The highest of the eight limbs of Yoga set down by Pantanjali in his ancient Yoga Sutras, is Samadhi, where one experiences temporarily for a few hours or a few days an ecstatic experience of extremely high consciousness. A Yogi in samadhi often loses sense of their outer self, sometimes even losing consciousness. They experience a merging of their own consciousness with a vast blissful consciousness of no thought, no mind, only infinite delight.
Only a very advanced Yogi can enter into the samadhi state of which there are 3 different progressive levels, Savikalpa samadhi, Nirvikalpa samadhi and Sahaja samadhi. To be able to enter into samadhi though, does not necessarily mean that you have realised God. Great spiritual masters have sometimes given the experience of samadhi for a few hours to an advanced disciple with a mere touch, as Vivekananda experienced from Ramakrishna; “At the marvellous touch of the Master, my mind underwent a complete revolution. I was aghast to realise that there was nothing whatever in the entire universe but God.”
When one has realised God their consciousness is established in the highest Samadhi. They can come and go from these states with ease. “One feels infinite Peace, infinite Light, infinite Bliss, infinite Power in his inner consciousness. A realised person can see, feel and know what Divinity is in his own inner consciousness. When one has realisation, he has a free access to God and a sense of complete fulfilment. When realisation dawns in an aspirants life, then he will know it unmistakably. – Samadhi and Siddhi: the Summits of God Height by Sri Chinmoy.
God-realisation is obviously a very lofty achievement, not won by many. At any time on earth there may be only a handful of Yogis who have actually realised God. Out of those there may only be a few willing to accept disciples, and play the role of a Guru.
In contrast, there are thousands of Yoga teachers. These may be people who have practised in depth, some of the limbs of Yoga to a certain standard that they can teach beginners. They may live a pure Yogic lifestyle, but have not necessarily achieved a permanent inner oneness with God. Yoga teachers can help us and inspire us on our own Yogic journey but will only be able to guide us as far as they themselves have progressed. A true Guru, however, can guide us to the highest consciousness. They a like an older brother or sister who have gone all the way to the top of the Yoga mountain and come back down to show others a fast and direct route. A Guru’s whole life is the embodiment and example of our highest goal. In them we see the truth that we all possess the infinite and that we all have the potential to experience God directly.
“Realisation can be achieved by God’s Grace, the Guru’s grace and the seekers aspiration. God’s Grace is the rain. The Guru’s grace is the seed. The seekers aspiration is the act of cultivation. Lo, the bumper crump is Realisation!” – Sri Chinmoy.
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