Samadhi – A Taste of "That Which is Not"

The word samadhi comes from the words “sama” meaning equanimity and “dhi” meaning buddhi or the intellect. Sadhguru elaborates on its significance, the different types of samadhi and the state of Mahasamadhi.
Samadhi – The Ultimate Transcendence

Sadhguru: In India, the word “samadhi” in common usage refers to a grave or a tombstone. When someone is buried in a place and some kind of monument is set on top of that, that is referred to as a samadhi. But “samadhi” also refers to the highest state of human consciousness that one can attain to.   

When one dies and is buried, that place will be given the name of that person. But when one attains to a certain state in a particular place, the name of the place will be given to the person. That is why you see many yogis named after a certain place. This is how Sri Palani Swami got his name, because he sat in a state of samadhi in a place called Palani. People just called him Palani Swami because he never introduced himself to anyone. He never told them what his name was because he did not carry one. Because he attained in that place, people called him Palani Swami. Any number of yogis and sages have names like this.

What is Samadhi?

The word samadhi has been largely misunderstood. People think samadhi means some death-like situation. The word samadhi literally means sama and dhi – sama meaning equanimity and dhi meaning buddhi or the intellect. If you reach an equanimous state of intellect, it is known as samadhi.

The word “samadhi” comes from sama and dhi. Sama means equanimity, dhimeans buddhi. If you arrive at an equanimous state of intellect, it is known as samadhi.

The fundamental nature of the intellect is to discriminate – you are able to discriminate between a person and a tree only because your intellect is functioning. This discriminatory quality is very important for survival. If you want to break a stone, you have to discriminate between the stone and your finger, otherwise you will break your finger. Discrimination is an instrument which supports and executes the instinct of survival present in every cell of the body.

If you transcend the intellect, you become equanimous. This does not mean you lose the ability to discriminate. If you lose the discriminatory intellect, you will become insane. In a samadhi state, your discriminatory intellect is perfectly in shape but at the same time you have transcended it. You are not making a distinction – you are simply here, seeing life in its true working. The moment you drop or transcend the intellect, discrimination cannot exist.

Everything becomes one whole, which is the reality. A state like this gives you an experience of the oneness of the existence, the unification of everything that is.

The whole aspect of spirituality is to go beyond that discrimination and the survival instinct, which are meant only for the physicality of life. Samadhi is a state of equanimity where the intellect goes beyond its normal function of discrimination. This in turn, loosens one from his or her physical body. A space between what is you and your body is created.

In this state, there is no time or space. Time and space is a creation of your mind. Once you transcend the mind as a limitation, time and space do not exist for you. What is here is there, what is now is then. There is no past or future for you. Everything is here, in this moment. You may think someone has been in samadhi for three days, but for them, it was just a few moments – it just passes off like that. They have transcended the duality of what is and what is not. They have crossed the boundary and tasted that which is not – that which has no form, shape, attributes, qualities – nothing.

The whole existence, the many forms of creation, are present only as long as the intellect is there. The moment you dissolve your intellect, everything dissolves into one.

That Which Is Not

The existence is made of “that which is” and “that which is not”. “That which is” has form, shape, qualities, beauty. “That which is not” has none of these things, but it is free. Here and there, “that which is not” spurts into “that which is”. And as “that which is” becomes more conscious, it will long to become “that which is not”. Though one enjoys the form, qualities, attributes and beauty attached to it, the longing to get to a state of utter freedom of being is unavoidable and inevitable. It is just a question of time, and the bondage of time and space also is only the hallucination of “that which is”. “That which is not” neither perceives time nor space because it is boundless and eternal, not shackled by the limitations of time and space.

When this longing to become liberated from the very basic process of existence rises, the mind and the fearful nature of emotion can only perceive this as self-annihilation. For a thinking mind, spiritual process is nothing but willful suicide. But this is not suicide – it is much more than that. Suicide is a very poor way of wanting to end oneself. I say poor because it remains unsuccessful. It does not work. But in this culture, there are those who are experts at doing it the way it really works – this is a spiritual process.

Eight Types of Samadhis

Samadhis are of different varieties. When you are in the body, there are eight samadhis available to a human being. Of these eight, they have been broadly categorized as savikalpa: samadhis with attributes or qualities, which are very pleasant, blissful, and ecstatic; and nirvikalpa: samadhis that are beyond pleasant and unpleasant – they are without attributes or qualities.

The samadhis by themselves have no great significance in terms of realization.

Those who go into nirvikalpa samadhi states are always kept in protected atmospheres because their contact with the body becomes very minimal. The smallest disturbance, like a sound or a pinprick, could dislodge them from their body. These states are maintained for certain periods to establish the distinction between you and the body. It is a significant step in one’s spiritual evolution, but still not the Ultimate. The samadhis by themselves have no great significance in terms of realization.

Many of Gautama the Buddha’s disciples went into very long meditations. They did not come out for years. But Gautama himself never did so because he saw it is not necessary. He practiced and experienced all the eight kinds of samadhis before his enlightenment and discarded them. He saw this would not take him closer to realization. It is just moving into a higher level of experience and you might get more caught up because it is more beautiful than the current reality. At least when you meditate now, there is pain in your legs to remind you of the present reality. There, there is no pain to remind you, which in one way is more dangerous.

A Temporary State

Experiencing a certain type of samadhi does not mean you are released from Existence. It is just a new level of experience. It is like when you were a child, you had one level of experience. Once you moved into adulthood, you have another level of experience. You experience the same things in a totally different way at different points in your life – you have moved from one level of experience to another. Samadhis are just like this. You are moving from one level of experience to another in a much more significant and deeper sense, but still, it is just another level of experience.

Someone may go into a certain state of samadhi and stay there for years because it is enjoyable. There is no space or time. There are no bodily problems. He has broken the physical and psychological barriers to some extent. But this is only temporary. The moment he comes out, again he gets hungry, he has to sleep, and everything comes back again.

Samadhi definitely has its benefits. There are many things it has to offer for an individual, but this does not really take you any closer to realization as such. Compared to a man who is sober, a man who is slightly drunk has a different level of experience, but he has to come down at some point. All samadhis, I would say, are a way of getting high without any external chemicals. By going into these states, it opens up a new dimension for you, but it does not leave any great transformation behind. It does not leave you permanently transformed. You have not moved into another reality. It is just that in the same reality your level of experience has deepened. You have experienced the same things in a deeper sense. You have not become free from the mind.

Trapped in Your Own World

Many yogis have created their own worlds and been trapped in realities like this. I am going into an area which is a twilight zone, but there are many yogis who have created their own world around themselves. A yogi goes into a cave and actually creates his own universe and lives there. This is not a joke. He creates everything that he wants – his own kind of planets, his own kind of earth, his own kind of everything – and lives there very happily. A universe is contained inside the cave. You can create a whole universe in an atom’s space because “here and there” and “this much and that much” are a creation of the mind.

There are many yogis like this, but they are no closer to realization than you. He lives in a different world, that is all. He is probably more caught up than you, because he is also the creator. He has learned the art of creation. This does not become an ultimate release. This just becomes a different kind of action, a different way of doing things.

An artist draws a new world on a canvas. A yogi actually creates it. The artist’s creation is two-dimensional, whereas the yogi’s is three-dimensional. This is more deceptive. An artist can get so involved in the world he is creating that he starts believing it is true, and it is true for him. A poet believes that whatever he writes is the truth. Similarly, a painter deeply involved in what he is doing believes what he is painting is the truth. When two-dimensional things are like this, if you create three-dimensional things around yourself, you are definitely going to be more caught up with them.

Setting the Goal

When you want to transcend your own consciousness, you need every ounce of what you have. Going into various states is not important. This will not lead you to liberation. We have sufficient energy to take a lot of people into samadhi states. If you want to go away like that for three or six months, it is possible, but what is the purpose? This does not lead to dissolution. It is just another kind of karma.

If the goal is set, if you have made realization the top priority in your life, then unless something takes you a step closer, it is meaningless. A man who wants to climb Mount Everest will not take one step sideways unless it is absolutely necessary. Every ounce of his energy is spent only on reaching the summit. When you want to transcend your own consciousness, you need every ounce of what you have.


Mahasamadhi is a dimension where you transcend discrimination – not just experientially but also existentially.

As long as you are in the body, whatever liberation you attain, the body is a limitation. It is not complete liberation. When someone leaves their body in full awareness, then we call this Mahasamadhi because he or she has shed the body.

Mahasamadhi is a dimension where you transcend discrimination – not just experientially but also existentially. There is no such thing as you and the other. Right now, there is you and the other; it is a certain level of reality. In a samadhi state, you go beyond that discrimination and in your experience you are able to see the oneness of the existence.

Mahasamadhi means you not only see it that way, you have become that way totally – discrimination is finished. That means individual existence is finished. Who you are does not exist anymore. The life that is functioning as an individual life right now becomes absolutely universal or cosmic or boundless. To put it in traditional terms, you become one with God or one with everything.

When I say “one with God”, it does not mean going and joining someone somewhere. It is just that your individual bubble is over. To use an analogy, right now your existence is like a bubble. A bubble that is floating around is very real but if you burst it, where does the air inside the bubble go? It just becomes one with the atmosphere. It is completely dissolved. When we say “one with everything”, this is what it means. Nothing will be there. “You” will not be there. When we say mukti, it means you are free from existence. I am not talking about existence as a quantity which you are free from. You are free from your own existence – your existence is finished.

Nirvana – Going Beyond Existence

Mahasamadhi is a state where one willfully drops the body. The cycle is over. There is no question of rebirth; it is complete dissolution. You can say this person is truly no more.

When we say mukti or nirvana or moksha, this is what it means – freedom from the very burden of existence. That’s ultimate freedom because as long as you exist, you are bound in one way or another. If you exist in a physical way, it is one kind of bondage. If you leave the physical body and exist in some other way, there is still another kind of bondage. Everything that exists is ruled by some law. Mukti means you have broken all laws and all laws can be broken only when you cease to exist.

Nirvana is a more appropriate word because nirvana means “non-existence”. When there is no existence, you are even free from freedom because freedom is also a certain bondage. So you are free from your very existence. All discrimination between what is you and what is not you is finished.

For someone to be able to do this – taking this life and throwing it out without injuring the body – it needs tremendous energy. Mahasamadhi is a state where one willfully drops the body. The cycle is over. There is no question of rebirth; it is complete dissolution. You can say this person is truly no more.

Life just shifts from one level to another. In reality, there is no such thing as death. Death exists only to one who has no awareness about life. There is only life, life and life alone. But Mahasamadhi means the real end. This is the goal of every spiritual seeker. Ultimately, he or she wants to go beyond existence.


Editor’s Note: Find out what Sadhguru has to say about the Mystical dimension in Mystics and Mistakes.

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5 years 2 months ago

The real reality can be achieved through Mahasamadhi, the current reality in which you are living right now is not the real reality..

4 years 7 months ago


8 years 5 months ago

 i yearn for mukthi from the depth of my being.I ATTENDED SAHAJASTHITHI YOGA IN 2002. In the past 10 years i have received so much from Sadhguru. I HAVE AN IMMENSE DESIRE TO KNOW THAT A HUMANBEING OUGHT TO KNOW IN SPIRITUALITY.kINDLY GIVE ME THAT SADHGURU,BEFORE I LEAVE.
Please be with me always.What s it that Ithirst for?Idon't know.KINDLY help me,Sadhguru.

5 years ago

This needs clarification for the untrained mind. Ceasing to exist is not a very attractive concept. I wish the Guru would explain this better. Does he mean that consciousness continues while the personality ceases to exist? That is a more attractive concept. But to merely say at the ultimate stage that we cease to exist almost sounds nihilistic. Can someone explain?

8 years 6 months ago

Hope one day I will be able to reach this kind of devotion.  For now, l  am happy that I can understand what Sadguru is saying about devotion.  I remember reading about Mayamma by one of the disiples of Amma Madha Amruthanantha Mayi.  He has narrated an incident where Amma meets Mayamma (referred to as just a Yogi) at Kanyakumari.

For the explanation by Sadguru, I cannot thank him, because my feeling is beyond that.  How can you thank some one who can changed your life in just 5 days - even that without meeting you personally.

I strongly believe that I am connected with Sadguru always.  I cannot thank him, I cannot praise him, I cannot comment him.  To use his own words, I can only surrender and become one with him.  Hope that will happen one day.

For now,

Thank you Sadguru!!!!

4 years 5 months ago

As we are a part of God, separated with a layer of body will ultimately be mixed or absorbed into God via Mahasamadhi.
Here "end" means "end of sufferings" :)

8 years 5 months ago

Dear Sadhguru,
Kindly help me ,be in samadhi,even while in activity.Is that possible?During your "sadhguruvudan isha yoga"class in Chennai,I had been in my house ,being not in a position,even to come to the Ground,where the class was conducted.But in those 3 days Ihad been in a puppet-like state,just doing my work at home,but my being was in stillness-a state,I don't understand,but terribly long for.Iwant to know whether it had been a samadhi state.I had been like that on all the 3 days,when you were here.
I don't know,the something for which I HAVE AN UNQUENCHABLE THIRST.What is it that I LONG for?I KEEP requesting you to give me that which my being needsKindly help me Sadhguru.

5 years ago

But If i go into mahasamadhi i will not be able to serve the society. Don't you think i am being selfish by doing so? Becoz a true man is one who always ready to give. I am confused to take the mahasamadhi as a ultimate goal to one's life. This definitely need more elaboration.

8 years 6 months ago

I too want to go beyond this nonsense i am tied up in life!!

4 years 4 months ago

we have lots of information about after death and recycle to another body.
but there is not much information about what happens after MahaSamadhi.
Sadhguru said in one video that after MahaSamadhi its all over, the game is up.
does it mean there is nothing more and we litterally dont exist anymore (as in, loose consciousness forever)?
or am I wrong?
please would someone that knows about this share some info on the subject.
Thank you ;)

8 years 5 months ago

Guruji is a blessing for all beings .  I am grateful to be alive and breathing. I love Guruji and all beings.  Guruji guide me in all ways, Thank you, 
Shiraz Fazal

4 years 11 months ago

I come from a spiritual tradition, where it is remarkable and beautiful to have excess to the state of (Maha)Samadhi. But then there is the turning point, after this peak. You know it, but then you are asked to "come back" in the world, because there is a purpose. With all your enligthment you are asked to go on in this world, with a special purpose. It's different and beautiful for every human being. So it is the turning point to fulfill God's purpose, as your own purpose, in creating a conscious life. I love that opportunity. When I am only "dead", there is no opportunity. So for me it is the highist way to become what you never are able to ascribe. <3

8 years 6 months ago

Why would anyone want mahasamadhi then? It seems like suicide

4 years 1 month ago

Sullivan, yes it is one of the Samadhi state. But at very basic level. With more dedicated practice you can experience other higher levels of Samadhi!

8 years 5 months ago

Dear Guruji, I am grateful for your presence, bless my life and guide me in all ways.
Thank you,

4 years 11 months ago

I feel very deeply that there is a high purpose in life also. I come from a spiritual tradition where it is mostly honored to experience the state of samadhi or even Mahasamadhi, But it is recognized as one very important step to the One. As you have had this remarkable and beautiful experience, a kind of really high peak, you are called back to life, in the period of your existence on planet earth. Why we are here? Only to experience Maha samadhi? The absolute freedom of existence? For me that makes no sense. Sorry.! I feel that there is a deep purpose for everyone to be here with a special task. And with this experience of absolute untitiy and freedom to serve humanity anf Mother Earth., Love Savitri

8 years 6 months ago

Sadhguruji, Pranams.

You explained adequately so that any one can understand " Samadhi".Is their any elgibility criteria required to learn the sadhanas that will lead to samadhi.

4 years 1 month ago

When the student is ready teacher will appear! Good vibes to you :)

8 years 4 months ago

What happens to the survival instinct(with all its ramifications)when one is in Samadhi.Is one at the mercy of physical qualities?

4 years 11 months ago

If more and more human understood what it is like in state of samadhi, then Mahasamadhi would be a natural way forward. There are gurus who went into samadhi states with predefined specific periods.
We can server society with what we have. Hence we should first bring ourselves to higher state of realization and then the contribution will be immense. E.g. = If you have come in contact with Isha trained teacher they are continuously involved in spreading Yoga trainings all around the world continuously without break. Their schedule will look tortuous to people like us. But it is because of attaining certain mastery over their physical aspects(mind, body and emotions) they are able to contribute so much.

8 years 6 months ago

Pranams  sadhguru.You have given me so much...really!I cannot thank You enough for all the Energy support that You gave to make my Awareness blossom.Millions of pranams.

4 years 1 month ago

how to get into samadhi state.......and which samadhi lord shiva was following

8 years 3 months ago

Well technically you can call it samadhi state. Hence it is a blessing. But I am sure you know it for yourself that those 2 days gave you a break from usual. But it is an 'experience' just that. A beautiful one, but just another expereince like visiting niagra falls. Or jumping wiht a parachute :). Trust your inner knowingness and love for what is your real nature, and the inner you will guide you. You would just need to face your knowing , inner longing with courage and bravery, which am sure you will, since ultimately you TRULY have NOTHING TO LOSE!!! Lots of love.

4 years 9 months ago

Any one from ISHA teachers can explain this ?

8 years 6 months ago

Sadhguru...  i am fortunate to have you as my Guru.... You are Great!! None other than you can explain Samadhi Technically.... You know the art of breaking the logic with Logic...  Thanks a lot!!

2 years 10 months ago


8 years 3 months ago

Yes there is eligibility criteria, WILLINGNESS :D

4 years 9 months ago

Beautiful keep this longing and an open mind.. You will surely find a true Guru who can take you there.

8 years 6 months ago

Jai Bhairavi Devi ! We all love you, Thank You sooooo much for being with us all the time & taking such good care of us.

5 years 9 months ago

While doing Shoonya mediation we go into this unconcious state where we loose out body conciousness and we are not aware of any thing. Is this one of the Samadhi state that Sadhguru has mentioned above? Can any one clarify?

4 years 9 months ago

Why would I renounce life and cease to exist? Yes, life has lots of problems , but life is sweet and wonderful too. Why would I destroy my being and be nothing? that does not sound good or attractive at all. I want to live life and be happy and make people happy as much as I can. I do not find any reason to destroy my physical being and be no more. It is a very escapist approach to your existence.

8 years 5 months ago

Thank you Sadhguru for a wonderful explanations of Samadhi, Maha Samadhi. Mukti and Nirvana. We're all blessed to have a Guru like you in this century. In BSP program, you gave us a taste of oneness and longing to go there forever.
If this is suicidal so be it, nothing can be compared to the experience of oneness. Please bless us all!

5 years 4 months ago

I want to attain maha samadhi right now....can it happen. I am jealous of people saying about their own enlightenment . I also want to be enlightened every second passes like years to me.. if sadhguru can why cant i, if narendra can i can also. Please show me the path , i cant waste a single minute. My life seams like utter formality.

4 years 7 months ago

you can contribute only things you have gathered nd what you acquire in normal state is too silly you will spread only silly things like a rockstar , thats why world is a mess cuz too much nonsense is spread instead of digging deeper layers within nd then spread that fragrance

8 years 5 months ago

sadguru.....there is some thing strange happening with me...I found my eyesite has been improved to such a extent that my view area has been broaden and become like hd scene...I can hear my heart beat some times in the crowded place also...and when I am alone it keap changing the  rythem not in usual order...I feel my eye stoned for the whole day....I can catch the msg by there expression and many more things.....I must confess that I have taken dope (MR) several times  earlier but at even that time I wasnt able to these experiences...I am not able to make out the actual reason behind it it due to MR or wat????

5 years 4 months ago

Namaskaram. Sadhguru could you please throw some light on difference mahasamadhi and jeevan mukthi

4 years 7 months ago

ultimate possibility is ceasing to exist when your perception is enhanced you will see it until then try seeking pleasure , fame, nd other finer things when you realize even that is not enough then comeback nd read this

8 years 5 months ago

Sadhguru......i too have learned little about Samadhi and Mahasamadhi from Guruji Poojya Rishi Prabhakarji's lessons and speeches undergone SSY, AMC, BST classes.  Now-a-days,  I am not practicing meditation, raw food, Sath Sangh or Pranayama.  After seeing you all great spiritual people, I feel shy and shame......why i was not practicing.  After reading 'Samadhi' how to go beyond, i have to follow and practice regularly and keep go on in spiritual path.  Thank you very much and let the almighty blesses you and your ISHA foundation...........long live