Author Topic: Ramana Maharshi About Different Types Of Samadhis  (Read 3826 times)


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3557
    • View Profile
Ramana Maharshi About Different Types Of Samadhis
« on: May 20, 2010, 01:07:13 PM »
The following brief definitions formulated by Bhagavan Ramana should be sufficient to guide the uninititated through the terminological jungle of samadhi.

1. Holding on to reality is Samadhi.
2. Holding on to reality with effort is Savikalpa Samadhi.
3. Merging in reality and remaining unaware of the world is Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
4. Merging in ignorance and remaining unaware of the world is sleep.
5. Remaining in the primal, pure, natural state without effort is Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Sahaja Samadhi.

Source: Talks With Ramana Maharshi

Question : What is samadhi?

Ramana Maharshi : The state in which the unbroken experience of existence-consciousness is attained by the still mind, alone is samadhi. That still mind which is adorned with the attainment of the limitless supreme Self, alone is the reality of God.

When the mind is in communion with the Self in darkness, it is called nidra [sleep], that is, the immersion of the mind in ignorance.Immersion in a conscious or wakeful state is called samadhi. Samadhi is continuous inherence in the Self in a waking state. Nidra or sleep is also inherence in the Self but in an unconscious state. In sahaja samadhi the communion is con-tinuous.

Question : What are kevala nirvikalpa samadhi and sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi?

Ramana Maharshi :The immersion of the mind in the Self, but without its destruction, is kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. In this state one is not free from vasanas and so one does not therefore attain mukti. Only after the vasanas have been destroyed can one attain liberation.

Question : When can one practise sahaja samadhi?

Ramana Maharshi : Even from the beginning. Even though one practises kevala nirvikalpa samadhi for years together, if one has not rooted out the vasanas one will not attain liberation.

Question : May I have a clear idea of the difference between savikalpa and nirvikalpa?

Ramana Maharshi : Holding on to the supreme state is samadhi. When it is with effort due to mental disturbances, it is savikalpa. When these disturbances are absent, it is nirvikalpa. Remaining permanently in the primal state without effort is sahaja.

Question : Is nirvikalpa samadhi absolutely necessary before the attainment of sahaja?

Ramana Maharshi : Abiding permanently in any of these samadhis, either savikalpa or nirvikalpa, is sahaja [the natural state]. What is body-consciousness? It is the insentient body plus consciousness. Both of these must lie in another consciousness which is absolute and unaffected and which remains as it always is, with or without the body-consciousness. What does it then matter whether the body-consciousness is lost or retained, provided one is holding on to that pure consciousness? Total absence of body-consciousness has the advantage of making the samadhi more intense, although it makes no difference to the knowledge of the supreme.

Question : Can the meditator be affected by physical disturbances during nirvikalpa samadhi? My friend and I disagree on this point.

Ramana Maharshi : Both of you are right. One of you is referring to kevala and the other to sahaja samadhi. In both cases the mind is immersed in the bliss of the Self. In the former, physical movements may cause disturbance to the meditator, because the mind has not completely died out. It is still alive and can, as after deep sleep, at any moment be active again.

It is compared to a bucket, which, although completely submerged under water, can be pulled out by a rope which is still attached to it. In sahaja, the mind has sunk completely into the Self, like the bucket which has got drowned in the depths of the well along with its rope. In sahaja there is nothing left to be disturbed or pulled back to the world. One's activities then resemble that of the child who sucks its mother's milk in sleep, and is hardly aware of the feeding.

Question : How can one function in the world in such a state?

Ramana Maharshi : One who accustoms himself naturally to meditation and enjoys the bliss of meditation will not lose his samadhi state whatever external work he does, whatever thoughts may come to him. That is sahaja nirvikalpa. Sahaja nirvikalpa is nasa [total destruction of the mind] whereas kevala nirvikalpa is laya [temporary abeyance of the mind].

Those who are in the laya samadhi state will have to bring the mind back under control from time to time. If the mind is destroyed, as it is in sahaja samadhi, it will never sprout again. Whatever is done by such people is just incidental, they will never slide down from their high state.

Those that are in the kevala nirvikalpa state are not realized, they are still seekers. Those who are in the sahaja nirvikalpa state are like a light in a windless place, or the ocean without waves; that is, there is no movement in them. They cannot find anything which is different from themselves. For those who do not reach that state, everything appears to be different from themselves.

Question : Is the experience of kevala nirvikalpa the same as that of sahaja, although one comes down from it to the relative world?

Ramana Maharshi : There is neither coming down nor going up - he who goes up and down is not real.In kevala nirvikalpa there is the mental bucket still in existence under the water, and it can be pulled out at any moment. Sahaja is like the river that has linked up with the ocean from which there is no return. Why do you ask all these questions? Go on practising till you have the experience yourself.

Question : What is the use of samadhi and does thought subsist then?

Ramana Maharshi : Samadhi alone can reveal the truth. Thoughts cast a veil over reality, and so it is not realized as such in states other than samadhi. In samadhi there is only the feeling `I am' and no thoughts. The experience of `I am' is `being still'.

Question : How can I repeat the experience of samadhi or the stillness that I obtain here in your presence?

Ramana Maharshi : Your present experience is due to the influence of the atmosphere in which you find yourself. Can you have it outside this atmosphere? The experience is spasmodic(Occurring in spells and often abruptly). Until it becomes permanent, practice is necessary.


1) From David Godman Excellent Book "Be As You are"
2) GURU VACHAKA KOVAI Part3 3rd Chapter


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 47995
    • View Profile
Re: Ramana Maharshi About Different Types Of Samadhis
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2010, 01:14:51 PM »

Dear prasanath,

Excellent post.  There are many misconceptions about Samadhi states.
These are cleared for doubters with this precise description of
Bhagavan Ramana.  Brahmasri Nochur Venkataraman also quotes
the bucket-well example in his Sat sangh.  As an appendix to
Ribhu Gita in English (by Dr. H. Ramamoorthy and Nome) this
has been explained beautifully, with a table of differences and

Arunachala Siva.