Disciple: You said that you will explain further stages of samādhi.
Guru: Yes, I have to discuss about savicāra samādhi and nirvicāra samādhi. These two types are almost similar to what we have discussed earlier. Vicāra means enquiry, pondering, deliberation, consideration, reflection, examination, investigation, etc. As you know, all these are related to our mind.
Guru: As I have been repeatedly saying, the Self can be realized only through your mind and in your mind. Whatever and however you try, you have to ultimately go to your mind for Bliss and subsequent liberation. Savicāra samādhi is the state of samādhi, when your mind continues to inquire about duality (Dvaita), while pursuing your spiritual path. This is the stage, when you interact with your spiritual teacher (Guru) quite often. You will have several doubts and queries only when you pursue the path of liberation earnestly. If you do not get doubts, then your mind is not set for Bliss and Liberation. While interacting with your Guru, you read authentic and valuable Scriptures. Reading Scriptures does not mean that you should read too many books. There are select Upaniṣad-s such as Bhagavad Gītā, Kaṭha Upaniṣad, Taittirīya Upaniṣad, Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad, Chāndogya Upaniṣad and Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad. You have to read a few of them and understand their interpretations. Don’t worry about the verses and go with the meaning and interpretations. You will certainly have doubts and you have to discuss these doubts with your Guru and get them clarified. Thus you gain knowledge. Knowledge and meditation are the two powerful engines which take you forward in your spiritual journey.
Disciple: Yes, I have completed reading a few of these Upaniṣad-s and Bhagavad Gītā as well. I have approached you several times with my doubts based upon my understanding of Upaniṣad-s.
Guru: Yes, you did. Since you are evincing so much of interest in liberation, I am spending most of my time with you. I will be too happy if I am able to take forward one or two like you towards the path of liberation. Not many pursue liberation earnestly and out of those who pursue the path of liberation, only a select few reach the final destination. Since you long for liberation, I am taking so much of personal care in you.
Disciple: But does this not amount to favouritism?
Guru: How this can be favouritism? There is no question of favouritism here, as only a few choose the path of liberation and I share with them whatever spiritual knowledge and experience I have. My spiritual knowledge is not the ultimate, but I never refuse to share whatever knowledge I have, but this ultimate knowledge is not sought for frequently. One has to transform and evolve both spiritually and emotionally, to commence the path of his or her journey to the ultimate destination.
Now, let us not deviate from our discussion about the two types of samādhi-s, savicāra samādhi and nirvicāra samādhi. In savicāra samādhi, you only make inquiries about the Self. In this state, you don’t meditate on the formless Brahman and in fact you can’t. You are still associated with a particular form of God. You make inquiries about the procedural aspects of doing this or that. You may want to know whether this mantra is more powerful or that mantra is more powerful. You ask about using a mālā for your mantra recitation. You count the number repetitions with the mālā. Your consciousness is not even fixed on that particular form of God associated with the mantra. Your still mind wanders; but for the first time, you wonder whether what you are practicing now leads to the path of liberation. You think this way because your study of Upaniṣad-s prompts you to think so seriously. Repeated usage of Brahman in the Upaniṣad-s makes you to think this way. You become confused and go to your Guru to find a solution for your perplexed state of mind.
Disciple: Yes, I have exactly experienced what you have said now.
Guru: This should be only a passing phase and you have to evolve with the help of your Guru. Guru is the one, who leads you to liberation. That is what ancient sages and saints taught, and many Upaniṣad-s have references to such conversations, between a Sage and his disciples. When you still have doubts about formless Brahman, your meditation is known savicāra samādhi and when your doubts are completely removed and if you are able to concentrate on the Self within, it is nirvicāra samādhi.
Disciple: When the mind is not perfectly attuned to formless Brahman, how this mental state can be called as samādhi?
Guru: Good thought. Patañjali explains this (I.45). When the mind is ready to connect to the Self, it faces many hurdles, as our sensory organs are very powerful. But your mind begins to fight and this fight lasts long. This fight is explained in various Scriptures; for example, Śrī Rāma’s battle against Rāvaṇa. It does not merely refer to the war between them; it is fight between good and bad; fight between antaḥkaraṇa (mind, intellect, consciousness and ego) and bāhyakaraṇa (organs of action and organs of perception, known as indriya-s). Ultimately, good and subtle have to win and prevail and if they don’t, you are not into your spiritual path. You have to have patience, perseverance and dedication to get liberated. More than these three, you have to have the freewill to get liberated. Freewill is your will uninfluenced by any type of external agencies. The thought of liberation should be inherent in your mind. Where there is will, there is always a way. In fact, the entire creation happened only after Śiva willed to create.
Disciple: Thank you. I think you need to explain one more samādhi, sabīja samādhi.
Guru: Yes, I remember that. This needs more time to explain and we will discuss about this shortly.