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Yoga Practice

As gradually the knowledge of samadhi dawns through the possession of samyama, the samyama is strengthened. With the rise of samadhi-knowledge or prajnaloka the samyama also rises higher and higher. In the beginning, the mind can hold samyama or concentrate, and become one with a gross object together with its name, etc., which is called the savitarka state; the next plane or stage of samyama is that when the mind becomes one with the object of its meditation without any consciousness of its name, etc., called nirvitarka. Next come the other two states when the mind is fixed to subtle substances called savicara and nirvicara.

The savitarka stage is that in which the mind becomes one with the thing together with its name and concept and is regarded as the lowest stage; for here the gross object does not appear to the mind in its true reality but only in a false illusory way, in which it appears in ordinary life associated with the concept and the name. This state is not different from ordinary conceptual states in which the particular thing is not only associated with the concept and its name, but also with other concepts and their various relations; thus a cow will not only appear before the mind with its concept and name only, but also along with other relations and thoughts associated with the cow, e.g., this is a cow, it belongs to so and so, it has many hairs on its body, and so forth. This state is therefore the rudimentary stage, as the mind here does not become one with the heart of reality but is only attempting to become steady and is not yet beyond the range of ordinary consciousness.

From this comes the nirvitarka stage, when the mind by its steadiness can become one with the object divested of all other association of name, concept, etc. The thing in this state does not appear as an object of consciousness but the consciousness being divested of all "I," or "mine" becomes one with the object itself, so that there is no such notion here as "I know this," but the mind becomes one with the thing, the notions of subject and object drop off, and the result is the one steady transformation of the mind as the object of its contemplation. This state brings to us the real knowledge of the thing divested of other false and illusory associations, which instead of explaining the real nature of the objects serve only to hide them all the more. This samadhi knowledge or prajna is called nirvitarka. The objects of this state are the grosser material objects and the senses.

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