You are on page 1of 2

8066 SAMADHI

the Prophet did not allow people to disturb girls who were SAMADHI. The Sanskrit term samadhi (from sam, to-
singing on a feast day. In the fourteenth century, Mawlana gether, the intensifying particle a, and the verbal root dha,
Fakhr al-Dn Zarrad wrote a brochure, Us: ul al-sama E (Prin- place, put) literally means placing together. It hints at
ciples of Sama E) to refute the arguments of the Eulama D at the merging of subject and object, the essential characteristic
the court of the Indian ruler Ghiyath al-Dn Tughlaq. of the mystical state of unification to which it refers. It is
While there could be no method of testing the subjec- most frequently rendered by ecstasy, but because of the emo-
tive state of a mystics mind when listening to music, the tive charge of that Greek loanword, the neologism enstasy
other, outward conditions were strictly enforced and devia- from the Greek for standing in [oneself]was suggested
tions sternly dealt with. Shaykh Niz: am al-Dn AwliyaD of (Eliade, 1969) and is gaining increasing acceptance.
Delhi (12381325) reprimanded those who used musical in-
The earliest mention of samadhi is in the Buddhist Pali
struments, and H: afiz: Muh: ammad EAl of Khayrabad
canon, where it stands for concentration. Buddhist author-
(d. 1849) expressed his condemnation of mystics who al-
ities define it as mental one-pointedness (cittasya ekagrata;
lowed recitation of verses by women.
see, e.g., Buddhaghosas At:t:hasalin 118). This is not, how-
However, these restrictions were not always kept in ever, the sporadic concentration of the conventional mind,
mind by the mystics, especially during the later centuries but the creative yogic process of abstracting attention from
when the mystic orders lost their centralized structure and external objects and focusing it upon the inner environment.
many of them became specific to their geographic setting. A
corollary to this process was the trend through which saints, Slightly later than the Buddhist references is the men-
using mystic channels and idiom to convey their message to tion of samadhi in the Bhagavadgta (2.44, 53, 54) in the
the common people, failed, unlike their predecessors, to sense of one-pointedness as communion with the divine
check the reverse flow of popular superstitions, distortions, being. This enstatic and transformative experience of the di-
and accretions to their own ways. Sama E was no exception vine is said to be fostered through strict meditational prac-
to this tide, and conditions regulating it were flouted. The tices (see, e.g., Bhagavadgta 6.1215), but also through dis-
orthodox criticism of Sama E, which had never really subsid- interested action (see, e.g., Bhagavadgta 12.10) and simple
ed, only became more poignant. devotion to the personal God (see, e.g., Bhagavadgta 12.11).
Prior to these usages is the employment of the past participle
BIBLIOGRAPHY samahita (collected) in reference to mental concentration
Works in Arabic (see, e.g., Br: hadaran: yaka Upanis: ad 4.4.23).
Hujwr, EAl ibn EUthman al-. Kashf al-mah: jub. Edited by
As perfect concentration (samyaksamadhi), the term
Muh: ammad Shaf. Lahore, 1967. An abridged translation of
the Kashf al-mah: jub was made by Reynold A. Nicholson in
figures in Hinayana Buddhism as the last limb of the Eight-
1911 (2d ed., 1936; reprint, London, 1976). fold Path of the Buddha. As such it comprises all the tech-
Qushayr, Abu al-Qasim EAbd al-Karm. Al-risalah al-qushayryah niques of meditative introversion known as dhyana (Pali,
fi Eilm al-tas: awwuf. Cairo, 1959. jhana), of which eight stages of progressive simplification of
Sarraj, Abu Nas: r al-. Kitab al-luma D f al-tas: awwuf. Edited by the contents of consciousness are distinguished. The first
Reynold A. Nicholson. Leiden, 1914. four stages pertain to the category of meditation with form
Suhraward, Shihab al-Dn Abu H: afs: EUmar al-. EAwarif (rupa dhyana), the last four to that of formless meditation
al-ma Earif. Beirut, 1966. (arupa dhyana). Beyond these mystical realizations lies the
Zarrad, Fakhr al-Dn. Us: ul al-sama E. Delhi, n. d. unconditional, transcendental reality, nirvan: a.
Works in other languages The most elaborate metapsychology of samadhi states,
Macdonald, D. B. Emotional Religion in Islam as Affected by modeled in part on the Buddhist schema, is found in the lit-
Music and Singing, Being a Translation of a Book of the erature of classical Yoga. According to the Yoga Sutra (2.11),
Ih: ya D Eulum ad-dn of al-Ghazzali. Journal of the Royal Asiat- samadhi ensues when the five types of fluctuations
ic Society (1901): 195252, 705748; (1902): 128.
(vr: tti)perceptual or inferred knowledge, error, conceptual-
Meier, Fritz. Der Derwisch-Tanz. Asiatische Studien 8 (1954): ization, sleep, and memoryare perfectly suspended. That
107136.
suspension (nirodha) is achieved by means of sensory inhibi-
Mol, Marijan. La danse extatique en Islam. Sources orientales tion (pratyahara), concentration (dharan: a), and meditation
6 (1963): 145280.
(dhyana), even though the state of suspension is only a suffi-
Ritter, Helmut. Der Reigen der tanzenden Derwische.
cient, not a necessary, condition for the occurrence of the en-
Zeitschrift fr vergleichende Musikwissenschaft 1 (1933).
static consciousness (grace motif).
Schimmel, Annemarie. Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill,
N. C., 1975. See discussion of sama E on pages 178186. In classical Yoga, samadhi designates the technique of
New Sources mystical identification with the intended object, whereas the
Amnon, Shiloah. Music in the World of Islam: A Socio-Cultural underlying process is more properly expressed by the term
Study. Detroit, Mich., 1995. samapatti (coincidence), which is reserved in Buddhism for
KHALIQ AH: MAD NIZAMI (1987) the four states of formless meditation. Similarly, the expres-
Revised Bibliography sions dharan: a and dhyana represent types of yogic technique,

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION, SECOND EDITION


SAMARITANS 8067

while their essential processes are more accurately referred to BIBLIOGRAPHY


as ekagrata (one-pointedness) and ekatanata (one- Albrecht, Carl. Psychologie des mystischen Bewusstseins. Bremen,
flowingness), respectively. 1951. A profound phenomenological investigation of the
meditative state preceding ecstasy/enstasy, with some funda-
The Yoga Sutra (1.4244) mentions four levels of ensta- mental observations about the nature of subject-object tran-
tic coincidence: (1) savitarka samapatti, or cogitative coinci- scendence.
dence; (2) nirvitarka samapatti, or transcogitative coinci-
Conze, Edward. Buddhist Meditation. New York, 1969. A useful
dence; (3) savicara samapatti, or reflexive coincidence; reader.
and (4) nirvicara samapatti, or transreflexive coincidence.
The first two levels are practiced in relation to an intended Da Free John. Enlightenment and the Transformation of Man. Ed-
ited by Georg Feuerstein. Clearlake, Calif., 1983. A compila-
object pertaining to the coarse dimension, whereas in the
tion of published and unpublished materials with special ref-
latter two the yogins consciousness merges with a subtle erence to sahaja samadhi.
(psychic, unmanifest) object. These four progressively
Dasgupta, Surendranath. The Study of Patajali. Calcutta, 1920.
higher stages belong to the category of sam: prajata
An early study of classical Yoga containing useful materials
samadhi, or enstasy with [object-]consciousness. on the enstatic state.
In the Yoga Bhasya (1.17) two further levels are men- Eliade, Mircea. Yoga: Immortality and Freedom. 2d ed. Princeton,
tioned: (5) ananda samapatti, or blissful coincidence (ac- 1969. There are several relevant sections in this standard
cording to Vacaspati Misras Tattvavaisarad 1.17, the in- work on Yoga; see especially pages 76ff. and 167ff.
tended object is here a sense organ), and (6) asmita samapatti, Feuerstein, Georg. The Philosophy of Classical Yoga. Manchester,
or coincidence with the sense of individuation. Vacaspati 1980. The different stages of enstatic unification are given
Misra makes a further distinction between (7) nirananda a fresh examination, especially on pages 81ff.
samapatti, or coincidence beyond bliss, and (8) nirasmita
Feuerstein, Georg. The Bhagavad Gta: Its Philosophy and Cultural
samapatti, or coincidence beyond the sense of individua- Setting. Wheaton, Ill., 1983. See especially the chapter on the
tion, but the existence of these types is adamantly denied yogic path, pages 126146.
by Vijanabhik0u in his Yoga Varttika (1.17).
Jarrell, Howard R. International Meditation Bibliography, 1950
The evidence of the Yoga Sutra itself suggests that the 1982. ATLA Bibliography Series, no. 12. Metuchen, N.J.,
highest form of enstasy associated with object-consciousness and London, 1985. An extensive, if still incomplete, bibliog-
is nirvicara vaisaradya, or autumnal-lucidity in the transre- raphy listing over one thousand books and more than nine
flexive (state). In this condition the transcendental Self hundred articles on the subject of meditation.
(purus: a) is intuited over against the nonself or ego- Koelman, Gaspar M. Patajala Yoga: From Related Ego to Absolute
mechanism of nature (prakr: ti). When even that vision of Self. Poona, 1970. The enstatic state is given careful attention
discernment (viveka khyati) is suspended, there occurs a on the basis of the commentarial literature on the Yoga Sutra,
sudden, unpredictable switch-over into asam: prajata especially on pages 187ff.
samadhi, the enstasy devoid of object-consciousness in which Langen, Dietrich. Archaische Ekstase und asiatische Meditation.
only subconscious activators (sam: s: kara) are operative. As this Stuttgart, 1963. A comparative study of ecstatic/enstatic
state is cultivated over a period of time, these activators neu- techniques in relation to contemporary psychotherapeutic-
tralize each other, ultimately leading to dharmamegha medical methods of relaxation and hypnosis.
samadhi, the enstasy of the cloud of dharma [constituent, Oberhammer, Gerhard. Strukturen yogischer Meditation. Vienna,
truth]. That condition is nowhere clearly defined, but it ap- 1977. The most detailed Indological study of yogic medita-
pears to be the terminal phase of asam: prajata samadhi, tion and enstasy, with particular reference to Sam: khya, the
being responsible for the cessation of the five causes of afflic- Mr: gendra Tantra, and classical Yoga.
tion (klesas) and all karman (see Yoga Sutra 4.30), thus giving New Sources
rise to final emancipation (apavarga, kaivalya). Biermann, Derek. Samadhi: Personal Journeys to Spiritual Truth.
The dualist ontology and metapsychology of classical Boston, 2000.
Yoga suggest that emancipation coincides with the demise GEORG FEUERSTEIN (1987)
of the finite body-mind. This goal of disembodied libera- Revised Bibliography
tion (videhamukti) contrasts with the ideal, in nondualist
traditions like Advaita Vedanta, of liberation in life
(jvanmukti). Whereas the abovementioned forms of enstasy
represent realizations based on the introversion of attention, SAMARITANS. The Samaritans are an ethno-religious
the enstasy associated with liberation in life is founded on group in Palestine and in Israel. Their religious center is
the transcendence of attention itself. It is known as Mount Gerizim in the vicinity of Nablus. Half of the com-
sahajasamadhi or spontaneous [i. e., natural] enstasythe munity lives on the mountain, half lives in H: olon, a southern
enstasy with open eyes (Da Free John, 1983), transcending suburb of Tel Aviv. In the early twenty-first century the com-
all knowledge and experience, both secular and esoteric. munity comprises approximately 660 members. The Samari-
tan religion is an outgrowth of the Israelite-Jewish religion
SEE ALSO Yoga. as it existed around the beginning of the common era. It

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION, SECOND EDITION