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Samadhi Is Not Equal to Self-Knowledge
Arlindo: The mechanism that keeps our vasanas alive and well-nourished is our belief in their value, which provides them with the power to manifest as conscious desires and fears. It is our energy, our attention, our love that keeps them alive; in other words, our blind unexamined belief that they may provide us with permanent satisfaction.
But if we keep meditating, and by doing so going into samadhi, we will inevitably cultivate and develop and a new vasana, a vasana for samadhi, and consequently all other vasanas are going to weaken. Experiential nirvikalpa samadhi is a very subtle object, a state of mind similar to deep sleep in which the subject and all subtle objects subside. Nirvikalpa samadhi is very refreshing and cleansing for the mind, but it is not equal to sattva guna, and for self-knowledge we need sattva guna in order to understand and know. And by the way, self-knowledge is the greatest purifier or neutralizer of binding vasanas.
Let’s analyze what would be the obvious outcome of having developed a new strong vasana for nirvikalpa samadhi. Other vasanas would begin starving or getting undernourished because you would have shifted your desire for this new very subtle object of experience: the void or “nothingness.” All other desires would lose their strength since you no longer show them your interest, your love, your willing attention.
Life is but a machine or a factory always producing vasanas-desires-actions-vasanas. Everyone is being operated by their vasanas, including the self-realized jivas. The question is, what types of vasanas you want to govern your life? If our goal is happiness, i.e. peace of mind, we would be fools if we do not want vasanas in harmony with Isvara. Vasanas are subtle constellations of desires and fears for objects in their causal formations. Provided our goal is moksa, we want spiritual, self-inquiry vasanas – we want vasanas for peace of mind, for sattva guna.
Experiential samadhi is good, but knowledge is the best! Samadhi is okay, but only as long as you know what it can give you and what it cannot. You need to know its limitations. If you think that samadhi is your final goal, it will turn to become the most binding vasana – distracting and preventing the jiva from utilizing his intellect to inquire, contemplate the knowledge and cancel his doubts and ignorance. Experiential meditation is okay, samadhi is good, but only as a mean to relax the mind.
Self-inquiry and self-knowledge are far better than experiential samadhi. A vasana for gratitude and appreciation for Isvara (karma yoga) is also a good vasana as far as purification of the mind goes. It is all good as preparation, but inquiring, understanding and knowing is the only means to realize “I am the self.” Ultimately, once self-knowledge is hard and fast, the jivamukta will live in sahaja samadhi, which is a condition based on total dispassion towards objects, a by-product of the firm knowledge that all objects are value-neutral.