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Chapter 7: Going Beyond This Mind

It happened to Socrates: he was standing one night, it was a full-moon night and he was looking at the moon, and he became so absorbed. He must have been in what Patanjali calls savitarka samadhi, because he was one of the most logical men ever born, one of the most rational minds, the very peak of rationality.

He was thinking about the moon, about the stars and the night and the sky, and he forgot himself completely. The snow started falling and by the morning he was found almost dead, half his body covered with snow, frozen, and still he was looking at the sky. He was alive, but frozen.

People came to search where he had gone, and then they found him standing; the whole night he had been standing under the tree. When they asked, “Why didn’t you come back home? The snow was falling and one could die,” he said, “I completely forgot about it. For me, it has not fallen. For me, time has not passed, I was so absorbed with the beauty of the night and the stars and the order of existence and the cosmos.”

Logic is always absorbed with the order, with the harmony that exists in the universe. Logic moves around an object - goes on moving around and around and around - and the whole energy is taken by the object. This is samadhi with reason, savitarka, but the object is there. The scientific, the rational, the philosophical mind attains to it.

Then Patanjali says that there is another samadhi, nirvitarka. The aesthetic mind - the poet, the painter, the musician attains to it. The poet goes directly into the object, not around and around, but still the object is there. He may not be thinking about it, but his attention is focused on it. It may not be the head functioning, it may be the heart, but still the object is there, the other is there. A poet can attain to very deep, blissful states, but the cycle of rebirth will not stop, neither for the scientist nor for the poet.

Then, Patanjali comes to savichara samadhi: logic has been dropped, just pure contemplation - not about it - just looking at it, watching it, witnessing it. Deeper realms open, but the object remains there and you remain obsessed with the object. You are not yet in your own self - the other is there. Then Patanjali comes to nirvichara.

In nirvichara, by and by, the object is made subtle. This is the most important point to be understood: in nirvichara, the object is made more and more subtle. From gross objects you move to subtle objects - from a rock to the flower, from the flower to the fragrance. You move towards subtle. By and by a moment comes - the object becomes so subtle, almost as if it is not.

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