International Forum for NeoVedantins

Benefits (Utility) of Samadhi

Functions that these Altered States Serve for Man:

As can be seen, the state of samadhi is blissful and confers divine knowledge. However, this can be achieved only by rigorous and conscious sadhana. The mind is concentrated to dwell on one aspect of divinity in this state, and hence, that particular aspect of divinity is internalized as a dominant attitude for a variable period of time. We have to do deliberate effort to achieve this state of bhava, and that too, we can achieve such a state with great difficulty and for a short period of time. For Sri Ramakrishna, however, it was a natural state -naturalized reflexive state of mind! Such organization of brain is rare in the field of evolutionary biology.

The question whether this can be achieved and why should it be achieved in one's life is a matter of debate and discussion. We feel one should attempt to reach such a state because human evolution is progressing in that direction, and moreover, it is the only source of values.

Qualities of love, freedom, and bliss are inherent, in their limitless proportions, in Universal Consciousness. This is the only existence that one perceives in the state of samadhi. The evolution attempts to manifest these qualities in degrees. Every human being is expressing same qualities, some can do better than the others. Limitations of mind and matter make these qualities appear distorted, but all the same, love there is!

The atom manifests this as love between its subatomic constituents; the molecule in its attachments of various atoms; tissues and organs as the systemic arrangement of molecules; and human being as organized social systems. With each stage, higher and larger aspect of love shines forth.

There is no sinner, no murderer; jealousy and hatred are mere expressions of this love in a very selfish individual. A saint, on the other hand, loves others as well, as much as, and even more than he loves himself and, therefore, he is ready to give his life to protect the life of even a goat! (reference to Buddha)

Samadhi is an experience beyond description. However, for the individual, such Realization brings immense joy, knowledge, and values. We may not understand this, but the utility of this state is that the infinite knowledge of higher eternal truths is brought on this earth for the benefit of millions of people. It may take long time for these truths, realized by the divine incarnations, saints and sages, to unfold and manifest in common masses. Therefore, we see the influence of their teachings remaining valid for centuries.

We are talking of Jesus Christ, Sri Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, and many others of yesteryears, and of Sri Ramakrishna, the Holy Mother, Swami Vivekananda and others of the recent past. The untrained minds of masses are not capable of sustaining or receiving this knowledge, and hence, their 'teachings and sayings' get distorted in the flow of time. In his language of wonderful simplicity and wisdom, Sri Ramakrishna explains this predicament as, "How can a two litre container accommodate five litres of milk?"

In higher evolved human being there will be more expression of love, bliss, and freedom. He will strive to make others happy. The selfishness will by necessity be replaced by selflessness due to altered quality of, if we can say, the structure and function of his brain. This can be taken as a hypothesis at present, but when we study such mystics who have lived their lives expressing all these qualities, this may become acceptable theory. The necessary attempts to develop the brain centers through spiritual practices cannot be overemphasized.

It is possible for us to develop such qualities in ourselves through renunciation and contemplation. Conscious, deliberate and willful sadhana, spiritual practice, alone can help us reach this state of universal bliss, peace, and love. The scientific study of samadhi is, therefore, a scientific study of human evolutionary trends.

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C S Shah

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