Nirvitarka Samapattih

Yoga Sutra 1.43 smriti pari-shuddhau svarupa-shunya iva artha-matra nirbhasa nirvitarka

When the storehouse of memory, or the mind is purified, then the mental modifications appear to be devoid of its own nature. In this state, the mind is not reacting based on memory of an experience using the reflected Consciousness. The object being contemplated appears to shine forth upon the backdrop of pure Consciousness minus your judgements, opinions, beliefs, and prejudices. It is also free from collective conditioning. This type of engrossment is known as Nirvitarka Samapattih.

You can imagine the whole concept of merging with Consciousness, or realizing yourself as being it - which you always have been - as a movie and the screen upon which it is projected. The movie is different from the screen, but it needs the screen to appear. When watching the movie, you know the screen is there but what you want to see is the movie because your five senses can easily become enslaved by what's happening in the movie, not the screen. If I turned the movie off and asked you to watch the screen, you would call me mad because there is nothing for your senses to engage in.

So, is being one with Consciousness as boring as staring at the screen?

Not at all, far from it actually. As you get closer to knowing the field of Consciousness, you gradually drop all your sense perceptions and unearth the Godly state of being - absolute bliss. But remember that Bliss is a State and not Consciousness.

There is nothing like Being. It is a state that cannot be described in words and never has been. In our practice during this life, or due to that from previous lives, some of us have had a peek into what this state is like. Once you have experienced even a slight sliver of it, you will want nothing else. This world of daily affairs, you shall not be a part of, and if you are, it will be a struggle and it will show.

The confused state, in which there was no seperation between the Seen, Seer (Visual Organ), Mind, and Consciousness has been gradually replaced by a clarified state in which the Self is percieved, experienced, and assimilated. The state of Being is so powerful in every way that it cannot be imagined.

It is very important to remember that The Self or Consciousness cannot be experienced as a particular feeling or state because it is You.

An Inquiry into the Nature of the 'Seer' and the 'Seen'

In his small, but rather profound book called Drg-Drsya Viveka, Swami Nikhilananda shows us how the distinction between our organs of perception, mind, memory, Ego, and Consciousness can be realized.

In Savitarka Samadhi, sutra 1:42, during your exercise on centration upon an object or subject, you have its name, meaning, and the memory of your past experiences with it. In this sutra, that mental awareness in the form of opinions, beliefs, judgements, and prejudices is no more. Only concentration remains - with no thought.

Sa-vitarka means: Sa=With Vitarka=Gross Thoughts. Nir-Vitarka means: Nir=Without Vitarka=Gross Thoughts.

When the mind with all its knowledge merges with the Consciousness, when it remains no more, how are we to function? After all, we spend tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars in aquiring the mind and its accumulated thought processes. Many are proud of their acquired mental modification because they deduce that it is a reflection of their universities, degrees, and accreditations.

They have come to believe that this will bring them respect and bestow some form of importance to their fleeting existence. Furthermore, we are told that without the mental conditioning society deems important, we are sub-human. Little do we realize that it is this same very mind, that has become the obstacle to our true evolution. In order to know ourselves as Consciousness, we need to transcend the mind.

The Self, Consciousness, or Purusa

The mind itself is inert. It is the constant presence of the Purusa (Consciousness) in the background which endows it not only with the capacity to perceive, but also the will to change. The mind is always an instrument.

When the lower mind merges with the object in Nirvitarka Samadhi, it is the Universal Consciousness or Purusa who is ultimately responsible for the continuous and delicate transformations which take place in the further stages of Samadhi. In fact, throughout the continuous unfoldment which takes place in Yoga, upto the point of attaining Kaivalya, it is the Purusa who has to be considered as guiding the evolution.

In Samkhya philosophy, as opposed to Advaita, Prakriti may play the role of the evolutionary guide. The Samkhya believes that the person is also the self and the self is the one and is seperate from the consciousness. The self is the Prakriti, it is nature. The nature is the Female aspect of the Nature and it is the creator. It is coming from the Purusha and is the same as the Purusha and is the aspect of the Purusha.

In the Advaita though the self is one and the whole of creation is coming from the Consciousness. This Self that we have is the Consciousness. And the whole of the Unlviverse is a projection of the Consciousness that we see and this is the item that is creating the barier in the way of our seeing the Self.

The idea is to go beyong the barrier. We do this by using the mind and the properties of mind. Such as the intellect, the discrim ination factor, and the wisdom. We get this from knowledge. This is why we study the Vedas. There are different philosophies of course, but they all lead to omne goal. The idea is to become one with the Purusha or the Supreme Consciousness. We can pick whichever philosophyy that we want but the goal is one. The idea is to go beyond the Maya. The Maya is the thing that puts the barrier in our path.

In our practice, the most important thing is meditation. During meditation, we are toinvestigate our thoughts. We are to see that the thoukght is nothing but that which is the cause of all the suffereiung and the thing that keeps us away from consciousness. Once we have grasped this then we can come to unkderstand how the idea of creation and the creator works.

First we do this mentally, and then we can go on to realize this. The first part though is to understand this mentally or intellectually. Once we have understood this mentally, the mind begins to work on its own to bring the answer to us in due time. Just like when we are struggling with a problem, when it seems that we cannot solve the problem and we have given up, somehow, from somewhere, the answer comes to us. Sometimes in a dream, sometimes in the shower, or sometimes while driving or running. It comes when least expected.

The idea is to not give up. This is the highest knowledge you are seeking kso you will have to be patient because when seeking answers to problems of such great depth, it will take time depending on your prior preperation. This preparation can be from this life, or it can be from past lifetimes. You never know when it will come but it will come when you keep at it.

The process does not keep in a state of hopelessness. It brings you bits of insight at certain intervals. It is as if there is someone who is keeping an eye on what you have been doing and the degree of your dedication towards the subject. This someone, will provide powerful insights into extremely mysterious territory that you will know for certain could not be possible without Divine intervention.

  • 1.43 smriti pari-shuddhau svarupa-shunya iva artha-matra nirbhasa nirvitarka
  • smriti - of memory

  • pari-shuddhau - upon purification (pari- upon; shuddhau- purification) svarupa-shunya - devoid of its own nature (shunya - devoid; svarupa - its own nature)

  • iva - as it were

  • artha-matra - only the object (artha - object; matra - only)

  • nirbhasa - illuminative, shining brightly

  • nirvitarka - without a gross thought (nir = without; vitarka = gross thought)