Feb 24, 2020

Samadhi in Samkhya

Samkhya Karika, the 4th cent. AD text, contains neither the term “samadhi” nor any of its derivatives. If we proceed to analyze later texts of the Samkhya tradition, we might notice inconsistency in their representation of samadhi. Samkhya Sutra, a late text of the 15-16th cent. AD which is attributed to Kapila in terms of mythological textography, uses this term in two different meanings. In Chapter 4 it expresses the idea of ultimate concentration on a rather mundane activity:
iṣukāravannaikacittasya samādhihāniḥ | KapSs_4.14 |
 He whose mind (chitta) is “unidirectional” loses no concentration (samadhi) – like the one who manufactured arrows (14)

In his comments upon this example Vr(i)tti writes as follows: 
«Just like [a craftsman] who used to manufacture arrows was [that much] concentrated on them that he failed to notice a king passing by, the one whose mind is one-pointed will lose no lose concentration.   

Yet in the Chapter 5 the term “samadhi” acquires a more mystical connotation: 
Samādhi-suṣupti-mokṣeṣu brahmarūpatā | KapSs_5.116 | 
The form (state) of Brahman [is] in samadhi, deep sleep and liberation (moksha)
dvayoḥ sabījamanyatra taddhatiḥ | KapSs_5.117 |
The two [mentioned first] contain the “seeds”, in the one remaining they are eliminated.

In the most significant commentary of the Samkhya tradition, the Samkhya Pravachana Paribhashya by Vijnyanabhikshu (16th cent. AD) the term «samadhi» is used several times, being one of the text key notions. Which makes no wonder since most of the treatise is dedicated to Yoga. The text highlights both ontological and cognitive functions of samadhi: 

kāryakāraṇatāṃ hitvā samādhiḥ pūrṇabodhakaḥ /… // 10 //
After elimination of samadhi causes and consequences – the creator of ultimate awakening.
 (or “comprehending” – depends upon the way we translate the root “budh”. As to me, I consider the last version to be the correct one). 
It is noteworthy that in this text samadhi is represented as an experience that is almost natural and genuine for a person who already lives in the proper state.
dehābhimānagalite vidite ca cidātmani /
yatra yatra mano yāti tatra tatra samādhayaḥ // 57 //
When body dependence is left behind [there is] cognition and pure awareness, wherever the mind (manas) goes, there samadhi is.
This line emphasizes the essence of samadhi as a cognitive process. Indeed, he who is preoccupied with his contemplation (not attached to body) and is in possession of the right knowledge generates new knowledge at any place his mind is directed to.

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