Samādhi is generally understood as a highest state of consciousness or being wherein the ordinary consciousness or state of being is transcended.1, 2 The concept originates in Hinduism and Buddhism and its technical meaning may vary depending upon the branch of teaching. Within the ageless wisdom teachings of Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey samādhi seems to be primarily considered a transcendence of the personality into soul consciousness.3, 4, 5 Now where according to the aforementioned teachings the soul transcends the personality (consisting of body, emotion and concrete mind) there does according to the same teachings the monad or spirit transcend the soul.6 The state of union with this monad or spirit is by Blavatsky referred to with the term 'high samādhi'.7, 8 This term may perhaps be considered as a translation of the Sanskrit term 'mahāsamādhi', which literally translates as 'great samādhi'.9
This difference between samādhi and mahāsamādhi corresponds to the difference between the so called 'antahkarana proper' and 'antahkarana'. The first regards the rainbow bridge connecting the personality to the soul (through connecting the lower, concrete mind and higher, abstract mind) and the latter regards the rainbow bridge connecting the personality to the monad.10
Now the word 'samādhi' itself is made up of the parts 'sam', meaning 'together', and 'ādhi'.11 'Ādhi' is etymologically considered to be derived from 'ā', being a prefix, and 'dhā', meaning 'to place', and 'samādhi' then is considered to mean etymologically 'placing together'.12 Ādhi can however also be considered as being derived from 'adhi', which in Sanskrit is used as a prefix to indicate a placement over or above,13 and along this line 'samādhi' comes to refer to a togetherness above. 'Ādhi' can further be considered as derived from 'ādi', which refers to a beginning or a first,14 and then 'samādhi' comes to refer to a togetherness with the first beginning. Interesting is also the consideration of 'ādhi' being derived from 'a-dvi', whereby 'a' regards a negation and 'dvi' means 'two'.15, 16 'Samādhi' then comes to refer to a togetherness with the non-duality. This 'a-dvi' as 'non-duality' is etymologically also contained in 'Advaita', the name of a famous non-dualistic, Vedantic school of thought within Hinduism.17, 18
Now in translations the Sanskrit word 'samādhi' is often translated with 'contemplation'.19, 20 Compositionally this is defendable. The English 'contemplation' can be traced back to the Latin 'contemplatio', which was in earlier publications mentioned to be composed of 'com' and 'templum' (or alternatively 'tempus'),21, 22 and 'com' of 'contemplatio' denotes exactly the same as 'sam' of 'samādhi', namely a togetherness.23, 24 The word 'templum' in 'contemplation' was further thought to refer more mystically to the temple of the heart,25 and indeed may this temple mystically be considered as the holder of the non-dual first beginning, for it is there where the life principle of the monad, the spiritual unit, has anchored itself,26 and it is also the place where the soul principle of buddhi or intuition or love-wisdom resides27. The monad anchoring itself in the heart builds there a temple of Solomon for the soul to reside in, and when entering it man goes into samādhi, into contemplation.28
Interesting here is that the tomb wherein a Hindu saint is buried is called a 'samādhi' too.29 This perhaps has evolved from the belief that the leaving of the body by a saint accompanies his reaching of the state of (mahā)samādhi.30 Whatever may be the case, we see the saint in (mahā)samādhi in his tomb symbolizing the man in contemplation in the temple of his heart.
Above 'samādhi' and 'contemplation' were compared in their compositionality. But also taken in their wholes have their meanings similarities. Translators have reasons to translate the first with the latter when it is taken in account that samādhi is academically considered as the "highest state of meditation" and contemplation as "devout meditation".31, 32
How then does samādhi compare to contemplation as it is thematized and mentioned in earlier publications? To explain this firstly the distinction must be emphasized between samādhi and mahāsamādhi. The first regards the union with the soul and the second regards the union with the monad. Contemplation then must also be understood as of two kinds, one regarding unification of the personality with the soul and the other regarding unification of it with the monad. Latinizing 'samādhi' and 'mahāsamādhi' we shall call them here 'contemplatio' and 'contemplatio grandis' (or 'contemplatio magnus'), or in English 'contemplation' and 'grand contemplation' (or 'magnific contemplation').33, 34, 35, 36 This of course corresponds to the earlier mentioned antahkarana proper and the antahkarana as such, that are connecting the personality to the soul and to the monad.
When thematizing contemplation in the previous publications basically reference is made to contemplation as such. Contemplation as con-templum regards the gathering of man and his god(s) in the temple of his heart, regards the union of the personality with the soul.37 Contemplation as con-tempus regards the synchronicity of the two.38 And contemplation as the movement towards the metacentricity regards the movement of the peripheral personality towards the central soul.39 However although these thematizations were thus meant to reflect contemplations as such they can also easily be interpreted as reflections of grand contemplations. The archetypes are very similar, but the grand contemplation is of a much greater magnitude.
Further contemplation is not only thematized in previous publications, but the word 'contemplation' is sometimes also used to refer to certain publications. The current publication may for instance easily be called a 'contemplation'. As such the word 'contemplation' is rather used in the more concrete meaning of "a meditation expressed in writing"40 or of 'a written reflection'. Indeed: such a publication is often the result of the union of study and meditation, leading to the rather spontaneous effect of concretizing the perceived towards the world periphery,41 and for sure it is intended to reflect a true contemplation as understood like above, however this is in such a use of the word definitely not presumed. Such an activity may as a distinction perhaps be called a 'contemplatio formis' or a 'formal contemplation'.
We thus get an overview as below.
|Mahāsamādhi||Contemplatio grandis (magnus)||Grand (magnific) contemplation||Unity with the monad|
|Samādhi||Contemplatio||Contemplation||Unity with the soul|
|Contemplatio formis||Formal contemplation||Written reflection|
May then the formal contemplations come to reflect true contemplations and, eventually, grand and magnific contemplations.