[Advaita-l] Vikalpa, Savikalpa, and Nirvikalpa

Kathirasan K brahmasatyam at gmail.com
Tue Aug 21 02:27:51 CDT 2012

Namaste Jaldhar,

I am curious to know in which Sankhya or Yoga shastra do the terms
nirvikalpa/savikalpa samadhi appear explicitly. I would be grateful for
this assistance. Thank you.

On 21 August 2012 13:26, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:

> On Mon, 20 Aug 2012, shriharsha chatra wrote:
>  I want to have a better understanding of Vikalpa, Savikalpa, and
>> Nirvikalpa
>> wrt vedantic perspective.
> savikalpa and nirvikalpa are adjectives which are usually used to qualify
> the noun samadhi.  What is samadhi?  In the Samkhya/Yoga system, the soul
> or purusha is eternally distinct from nature or prakrti.  This prakrti is
> primordially unmanifest (avyakta) but manifests into the three gunas
> sattva, rajas, and tamas whose various interactions cause the phenomenal
> universe.  When the gunas are out of balance, the purusha becomes "stuck"
> in trigunatmaka prakrti like a fly gets stuck in amber.  Liberation in that
> system consists of bringing the gunas into balance whereupon the purusha
> becomes free.  This state is called samadhi achieved through yogic
> disciplines and is the highest goal of Samkhya/Yoga.  How does the Yogi in
> samadhi view Prakrti and its manifestations (vikalpa)? If he still sees
> multiplicity that is called savikalpa samadhi but if he only observes
> unity, that is nirvikalpa samadhi.
> Advaita Vedanta disagrees with Samkhya/Yoga on some key issues.  It does
> recognize a fundamental distinction between the soul and the creation.
> Rather these are both manifestations of one Brahman misunderstood due to
> ignorance.  Liberation requires knowledge (jnana) of the oneness of all.
> The problem with nirvikalpa samadhi is that although it is an experience of
> oneness it is not necessarily knowledge of the same so it is subject to the
> possibility of reversion to unbalanced states whereupon the Yogi is no
> better off than before.  This is not to say nirvikalpa samadhi is not
> useful state.  As a practical matter, one is more likely to get jnana if
> one is already experiencing oneness but they are not the same thing.  As an
> analogy, you can learn Vedanta in a cave in the Himalayas or in the middle
> of a busy street.  Obviously as a practical matter, the cave is more likely
> to be free of distractions but you cannot claim that the cave itself is the
> cause of learning Vedanta.
> So Advaita sadhakas do not aim to achieve nirvikalpa samadhi as a goal in
> itself but they can make use of it if it is available.
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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