While realisation of the self is indeed a direct experience, and a very simple and non-eventful one at that, the different stations that come along the way can be filled with awe. Maharshi Patanjali explained about different states of absorption of the mind by meditation on a form with a quality and a name or a thought. This is not all though. The mind transcends language in Savichara Samadhi where contemplation on a formless idea such as love, universe, cosmos or consciousness completely absorbs it. In the different forms of bhakti or devotion, the divine is worshipped as a friend, a beloved, a child, a master or a saviour. When such worship is done, the mind gets absorbed in the many manifestations of love and attains the state of oneness which is the nature of all these qualities—omnipresence and universality.
In the state of Nirvichara Samadhi, there are none of these qualities too, to contemplate upon. The mind no more needs a toy to hold on and remain steady—the toys so far were names, forms, ideas, feelings or qualities. It is directly absorbed in its own nature of pure consciousness. The contemplation now moves into more subtle dimensions.
The mind of an individual is usually characterised by a specific mark of quality. It is sometimes inert or extremely motivated, dynamic and active or calm and tranquil. Normally it can shift through these states too. With constant practice of meditation, the mind reaches the state of calmness. In such a state, the individual has an identity as one who is calm, tranquil or controlled. In a higher state of deep absorption of the mind, even that identity with this or that form and quality is gone. The mind can observe the body which is gross—made up of cells, atoms, molecules, sub-atomic particles and quarks floating in space.
The mind and intellect are a form of energy that travel as a communication channel between these particles, forming thoughts, concepts and ideas. Beyond these forms of thought, nature is empty, without a name and form to describe it. It is that final state of formless, characterless, quality less nature that the mind reaches eventually.
The capability of the mind to comprehend anything ends with the concepts. When the mind embraces the last element of nature called consciousness, it loses its identity and dissolves into a vast that has no name, form or idea to express itself.
Even in this state, the mental absorption has thoughts nevertheless in its seed form. It is possible to reach such heights in meditation, yet drop back to very normal conditions of the mind as the seed of mental tendencies are not completely gone. Such people do experience Samadhi when in a mode of contemplation and quietude, but when they return to the daily interaction with the world, they drop down to their normal experiences of likes and dislikes, passions and hatred.
Brahmacharini Sharanya Chaitanya