Path of Samadhi and Pragna – Talks by Sadhguru and Osho

As I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts, there are many similarities between what Osho said and what Sadhguru said. Here is another example of such similarity, where both men say that there are only two paths in spirituality; the path of Samadhi and the path of Prajna. Both men use the same examples for the two paths, Ramakrishna and Buddha respectively.

(This is actually a Buddhist distinction, but usually the terms Samatha and Vipassana are used, instead of pragna and samadhi, respectively. Osho used different terminology when talking about this distinction. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev also used the same terminology and even gave the same examples given by Osho, which is another indication of the fact that Sadhguru has read or listened to the talks of Osho… I have explained it more in my articles The Journey of a Seeker – My Story and  Sadhguru on Osho – The Two Diamonds to Discover your Inner Self! )

This clears many things up for spiritual seekers. And also, It is very good to read both explanations which makes things more clear.

First, Let us look at Sadhguru’s talk about Samyama:

Now, when we say Samyama – It is a state where your awareness has reached a point – where you clearly know – when I say “Know”, knowing is always thought in terms of “Oh! I – Know”. It is not that knowing, you are fully aware that you are not the body, you are not the mind, you are not the world. Your body is separate, the mind is separate – these are the three things that you are always getting identified with. You get identified with the body, the mind, the surroundings around you – this is the trap.

If you are in Samyama, the body will be there, mind will be there, world will be there but you are not part of all these three things. If you are free from all these three things, there can be no suffering. If you are in the body, body can suffer, if you are in the mind, mind can suffer, if you are in the world, world can make you suffer. If you are not in any of these three things, you are outside of these three things, this is your Mukthi – That is the aim of Samyama. It is the height of awareness, where your witnessing has separated everything. If your witness is sharp enough – it will slice off the body, it will slice off the mind, it will slice off the world – it will leave you free from all these things. In what way it is connected to Samadhi? It is not connected to Samadhi. It is a way of bypassing all Samadhis.

Fundamentally, on any Spiritual path, there are only two types of spiritual processes in the world – the path of Samadhi and the path of Pragna. Pragna means the path of awareness; Samadhi means the path of dissolution. Samadhi – there are various types of Samadhis. Mainly in the tradition, they classify Samadhis into 8 forms, some 14, some 18 and it goes on. Samadhi is like a prize – it is a gift nature gives you for doing so much Sadhana. Now, nature gives you a break – when you are in Samadhi, you are blissful. You are free from everything. Nature offers you a bottle of drink and says, OK, you have done so well, so drink this and be happy. So drink this and you are fine for sometime, but once you come back, almost everything is the same. It leaves you transformed to some extent, but still you are not free from everything. However, whichever Samadhi you are going through, it is the same. All Samadhis we are talking about, 8 or 16 or whatever type – they all belong to Savikalpa or Savi Tarka Samadhi.

All these things involve certain qualities – they are good. It is just like by doing good Karma, people go to heaven. Heaven means it is a small escape that a man has in the process of life and death because of good karmas, he gets a break, where he is blissful. Different levels of bliss are available; there are different levels of heaven – different grades of heaven. You want to call it as heaven or different dimensions of life or different levels of consciousness, whatever. Samadhi is one more heaven. When you are alive, nature gives you a little bit of heaven because you have been so good, this is a prize offered to you. But a person who is in a hurry to reach the goal should not take these Samadhis. Samadhis are very beautiful, very transforming. Also very transforming for the atmosphere. It is beneficial for people around us when we go into Samadhis. The whole atmosphere gets charged because one person is in Samadhi, as many of you have witnessed.

But, I would not consider even the Samadhi state as real growth – it is only a prize that nature has offered to you. If you want you can enjoy it or you can just leave it and go on. Initially, these prizes that are being offered to you are precious to you. But as days go by and everyday you start getting prizes, then prize becomes meaningless. The first medal that you got in school or college, that is very valuable, you put it in the showcase. Suppose you become a big sportsman and you get thousands of them, then all over your house it will be there. You will throw it somewhere and go because you got many and the same happens to this also. A person who earns too many Samadhis, after sometime does not want any more Samadhis – that is one way. Or another person who is going on seeking more Samadhis, wants to remain there for longer and longer. Deep attachment will arise to this state that you want to be in this state always, because it is blissful. It is like being in the lap of God. It is like going back to the lap of existence where nothing can touch you, where you are free from everything. It is like a child getting addicted to the mother’s lap – that is the Samadhi state.

A person who is walking in the path of Pragna wants to bypass Samadhis. The path we prescribe for people is Pragna, but this person’s (Sadhguru) presence becomes Samadhi. That is what is happening here. What is happening here now, in the normal sense, you cannot categorize it in any way, you cannot describe it in any particular way because so many things are mixed up here – which is not usual, which is not normal in any other place. This you can see because the path we have chosen is scientific in a particular way, but this person (Sathguru) presence is of a totally different nature. This person speaks one way but his presence is completely different. Because of this contradiction the possibility of growth is much better, at the same time the possibility of confusion is also much greater – because the situation is like that.

If you talk to this person (Sadhguru), he talks very logically. Everything he speaks, nobody can deny, because it is pure logic, nobody can disagree with us – isn’t it? But fundamentally what I do with my energies is not at all logical, it is totally illogical – these two things are diametrically opposite, these are two different paths. Normally one person does not follow these two paths at the same time. Here we have chosen both because our energies come from one source but our understanding comes from the present society’s needs.

Today, if we do not talk science, you cannot do what we are doing. But if you do not carry these energies, you still cannot do what we are doing. So this is a combination of these two things – we are not consciously mixing how much of this, how much of that, we have just allowed them to flow whichever way it flows. Let Shiva decide, we are not deciding. Whichever way it flows, that way it flows. But this is a rare situation here two things are happening at once – where Samadhis are possible and the highest state of Pragna is also possible. But our focus, our work is toward Pragna – our work is towards awareness and not towards Samadhi, but Samadhis will invariably happen in this place because our energies are like that.

When we are talking about Samyama, that level of awareness – it is a way of bypassing all Samadhis. I am not saying Samadhi is bad, it is a beautiful state to be, it is a wonderful thing to happen to any person. But when a man is in a hurry, he does not gather his prizes and go. Suppose your house catches fire, now you are not concerned about gathering your this, that and all. Whatever is life saving, that you gather and run or you do not gather anything – you just run. With clothes or without clothes, you run, because life is of paramount importance and everything else is secondary. Right now, the situation is like that. We do not bother to gather these prizes, otherwise we can gather many here – many prizes have come our way. We can very easily gather, we can go into Samadhis, enjoy and attract more and more people. We do not have to teach yoga, so much of your breath you do not have to waste. You do not have to build this ashram, people will come and build a huge temple for you, everything they will do. With Samadhi, nature gives you a prize, society also will confer prizes upon you.

With Pragna it is not like that, but it is a path on which one can steadily progress. There will be no distractions – it is little round about but it is steady. Fundamentally why these two things have been separated is – see, whatever process of growth that we do is ultimately to dissolve the nonsense we have gathered in our unconscious mind, in the form of karmas. In Pragna, all these unconscious layers are made conscious – you take it into your conscious and dissolve. That is something you do out of your awareness – this is “Being a light unto yourself”.

Now in Samadhi state, you go into the state of unconsciousness where you reach the very bottom of unconsciousness, you do not bother to dissolve them. Normally people who are walking in the path of Bakthi are the people who go into Samadhi states very easily. Now he has not taken on himself, he has said everything is Shiva, everything is somebody. So in his unconscious, simply because of the intensity of his experience, he moves to the very bottom, he reaches to the other side unconsciously.

Pragna is a much longer process, much more laborious, but here you know whether you are walking forward or backward. One step backward, and immediately you know – it slaps you and tells you. In Samadhi path, you do no know whether you are going forward or backward. After a long time you look back and see only then you know. Till then you really do not know whether you are really progressing or retarding. On the path of Samadhi your dependence on whatever – your Guru, your ideal or deity is too much. On the path of Pragna your dependence is little.

So, for today, for modern day people, for modern minds, Pragna is a better way. If you want examples, for Pragna and Samadhi, two great masters have walked these paths. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the Samadhi path and Gauthama Buddha, the Pragna path.

Here is the Osho’s version from the book “Nansen : The point of departure”:

Before we go into the answer of Obaku, you have to understand the meaning of samadhi and prajna. 
It is a very intricate and complex question. Samadhi can be understood watching Ramakrishna. That 
will give you the basic symptoms which can be observed from the outside. 

Ramakrishna used to go into samadhi for hours. Once for six days he was in samadhi. And samadhi 
to him and to his followers - and there is a great tradition from Patanjali, five thousand years old, 
which believes in samadhi - means to become perfectly unconscious. To every outsider he was 
almost in a coma; to the psychologist he had gone deeper into the unconscious layers of the mind. 
And there was no way to bring him back. 

Automatically, whenever his consciousness surfaced again, he would become aware. And whenever 
he came out of this samadhi, this deep coma-like unconsciousness, he would weep and cry, ’’Why 
have you taken away that great beauty, that great bliss, that great silence that I was experiencing. 
Time had stopped, the world was forgotten, I was alone and everything was at its perfection. So why 
have you taken it away?” He was asking the question to existence. ’’Why don’t you let me continue 
it?” 


Now, Buddha himself would not consider it a samadhi. His samadhi means prajna, and prajna 
means awareness. You have to become more and more conscious, not unconscious; just two 
polarities, samadhi and prajna. Prajna is perfect awareness of your being. And samadhi in 
Ramakrishna’s case means absolute oblivion. Nobody has gone into the deeper search for what 
exactly is the difference deep inside. 

Both talk about great blissfulness, both talk about eternity, truth, beauty, goodness as their ultimate 
experience. But one is completely unconscious - you can cut his hand and he will not know - that 
much unconsciousness; and Buddha is so conscious that before sitting on the floor, first he will look 
to see if there is any ant or anything that may be killed by his sitting there. In his every act he showed 
immense awareness. 

I have told you the story that one day passing through a street in Vaishali, a fly came and sat on 
his head. He was talking to Ananda about something. So just automatically the way you do it, he 
simply waved his hand. Then he suddenly stopped talking to Ananda and again waved his hand. 
Now there was no fly. 

Ananda said, ’’What are you doing? The fly has gone.” 

He said, ’’The fly has gone, but I acted unconsciously. I waved my hand automatically like a robot. 
Now I am moving as I should have moved, with full consciousness, awareness.” 

So these seem to be two polarities. Both have become a point of great debate as to who is right, 
because the experience they talk about is the same. My own experience is that mind can be crossed 
from both ends. One tenth of the mind is conscious, nine tenths of the mind is unconscious. Just 
think of mind: the upper layer is conscious and nine layers are unconscious. Now mind can be 
passed from both the ends. You cannot pass from the middle, you will have to travel to the end. 

Ramakrishna passed the mind by going deeper and deeper into the unconscious layers. And when 
the final unconscious layer came, he jumped out of the mind. To the world outside he looked as if 
he was in a coma. But he reached to the same clear sky although he chose a path which is dark, 
dismal; he chose the night part of consciousness. But he reached to the same experience. 

Buddha never became unconscious in this way. Even walking he was stepping every step 
fully conscious and gracefully, every gesture fully conscious, gracefully. He transformed his 
consciousness to such a point that unconscious layers started becoming conscious. The final 
enlightenment is when all unconscious layers of the mind have become conscious. He also jumps 
out of the mind. 

Both samadhi and prajna are no-mind states, going outside the mind. So the experience is the 
same but the path is different, very different. One is the white path of light that Buddha followed; one 
is the path of darkness that Ramakrishna followed. And it is obvious that the people who cannot 
understand both, who have not followed both the paths and come to the same experience, are going 
to debate and discuss to no end. 

One will say that Ramakrishna’s samadhi is a coma, that he has lost consciousness. Another will 
say that because Buddha never goes into Ramakrishna-like samadhi, he does not know anything 
about samadhi. But my experience is, both know the samadhi, both know the prajna. Ramakrishna 
first knows samadhi and out of samadhi prajna is born. Buddha knows first prajna and then out of 
prajna samadhi is born. It is only a question of understanding that existence is always contradictory, 
made of opposites - night and day, life and death. 

Ramakrishna’s path is of unconsciousness. Nobody has deliberately considered the point. And 
Buddha’s path is of pure light, of continuous awareness. Even in sleep Buddha sleeps consciously.
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Author: Shanmugam

I am a blogger and a spiritual seeker. I had a tremendous awakening experience in July 12, 2014 on a Gurupurnima day in the presence of Sadhguru but I wouldn’t call that as spiritual enlightenment. But it did free me from many things and changed many things.

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