + being president + many million of dollars = probably most insecure person

=

Thus, Security and fullness cannot be found in objects,
it is to be found in myself.

Moksha means: I don't need anything. Whatever is around is a luxury.

If you miss something, then it is not luxury but a necessity.
If things around me are  necessities, then this is bondage.
For example, my body is a luxury. Hair is luxury. house is luxury. Eyes are luxury. Hands are luxury. etc. etc.

Swami Paramarthananda makes it clear in Chapter 3 of the holy Geeta:

"whatever be my accomplishment, finite ahaṃkāra plus finite
accomplishment, is equal to finite ahaṃkāra.

Previously I was a miserable bachelor,BA; now miserable Master of Arts, MA; miserable Phd; and miserableness continues because finite plus finite is equal to only finite and not infinite.
It is the finite ahaṃkāra struggling to become pūrṇaḥ; and life becomes a failure.
And why it is a failure; because my direction is wrong; how can finite become
infinite. I never question. And in the case of a jñāni, he never struggles for making
ahaṃkāra infinite; because he knows body will be finite; mind will be finite."
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Re: Nididhyasana/ Self Inquiry/samadhi

Postby Stan » Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:19 pm

Hi Tom,
You said .....

" Here is another vendantic quote on samadhi, from Panchadasi
59. As a result of this (nirvikalpa) samadhi millions of results of actions, accumulated in this beginningless world over past and present births, are destroyed, and pure dharma (helpful to the realisation of Truth) grows.
60. The experts in Yoga call this samadhi'a rain cloud of dharma' because it pours forth countless showers of the bliss of dharma.
61. The entire network of desires is fully destroyed and the accumulated actions known as merits and demerits are fully rooted out by this samadhi.

My focus now is on Nididhyasana and doing the work, I am not looking for any experience, but I understand how Samadhi can be hundred times more powerful than Nididhyasana


I think it has to be remembered that the translations of Panchadasi are many and varied. They are not all accurate as regards conveying knowledge as the translator often adds his own interpretation on the words. The biggest problem with these translations however is the use of experiential language as the translator has not been properly taught.

This experiential language is the result of not understanding that self knowledge leads to moksha and that experiences don`t.

If one stands by the principle of knowledge over experience, one can compare the experiential writing against that of knowledge to see if it is confused, correct or just plain wrong. One has to take the view from the position as standing as awareness.

This is Ramji`s comment on nirvikalpa samadhi as described in the text .... ps *** comments in brackets are my own. ***

" Perhaps the most important duality Vedanta elucidates and destroys is the distinction knowledge and experience. The translator, like most teachers of New Vedanta and Neo-Advaita seem to be blissfully unaware of the distinction, much less its importance. Therefore most translations of scripture favour the experiential view of enlightenment as reflected in the language.
In this case the experiential language is justified because this verse is discussing YOGA ( not knowledge ). Verse 65, however, informs us that THIS SAMADHI IS NOT LIBERATION ".

The text continues ....

56. Though in this samadhi there is no awareness of meditator and the object of meditation, the existence of the merged mind is inferred after coming out of the samadhi.
57. The mind continues to be fixed in the self in the state of samadhi as a result of an effort of will helped by the merits acquired in previous births and strong impressions (vasanas) created through the constant efforts to attain samadhi.

Ramji`s comment ....
" Samadhi here must refer to savikalpa samadhi ( not nirvikalpa as stated) because the subject/object distinction remains, producing experience.
We know this because the phrase ‘continues to be fixed’ implies a doer, a conscious somebody ‘fixing’ i.e. holding the mind on the reflection of the self in the Subtle Body.

The text continues ....

58. The Bhagavad Gita describes the mind in this samadhi to the flame of a lamp in a breezeless spot.
59. As a result of nirvikalpa samadhi countless results of actions accumulated in this beginningless world over past and present births (vasanas) are destroyed, and the dharma that is helpful to self realization grows.
Ramji`s comments .....

" The vasanas appear but have no way to express as actions because they are burned up in the samadhi. ".


The text continues again ...

60. The experts in Yoga call this samadhi a rain cloud of dharma because it pours forth countless showers of the bliss of dharma.

Ramji`s comment ...

" Jiva feels light and high and purposeful because the samadhi effaces many vasanas. "


The text continues....

61. The entire network of desires is destroyed and the accumulated merits and demerits are fully rooted out by this samadhi.

Ramji`s comments ...

" They are eventually destroyed if one persists in the samadhi. The samadhi does not require sitting but can be practiced in daily life, assuming most of one’s worldly karma is complete and the remaining karma is done with the karma yoga attitude.
It may be that this Samadhi destroys the ‘entire’ network of desires but it is by no means necessary for moksa.
Only those desires that agitate the mind and compel action need to be eradicated. "


I think it is now made evident that the Nirvikalpa samadhi as described in the text is in fact savikalpa samadhi . ( samadhi with thought) .
Because it says in the text ....

"56. Though in this samadhi there is no awareness of meditator and the object of meditation, the existence of the merged mind is inferred after coming out of the samadhi."

And Ramji said ....

" The samadhi does not require sitting but can be practiced in daily life. "
, there is confusion which samadhi is the one originally referred to in the text.

The question is resolved by understanding that in this case, the translator is under the sway of enlightenment being an experience and therefore uses experiential language. In fact, at least 90% of all spiritual literature is written in the experiential idiom.
It would not be possible for somebody to " go about their daily life" in nirvikalpa samadhi as in that samadhi there is " there is no awareness of the meditator ".

Another point raised was when the translator said ... " The entire network of desires is destroyed ".
They might be temporarily in nirvikalpa samadhi but this is tantamount to destroying all vasanas. This isn`t possible and isn`t even desirable. nor is it necessary. Only the desires / vasanas that disturb the mind and are binding need to be up-rooted.
In fact , the moment `our` vasanas have run their course in this life, is the moment we are no longer here !

What becomes apparent now is that it is essential that the scriptures have to be taught by preferably an anlightened teacher but above all, one able to competently unfold the teaching of vedanta. It has to be taught in the tradition of knowledge alone having the capability of removing ignorance, and setting us free. This is what the sampradaya guards so fervently and is why this means of knowledge has survived intact to this day. It is too precious to be allowed to be sullied by the confusion that experiential teaching brings.

Having said all this and taking into consideration what you said earlier Tom ie
" My focus now is on Nididhyasana and doing the work, I am not looking for any experience, but I understand how Samadhi can be hundred times more powerful than Nididhyasana"


The above statement about samadhi goes against all the teaching of vedanta.​ It is a romantic notion that is incredibly easy to swallow. it usually occurs if we try to read our way to knowledge. it very rarely works because the reader `interprets` the teaching through his/ her conditioning which is in effect ignorance. Ignorance and knowledge then get mixed and we swallow the result whole.

It is accepted vedantic knowledge that Nididhyasana is the `practise of knowledge`. it is the taking of standing in awareness AS awareness and dealing with all that comes in that light. From that position samadhi is just another object and can never lead to moksha on it`s own. never mind be a hundred times more powerful than Nididhyasana.
It`s so easy to fall into that dualistic trap which is experience over knowledge . It feels so natural and is why vedanta is so often said by Ramji to come across as counter-intuitive.

I`d like to answer your post about Nididhyasana and vedantic meditation that you raised but I think i`ve gone on long enough now.
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