A Beginner’s Guide to Practice, Meditation, and the Patanjali Yoga Sutras
Prolonged and depending concentration leads to the state of meditative absorption of dhyana in which the object held in he mind fills the entire consciousness ‘space’. All arising ideas (pratyaya) gyrate round the object of concentration and are accompanied by an emotive disposition which can be described as ‘peaceful’ or calm, The is no loss of lucidity, rather the sense of wakefulness appears to be intensified.
The purpose of meditative absorption is to intercept the flux of ordinary mental activity (vrtti), which comprises the following five categories:
- pramama – right knowledge derived from perception, inference or testimony
- viparayaya – wrong knowledge
- vikalpa – conceptual knowledge
- nidra – sleep
- smirti – memory
The first two kinds of mental activity are disposed with by the practice of sense -withdrawal. The tendency for conceptualization gradually diminishes as the absorption deepens. Memory, which feeds the mechanically arising thought fragments, is the last to be blocked out. However, its full elimination takes place only its full elimination takes place in the highest type of ecstatic realization realization when the ‘unconscious’ material (i.e., the subliminal impressions or samskaras) is completely transformed into Being _Awareness. This ‘memory’ can be said to have two aspects, a ‘gross’ one which is rooted out at the culmination of the ecstasy devoid of object mental activity, called asamprajnata – samadhi.
This means that the ‘restriction (nirodha) of the mental whirls takes place on three distinct levels:
- Vriti-nirodha-restriction of the five categories of gross mental activity in meditative absorption;
- Pratyaya-nirodha-restriction of the presented ideas in the object-oriented ecstasy (samprajnata-sanmadhi);
- Samskara-nirodha-restriction of the subliminal impressions in the subject-oriented ecstasy (asamprajnata-samadhi).