Whether yoga is a religion or not is a frequently asked question by the ones who are new to yoga, or even by people who practice yoga regularly. Yoga is a philosophy, a way of life, which develops our ability to cover life in awareness, creates movement awareness, and liberates the mind by developing respect and compassion beyond our exercise. Confusion about whether yoga is a religion, on the other hand, is experienced due to Samadhi, its last stage.
The super concentration techniques known as Samadhi enable real spirit self to be realized and lived. At this stage, the connection between the individual spirit and the Universal Spirit is clearly perceived. The individual soul integrates with the Universal Spirit and perceives it is immortal, full of knowledge and happiness. The individual realizes that he is a part of the Universal Spirit and communicates with him. This situation is often compared to getting close to God in religions. In both cases, the person moves away from worldly elements and approaches a different dimension. But this does not mean that yoga is a religion.
So what is this Samadhi that causes yoga to be confused with religions? Samadhi, the eighth step of the Original Yoga System, is the third stage of mental control. The word Samadhi is derived from the Sanskrit word Dhi. The word Dhi means ‘meditation’. The word Samadhi consists of two words: Sam and Dhi. The word Sam means ‘super’ or ‘superior’. Thus the word Samadhi means ‘super meditation’. Samadhi is the process of keeping an object in consciousness uninterruptedly. According to the yoga system, if meditation takes 1728 seconds (ie 29 minutes) without distraction, super meditation occurs. In the last stage, Dhyana (meditation) reaches its climax. At this point, meditation is so deep that consciousness does not break from the focused object and even the sense of self is lost. This state is called Samadhi (super meditation).
Not a Religion but a Pathway to Supermeditation Through Concentration
According to the Original Yoga System, if the super meditation takes 48 minutes without distraction, Kayvalya takes place. The word “Kayvalya” means “spiritual freedom” in Sanskrit. In the case of Kayvalya, the individual transcends the limits of material energy and lives the soul beyond matter. He gets rid of material slavery and enjoys spiritual freedom. Today, a Hinduism cult calls itself “Kavalya yoga” to hide its true identity. Using the so-called “yoga” exercises as a screen, this cult infuses their harmful beliefs to people.
Controlled breathing brings calmness and peace. Your peaceful mind is fixed by concentrating. The fixed mind can concentrate on inner spiritual light. Thus, the individual begins with material objects and eventually focuses on spiritual objects. Like the color of the objects located next to the natural crystal, when the mind becomes silent, it takes the shape of the objects on which it is concentrated. This peak of meditation is called Samadhi (super meditation). Concentrating the mind on a particular object is Dharana, that is, concentration. Continuous and uninterrupted concentration is Dhyana, that is, meditation. When the mind dives into the real essence and the sense of being different from the personal essence disappears, Samadhi, super meditation, takes place.
Samyama takes place when concentration, meditation, and super meditation are performed as a sequential operation. It is called Samyama that the mind concentrates on an object and goes through the Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi steps. Thus, these three steps are known together as Samyama. The word Samyama consists of two words: Sam and Yama. The word Sam means ‘super’ or ‘superior’ in Sanskrit and Yama means ‘control’. Thus, the word Samyama means ‘super control’. Control develops gradually and turns into super control in the eighth step of the Yoga system.
Samyama brings wisdom and enlightenment. This enlightenment is taking place gradually. This application has many stages. The individual goes through many subtle awareness stages. The three final steps of the yoga system are subjective, more impressive. However, these three final steps are exogenous in comparison with real pure Samadhi, which does not rely on any object. Pure Samadhi is free from the effects of the mind’s distinctive nature. There is another aspect of focusing. Consciousness unites with the object during focusing. When consciousness is combined with the object, the object is prevented from shifting from consciousness. This merger is completed during the super meditation. The term Samyoga is used to emphasize this.
The word Samyoga consists of two words: Sam and Yoga. The word Sam means ‘super’ or ‘superior’ in Sanskrit and Yoga means ‘uniting’. Thus the word Samyoga means ‘super unification’. The merger takes place in stages and turns into super-unification in the eighth step of the Yoga system. Samadhi, or full focus, is the ability to be one with true essence and unite with the object of meditation. The sensing and perception object in this state of mind unites through the act of perception. This is the true unity of all thoughts and actions. The Samadhi state is the pinnacle of all efforts on the path of Yoga. This is Yoga perfection or the connection between the individual soul and the Universal Spirit.
The Mechanics of the Samadhi Stage That Creates Confusion on Whether Yoga Is a Religion
Samadhi is the fruit of Yoga practice, that is its award. In the case of Samadhi, the individual goes beyond everyday reality, realizes that he is in contact with all living beings, connects with the universe, and reaches the state of enlightenment and mystery. The individual soul is one with the Universal Spirit and there is no sense of separation between them. Samadhi is a state of peace and fullness, expanded awareness, and compassionate objectivity. In this case, the individual is on the earth but not the earth. Man experiences enthusiasm that goes beyond his insignificant daily life and is filled with an inner understanding and sense of knowing.
In Samadhi, full consciousness and highest pleasure are experienced. In Samadhi, Yogi unites with the Universal Spirit and feels things that can never be expressed. Still, Yogi wants to share and tell what he feels. It is impossible to adequately convey what is felt in Samadhi in words because the mind cannot find a word to describe them. In the case of Samadhi, peace, pleasure, and happiness felt transcend all conceptions. Samadhi is the final stage of the Yoga system. At the peak of meditation, the individual becomes Samadhi. In the case of Samadhi, the human body and senses are rested as if they were asleep, mind and logic are alert as in the state of alertness, yet the individual is beyond consciousness.
In the case of Samadhi, the individual is completely conscious and alert. Because the individual is calm and peaceful, he perceives that the Universal Spirit is the source of the universe; Everything has come from Him and will return to Him. The individual turns to the true essence of the Anahata Chakra, the soul. Since the activity of the body, mind, and intelligence stops, as in deep sleep, then the sense of ‘me’ and ‘my’ disappears. The individual reaches the real Yoga state. In this case, only consciousness, truth, and indescribable pleasure are experienced. There is a peace that exceeds all insights. In order to describe the Samadhi state, the mind cannot find words and describe it. This state can only be expressed by being completely silent. In the case of Samadhi, Yogi leaves the material world and meets eternity.
It is called Samadhi when the mind is one with the soul, just as salt dissolves in water and is in water. When Prana thinks and the mind draws Prana and becomes one with Prana, it’s called Samadhi. When the material essence and spiritual essence are equal and all Sankalpas disappear, it is called Samadhi. It is very difficult to be indifferent to worldly pleasures, it is more difficult to perceive universal truths, it is also difficult and impossible to reach Samadhi without the help of the true Master of Yoga. Many people think that the state of Samadhi is the end of everything. In reality, Samadhi is the beginning. Samadhi is definitely not the process of leaving the world. Nothing but the stage of material experience ends, but the new unknown stage of spiritual experience begins.
When the individual returns from the state of Samadhi, his consciousness structure changes completely. However, the individual can continue his normal life but always remembers that this life is a game. He continues his daily duties but is now connected to the treasure of knowledge, might, and wisdom, which belong to the highest cosmos. In Samadhi, the Pratyahara process is completed. During the practice of Pratyahara, the senses are drawn to Manas, that is, the mental level, the Manas Buddhi, that is, the intellectual level, the Buddhi Ahamkara, the material ego. The individual examines, discovers, and experiences his senses, mind, intelligence, and material ego. In Samadhi, this process is completed.
At that time, Ahankara is drawn to Atma, the spiritual ego level. The temporary material ego merges with the eternal spiritual ego. Thus, Yogi is freed from the world of dualities. The root of the world of dualities is the existence of two egos: material ego – spiritual ego; “I am the body” – “I am the soul”; temporary essence – eternal essence. Man experiences this duality every day, but he doesn’t care about it. Everyone has double awareness. Man thinks and knows that he thinks and knows that he knows that he thinks, that is, man thinks and is aware of what he thinks and realizes that he is aware of what he thinks. This is called double awareness; the reason for this is the duality of material ego and spiritual ego.
Religions vs Yoga: Pratyahara, Spiritual Sparks, and Cosmic Ego
Now let’s take a look at the Pratyahara chain once again: senses-mind-intelligence-material ego-spiritual ego; thoughts take place in the mind, and the material ego is aware of this, and the spiritual ego is aware that the thoughts in the mind of the material ego are being perceived. This is how “the double awareness” takes place. Everyone is aware that there is a dialogue within. When human is unstable, this dialogue can turn into violent contention. Who are the contenders? Struggles within man are the material ego and the spiritual ego. This struggle and opposition disturb the person. In the case of Samadhi, this contrast ends and the individual reaches endless peace. Finally, the individual has the opportunity to experience the spirit. The soul is the eternal, individual spiritual energy unit that settles inside the astral body and performs consciousness functions.
This unit is a spiritual spark. The Universal Spirit is the eternal bonfire, the individual spirit is the spark from this bonfire. What happens in the form of Samadhi is a superhuman experience. The individual feels that he is the soul and lives the soul. After this experience, no evidence is needed to prove the existence of the soul. No one can reach Samadhi without correctly applying the techniques found in the first seven steps of the Original Yoga System. Everyone should pay attention to these fabricated methods and not harm their own health. Today, a cult of Hinduism acts under the name of “samadhi yoga” and instills harmful beliefs on people.
In the case of Samadhi, the individual ego merges with the cosmic ego. Then all kinds of dualities disappear. The individual consciousness is connected with the material ego, and thanks to the ego, the human is aware of dualities. When dualities exist, Samadhi becomes unattainable. When the individual clings to his material ego, he cannot get rid of his ego and cannot expand his consciousness. In the case of Samadhi, awareness expands and becomes homogeneous; individual awareness ends and the individual transcends the realm of dualities.
There are four states of consciousness:
- Cagrata-Avastha, i.e being awake
- Svapna-Avastha, that is, dreaming sleep
- Sushupti-Avastha, that is, dreamless sleep
- Turiya-Avastha, i.e. transcendental state
The transcendental state is a spiritual state beyond wakefulness, dreaming sleep, and dreamless sleep. The transcendental state of consciousness is achieved in Samadhi. The separate existence of the audience, watching, and being watched disappears. At this point, Yogi perceives his own self based on his true nature and understands that his essence is imprisoned in his body, as part of the Supreme Essence.
The mind gets rid of cravings during meditation. By immobilizing the mind, freeing laziness and disorganization, the individual reaches Amanaska. The word Amanaska means ‘mindless’ or ‘superhuman’ in Sanskrit. It is understood that the individual is in Samadhi when he reaches this superhuman state. This state is the highest conscious state in which the mind is free from thoughts and desires. At that time, the individual is free from all anxiety, trouble, and sadness. Body, mind, senses, and breath become one. By getting rid of all negative thoughts and all conditions of life, the individual reaches the Yoga state.