[Advaita-l] Advaita vEdAnta - Unit (27)

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna puttakrishna at verizon.net
Tue May 1 09:55:29 CDT 2007

In Unit 25, we studied the nature of ajnyana and understood that ajnyAna is
abhAvarUpa; we understood how ajnyAna differs from mAya.
In Unit 26, we started to discuss the three states of the jIva. We will
continue with it in this unit.

What is unhappiness? Unhappiness is a mirage or false belief (it has no
support). Generally, if the outcome of our effort is below our expectations,
we experience this false belief. As much as happiness is the result of
disappearance of layers of ignorance (covering svarUpa), unhappiness is the
addition of layers of ignorance to further isolate ourselves from the
svarUpa; unhappiness is therefore a falsehood and has no support in the
svarUpa. The happiness that we think we experience (due to senses
interacting with sense objects) though is a similar falsehood, it has
support in the svarUpa (svarUpa is inherently blissful). Unhappiness has no
such support in the svarUpa. For example, in referring to the pain from an
injury, the individual will point the finger at the location and utters
"pains here"; pointing the finger to "here" obviously negates the
association of pain with svarUpa. Projecting the body on the Self, the jIva
experiences the pain. This projection is lost in the sleep (and so during
anesthesia) and no pain is experienced during these instances.

Deep Sleep state is svarUpa

The deep sleep state, which isolates all associations (upAdhi) - no body, no
desires, no pain, no relatives etc. - is the non-duel svarUpa of jIva - the
state that does not part or detach from the jIva. The jIva is without body
here in this state. During waking and dream states also, the jIva is really
without body; however, he takes a body by association (upAdhi). In reality,
the svarUpa of the jIva during the deep sleep and waking states is
identical, though he is unable to experience this svarUpa during waking
states, because of the strong association with mind and body. This svarUpa
established during deep sleep is (the state of) Brahman. Unfortunately, this
experience of Brahman lasts only until the sleep lasts. When the jIva comes
back to waking, his identification with body, mind and intellect brings him
back to ajnyAna again.

Logical Verification of Brahman-Atman Unity

The Atman is the experience in deep sleep (without any upAdhis); The Brahman
is satya (real), jnyAna (consciousness) and ananta (limitlessness). Is this
self (Atman) identical with the Brahman?
Satya is unchanging existence in space, time and knower's experience. Deep
sleep experience is unchanging in space - in India, or USA etc; It is the
same experience, independent of where one falls asleep. The deep sleep
experience is the same at any time - today, yesterday or tomorrow; It has
also been shown earlier that this deep sleep state experience is the same
for everyone - so it is knower (sleeper) independent. So Atman is satya.
The jnyAna is not the knowledge of objects like pot, cloth etc. It is the
non-distinct consciousness. In deep sleep, it is everyone's experience that
there is no knowledge of objects. However, the knowledge in waking state
-that I did not know anything in deep sleep - must attest to the presence of
the awareness or cognizance during the deep sleep; this awareness is the
non-distinct consciousness (a dead man will not wake up and say, I was not
aware of anything while I was dead - the jIva is not in the body). So the
Brahman consciousness is experienced in deep sleep.
The experience of limit-ness is only possible with respect to space, time or
object (limited by wall, door, doll, body etc). Since none of these are
present in deep sleep, the limitlessness (ananta) is the condition in deep
sleep. The Brahman-Atman unity is therefore established from the deep sleep
experience, by characterizing Atman of the nature of satya, jnyAna and
If so, why is the Jiva unable to experience anything in the deep sleep? It
is already established that he is embraced in Brahman in deep sleep. Ability
to experience something is possible only when that something is different
from the experiencer. But in deep sleep, there is no "that something
different". There is complete unity with Brahman. So the jIva is not
experiencing anything. Who should experience whom when there is unity? In
fact, the shruti offers the analogy of sexual union. The man and the woman,
though get into the act as two different entities, at the climax of the
union, they don't experience the partner. He is alone, she is alone; they
experience non duality (Br. upanishat -4.3.21).
In deep sleep, why is the jIva not only experiencing the absence of mind,
but he is not experiencing even his existence? Only the Brahman - Atman
union described in the shruti can answer this question.  There, in deep
sleep, the jIva has shed all upAdhis arising out of avidya. He is united in
Brahman, that is different from every thing else (at kArya level). There is
only Brahman, who is himself. Thus, being alone, the jIva has no other
experience. He is experiencing the effulgence of the Atma jyOti - the light
of the self.
Why does he not experience himself? This traces back to his beginning-less
avidya - his existence is experienced by association with body and mind; he
experiences himself only through this conditioned intellect. So, in deep
sleep, unable to see his usual association, he seems lost. However, he is
there in deep sleep, is not lost; when alone, even the activity of awareness
of himself cannot be there. Does the fire burn itself? Even the unity with
Brahman is not experienced, because this unity is not like water in a wet
cloth. This union is the union with himself, the Brahman - like the honey in
a pot (collected from different flowers).
If the jIva is not experiencing himself also in deep sleep, what is in deep
sleep? Is there avidya in deep sleep? This can only be determined by shruti
and logic that is consistent with the statements of shruti. 
shruti describes jIva in deep sleep as apahata pApma (without desires),
abhaya (fearless); These descriptions are from the perspective of waking
state; there is no debate from the perspective of deep sleep state. From the
perspective of svarUpa, the deep sleep state is of nEti, nEti (not this, not
this). That is, the deep sleep experience is that experience of the waking
state without the transactions of the avidya induced kAma karma. In other
words, in deep sleep, there is no adhyAsa caused by avidya, but avidya is
still present. The multiplicity is negated when there is no avidya. The
disappearance of avidya is necessary to experience non-duality(in the waking
state), even as the sense organs see the multiplicity. vidya is cognizing
the non-duality, but not necessarily seeing non-duality (one may see an
ornament, but cognizes only the gold in it). adhyAsa being an effect (kArya)
of avidya, avidya can exist without adhyAsa, but adhyAsa cannot exist
without avidya. avidya is destroyed only by vidya or jnyAna, not by deep
sleep. So, in deep sleep, the jIva is under the influence of ajnyAna

We will discuss turIya in the next unit.

Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih 

( Om peace, peace, peace).

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