[Advaita-l] Advaita vEdAnta - Unit (28)

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna puttakrishna at verizon.net
Fri May 4 14:11:17 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 and 27, we discussed the three states of the jIva. 
In this unit, we will start a new topic - turIya.


>From the foregoing discussions, we have understood that jIva is beyond the
three forms of body - gross, subtle and kAraNa -  as well as the three
states - waking, dream and deep sleep; what this means is that the jIva is a
witness of the three forms as well as the three states. Is this witness
Brahman? The shruti says absolutely not! why not? Where there is a witness,
it is an indication of existence of another. So it is duality and not an
experience of non-duality. Where there is non-duality, there is nothing else
(to witness); this is the real experience of Brahman. If jIva is only a
witness in all the three states, there must be a fourth state, in which he
also looses his identity as a witness; the fourth state - chaturtIya, by a
modification of grammar, has come to be known as turIya.


In order to negate this witness experience, the jIva has to discard (retire)
the ajnyAna created jagat with the mAyA created jagat; then only the shruti
stated jagat remains. This jagat, being not different from the self, he
negates all his transactions prior to jnyAna; only the mAyA created jagat
remains, which is not different from the self; therefore the witness
experience disappears. The process of retiring the ajnyAna created jagat
with the mAyA created jagat is the topic of this section. To understand this
retiring or negating, we need to understand the terms vyaShTi and samaShTI,
described below.


samaShTi (Aggregate) vs.  vyaShTi (Segregate or individuality).

samaShTi  or aggregate  is a collection. vyaShTi or segregate is an
individual of this collection that is different from the segregate in a
distinctive characteristic. For example, forest is samaShTi, an individual
tree is vyaShTi; a lake is samaShTi, a drop of water in it is vyaShTi.
Likewise the jagat formed out of the five great elements is samaShTi, the
individual body, also formed out of the five great elements is vyaShTi etc.
The point to be noted here is that, the samaShTi is not different from the
vyaShTi in svarUpa, though they differ in one distinctive plane. 


Corresponding to the three states of the (vyaShTi ) jIva - waking, dream and
deep sleep,  three samaShTi equivalents - vaishvAnara, taijasa and prAjnya
need to be understood.

vaishvAnara Atma

In the waking state, as much as the jIva thinks he is independent, all his
activities are dependent on other jIvas. The jIva cannot even control the
winking of his eyes; the vaishvAnara Atma is responsible for this activity;
the food we eat is also digested by vaishvAnara Atma (gIta 15.14). This
vaishvAnara is no other than paramAtma - the first (of the four) segment of
the pratyagAtma (Self). vaishvAnara  is saptAnga - having seven limbs or
organs; the space between heaven and earth (antarikSha) is his head, the sun
(sUrya) is his eyes, air (vAyu) is his prANa, space (AkAsha) is his waist,
water (Apa) is his genitals, earth (prithvi) is his feet (chAndOgya 5.18.2).
What does this vaishvAnara, who is outside our body mean, in relation to the
pratyagAtma who is reflected as the jIva in our body? The relation lies in
the avidya. The jIva enforces limitation at three levels - avidya, gross and
subtle bodies. The pratyagAtma thinks he is limited to the body of the
vyashTi jIva or is a witness to the activities of the vyashTi jIva. Because
of the avidya, the pratyagAtma is enforcing this limit (of a vyaShTi or
segregate) body in himself, while in reality, his body is the entire jagat
(Brahman). Therefore the jIva must reject this enforced limitation and
identify himself with the vaishvAnara body.

taijasa Atma

taijasa is the samaShTi of jIva in the dream state. He also has seven limbs
or organs, but these are subtle, unlike the gross organs of the vaishvAnara.
In this state, the jIva is devoid of identification with the gross body
(aggregate gross body); the jIva enforces limitations at two levels - avidya
and subtle body. He cognizes tendencies (vAsanAs) of his own mind (which in
its svarUpa is consciousness), while in reality his mind is the aggregate
mind of the hiraNyagarbha. This jIva with the two enforced limitations of
avidya and subtle body is the taijasa. The taijasa Atma is the second
segment of the pratyagAtma. The jIva must reject this enforced limitation
and identify himself with the taijasa Atma.

prAjnya Atma.

The jIva leaves the dream state and enters the deep sleep state. In this
state, the jIva is devoid of identification with the gross body as well as
the subtle body. Because he is still associated with avidya, he identifies a
limitation to his vyaShTi identity, while in reality he is not limited by
this segregation. He is the aggregate, called prAjnyA; he is pure
consciousness. The jIva, because of upAdhis of gross body and subtle body in
the waking and dream states - respectively the vaishvAnara and taijasa,
experiences vritti jnyAna or distinctive knowledge. At the prAjnya level, he
is prajnyAna Ghana - all knower, lordship over all, is the cause of all
(however, he is not aware of it - he is thinking he is limited by the body
and mind). prAjnya is the third segment of the Atma.

The vaisvAnara, taijasa and prAjnya are respectively the first, second and
third (of the four) segments of Atman. The gross vaishvAnara must be retired
into the subtle taijasa; the vaisvAnara retired taijasa must be retired in
the prajnYa; the prAjnya in whom the vaisvAnara and taijasa are merged,
should now be retired in Atma. Consider the segments as quarters of a
dollar. vaisvAnara is the first quarter, taijasa is the second quarter,
prAjnya is the third quarter and Atma is the dollar coin. When vaishvAnara
is retired into the taijasa, the first quarter is merged with the second
quarter to obtain a half dollar coin. When the taijasa is retired in the
prajnYa, the three quarter coin is obtained. When this three quarter coin is
retired into dollar coin (Atma), the dollar coin is realized; there is no
more transactions with the quarters.

At the prAjnya level, the jIva is prajnyAna Ghana - all knower, lordship
over all, is the cause of all. The Lord provides the jIva the opportunity to
experience Brahman, every day during deep sleep. The ajnyAni in us, after
resting in deep sleep, returns to waking state, reveling in the land of
upAdhis and ignoring the experience of the deep sleep. The mumukShu or
seeker, having realized that the unity with Brahman there in the deep sleep
could be acquired permanently, returns to the waking state determined to
apply the logic and practice consistent with shrutis, to acquire that unity.
In deep sleep every thing has been rejected, except avidya. This avidya can
never be rejected in the deep sleep state.

This avidya can only be rejected by appropriate discrimination that all the
experiences of pain and pleasure are due to self inflicted ignorance of
creation of upAdhis - I am the Brahman that is the material and intelligent
cause of the jagat (dollar coin). The transactions are in the effect
(quarters) and not in the cause. I am in the effect (all pervading
experience); the effects are not in me (knowledge of svarUpa jnyAna). Such a
state, in which the experiences of the three states are rejected is the
fouth state, the turIya. Most importantly, while in deep sleep, the
experience is 'not knowing anything', the experience in turIya is 'knowing

The turIya is the fourth segment. Just as the fourth quarter of a dollar
makes the dollar, the fourth segment or state of Atma is Atma itself. In
turIya, the Atma is not bahiShprajnya - he is not vishvAnara or experiencer
of waking state; he is not antahprajnya - he is not taijasa or experiencer
of dream; he is neither the one in between - he is not the prAjnya or the
experiencer of deep sleep with the attendant avidya of not knowing anything
during deep sleep. He is not the prajnyAthr (knower), because there is
nothing other than him to know: he is not aprajnya or different from pure
consciousness; he is not the subject of knowing; he is not marked by
distinctive characteristics - achintya; not describable by words; he is to
be known through the faith of constant presence in all the three states; he
is tranquil, auspicious, void of duality; he is THAT. This is the saying of
mAnDUkya upanishat (1-7).

" nAntah prajnyam na bahiShprajnyam nObhayatah prajnyam na prajnyAnaghanam
na prajnyam nAprajnyam | adriShTam avyavahAryam agrAhyam alakShanNam
achintyam avyapadEshyam EkAtma pratyayasAram prapanchOpashamam shAntam
shivam advaitam chaturtham manyantE sa AtmA sa ||"

Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih 

( Om peace, peace, peace).

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