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In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, savikalpa samadhi (Sanskrit: सविकल्पसमाधि), also called Samprajnata Samadhi and Sabija Samadhi,[web 1][note 1] is meditation with support of an object.[web 2]


Savikalpa samadhi is associated with deliberation, reflection, bliss, and I-am-ness.[1][note 2] Deliberation and reflection form the basis of the various types of savikalpa:[1][3]

  • Savitarka, "deliberative":[1][note 3] The mind, citta, is concentrated upon a gross object of meditation,[web 2] an object with a manifest appearance that is perceptible to our senses,[4] such as a flame of a lamp, the tip of the nose, or the image of a deity.[citation needed] Conceptualization (vikalpa) still takes place, in the form of perception, the word and the knowledge of the object of meditation.[1] When the deliberation is ended this is called nirvitaka samadhi.[5][note 4]
  • Savichara, "reflective":[4] the citta is concentrated upon a subtle object of meditation,[web 2][4] which is not perceptible to the senses, but arrived at through interference,[4] such as the senses, the process of cognition, the mind, the I-am-ness,[note 5] the chakras, the inner-breath (prana), the nadis, the intellect (buddhi).[4] The stilling of reflection is called nirvichara samapatti.[4][note 6]


According to Paramahansa Yogananda, in this state one lets go of the ego and becomes aware of Spirit beyond creation. The soul is then able to absorb the fire of Spirit-Wisdom that "roasts" or destroys the seeds of body-bound inclinations. The soul as the meditator, its state of meditation, and the Spirit as the object of meditation all become one. The separate wave of the soul meditating in the ocean of Spirit becomes merged with the Spirit. The soul does not lose its identity, but only expands into Spirit. In savikalpa samadhi the mind is conscious only of the Spirit within; it is not conscious of the exterior world. The body is in a trancelike state, but the consciousness is fully perceptive of its blissful experience within.[6]

According to Jianxin Li Samprajnata Samadhi may be compared to the Rupajhana of Buddhism.[7] This interpretation may conflict with Gombrich and Wynne, according to whom the first and second jhana represent concentration, whereas the third and fourth jhana combine concentration with mindfulness.[8] According to Eddie Crangle, the first jhana resembles Patanjali's Samprajnata Samadhi, which both share the application of vitarka and vicara.[9]

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, has compared the experience of seeing the earth from space, also known as the overview effect, to savikalpa samadhi.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The seeds or samskaras are not destroyed.[web 1]
  2. ^ Yoga Sutra 1.17: "Objective samadhi (samprajnata) is associated with deliberation, reflection, bliss, and I-am-ness (asmita).[2]
  3. ^ Yoga Sutra 1.42: "Deliberative (savitarka) samapatti is that samadhi in which words, objects, and knowledge are commingled through conceptualization."[1]
  4. ^ Yoga Sutra 1.43: "When memory is purified, the mind appears to be emptied of its own nature and only the object shines forth. This is superdeliberative (nirvitaka) samapatti."[5]
  5. ^ Following Yoga Sutra 1.17, meditation on the sense of "I-am-ness" is also grouped, in other descriptions, as "sasmita samapatti"
  6. ^ Yoga Sutra 1.44: "In this way, reflective (savichara) and super-reflective (nirvichara) samapatti, which are based on subtle objects, are also explained."[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Maehle 2007, p. 177.
  2. ^ Maehle 2007, p. 156.
  3. ^ Whicher 1998, p. 254.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Maehle 2007, p. 179.
  5. ^ a b Maehle 2007, p. 178.
  6. ^ Yogananda, Paramahansa: God Talks with Arjuna, The Bhagavad Gita, A new translation and commentary, Self-Realization Fellowship 2001, ISBN 0-87612-031-1 (paperback) ISBN 0-87612-030-3 (hardcover), I,10.
  7. ^ Jianxin Li & year unknown.
  8. ^ Wynne 2007, p. 106; 140, note 58.
  9. ^ Crangle 1984, p. 191.
  10. ^ Overview. Planetary Collective, Vimeo.


Printed sources[edit]

  • Chapple, Christopher (1984), Introduction to "The Concise Yoga Vasistha", State University of New York
  • Crangle, Edward Fitzpatrick (1994), The Origin and Development of Early Indian Contemplative Practices, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag
  • Jianxin Li (n.d.), A Comparative Study between Yoga and Indian Buddhism,, archived from the original on 2016-03-04
  • Maehle, Gregor (2007), Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy, New World Library
  • Whicher, Ian (1998), The Integrity of the Yoga Darsana: A Reconsideration of Classical Yoga, SUNY Press
  • Wynne, Alexander (2007), The Origin of Buddhist Meditation (PDF), Routledge