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Nirbija Samadhi

Nirbija Samadhi is the two varieties of Samadhi described in the Yogasutra of Sage Patanjali. Bija in Sanskrit means the seed. The word is used in Yoga in relation to Samadhi, to differentiate between two varieties of Samadhi, respectively called sabija and nirbija.

Sabija indicates a state in which the seeds of rebirth, that is to say, the five afflictions of the mind and the traces of past experience, still remain active, although their propensities may be greatly reduced. Nirbija means seedless. This is the variety of Samadhi in which the seed or rebirth is completely made ineffective. It is also called asamprajnata Samadhi sahajavastha, unmani or jivanmukti.

As described by Patanjali (Yogasutra : I.47-51), there are four main varieties of sabija Samadhi, depending upon the object of concentration. When an adept master, the nirvikara variety of them, makes his intellect exceedingly purified of impurities, i.e., the afflictions of the mind, and the traces of past experience, the intellect is called ritambhara prajna. It is said to dispel avidya (ignorance). With the silencing of this prajna, the state of nirbija (seedless) samadhi comes into being. It puts an end to all spiritual strife, as the goal of liberation from ignorance and pain is already achieved and the pat samskaras are all washed away.

It is state of universalization of the self, or the state of self-realization, in which the individual comes to realize the basic difference between soul and prakriti. That realization is called viveka khyati. It brings about total transformation in the attitudes and dispositions of the adept. His behavior becomes completely faultless and his life continues smoothly till death like the porter’s wheel, which keeps on rotating about its axis for a while even after the withdrawal of the staff by the potter.

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