1.41 क्षीणनवृत्तेरभिजातस्येव मणेर्ग्रहीतृग्रहणग्राह्येषु तत्स्थतदञ्जनता समापत्तिः

kṣīṇa-vṛtter abhijātasyeva maṇer grāhītṛ-grahaṇa-grahyeṣu tat-stha-tad-añjanatā samāpattiḥ

kṣīṇa-vṛtteḥ – one whose mental modifications are diminishing (greatly); abhijātasya – naturally pure; iva – like; maṇeḥ – jewel, gem; grāhītṛ – (towards) the knower; grahaṇa – knowable; grahyeṣu – the known; tat – stha – becoming stable; tad-añjanatā – taking the color of (that); samāpattiḥ – (to become) engrossed:

When the mental modifications and fluctuations of the mind have greatly diminished, the mind becomes like a transparent crystal, and thus can easily take on the qualities of the object of one’s meditation whether it be the perceiver, the object perceived, or the instrument of perception. This identification is called samāpatti or being engrossed.

1.41 kṣīṇa-vṛtter abhijātasyeva maṇer grāhītṛ-grahaṇa-grahyeṣu tat-stha-tad-añjanatā samāpattiḥ

When the mental modifications and fluctuations of the mind have greatly diminished, the mind becomes like a transparent crystal, and thus can easily take on the qualities of the object of one’s meditation whether it be the perceiver, the object perceived, or the instrument of perception. This identification is called samāpatti or being engrossed.

So in the preceding verses from thirty-one up until forty, Patañjali has presented various objects which can be used to support the mind in meditation.

Now he expounds upon something that was started in one of the previous sūtras – the seventeenth sūtra, the first pāda, which states: “When concentration (samādhi) is reached gradually with the help of deliberation on gross forms, then reflection on subtle objects, then a state of blissfulness and finally awareness of one’s true individuality, which is called Samprajñāta samādhi.”

Here now, with this sūtra, we are going to go further into what I can only describe is the technicalities regarding the attainment of Samprajñāta samadhi. But before we go into these with some detail, for many people, they will find this pathway to the attainment of Samprajñāta samādhi probably quite difficult and even overwhelming, so I would just like to add a reminder here that in the twenty-third sūtra, Patañjali does give an alternative to this process, and he states that: “Asamprajñāta samādhi is also [certainly] attained by devotion that is (complete surrender) to Īśvara.”  – this Īśvara-praṇidhānād.

So I just wanted to remind people not to become discouraged with something that may seem incredibly difficult. So now in relation to his commentary on the sūtra seventeen, Vyāsa spoke of four stages leading to Samprajñāta samādhi. And I’m not sure if you remember these: one was sa-vitarka samādhi, which is the deliberation on gross objects; sa-vicāra samādhi, reflection on subtle objects; sānanda- samādhi, the state of blissfulness that one experiences from becoming fixed more purely in the mode of goodness, or sāttva, when the mind is absorbed in and experiencing this sāttvic nature, and the fourth was sasmīta samādhi, which is the actual awareness of one’s deeper or true individuality – which is spiritual, of course, in nature.

So now, going forward with this sūtra, Patañjali will further subdivide the first two meditative states which lead to Samprajñāta samādhi into another two categories. So you will have four – two, what were, or seemed to be principle categories, now actually become four. So the first – sa-vitarka…now he will present another category – nir-vitarka, and the sa-vicāra will have another corresponding category – nir-vicāra samādhi.

So these are somewhat technical terms and we will not discuss them further here, because we will be dealing with them in the succeeding sūtras. So in this particular sūtra that we’re dealing with, Patañjali introduces a new term ‘samāpattiḥ’ or engrossment of the mind.

So I’m using the word ‘engrossment’, because the English synonym, or the English word rather – engross, to become engrossed, or to engross – it means to absorb all the attention or interest into something. So Patañjali uses the example here, of a crystal reflecting whatever is placed near it. This example is frequently used in Vedic teachings; we see this used in a lot of different places with the idea being that if a pure and clear crystal…if something is placed – a red rose, for instance – right next to the crystal, now the crystal will take on the color of the rose and reflect that.

So the point that’s been established is that, when the calmed and sāttvic mind – meaning not been influenced by the other modes of nature – when the calmed and sāttvic mind, free from the vṛttis, and freed from the effects of course, as I mentioned, of rajas and tamas, tends to become luminous. And whatever is placed before it, becomes reflected in the mind without any other mental activity, or speculation, or mental agitation taking place, and what this in turn does, is it gives the yogi an insight into the truth of things. So in the state of samāpattiḥ or engrossment, the mind is in effect… what it’s doing; it’s able to penetrate the object of focus in an extraordinary way, and is able to gain the deepest insight into the object’s very nature.

So whether that be a gross object, or a subtle material energy or form, or the instruments of perception, or even the knower. So we will expound on this as we go forward with the following verses. Samāpatti is generally an engrossment in something that we’ve previously mentioned – the twenty-four Tattvas.

So Patañjali categorizes these samāpatti into three groups or types of engrossment, or categories of engrossment. It can be engrossment in objects – gross or subtle; this is called grahyam, or the grahana, which are the instruments of perception, and grahita, which is the knower. So just as a clarification – ‘knower’ here, or the perceiver – is not the seer, dṛṣṭa, or the ātma that he has previously used, but it’s referring to a subtle covering of the pure living being still, referred to as asmitā; or maybe also referred to as the false-ego. Sometimes also it references the empirical self or the buddhi. This is like a deeper state of awareness or perception, where one is experiencing the reality of their individual existence, and that experience is beyond the idea of being the body or the mind.

So in this state, it’s actually considered the prelude – this engrossment; state of engrossment, is considered a prelude to what has been stated as the calm, or the pure and calm mind, reflecting the actual puruṣa to itself. When I say that, in the meditative state, as one is attempting to become free from simply the functioning in the mechanics of the mind, and to perceive the one who is actually responsible for animating the mind, and who is the actual seer, their mind is still being used but it is not active; it is not manifesting its characteristics. And so it is described thus, that as being like the calm and sāttvic pure mind, now being able to reflect the puruṣa to ‘itself’.

In using that term, I think we need to be cautious to understand that the self-realization – the realization of the self, or the ātma, is not actually caused by the mind; that in reality it is a spiritual revelation; it is something that has been revealed.

The mind has some role…the pure mind or sāttvic mind has some role, but it is not what is causing the realization to happen. And to make that point perhaps a little bit clearer, there is the wonderful verse from the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad, where it states: “You cannot see the seer who does the seeing; you cannot hear the hearer who does the hearing; you cannot think the thinker who does the thinking; you cannot know the knower of knowledge (vijñāna)”.

So this was a quite wonderful verse, and one would question: When it says that you cannot see the seer, that who is the “you” that’s been referenced here? Who is this “you” who cannot see it? And this was a statement or an answer to a question that was being…a great sage’s name was Yājñavalkya, and he was responding to a question, because he had been speaking of the nature of the ātma, and was being asked, “So what exactly is this ātma?” And in his response to the person, when he says ‘you’, he is speaking of the material condition – when a person is absorbed in the material condition or the material consciousness; when they are absorbed in the idea of the body and mind being themself, in that condition one cannot actually see the seer. And it’s based on a principle that that which is more gross cannot accommodate, facilitate or see, that which is more subtle. So the reference to not been able to… you cannot see the seer who does the seeing, means that the ātma cannot be perceived with the mundane or blunt instruments such as the eyes, nor with the mind, and actually nor with the buddhi.

The buddhi has a somewhat colored reflection of the living being – not the living being or the ātma in his pure and unconditional state. So samāpatti, Vyāsa states, can also be used or practiced upon a liberated soul. And of course this has been referenced before, and where one becomes completely engrossed in such a liberated personality, and of course…as is the final goal of meditation, one can practice samāpatti upon Īśvara. But the idea on this process, is that one can gradually almost like peel away the layers …like an onion, you know, there’s just so many layers; to peel away the different layers of material consciousness, until finally one is left with just the pure living being; the puruṣa ‘itself’ – this being a pathway towards self-realization. Thank you very much.