Samadhi is a Sanskrit word that means Union or Integration. It is the final and eighth Limb of Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga. This is the extreme of Ashtanga Yoga and requires more efforts and capability than any other Limbs of Yoga. It is the outcome of Successful Practice of first seven Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. Samadhi is Union of Atma (Soul) with Parmatma (The Almighty).
Samadhi is the Highest Level of Meditation in which Dhyata (i.e. The Practitioner), Dhyeya (i.e. The Almighty) and Dhyana (i.e. The Process itself or meditation) unite. In this state You become Everything or Everything becomes You. The Yogi crosses All the barriers of system and surroundings and Enlightenment occurs. This is the Final Stage of Kaivalya or Knowledge as attained by Gautam Buddha and Mahavir Swami.
There are three states of which we have general awareness
Jagrat Avastha i.e. Conscious State
In this state one is aware of Consciousness, Thoughts and has knowledge of Time lapse.
Shushupti Avastha i.e. Unconscious State
In this state one is completely unaware of all the three - Consciousness, Thoughts and has no knowledge of Time lapse.
Swapna Avastha i.e. State of Dream
In this state Consciousness is absent but one is aware of Thoughts and has knowledge of Time lapse.
The fourth one is Turiya Avastha and this is the mighty State of Samadhi. In this state Consciousness is present, while the practitioner is completely unaware of Thoughts and does not have any knowledge of Time lapse. This is a Divine state of Knowledge, Freedom and Integration. It also results in Knowledge of Self and Universe. Freedom from Good and Evil, Birth and Death. Integration with the Nirakara and Nirvikara Prime Soul or Paramatma i.e. The Creator.
Samadhi is a state that is more likely to be observed by self and words fail to explain its real form. It is differently explained by different Practitioners and there are several ways to attain this Integration. In Hinduism It is considered as Enlightenment or another form of Moksha or Salvation.
Types of Samadhi
Maharshi Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra has categorized Samadhi in three types-
Sabija(or With Seed) Samadhi
As the name suggests it is accompanied by Bija (seed). Your Sanskaras or past experiences are these seeds. The seeds depend on the conditioning of mind, body and soul.
Maharshi Patanjali further divided Sabija Samadhi into two categories as
Samprajnata means the one with wisdom. The Practitioner uses an object in this type of Samadhi. It occurs with Sheer (or Complete) Consciousness. When you attain the highest Level of Consciousness, it is Samprajnata. Samprajnata is a combination of Vitarka (Reasoning or Logic), Vichara (The Reflection), Sananda (the highest level of Ecstasy) and Sasmita (Sense of oneness or Atmasakshatkara). These four together constitute Samprajnata Samadhi. Maharshi Patanjali futher classified Vitarka as Nirvitarka and Savitarka while subdivided Vichara into Nirvichara and Savichara. The Nir prefix means without vichara while the Sa prefix means with vichara.
Asamprajnata Samadhi is the one which requires no object for its practice. It is generally attained after Samprajnata. Let’s take an example, you start your practice by focusing on an object. This is the process in which you are aware of the shape, size, color and other physical properties of the object. You attain Samadhi as the time passes. This is Samprajnata. You continue and a point comes when you don’t need that object anymore then this state is called the state of Asamprajnata Samadhi.
Nirbija(or Without seed) Samadhi
Nirbija Samadhi is a higher level of Samadhi which completely destroys Bija (seeds) or Sanskaras. This is the stage of Enlightenment and Complete Knowledge. The Practitioner becomes Kevalin reaching on this stage. This is the State of Complete Freedom or Kaivalya. The Yogi gets freedom from all the Past Karma and its attachments and attains the Ultimate Goal of Life, Moksha.
Dharma Megha Samadhi or Cloud of Virtue
Dharma Megha Samadhi is attained when the Practitioner is not left with any desires. It is the state of complete Vairagya when Yogi has no Interests remained to fulfill. This generally occurs in very old ages very close to Death. The Practitioner attains this State after Bhoga and gaining the knowledge by experiences that Bhoga is not the correct way to Happiness and Fulfillment. This occurs as a result of Complete removal of Attachments. Dharma Megha is usually followed by other two categories of Samadhi and is considered as the Possible Extreme of Ashtanga Yoga. The Yogi is not left with any desires after attaining this State.
Samadhi is the Purest of all the four states that a Yogi can remain in and can experience. It is the eighth Limb of Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga. It is the door passing which the Practitioner or Atma reaches Parmatma or The Almighty. This brings Moksha that frees the Yogi from bondages of Birth and Death.
The Yogi attains the ultimate knowledge and Complete Freedom. This Independence makes The Practitioner Kevalin and introduces him to the Real Him. This Oneness or Kaivalya unites him with God and the Atma thus itself becomes Parmatma. This Samadhi is also popularly known as Enlightenment of Gautam Buddha and Kaivalya of Mahavir Swami.