Samprajnata samadhi constitutes association respectively with reasoning, reflection, bliss and sense of individuality.
The other samadhi (asamprajnata) is preceded by a continued study of stopping the content of mind. In it the mind remains in the forms of traces.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl whose name was Sadhaka. She lived with her parents at a place where many travellers used to pass, and often they stayed at her parents' house for the night. They came from near and far off places, and Sadhaka loved to sit listening to their stories and tales. Mostly they told her about their journeys to strange places, meeting strange people and animals; how they had fought for their lives while hunting for treasures of gold and precious stones. And Sadhaka listened eagerly to their stories.
But most of all she loved the tales of the beautiful land of Nirvikalpa. She always asked the travellers if they could tell her something about it, if they know some stories or tales. And often they did, for so wonderful was the land of Nirvikalpa, that thousands and thousands of stories about it had been passed down and preserved, even though the way leading there had been lost long ago. Some travellers told her about the beauty of nature in the kingdom. It was said that the flowers and trees never died, but blossomed forever in an eternal spring, that the birds never stopped singing, for divine joy was always flowing into them and it came back out their throats in song. The drink was divine nectar from the spring of bliss; the food was the most wonderful fruit from the trees of life. Other stories were about Shiva and Shakti, their perfect rule of Nirvikalpa, and about their children, while others again were about people searching for the way to Nirvikalpa.
All these stories awakened an ardent longing for the kingdom of Nirvikalpa in Sadhaka's heart, and she decided that as soon as she was big enough, she would go travelling to search for the land of eternal joy. Until then, she kept asking every visitor who came to her father's house about Nirvikalpa; had they been there or did they know the way? But most often she received 'no' for an answer; the way to Nirvikalpa being forgotten and lost in the mists of the past.
One day an old rishi visited their house. When the evening came, Sadhaka asked him to tell her a story about Nirvikalpa. Now it happened that this rishi was one of the select ones who had been to the land of Nirvikalpa, but had come back to teach his fellow men about the way. So, trying to make it easy for Sadhaka to understand, he started telling her about the land she was longing for.
- You see, he said, Nirvikalpa is the most beautiful part of the land of Samadhi. The wise of the past, who knew the truth, used to divide the land of Samadhi in two parts; Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa. Savikalpa is very beautiful; you will pass it on your journey to Nirvikalpa.
However, before you start out, it's most necessary that you have the golden key. Without it you won't be able to go far, and you might get lost.
- But what is the golden key? asked Sadhaka. Where can I find it?
- Actually, said the rishi, the golden key can be almost anything. You can choose a beautiful flower, a cross, a Shiva lingam or any symbol you are attracted to, but it's best that you get the golden key from a guru in the form of a mantra.
- Is it possible for you to give me the golden key? asked Sadhaka shyly.
The rishi smiled.
- Yes, Sadhaka, I will give you the most sacred key there is, the golden key of Aum. Throughout the journey always keep it in mind, and be careful not to lose it. You should never, never change this key for another one; likewise, you should never show it to anybody. The key is only sacred as long as you keep it secret.
- Tell me more about the land of Samadhi, begged Sadhaka. What does it look like in Savikalpa?
The rishi sat silent for a while.
- Savikalpa Samadhi is very beautiful, he finally said. There are three rivers called Asamprajnata Samadhi which divide the country in four parts. The land between the rivers is called Samprajnata Samadhi. When you travel through Samprajnata, you should keep your key in mind the whole time, but when you reach the stream of Asamprajnata, you have to give your key to the ferryman who will take you over to the other side. In Samprajnata, you are not aware of the symbol any longer- you are not aware of anything.
- Will I get the key back when we reach the other side? asked Sadhaka. Or will I lose it forever?
The rishi shook his head.
- No, you will get it back. But often when trying to cross Asamprajnata to the next stage of Samprajnata Samadhi, a great wind comes up which makes it impossible to reach the other shore. So, from Asamprajnata Samadhi you will have to return many times to the previous shore of Samprajnata Samadhi before you finally manage to get over to the next shore. When you reach there, the ferryman will give you the key back again. You will have a nice journey through the next part of Samprajnata Samadhi, which you will find much more beautiful than the previous one, for the nature in Samprajnata Samadhi becomes more and more beautiful the further you get. But remember the key the whole time, because your mind must have something to rest upon if you want to be able to enjoy the journey.
- What happens then when you reach Nirvikalpa? asked Sadhaka. What is the difference between Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa?
- Nirvikalpa Samadhi, said the rishi very slowly, is a place you can't explain with words. At the border between Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa, there is a mountain pass. There you must leave your key with the guard, and you won't get it back. This is the final point where you leave everything and go beyond. In Savikalpa, the seeds of consciousness, called samskaras, are flowering; even in the riverbeds of Asamprajnata the seed exists although it's latent and does not bear flowers. Now samskaras are really weeds. They stop the flower of God-realization from growing. The main difference between Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa is that in Nirvikalpa the seeds of consciousness, samskaras, exist no more. Therefore, the flower of God-realization or super-consciousness, which is a totally different plant from normal consciousness, is allowed to grow. It is so beautiful in Nirvikalpa, that once passing the border you are not aware of anything but beauty and bliss. But this is a state about which it is impossible to talk or read; you must find the land of Nirvikalpa to experience it yourself.