[Advaita-l] Is this reading of the mAndukya upanishad correct one?

prem d p prem_d_p at yahoo.co.in
Tue Oct 30 12:01:14 CDT 2007

  dear sri vinayaka and all list members,
  i had just picked up swami gambhirananda's translation 
of the sankara bhashyam of mandukya upanishad and karika 
when i saw the subject post!
  rather than attempt a critique of the text quoted in 
the post, i would like to present a few thoughts of 
mine on the subject, without the benefit of having 
read the whole upanishad and karika. 
  dear all, please comment.
'deep sleep' and 'ever awake' are obviously contrary 
terms and it is well known from scriptures that the 
witness-Self is ever awake. Thus the entity which is 
in deep sleep is ego (jiva). deep sleep is characterized 
by non-differentiation and hence called prajnanaghana.
about deep sleep state we say on waking up that 
'i did not know anything, i slept happily unaware', 
the description being obviously from the stand point 
of waking state only. however the continuity (karika I.1) 
of the ego/jiva is self-accepted, as otherwise any 
absolute disconnectedness results in absolute shattering 
of the World, each piece forming a whole unto itself 
and unaware of the rest. thus the shattered world 
resolves back to one whole only. thus deep sleep is a 
state and unawareness of Absolute/Reality is common to 
all three states and the three states belong to jiva.
if one examines 'experience' closely, it may perhaps 
be found that the role of smarana (function of chitta) 
is fundamental to the establishment of phenomenal 
reality. chitta supports the dimensions of space and 
time and allows the objective percepts to function 
in a coherent framework.
hypothetically speaking, living in the 'ever present' 
without recourse to memory or chitta might turn out 
to be non-different from mere apprehension of Reality. 
thus, let alone deep sleep, even waking is perhaps a 
constructed 'real' experience always based on 
past (chitta) or to put it more precisely, a projection 
into the past.
in deep sleep state the latencies of the vyashti are 
not subject to either modification or expression. 
whereas in a jivanmukta, whichever state one may 
perceive him to be in, he has no latencies accruing 
to the vyashti that he apparently is (in fact this 
very accrual is vyashti).  in all the three states, 
for him, there is perfect yajna taking place in the 
koshas with the result that nothing accrues to the 
individual, not even percepts. all his remaining 
life-experience is a perfect sacrifice in which 
fruits are dissipated in the samashti and nothing 
accrues to vyashti.
samashti affords one room to be born, change, and 
dissipate away to non-individuality. viewed against 
the backdrop of samashti, everything seems to take 
on what may be called an 'ontic' significance. 
this ontic significance, finally, may be seen to be 
none other than pure 'Existence'. 
Existence-Knowledge-Bliss being the last terms in which 
the jiva grasps Reality before its own final immergence.
a modification of the type 'i slept' can only be 
attributed to ego or I and not to Self. Hence the 
deep sleep state is different from Turiya 
(also Ma.7, Karika III.34, 35 say so).
with regard to some of the key points in the excerpt 
by sri vinayaka please see below:
excerpt: 'turIya other than the Atman of the deep sleep 
is the philosophical superfluity.'
it may be admitted that turiya is the Atman of deep sleep 
state in as much as deep sleep state has undifferentiated 
awareness. mandukya karika I.2 (see also I.6) bhashyam 
discusses that everything resolves into undifferentiated 
prana in deep sleep. this undifferentiated prana is identical 
with the unmanifested primal avyakta (pregnant with the 
latencies ready to be born again). 
the field of action of cause-effect is the waking and the 
deep sleep is the causal repository. hence prajna behaves 
as the source of all objects, or the Lord in his aspect 
as the primal Source.
moreover this prajna reposes in the ananda (anandamaya kosha) 
and is the bhokta of bliss (karika I.3,4).
  excerpt: '...the other terms applied to the experience of 
sushupti such as sarveshvara, sarvajna, antaryAmin etc., 
for who has ever experienced in deep sleep that he is the 
ruler of the universe, or is the inner controller of the jivas
and the jagat, or is the all-knowing being, knowing
the past, present and future of all created entities
in the universe or that he is the origin and the
dissolution of all beings? It is quite clear
therefore, these attributes are heaped on the innocent
Atman of deep sleep, rather than experienced.......mystics 
of all religions have experienced the presence of an all 
powerful, all knowing, creating, destroying sentient being 
in their heightened mystic states., in savikalpa samAdhi.'
the following paragraph is hazarded as pure conjecture only, 
for the purpose of an interesting discussion it might generate.
  prajna, and for that matter any state, has no existence apart 
from brahman or turiya. omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, 
inner ruler etc are terms in which the jiva in the grips of 
ignorance looks upto the Supreme Reality. from the perspective 
of the limited, ignorant jiva, the origin of All is an 
impenetrable darkness called avyakta, which is none other 
than the undifferentiated consciousness of prajna (supported by turiya). 
unlike the nihilists, it is not accepted that prajna is ever 
unsupported or substantially different from turiya, this much 
is admitted and no more. as for the attainment of mystic states 
and powers by the upasakas of saguna brahman, BSB IV.iv.16-22 
clarifies that mind is not merged in these states and hence 
different from the state of deep sleep and jivanmukti....moreover 
all the unfettered powers of God are not attained in these 
mystic states...ie. God is known to be omniscient etc. 
but Supreme Godhood is not attained.
excerpt: 'This is due to absence of antahkaraNa, the instrument 
with which the truth has to be realized. There is not, therefore, 
a second positive entity other than the
Atman, which exists potentially as cause of the bondage.'
the antahkarana is absent in deep sleep because of its not being 
manifested, the causal ignorance anticipates the antahkarana. 
in other words, the antahkarana or mind may be assumed to have a 
causal state, namely, the Avarana and waking is the vikshEpa. 
(the following is an interesting use of the rope-snake analogy 
from an essay by swami ramatirtha...the illusion of maya works 
in two ways, the first is the hiding of the truth by the 
superimposition, whereby the rope is not apprehended and only 
the illusive snake is seen. subsequently the reflection of 
the rope on the snake is seen to have the attributes of rope 
such as its length, size etc....here in the vikshepa phase the 
truth is the rope, the snake is the mirror or maya, the 
reflection of Truth is what is manifested).

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