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Mahāsamādhi (the great and final samādhi) is the act of consciously and intentionally leaving one's body. A realized yogi (male) or yogini (female) who has attained the state of nirvikalpa samādhi, will, at an appropriate time, consciously exit from their body. This is known as mahāsamādhi. This is not the same as the physical death that occurs for an unenlightened person.
Enlightened yogis take their mahāsamādhi during their final practice of samādhi: and they expire during this final sādhanā practice. Therefore, mahāsamādhi occurs only once in a lifetime, when the yogi finally casts off their mortal frame and their karma is extinguished upon death.
An enlightened or realized yogi is one who has attained the nondual state of nirvikalpa samadhi where duality of subject and object are resolved and the yogi becomes permanently established in the unity of full enlightenment (Videha mukti).
Each realized yogi enters and prepares for mahāsamādhi in a unique fashion. Sushila Blackman (1997) furnishes a number of examples.
- "Mahasamadhi —". Writespirit.net. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- "Glossary Of Siddha Yoga Terminology - Siddha Yoga Meditation". Siddhayoga.org. 2010-07-25. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- Blackman, Sushila (1997). Graceful Exits: How Great Beings Die: Death Stories Of Tibetan, Hindu & Zen Masters. New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0391-7.
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