[Advaita-l] viSva, taijasa and prAjna

S.N. Sastri sn.sastri at gmail.com
Fri Oct 13 05:21:17 CDT 2006

viSva, taijasa and prAjna (The three states of the jIva)

(Extract from translation of MadhusUdana sarasvatI's siddhAntabindu)

The jIva is threefold, as viSva, taijasa and prAjna, differentiated by the
secondary difference caused by their different limiting adjuncts. (The
significance of the expression 'secondary difference' is explained in the
note below). The jIva limited by avidyA, the inner organ (subtle body) and
the gross body, who identifies himself with the waking state, is known as
viSva. The same jIva, devoid of identification with the gross body, and
limited by the two adjuncts (avidyA and subtle body), who identifies himself
with the dream state is known as taijasa. When the jiva is devoid of the two
limitations of the gross body and the subtle body, is limited only by avidyA
which is limited by the samskAras in the mind, and is identified with the
state of deep sleep, he is called prAjna. The jIva (in all the three states)
is only one, and there is no difference in the jIva himself because there
are no independent limiting adjuncts for each of these states. (The meaning
is that the adjuncts in the waking state are three and out of the same three
adjuncts, two are present in the dream state and one in the deep sleep
state. So the adjuncts are not independent or mutually exclusive). Still,
because there are these secondary differences due to different limiting
adjuncts, the same jIva is referred to by different names in the different
states. The witnessing consciousness, however, is only of one nature, who is
aware of everything, permeates everything, and is called the 'fourth'
(because he is beyond the three states). There is no difference in him even
with different limiting adjuncts (for the jiva in the three states), because
his limiting adjunct is of the same nature. (The limiting adjunct of the
witnessing consciousness is sattvaguna which is always the same).

Note. The jIva has as  limiting adjunct nescience limited by the inner organ
(mind) and the samskAras (impressions) in it. This can be called the
'independent' limiting adjunct which distinguishes one jIva from another
jIva. Each individual jIva has a separate limiting adjunct in the form of
his mind. Therefore one person cannot know another person's mind. But a
particular individual knows what he himself saw in dream and what he
experienced in sleep, even though the limiting adjuncts in the three states
are not identical. So the difference due to the different limiting adjuncts
of the same individual in his three states is called secondary difference

    Extracts from SrI Sankara's works on the three states are given on my
website http://www.geocities.com/snsastri under the main heading 'Terms and
Concepts in Vedanta' and sub-heading 'The three states'.


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