[Advaita-l] Ishwara Turiya?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Mar 9 01:39:22 CST 2012

On Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 11:15 AM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>wrote:

> On 8 March 2012 22:45,  <rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:
> << So, your position is that there are only four states, no fifth as
> stated in Sri Subramanian's mail. Also Ishwara is not turiya as stated
> by Sri Devanathan. Did I understand you right?>>
> While Vidyasankar may respond separately, I might add here that even
> turIya is not, strictly speaking, a "state". Rather it is a reference
> to the shuddha chaitanya (=Atman) that is the invariable across all
> states. The avasthAtraya analysis considers the 3 commonly experienced
> states (waking, dreaming, deep sleep) and explains the turIya as the
> invariable across these. The term 'chaturtha' used in the mANDUkya
> means "the fourth" but the number 4 is figurative and does not connote
> a distinct state.
> In other words, turIya is not a distinct state to be experienced.
> Rather, it is understood as the invariable across all experiences, or
> "Experience" itself. turIya represents my svarUpa as which
> nirupAdhika, whereas the regular 3 states are aupAdhika.

The above is quite true.  Yet, like the term "Ishwara' this term 'state'
with reference to the Turiya found across texts could give one an
impression that it too is a state:

The Panchadashi 6th chapter called 'Chitra deepam' begins with the
following verse:

*यथा चित्रपटे* दृष्टम् अवस्थानां चतुष्टयम् ।
परमात्मनि विज्ञेयं तथा अवस्थाचतुष्टयम् ॥१॥

[Just as one can see four 'stages' in (the making of) a painting on a
canvas, so  too one has to understand four states in the ParamAtman.]

The chapter goes on to brilliantly draw more correspondences between the
canvas-painting and ParamAtman/Brahman.  It is a treat to read this
chapter. In fact one can say this chapter is a treatise on the Mandukya

Shankara too uses the term 'avasthA' with reference to the Supreme, for
example, in the  most recently cited BSB 2.1.14:

एवं *परमार्थावस्थायां *सर्वव्यवहाराभावं वदन्ति वेदान्ताः सर्वे   ।

While the pAramArthika is not really a state, yet in relation to the
vyAvahArika, it is figuratively termed one, just to show the contrast even
while retaining the 'figurative' nature of the term with reference to the


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