[Advaita-l] Turiya vs. Deep Sleep (was Re: The Status and Role of Scripture in Advaita - Part 2)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 6 01:09:42 CDT 2010

--- On Sun, 4/4/10, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>  wrote:

> On Sun, Apr 4, 2010 at 5:17 PM, Sunil Bhattacharjya <
> sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com>
> wrote:
> > 1)
> > A jnani may not need the Veda as one who has reached
> the top may not need
> > the ladder any more, Like Lord  Krishna said that he
> remembered his past
> > births so also the jnani would remember that he needed
> the ladder to reach
> > the top.
> > 2)
> > //in this state a father is no father, a mother no
> mother, worlds no
> > worlds,
> > the gods no gods, the Vedas no Vedas. In this state a
> thief is no thief,
> > the
> > killer of a noble Brahmana, no killer, a chandala no
> chandala… a monk no
> > monk, a hermit no hermit. This form of the jeeva is
> untouched by good work
> > and untouched by evil work, for he is then beyond all
> the woes of his
> > heart.//
> >
> > Can we say that there is no guru in this state?
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Sunil K. Bhattacharjya
> >
> > Namaste.
> Actually, the 'state' mentioned in the above Upanishadic
> passage is deep
> sleep. 

That is not the case! The "state" mentioned in the above Upanishadic passage (BR^ihadaaraNyaka 4.3.22) is turIya and NOT deep sleep. This is proven by the fact that very next verse says there is absolutely no duality in that state, which can ONLY be the turIya state. Moreover, the previous verse says that he is "fully embraced by the Supreme Self", again a reference to the turIya.

> As already stated, this state is cited as an
> illustration for the
> state of liberation.  For, in deep sleep there is no
> explicit duality of any
> kind.  All identities are lost, as it were.  One can get
> an idea of the
> state of liberation when the deep sleep state is looked
> into.  That is the
> purpose of citing it.
> The following verse from Shankaracharya's 'Dashashloki'
> makes it clear:
> http://www.shaivam.org/ssdashashloki.htm
> na shaastaa na shaastraM na shishhyo na shikshaa
>     na cha tvaM na chaahaM na chaayaM prapaJNchaH .
> svaruupaavabodho vikalpaasahishhNuH
>     tadeko.avashishhTaH shivaH kevalo.aham.h .. 7..
> ##
>         "There is no Preceptor nor Scripture, no pupil
> nor training.
> There is no YOU nor I. This universe is not. For the
> realistion
> of the true nature of the Self does not tolerate any
> distincion.
> That One, the Residue, the Auspicious, the Alone, am I."
> Om Tat Sat

I'm not sure if you're trying to club the states of Deep Sleep and Liberation together, but if so, that is false! The Deep Sleep state is markedly different from the turIya state in an important aspect, which I have explained below.

The state of Deep Sleep is filled with dark tamas, vide Sankara's upadeshasaahasrii, 2.16.18 (translation by Swami Jagadananda):

  jAgratsvapnau tayobIjaM suShuptaakhyaM tamomayam.h .
  anyonyasminnasattvaachcha naastItyetattrayaM tyajet.h ..

  "Transmigratory existence consists of waking and dream.
  Their root is deep sleep consisting of Ignorance.
  No one of these three states has a real existence because
  each goes out of existence when another remains in it.
  One should therefore give up all these three states."

The point about the state of realization being different from all the three states is carefully pointed out by Sankara in upadeshasaahasrii 2.10.4: "I am therefore the Fourth (turIya), which is the Seer of all the three states and without a second."

*** The turIya state is distinguished from Deep Sleep in that the former does not contain tamas, but the latter does. ***

The same point it reiterated by Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi in his book Self-enquiry:

"...in deep sleep the gross and subtle bodies of all the individual souls are included in the cosmic maya which is nescience, of the nature of sheer darkness, and since the souls are resolved in the Self becoming one with It, they see everywhere darkness alone. From the darkness of sleep, the subtle body, viz. egoity, and from that (egoity) the gross body arise respectively."

*** Note that RM is explicity saying that the state of Deep Sleep contains "darkness", which is a reference to the "tamas" that Sankara speaks of in the upadeshasaahasrii. ***

RM again specifically points out that the state of liberation is markedly different from that of Deep Sleep (Spiritual Instruction):

"Turiya means that which is the fourth. The experiencers
(jivas) of the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep,
known as visva, taijasa and prajna, who wander successively
in these three states, are not the Self. It is with the object of
making this clear, namely that the Self is that which is different
from them and which is the witness of these states, that it is
called the fourth (turiya)."

But why then do advaitins refer to Deep Sleep as being "similar" to liberation? It is ONLY because the bliss of Deep Sleep is "similar" to the bliss of the Self in that there is no object perceived that can possibly cause misery. However, the Self which is the turIya state is even beyond the "bliss" of Deep Sleep. Quote from RM's "Spiritual Instruction":

Chapter 3 (Anubhava or Experience):

"3. What is bliss?
It is the experience of joy (or peace) in the state of
vijnana, free of all activities and similar to deep sleep...

4. What is the state beyond bliss?
It is the state of unceasing peace of mind which is found in
the state of absolute quiescence, jagrat-sushupti (lit., sleep
with awareness) which resembles inactive deep sleep. In this
state, in spite of the activity of the body and the senses, there
is no external awareness, like a child immersed in sleep (who
is not conscious of the food given to him by his mother). A
yogi who is in this state is inactive even while engaged in
activity. This is also called sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi (natural
state of absorption in oneself without concepts)."



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