maha (great) + samadhi (total self-collectedness)
Mahasamadhi is the Great Samadhi, the final stage of absorptive meditation in which one integrates with the Divine.
Mahasamadhi deep dive
Mahasamadhi is the process during which a yogi voluntarily leaves the body, in the final stage of fully absorbing oneself into the Absolute.
It is the Final Samadhi. Samadhi is the final limb of Patanjali’s eight, it’s a state of complete meditative absorption, undisturbed by the fluctuations of the mind and feelings of the ego, where the consciousness of both the self and the universe merge.
At the point of Mahasamadhi, one willfully leaves the body and there is no other incarnation, the cycle of death and rebirth is complete.
The soul is thought to pass out through the Sahasrara (crown chakra).
This state is only possible once the yogi has achieved God-realization (nirvikalpa samadhi) and is not the same as death. In fact, it is viewed as quite the opposite, a full experience of the totality of life.
A normal death is not a conscious phenomenon, whereas Mahasamadhi is a conscious choice to dissolve into the whole.
It’s important to remember that this is a dissolution of the body, not of the soul/Atman, which is an eternal and unchanging aspect of Brahman.
The yogi must have a dedicated sadhana (spiritual practice) during which they increasingly prepare themselves for the Great Samadhi through the practice of Samadhi.Some yogis said to have taken Mahasamadhi are:
- Neem Karoli Baba
- Sri Anandamayi Ma
- Swami Vivekananda
- Sri Chaitanya Baba
- Sri Ramakrishna
- Sri Yukteswar Giri Maharaj
- Sri Paramahansa Yogananda entered Mahasamadhi in front of his followers after telling them:
‘my body shall pass but my work shall go on. And my spirit shall live on. Even when I am taken away I shall work with you all for the deliverance of the world with the message of God.‘
Yogananda taught that a master knows in advance the time that God has chosen for them to leave their body. According to followers of various yogis who have reached Mahasamadhi, some have declared the day and time of their exit from the body before entering the state.
One of Yogananda’s followers stated that just before he passed he asked her ‘do you realize that it is just a matter of hours and I will be gone from this earth?’.
mahasamadhi in your life
Mahasamadhi should be seen as an extension of our spiritual lives, instead of an escape from our physical ones. It is thought to allow you to progress into a higher dimension, no longer bound by the material world.
We should not seek to abandon this life in an attempt to achieve this state, as Mahasamadhi can only come to those who permanently dwell in the enlightened state of non-duality, letting go of all attachments.
In essence, the one who seeks awakening does not wake up.
Further to this, though one has left their body, it does not mean that we can no longer feel their presence and know their wisdom.
The state of Mahasamadhi makes the teacher’s wisdom even more all-encompassing and limitless, for they are no longer constrained by the physical limitations of the body.
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