Shakuntala in her thoughts of Dushyanta, to such an extent that when Durvasa comes and calls out to open the door, so that she is not even able to hear it: that is the state of dhyāna. This is not merely an idea of Dushyanta, there is the experience of Dushyanta, so absorbing. When that happens with your object of concentration, whichever you selected, there is an idea, and there is an experience developing out of the idea that is called dhyāna. That is really what is called meditation; this is the real understanding of meditation: to meditate is to have concentration on the idea of the object, and the development of experience corresponding to the idea of the object, that is meditation proper.
Question: Do you need to focus on only one thing or can you focus on different things at different times?
Answer: According to yoga philosophy only one object, I am not describing any other yoga at present. According to Yoga system of philosophy, you select one object, any object: you select God as an object, you select the soul as an object; you can select any object, but what is important is that you have one object.
Comment: The object could be a mantra also?
Answer: It can be anything, yes; it can be a word even, like “OM”, but any object, but one fixed object.
To concentrate upon the idea of the object, and then, on the development of experience corresponding to the idea, that is the heart of meditation. When that goes on for quite some time, then you enter into a state of samādhi.
What are the marks of samādhi? When can you say that you have attained to samādhi? Samadhi is a state in which there is a complete absorption of your consciousness into the object: there is now no more even the idea of the object, and the experience developing out of the idea of the object. But when the consciousness is completely absorbed into the object, even the ‘ideative’ experience is gone, finished; there is no ‘ideative’ movement, no idea, it’s a pure experience, and the object in itself, is illumined: you experience the object by a sort of identity with the object.
When that happens in the beginning, the contents of the object begin to reveal themselves. This is a very important consequence, which occurs in that state of consciousness. It is claimed that if I concentrate upon this book, you concentrate on it, and if you have reached the state of Samadhi, then what is in this book will begin to reveal itself out to you: you don’t need to read the book, but what is in the book, will begin to be revealed to you, your object of experience becomes so intense that the knowledge contained in the book will be automatically begin to arise in you.
Comment: I never knew it is Samadhi, but I experienced that. I was sitting on one mahāmṛtyunjaya mantra, and I saw really, Shiva with three eyes in the flames, and I think this is something in my mind only, but now when you say, I believe it’s a Samadhi only.
Yes, it is. This is the first, one of the important elementary stages of samādhi: when the objects begin to reveal itself.
Comment: I thought it is imagination.
No. It’s not imagination, but it is what begins to reveal itself. That is called experience of revelation. The object reveals itself. I want to know you for example, and I do samādhi on you. You yourself will tell me what you are; you may not know yourself what you are, but you will reveal yourself. That is why to the Yogi, you take up any object and if he is capable of samādhi, he would be able to know what is happening there. That is why, even while sitting on the Himalayas, you can just will something, it will happen somewhere else, because all space and time is reduced to nullity. There is ubiquity, there is all-pervasiveness.
Patanjali has given numerous examples of how various kinds of knowledge can be developed by entering into Samadhi consciousness, elementary stages of samādhi. It is said that if you concentrate upon a planet, you get the whole knowledge of astronomy, without reading the books of astronomy. If you concentrate upon a word, then the language can be learned very easily, even the bird’s languages, they also have languages, and you can learn what the birds are talking to each other. All these have been written in the text; and such are the consequences of the power of samādhi. But these are elementary stages of samādhi.
If you concentrate upon God, then all that God is will be revealed. As you saw the flames of Shiva, it is a revelation that the mantra is nothing but the nature of Shiva. And Shiva is immortal, so that is the real meaning. And immortality is a flame, the Agni, which never dies. It is the meaning of the mantra in the image of Shiva as a flame that reveals itself to you.
Similarly, if you concentrate upon the Supreme Divine, you take up any aspect of God: God as Love. You concentrate upon God as Love; allow first of all the idea of God as Love to develop and if you attain to dhyāna, meditation in which the experiences of God as Love will begin to flower in you, and then, you will find the universality of God’s Love everywhere manifest. That is the experience of God as Love, you will really have no question in your mind that God is Love: the Divinity of Love, or Love as God, or God as Love will be a matter of your direct experience…
Comment: When you get completely absorbed in that…
Answer: When you attain to that absorption, similarly, if you are concentrated upon the silence of the Self, then, the silence of the Self is revealed. And even if you try to bring thought movement, it won’t come, if you say “Let me think on this subject”, there will be no thought invading you at all. There is no space for thought; there is only the substance of the Self in you, and all your being. These are elementary stages of samādhi.