वितर्कविचारानन्दास्मितारूपानुगमात्सम्प्रज्ञातः॥१७॥ (Yoga Sutra 1.17)
As stated before संप्रज्ञात-समाधि is a kind of meditation (भावना) through which the nature of objects of meditation is known clearly.
समाधि is reached with the help of वितर्क, विचार, आनन्द and अस्मिता and these are explained now.
It has already been pointed out that the objects are of two kinds, gross and subtle. They are part of प्रकृति, nature.
When meditation is undertaken on gross objects viz. the sixteen transformation of प्रकृति, nature consisting of 5 महाभूत (space, air, fire, water and earth) and eleven organs consisting of 5 ज्ञानेन्द्रिय and 5 कर्मेन्द्रिय plus the mind, along with the order of their succession and remembrance of their indicative words and their meaning, then come सवितर्क-समाधि .
In explaining this what is known as समाधि here means “accompanied with reason or thought”.
So when you concentrate and meditate on the gross objects, on their nature and in relation to time and space, it is वितर्क समाधि.
वितर्क समाधि is समाधि with argumentation. It is Sthula Dhyana.
Let’s take the ‘cat’ as a word, the ‘cat’ as an object and the ‘cat’ as an idea, though different from one another, are cognised as indistinct.
You begin to analyse the word ‘cat’. The characteristics of the word are different; the characteristics of the idea are different; and the characteristics of the object are also different.
Everything has a name which has some meaning.
When the mind apprehends a word and meditates on its meaning and form as well as on the understanding of both, and thus lose itself in the thing completely, it is called सवितर्क समाधि .
That is when the mind coaleses with the object knowledge dawns resulting in perception or cognition of the object.
The mixture of these three, sound of the word, its meaning and its knowledge of what it is, constitute perception or cognition of an object.
It is सवितर्क समाधि .
When meditation proceeds with regard to these themselves, without considering the order of their succession (of word, meaning and knowledge) and without remembering their indicative words and their meaning, then comes निर्वितर्क समाधि.
Both these are referred as वितर्क in the above Sutra of Patanjali.
When meditation proceeds with regard to subtle objects, consisting of the subtle elements as also the mind, as conditioned by time, space and quality, then it is सविचार समाधि.
सविचार समाधि is a meditation on the subtle Tanmatras (5 महाभूत of space, air, fire, water and earth), on their nature and in relation to time and space. This is Sukshma Dhyana. सविचार समाधि is Sukshma Dhyana.
When the meditation proceeds with regard to these very objects as unconditioned by time, space and quality, and they are revealed only as objects, then it is निर्विचार समाधि.
Both are meant by the word विचार.
Vyaasa comments on this saying: “वितर्क is the mental realization of the true nature of objects; when this is with regard to subtle objects, it is विचार.
This is called ग्राह्य समापत्ति (objective samaadhi).
When the mind which we refer to as internal organ, which is a product of सत्त्व गुण with a trace of रजस् and तमस् , is meditated upon then since the power of consciousness takes secondary position and the सत्त्व गुण, which is the object of meditation and is full of joy and light, becomes predominant, there comes सानन्द समाधि.
Those whose endeavour remains confined to this very सानन्द समाधि and who do not see any other reality in the form of प्रधान (प्रकृति, nature) or पुरुष (Person), they are referred to by the word विदेह, because they are devoid of self-identification with the body.
This is ग्रहण समापत्ति (समाधि with regard to the means of perception).
After that, when meditation proceeds by taking as the object of meditation the सत्त्व गुण that is pure and is not overcome by any traces of रजस् and तमस् , then since as a resut of the सत्त्व गुण, the object of meditation, becoming secondary and the power of consciousness becoming dominant there remain one’s existence alone as a residue, it is called सास्मित समाधि.
And it should not be apprehended that अहंकार (egoism, awareness of one’s individuality) and अस्मिता are non-different; because अहंकार occurs where the internal organ, the mind, perceives objects along with the awareness of “I”, but that is अस्मिता which occurs when the idea of one’s mere existence flashes in the mind that has become merged in प्रकृति as a result of a reverse transformation through an inward movement.
Those who remain satisfied in this very सास्मित समाधि, they, being unable to realize the supreme Purusha, are said to be in प्रकृति लय (merged in प्रकृति) because their minds remain merged in प्रकृति.
This is known as ग्राहित्र् समापत्ति (समाधि in the perceiver), for it is concerned with the perceiver in the form of an awareness of mere self-existence (अस्मिता).
विवेकख्यातिरविप्लवा हानोपायः॥२६॥ (Yoga Sutra 2.26)
But in the case of those who engage in meditation after distinguishing the supreme Person (Purusha) (from Prakrti), although even their discriminative knowledge (विवेक क्याति) of the Purusha alone is a ग्राहित्र् समापत्ति (समाधि in the perceiver), yet it is not सास्मित-समाधि; because in it the अस्मिता (awareness of self-existence) is discarded through discrimination.