[nir-vah-nuh, –van–uh, ner-]
Buddhist term for Mahasamadhi. The complete dissolution of the Self, the ultimate goal of spiritual seekers.
Mahasamadhi is a dimension where you transcend discrimination – not just experientially but also existentially.
As long as you are in the body, whatever liberation you attain, the body is a limitation. It is not complete liberation. When someone leaves their body in full awareness, then we call this Mahasamadhi because he or she has shed the body.
Mahasamadhi is a dimension where you transcend discrimination – not just experientially but also existentially. There is no such thing as you and the other. Right now, there is you and the other; it is a certain level of reality. In a samadhi state, you go beyond that discrimination and in your experience you are able to see the oneness of the existence.
Mahasamadhi means you not only see it that way, you have become that way totally – discrimination is finished. That means individual existence is finished. Who you are does not exist anymore. The life that is functioning as an individual life right now becomes absolutely universal or cosmic or boundless. To put it in traditional terms, you become one with God or one with everything.
When I say “one with God”, it does not mean going and joining someone somewhere. It is just that your individual bubble is over. To use an analogy, right now your existence is like a bubble. A bubble that is floating around is very real but if you burst it, where does the air inside the bubble go? It just becomes one with the atmosphere. It is completely dissolved. When we say “one with everything”, this is what it means. Nothing will be there. “You” will not be there. When we say mukti, it means you are free from existence. I am not talking about existence as a quantity which you are free from. You are free from your own existence – your existence is finished.
▵ Nirvana – Going Beyond Existence
Mahasamadhi is a state where one willfully drops the body. The cycle is over. There is no question of rebirth; it is complete dissolution. You can say this person is truly no more.
When we say mukti or nirvana or moksha, this is what it means – freedom from the very burden of existence. That’s ultimate freedom because as long as you exist, you are bound in one way or another. If you exist in a physical way, it is one kind of bondage. If you leave the physical body and exist in some other way, there is still another kind of bondage. Everything that exists is ruled by some law. Mukti means you have broken all laws and all laws can be broken only when you cease to exist.
Nirvana is a more appropriate word because nirvana means “non-existence”. When there is no existence, you are even free from freedom because freedom is also a certain bondage. So you are free from your very existence. All discrimination between what is you and what is not you is finished.
For someone to be able to do this – taking this life and throwing it out without injuring the body – it needs tremendous energy. Mahasamadhi is a state where one willfully drops the body. The cycle is over. There is no question of rebirth; it is complete dissolution. You can say this person is truly no more.
Life just shifts from one level to another. In reality, there is no such thing as death. Death exists only to one who has no awareness about life. There is only life, life and life alone. But Mahasamadhi means the real end. This is the goal of every spiritual seeker. Ultimately, he or she wants to go beyond existence.
▵ Is Mahasamadhi a Possibility for You?
Another Uttarayana has come. This is the time of the year for yogis to make a fresh effort towards their spiritual process, a time for grace and enlightenment. Right from ancient times, countless beings have chosen this time of the year, when the sun’s run shifts to the Northern Hemisphere, to consciously leave their body. One famous example is Bhishma, who waited on a bed of arrows in the battlefield until the beginning of Uttarayana. And on the first Pournami in Uttarayana, Vijji attained Mahasamadhi.
Sama means equanimous. Dhi or buddhi means intellect. Samadhi means “equanimous intellect.” An equanimous intellect is an intellect that does not discriminate between good and bad, high and low, joy and misery, pain and pleasure. Mahasamadhi means a great equanimous intellect – the highest level of equanimity of the intellect. That means your intelligence lost all external input.
Right now, your intelligence is functioning because of external inputs – because of what you read, heard, gathered. The information in your mind is what makes you look intelligent. You are projecting your memory as intelligence, which it is not. Once you identify with your memory, equanimity is not possible.If you are attached to your memory, you will never know equanimity.
Because memory has been accumulated in a prejudiced manner – “I like this person – I don’t like that person; this is a good person – that is a bad person; this is all right – that is not all right.” All these judgments and prejudices are a consequence of memory. Everything is labeled in some way: as good and bad; what you like and what you do not like; high and low; God and devil.
As long as you are identified with the bank of memory that you hold, equanimity is not even a possibility. Samadhi is an equanimous intellect. This means you have to disengage your memory from your intellect. If your intellect gets disengaged from your memory, it struggles for a little while. After putting in a certain amount of sadhana, suddenly you will see all that is in the memory does not seem to mean anything. Freedom is a crazy thing.
Everyone says that they are looking for freedom, but actually, they are working for bondage. Everyone is trying to bind themselves to something or someone. Whether a man is trying to bind himself to a woman, a woman to a man, or to a God, a party, an ideology, a philosophy, a belief system, or now Isha. No matter what you bind yourself to, you are binding yourself to find some meaning.
If you bind yourself to something that obliterates your memory in some way, for immediate purposes, it is a good binding. It is a good binding to start with, because it creates a distance between you and everything that is past. This is what brahmacharya or sanyasa means – you have divorced yourself from your memory, because you want an equanimous intellect.Do not seek Mahasamadhi as an end to your suffering. To seek Mahasamadhi means to see how to evolve life to another dimension.
If you are attached to your memory, you will never know equanimity. It is like stepping on the throttle and thinking the vehicle will stop – it will not stop. It will only go faster and faster! Mahasamadhi is not a gift or a prize to be attained. Mahasamadhi is not a way to end life because there is suffering, because there is an ailment, because you are not able to do a certain thing, because something has become painful. Ending life is called suicide; it is not called Mahasamadhi.
▵ Do not seek Mahasamadhi as an end to your suffering.
To seek Mahasamadhi means to see how to evolve life to another dimension. To seek Mahasamadhi means you have fallen so deeply in love with life, now you want to know the root of it. You have experienced life in its full depth, now you want to know the dimensions of life.
It will not come just because you have a longing. It will come simply because you are divorced from your memory – you live today as today, not as an accumulated nonsense of many yesterdays. We have already taught you systems and methods to get there. A simple practice like Shambhavi Mahamudra can deliver you there, if you set the other conditions right. You do not need anything else.
If you have been initiated into Shambhavi, we have told you, before you do your Shambhavi, give yourself a crash course in Inner Engineering. Because without setting the necessary ambience, without releasing yourself from what you are tied to, if you row the boat, the scenery will change because of the seasons, not because you are going somewhere.
You can fool yourself into believing that things are changing, but nothing is changing. You are in the same place, because you are tied up to the bank of memory. The entire culture is talking about karma, “Aiyyo, karma.” Aiyyo karma means you are dragging this bag of memory all the time, but you want to become free. If I say, “Let’s go!” You say, “But my bag?!” The only bondage is this bag. There is nothing else binding you here.
Karma is the only bondage. But are you willing to leave your yesterdays and just be here? No, you want to carry your whole yesterdays. If you got back your health and your youth, you would once again do the same things. I am sure many of you, at different stages of your life, are promising your partners, “If I come another seven lifetimes, I just want to be with you!” …if you don’t do what you can do, then how can I help you?
Janam–janam – you know the songs. If it is true, it is a horror. If it is not true, wisdom. I will leave it to you. You do not aspire for Mahasamadhi because of your suffering. Because you are fulfilled, you want to transcend to other dimensions of life. You have seen enough of this. It does not matter what happened in the past. You suffer something now only because you remember something that you think was better.
Leave the bag of memory there, wake up in the morning – the sun is fresh and new, the air is fresh and new, everything is new – just experience it for what it is. And do the simple practices that you are doing with as much involvement and devotion as possible. When the time to go comes, I will make sure you go well. This a promise.
But do not try to leave this life because it has become suffering. If you leave with suffering in your experience, the same thing will multiply in many ways. Do not do that to yourself. You have come here not to multiply it but to diminish it. If you are not able to dissolve it absolutely, at least diminish it to the minimum possible level.
This is something you must do, because if you don’t do what you can do, then how can I help you? If you do everything that you can do, there are certain things that you cannot do, because they are not within your experience. Those things I will one hundred percent do for you.
▵ Samadhi – A Taste of “That Which is Not” (Isha)
▵ Is Mahasamadhi a Possibility for You? (Isha)