Samadhi Is a Means to an End, Not a Goal

Samadhi is the state of yogic trance which opens the consciousness to the unchanging, unmoving, eternal awareness of the Absolute. Particularly for the traditional yogic path of Knowledge, and the specific practices of Hatha and Raja Yoga, the attainment of the state of Samadhi is looked upon as a goal to be achieved. Maintaining that state of Samadhi and leaving the body while in that state is looked upon as the desired end-result. The state of Samadhi is not simply an extension or expansion of the mental consciousness; rather, it is a profound state that suspends the mental activity and brings about a cessation of thought and the running after sensory impulses that ordinarily would impinge upon the awareness.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “It is supposed that there are states of being which can only be gained in trance; that especially is to be desired in which all action of awareness is abolished and there is no consciousness at all except the pure supramental immersion in immobile, timeless and infinite being.”

For the practitioner of the integral Yoga, who accepts the reality of the divine manifestation as also the reality of the Transcendent, it becomes clear that Samadhi, in and of itself, cannot represent any final resting place, as, be definition, it negates the existence and purpose of the universal manifestation. “It is evident that where our objective includes the possession of the Divine in life, a state of cessation of life cannot be the last consummating step or the highest desirable condition: Yogic trance cannot be an aim, as in so many Yogic systems, but only a means, and a means not of escape from the waking existence, but to enlarge and raise the whole seeing, living and active consciousness.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 26, Samadhi, pg. 498