ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧਿ - SUNN SAMAADHI - CONVERSATION WITH GOD

ਸੁੰਨੋ ਸੁੰਨੁ ਕਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਅਨਹਤ ਸੁੰਨੁ ਕਹਾ ਤੇ ਹੋਈ ॥
ਅਨਹਤ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਰਤੇ ਸੇ ਕੈਸੇ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਤੇ ਉਪਜੇ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਜੈਸੇ ॥:
Sunno sunnu kahe sabhu koyee. Anahat Sunnu kahaa te hoee.
Anahat sunni rate se kaise. Jis te oupaje tis hee jaise (sggs 943).
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Man's ultimate quest is the final evolutionary frontier which is within man himself. It is the Truth spoken by the Gurbani that our Mool (Source, Origin...) resides deep within each and every one of us, and that He is realized through annihilation of the Mayaic mind - making the mind and Chit one (ਇਕ ਮਨ ਇਕ ਚਿੱਤ). Therefore, in the search for God, none can afford to forget the basic rudiments of Spirituality that the same One Reality lives within all beings, and we are to become one with It - become just like our Mool (Source, Origin...).

  • ਸੁੰਨੋ ਸੁੰਨੁ ਕਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਅਨਹਤ ਸੁੰਨੁ ਕਹਾ ਤੇ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਅਨਹਤ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਰਤੇ ਸੇ ਕੈਸੇ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਤੇ ਉਪਜੇ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਜੈਸੇ ॥ ਓਇ ਜਨਮਿ ਨ ਮਰਹਿ ਨ ਆਵਹਿ ਜਾਹਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਨੁ ਸਮਝਾਹਿ ॥੫੨॥ ਨਉ ਸਰ ਸੁਭਰ ਦਸਵੈ ਪੂਰੇ ॥ ਤਹ ਅਨਹਤ ਸੁੰਨ ਵਜਾਵਹਿ ਤੂਰੇ ॥ ਸਾਚੈ ਰਾਚੇ ਦੇਖਿ ਹਜੂਰੇ ॥: Sunno sunn kahe sabh koyee ...: Everyone speaks of Sunno Sunn ( ਸੁੰਨੋ ਸੁੰਨ) - the Absolute Lord, the unmanifest void, etc. How can one find this absolute void? Who are they, who are attuned to this absolute void? They are like God, from whom they originated. They are not born, they do not die; they do not come and go (i.e., they are the Jeevanmukta / the living liberated / the living dead, etc.). O Nanak, the Gurmukhs instruct their minds. ||52|| By practicing control over the nine gates (ਭਾਵ, ਬਾਹਰ ਵਲ ਦੇ ਵਹਿਣ ਬੰਦ ਕਰ ਕੇ, ਮਾਇਕ ਪਦਾਰਥਾਂ ਵਲ ਦੀ ਦੌੜ ਮਿਟਾ ਕੇ - ceasing of the nine holes running after Maya, mundane objects, etc.), one attains perfect control over the Tenth Gate (God Realization - ਪ੍ਰਭੂ-ਮਿਲਾਪ ਦੀ ਅਵਸਥਾ). (In this state), the unstruck sound current of the Absolute Being vibrates and resounds. There, (the Gurmukh) beholds the True Lord ever-present, and merges with Him (sggs 943).

Accordingly, the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) reminds us that those who search Him in the externalities of the world are mentally deluded.

  • ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਟੋਲੈ ਸੋ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਹੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨੀ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੋ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥: Sabh kishu ghar mahi baahari naahee... (sggs 102).
God, who is Eternity-Consciousness-Bliss, does not talk through our material senses. He does not talk through the mouth either. He talks to his humble servants in the state of "Sunn Samaadhi", when they are completely Desireless, notionless or Nirvikalpa — the (ਅਫੁਰ) state that is completely free Mayaic thoughts or wanderings (ਜਿਥੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਦਾ ਕੋਈ ਫੁਰਨਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਫੁਰਦਾ), where one's psychological ego (Haume) is completely silenced. This is the state beyond speech, body, and mind; the sate in which one is completely enraptured with the Essence of the Divine Name or God-consciousness. Hence the state of "Sunn Samaadhi" is God's Mind! Whoever contemplates this state has attained the Spiritual Perfection. In short, in "Sunn Samaadhi" Aatmaan (Soul) can talk to the Parmaatmaan (Super Soul), continuously. The Gurbani confirms it as follows:
  • ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਗੁਫਾ ਤਹ ਆਸਨੁ ॥ ਕੇਵਲ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪੂਰਨ ਤਹ ਬਾਸਨੁ ॥ ਭਗਤ ਸੰਗਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਗੋਸਟਿ ਕਰਤ ॥ ਤਹ ਹਰਖ ਨ ਸੋਗ ਨ ਜਨਮ ਨ ਮਰਤ ॥੩॥: Sunn samaadhi guphaa tah aasan. Keval brahm pooran tah baasan. Bhagat sang prabh gost karat. Tah harakh na sog na janam na marat ||3||: One (who has the Divine Treasure of the Naam) sits in the cave of Sunn Samaadhi (the state of complete Stillness, spiritual Silenece; the state devoid of Mayaic thoughts or wanderings, etc.); there the unique, perfect God dwells (in that Heart-Cave or Heart-Home). (The heart in which this Divine Treasure is awakened) God holds conversations with (those) devotees (i.e., those devotees Realize God). There (within whose heart this state - Sunn Samaadhi - is awakened), pleasure or pain, birth or death (has no effect on him) there ||3|| (sggs 894).
Simply put: "Sunn Samaadhi" is the state of Absolute Spiritual Silence. However, here the "silence" must not be mistaken for verbal non-communication. It is at a more fundamental level, where there is no notion (or false ego). To put it otherwise, it is the state of Intuitive Poise or Silent Trance corresponding to mind's complete absorption in the Formless Mool. In other words, when mind is one hundred percent fixed for understanding theits Mool, it is said to be in Sunn Samaadhi. For example, for someone to say that he is in Sunn Samaadhi is to say that he has fully realized God-consciousness (Naam-consciousness, Shabad-Surti, Aatam-Giaan...). Among all forms of Samaadhi, this is the highest form. It is Self-realization. At this stage there is no longer any connection with worldly pleasure; for one is then transcendental to all sorts of joy derived from the senses. Also, at this stage, one attains perfect understanding that he is eternally the Sewak, Daas, or servant of Parameshar. Once the Bhagat (the Gurmukh) becomes situated in this Transcendental position, he never descends from it. When the nonapprehension of Reality is destroyed in the direct experience of the Reality, Maya (delusion, ignorance, egoism, etc.) folds her magic kit and disappears, never to come back. This is an irreversible process. Therefore, unless a devotee has reached this position, he is unsuccessful.
  • ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਰਹਹਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੇ ਏਕਾ ਏਕੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥ ਜਲੁ ਥਲੁ ਧਰਣਿ ਗਗਨੁ ਤਹ ਨਾਹੀ ਆਪੇ ਆਪੁ ਕੀਆ ਕਰਤਾਰ ॥੨॥ ਨਾ ਤਦਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਗਨੁ ਨ ਛਾਇਆ ਨਾ ਸੂਰਜ ਚੰਦ ਨ ਜੋਤਿ ਅਪਾਰ ॥ ਸਰਬ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਲੋਚਨ ਅਭ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਏਕਾ ਨਦਰਿ ਸੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣ ਸਾਰ ॥੩॥: Sunn samaadhi rahahi liv laage ekaa ekeee shabad beechaar ...: (Those who) reflect only on the Shabad, they, their minds fixed, remain absorbed in Sunn Samaadhi. In that state (they have no perception of ) water, land, earth or sky; they themselves become the Creator (they become one with the Creator).  ||2|| There remains no intoxication of Maya, and no shadow, no sun, no moon, or any other light. The eyes within the mind which see everything — with one glance, they see the three world ||3|| (sggs 503).

Before we dive deeper into the Gurbani's exploration of this sublime state of Sunn Samaadhi, it might be helpful to know that there are some other terms that are virtually synonymous to it. They include: ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, annihilation of mind, purification of mind, seedless trance, celestial trance, deepest trance, celestial void, nothingness or emptiness, celestial silence, celestial realm, celestial stillness, absolute void, profound void, primordial void, unmanifest void, state of thoughtlessness (ਅਫੁਰ), state of absolute absorption, state of no "I, me, mine, your", state of no-mind, state of celestial ecstasy, state of no Mayaic thoughts, state of complete surrender to God, state of enlightenment, Chauthaa Pad, Turiyaa Avasthaa, Sahaj Avasthaa, Tenth Gate, vision of Reality, awakening of Kundilini, intuitive poise, primal Samaadhi, deepest Samaadhi, deep meditation, cave of the heart, liberation from bondage, platform of transcendental consciousness, absorption in the Formless, living dead, living liberated, talk within, God Union, silent talk, Kingdom Of God, the Absolute Lord Himself, God Communion, Divine Darshan, and so on. In short, it's the absorption in Naam-Rasa, Naam-Ranga, or natural state of Unconditioned Consciousness.

The Gurbani has laid tremendous emphasis on advancing to this state of Sunn Samaadhi. Here the Soul becomes absorbed in the fire of the Divine Wisdom which roasts the seeds of ignorance, false ego or the body-bound inclinations (Maya). The individual looses the sense of individuality —  the Soul realizes itself and the Infinite Consciousness as one. This the state in which one sees the One Spirit in all beings and all beings in One Spirit; the ocean in all waves and all waves in the ocean; the clay in all pots and all pots in the clay; the gold in the bracelet and the bracelet in the gold; the sun in the rays and the rays in the sun; the string in the beads and the beads in the string; the moon in the waters and waters in the moon; the fragrance in the flower and flower in the fragrance; the wood in the fire and fire in the wood!

  • ਉਦਕ ਸਮੁੰਦ ਸਲਲ ਕੀ ਸਾਖਿਆ ਨਦੀ ਤਰੰਗ ਸਮਾਵਹਿਗੇ ॥ ਸੁੰਨਹਿ ਸੁੰਨੁ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਸਮਦਰਸੀ ਪਵਨ ਰੂਪ ਹੋਇ ਜਾਵਹਿਗੇ ॥੧॥: Udak smund salal kee saakhiaa nadee trang smaavahige. Sunnahi sunn miliaa samadarasee pavan roop hoi jaavahigae ||1||: Like water (merges) in the water of the ocean, and like waves in the stream (mereges with water), (Similarly) becoming Sunn and impartial like the air, I have merged into the Sunn or ਅਫੁਰ God (i.e., I see the same One God everywhere) ||1|| (sggs 1103).
This is the state of Saakshi-Bhaav — the Eternal Witnessing. Here one witnesses the ego consciousness, the Soul Consciousness, and the Infinite Consciousness all existing together. A man in this state may even be outwardly engaged in worldly duties, he may even look irreligious and uneducated, but he ever remains immersed in his Mool with one hundred percent involvement of his mind. He lives amidst the so called impurities of the material world (Maya) without being affected by them just as the bird flies in the sky without leaving any footprints or mark; or just as the lotus flower floats untouched upon the surface of the water; or just as the duck swims untouched across the stream! Like the water vapor in the sky, he remains absorbed in the Mool within. This is the state of perfect Freedom from bondage (Maya).
  • ਸੁੰਨ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਦੀਜੈ ਬੰਧੁ ॥ ਉਡੈ ਨ ਹੰਸਾ ਪੜੈ ਨ ਕੰਧੁ ॥ ਸਹਜ ਗੁਫਾ ਘਰੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਸਾਚਾ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਚੇ ਭਾਵੈ ਸਾਚਾ ॥੧੬॥: Sunn nirantar deejai bandh ...: When focused deep within, in perfect absorption, the soul-swan does not fly away, and the body-wall does not collapse (due to Maya's attack). That person who makese Gufaa (cave) of Sahaj (Avasthaa) (Intuitive Poise, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, etc.) his Home within, then, by becoming like God - Truth - he becomes dear to Him (for the True Lord loves the truthful) ||16|| (sggs 939).
  • ਗਿਰਹ ਕੁਟੰਬ ਮਹਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮਾਧੀ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਸੇ ਸਚੇ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ॥੧॥: Girah kutanb mahi sahaj sumaadhee. Nanak naam rate se sache bairaagee ||1||: (Those who are attuned to the Divine Naam or Gur-Shabad: Aatam Giaan Divine Knowledge...) remain in Sahaj Samaadhi, (while living) in their household and family. O Nanak, those are truly detached who are attuned to the Divine Name ||1|| (sggs 1246).
If an individual drop of water were to be separated from the ocean and analyzed for it's chemical composition, it will exhibit the same chemical qualities that of the entire ocean from which it has been separated. Similarly, the Jeeva (individual beings) separated from God, contains the same Transcendental qualities that of the Supereme from which it has been separated. As such, Soul's affinity for Sunn Samaadhi is due to its Source (Mool), Himself remains in unbroken Primal Samaadhi. The Gurbani explains that this Primal Void is pervasive throughout all the ages.
  • ਸੁੰਨਹੁ ਖਾਣੀ ਸੁੰਨਹੁ ਬਾਣੀ ॥ ਸੁੰਨਹੁ ਉਪਜੀ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਣੀ ॥ ਉਤਭੁਜੁ ਚਲਤੁ ਕੀਆ ਸਿਰਿ ਕਰਤੈ ਬਿਸਮਾਦੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਦੇਖਾਇਦਾ ॥੭॥: Sunnhu khaanee sunnhu bani. Sunnhu upjee sunn samaanee ...: From this Sunn (Primal Void), came the four sources of creation, and the power of speech. They were created from the Sunn, and they will merge into the Sunn. The Supreme Creator created the play of vegetation; through the Shabad, He stages His Wondrous Show ||7|| (sggs 1037).
If Sunn Samaadhi is the Soul Nature, then why Jeeva (individual beings) are unable to realize it? Our Mayaic mind has defects like restlessness, ignorance and inner filth. Mind conditioned with such defects inhibits us from becoming permanently attuned to God-consciousness. Owing to our Mayaic efforts, we keep falling down again and again into body-consciousness. The nature of mental defects is opposite to Sunn Samaadhi. A mind free of its defects is one with the Celestial Stillness (Sahaj). Therefore, only that mind which does not get disturbed by the changes in the material sphere is said to have attained the Naam within (Giaan...).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਫਾਸ ਬੰਧ ਨਹੀ ਫਾਰੈ ਅਰੁ ਮਨ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਨ ਲੂਕੇ ॥: Maya phaas bandh nahee phaarai aru man sunn sunn n lookai: The mortal does not break free from the bonds of the noose of Maya, and he does not seek the shelter of the Sunn, Absolute Lord (ਅਫੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ). (sggs 475).
  • ਉਨਮਨਿ ਮਨੂਆ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਨਾ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਾਗੀ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਅਨਭਉ ਇਕੁ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ॥੪॥੨॥੪੬॥: Unman manooaa sunn samaanaa dubidhaa durmat bhaagee. kahu kabeer anabho eik dhaekhiaa raam naam liv laagee ||4||2||46||: (When) the disturbed mind gets absorbed in God; duality and evil-mindedness run away. (Then that person), says Kabeer, witnesses (a wonderous) experience; (he) gets attuned to the Lord's Name ||4||2||46|| (sggs 333).
How can we advance towards attaining this state of Pure Awareness? The teachings of the Gurbani are precisely intended to Awaken this Sublime State within us, where the mind turns away from the world (Maya) and enters into the Mind of God (i.e., Sunn Samaadhi).
  • ਸਹਜ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਇਕੁ ਬਿਰਵਾ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਧਰਤੀ ਜਲਹਰੁ ਸੋਖਿਆ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਹਉ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਇਹੁ ਬਿਰਵਾ ਦੇਖਿਆ ॥੩॥੬॥: Sahaj sunn ik birva upajiaa dharatee jalahar sokhiaa. Kahu kabeer haou taa kaa sevak jin ih birvaa dekhiaa: In the state of Sahaj Avasthaa (ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, etc.), (its like) one tree rises up; which soaks up the water of desire from the ground (of his body). Says Kabeer, I am the servant of those who have seen (within themselves) this tree (sggs 970).
The Gurbani tells us that Supreme Reality lives in the cave of the Heart within. He does not live in the cave of mountains or jungles. The Primal Lord sits within the celestial sphere of deepest Samaadhi within our Inner Being. He is the All-pervading Consciousness that runs in and through everything. In this context, the Gurbani helps eliminate the mental delusions or doubts of the so called Yogis as follows:
  • ਸੁਣਿ ਮਾਛਿੰਦ੍ਰਾ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੈ ॥ ਵਸਗਤਿ ਪੰਚ ਕਰੇ ਨਹ ਡੋਲੈ ॥ ਐਸੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਜੋਗ ਕਉ ਪਾਲੇ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਤਰੈ ਸਗਲੇ ਕੁਲ ਤਾਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਸੋ ਅਉਧੂਤੁ ਐਸੀ ਮਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਸਮਾਵੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Suni Maashindraa Nanak bolai ...: Says Nanak, O Machhindra (Machhindra Yogi)! Listen. (The real hermit) subdues his five passions (lust, anger, greed etc.), and does not waver (under their pull). He practices Yoga in such a way, saves himself, and saves all his generations.  ||1|| He alone is a hermit, who attains such understanding. Day and night, he remains absorbed in Sunn (where there are no Mayaic thoughts, noise of the Haume, etc.) ||1||Pause|| (sggs 877).
We are challenged by the Gurbani to become "living dead", or Jeevanmukta. How one can be living as well as dead the same time? However paradoxical it may seem, this is the state recommended by the Gurbani to pursue. To become Jeevanmukta does not mean committing suicide, abandoning one's duties, remaining inactive, or running away from the family or the world. It simply means to transcend the three modes of the material nature, resulting in dissolving of theMayaic Budhi, instinctive mind, or false ego-sense. As long as one is caught in Maya's triple-trap, he can not be Jeevanmukta or liberated. Therefore, in simple terms, liberation or Mukti can be defined as freedom from the material consciousness or false ego. Sunn Samaadhi is the death knoll for false ego.
  • ਜਨਮ ਮਰਨ ਕਾ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਗੋਬਿਦ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ॥ ਜੀਵਤ ਸੁੰਨਿ ਸਮਾਨਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਜਾਗੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Janam maran kaa bhram gaiaa Gobind liv laagee. Jeevan sunn samaaniaa gur saakhee jaagee ||1||Rahhaou||: (With the Guru’s Giaan, such intellect has) awakened (within me that my) illusion of birth and death is gone; and while living (in this world), I am absorbed in Sunn (where there are no Mayaic thoughts, noise of the Haume, etc.) ||1||Pause|| (sggs 857).
There are two kinds of ego: false ego and True or Pure Ego. The True Ego is nothing but the Pure Soul-consciousness. The false ego grows out of man's identification with the body (senses), mind (emotions), and intellect (thoughts) or Maya. Thus the false ego in man is the mental-ego, which has the potential of being perverted by intellect waves, mental vibrations, and sense impressions.

The experience of Sunn Samaadhi is the elimination of this false ego-sense. Just as fire, having consumed the fuel, disappears into its unmanifest form, just as the dreamer and his world of dream merge and disappear upon awakening, so too the false ego, as our sense of individuality, disappears into the experience of the Supreme state, Sunn Samaadhi.

  • ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਤਾ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਹਉ ਲੋਭਾ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਤਾ ॥: Sunn samaadhi sahaj man raataa. Taj haou lobhaa eko jaataa: (By becoming the Gurmukh, who merges in the Name of the Lord-Aatam Giaan) his mind remains absorbed in Sunn Samaadhi (where there are no Mayaic thoughts, noise of the Haume, etc.). Renouncing egoism and greed (i.e., all Bikaars), he comes to know One God (sggs 904).
According to the Gurbani, once the seeker has purified the instinctive mind, he becomes fit for employing his mind in unwavering Shabad-Vichaar, discovering the total identity of the Essence behind both the individuality (Jeevaatmaan) and the Mool. When the shining Light or the direct knowledge of the Mool arises in the Heart of the individual, then Maya, the cause for the material world, disappears instantaneously, along with its deceptive effects.

The state of Sunn Samaadhi reminds the Soul of its Eternal Nature, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence. The attainment of this highest state is only possible by the practice of deepest love and devotion through the Naam Simran or Shabad-Kamaaee (Aatam Giaan...). Hearing, perceiving, and contemplating it, the mind is enraptured and becomes Pure. It does not then waver and is no more affected by Maya.

  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋ ਨਾਮਿ ਸਮਾਨੇ ਸੁੰਨ ਰਹਿਆ ਲਿਵ ਸੋਈ ॥੪॥੪॥: Kahu kabeer jo Naam samaane Sunn rahiaa liv soee ||4||4||: Says Kabeer, whoever is absorbed in the Naam remains lovingly absorbed in Sunn (where there are no Mayaic thoughts, noise of the Haume, etc.). ||4||4|| (sggs 1104).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org