Nirvikalpa Samadhi – Two Different Perspectives: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Harsh K. Luthar

Harsh K. Luthar

Question On 01/20/2000 From Gausima

I accidentally found this on the internet while searching for something else, and was wondering what type of Nirvikalpa Samadhi it was referring to and if anyone had any knowledge of this.

“once an ordinary person achieves Nirvikalpa Samadhi, he leaves the body in 21 days.”   In the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, on page 245, it says, “Trailanga Swami once said that because a man reasons he is conscious of multiplicity, of variety. Attaining samadhi, one gives up the body in twenty-one days. . . ” (Ramakrishna was talking to his devotees.)


Answer by Dr. Harsh K. Luthar (01/20/2000):

Hello Gausima,

The state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi that Sri Ramakrishna refers to and Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi that Ramana Maharshi refers to are two different things. Two different Samadhis.

This is known by the adepts and advanced students who have engaged in long term practice of meditation and actually have experienced both of these states. This cannot be grasped through intellectual discussion as these are matter of practical experiences. This is why words and explanations can only help a little but also succeed in generating controversy.

The Nirvikalpa Samadhi referred to by Sri Ramakrishna involves deep meditation where the Kundalini Shakti moves up from the base of the spine and enlivens the energy centres along the spinal column in a special way. Going all the way up to the Sahasarara chakra (the thousand petalled lotus in the top brain centre)  the dynamic Shakti joins the Static energy of Shiva and these two great forces start to fuse together in an unimaginable embrace as that of lost lovers who have finally found each other after an eternity. The mystics know it as the dance of love.

The Samadhi that ensues now involves the whole energy of the mind/body system and body consciousness is totally obliterated. As the union of Shakti and Shiva in Sahasarara leads to such perpetual and dynamic ecstasy, the desire to come out of such a state can quickly disappear. Ancient Yogis typically had their students around so that they were brought back at such times. They brought with them amazing wisdom to share about the universe.

Some Yogis before going into such a Samadhi create a seed of desire in their mind (will power) to come out of such a state after a certain time.

Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi that Bhagavan Ramana refers to is different. This Kevala Nirvikalpa samadhi results when the Shakti sometimes even bypassing the energy centers goes straight to the Sahasarara and after reaching the Sahasarara comes down from Sahasarara in the frontal Nadi known as Amrita Nadi or Para Nadi. Bhagavan Ramana has referred to this Nadi in his various “Talks”. This Nadi connects the Sahasarara and the Spiritual Heart referred to in the Upanishads.

This is a static Samadhi of pure stillness and pure being. The mind, with its individuality intact, comes out of it if inherent tendencies (karmas) are still strong. Bhagavan refers to this as having had a glimpse of the Self. This is the Samadhi where the Heart is directly experienced. One becomes the Heart or recognizes that One has always been the Heart.

As Ramana Maharshi has pointed out, the Spiritual Heart is not the physical heart and nor is it the Heart Center of Kundalini Yoga. This Heart is experienced slightly to the right of center in the chest above the rib cage.  The Sage of Arunachala has spoken extensively about it.

The Spiritual Heart sucks in the Kundalini Shakti along with the mind (the mind being a manifestation of Shakti). Here everything disappears totally. No Energy, No Ecstasy, No Anything. Only the Pure Self. Self That Is It Self Sat-Chit-Ananda. That You Are!

Some reference to the Spiritual Heart is found in all spiritual traditions. In the Upanishads, the Spiritual Heart is referred to as Hridaya Gufa or Cave of the Heart.

Sri Ramana took great care to distinguish between Nirvikalpa Samadhi and Sahaj Samadhi as indicated in his conversations.

Sahaj Samadhi is different than both of the Nirvikalpa Samadhis mentioned above. It refers to the permanent continuous and the ever awake stage and there can be no rebirth after that.

Note from the Editor: This answer was edited slightly from the original for clarity — Harsh K. Luthar

7 thoughts on “Nirvikalpa Samadhi – Two Different Perspectives: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

  1. Dr. Harsh, I was searching for this answer for a long time.I was also confused after reading Ramakrishna’s account and hence seeing that Ramana’s view was contradictory.I immensely respect both saints.I am still not clear.One thing I wanted to ask you : I have read that Ramakrishna said that only Ishwarakotis(special people in other words incarnations)can return from the nirvikalpa samadhi.Jivakotis(ordinary mortals,comprising 90% of population) cannot return and are merged in Brahman.There are two points now:
    1) what happens if a jivakoti’s prarabdha remains at the time of his entering samadhi?Will he not return to face his prarabdha?Ramana has said that without prarabdha finishing, one will always come out of samadhi unenlightened.
    2)How can a jivakoti attain liberation?Can he not get the sahaj samadhi?
    3)Also you said that desire to come out of nirvikalpa samadhi disappears quickly.But Ramana says that if vasanas are present one will always come out of this samadhi?
    I cannot reconcile these differences of opinion.I will be grateful if you can clear this doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a third type of yoga practiced my medieval sages like, Kabir, Nanak & his successors, Dadu, Paltu sahib, Ravidas and his disciple the famous meera called Surat Shabd yog. Here there is no mention of the ascent of the kundalini, infact the Kundalini marg is denounced as something of an inferior path by them. This yoga consists of withdrawal of consciousness from the body. The consciousness is taken up from the eye center towards higher centers, the sahasrar only happens to be the first stop beyond which there are 4 more higher centers to be crossed. A full description of the journey is given in Kabir’s poem “Kar nainon didar mahal me pyaara hai” i.e. Behold the lord within the palace. They catch hold of the divine word or anahada nad or shabad for the consciousness to be yoked up and cross all these higher centres. That’s why this yoga is called surat shabd yog because the yoking power is that of the shabad or the divine word. I hope this adds to the confusion.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sorry, I accidentally posted excerpts from “talks” at the summary level, oops.

    Regarding your comment: “Ancient Yogis typically had their students around so that they were brought back at such times. They brought with them amazing wisdom to share about the universe.”

    Yes, it would seem that the manifest universe can be known as Self by going within.

    An extensive elaboration is found in “The Origins of Man and the Universe” by Barry Long. He offers fascinating stories of how the vast Psyche manifests as creation.

    A quote:
    “Every form ever taken by the earth’s evolving species, from micro-organisms to primates, was a branch of the tree of life along which travelled the impulse that finally appeared as modern creative man – the self-conscious or self-reflective culmination of all the species. The first simple life-forms that appeared on earth were like the spring shoots on an otherwise invisible though gigantic trunk within the primordial psyche. By the time these life-forms appeared, the trunk was a superbly advanced network providing an acutely sensitive internal system of communication between all living things.”

    “Evolution was mostly an exteriorising process. Everything came largely from within and was managed from within. Evolution theory, being based on external observation, has no knowledge of any of this. It misses the essential point that evolution was a dual process. It was involuntarily physical and biological on the surface and intelligently self-creative and vitally persistent underneath and within. Both functions were ultimately to merge as the body and intelligence of Homo sapiens, inventive man.”


  4. Pingback: Nirvikalpa Samadhi – Two Different Perspectives: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar |

  5. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    Samadhi…a word that drew me like a magnet from the moment I heard it, a long time ago….here is Harsh Luthar’s excellent explanation of a high form of this state of consciousness from the varying perspectives of two great sages: Sri Ramakrishna and Ramana Maharshi…


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