[Advaita-l] Ishwara Turiya?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 9 11:06:42 CST 2012


> Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2012 10:48:02 +0000
> From: rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Ishwara Turiya?
> I don't think this BSB has any thing to do with His being Turiya. My rason
> is as follows:

All the thinking in your posts point to one thing. You talk of nirguNa
brahman as one entity and as saguNa brahman as quite another entity.
The reality, which is repeated by Sankara bhagavatpAda throughout his
works, is that there is one brahman only and that guNa-s are, in the
ultimate analysis, only imagined.
That is one of the primary reasons why Sankara uses the word ISvara
when he could have used brahman. However, he has made explicit in
many other places that ISvara-tva as we understand it is upAdhi nimitta
and that brahman is free of all upAdhi-s. The point he wishes to convey
through this usage style is clear. There is no such thing as a sa-guNa
brahman separate from nir-guNa brahman. There is only brahman,
beyond guNa-s, about which words can say really nothing, but if one
has to say something about it, then one has to give room for guNa-s
and in that scenario, brahman is called ISvara. 
Meanwhile, don't lose sight of that the jIva is also "sa-guNa" brahman,
in a different way than ISvara being sa-guNa brahman. If this were not
so, then in the advaita view, moksha would be impossible for the jIva.
The only things that distinguish jIva from ISvara are the differences in
respective guNa-s. When you look beyond the guNa-s, both jIva-tva and
ISvara-tva are gone and there is only one brahman. This is the intent
behind the gItA verse that says, kshetrajnaM cApi mAM viddhi sarva-
kshetreshu bhArata.
Now, coming to turIya. The question, "is ISvara turIya?", is ill-posed.
It is quite different, for example, from a question that asks, what is the
avasthA in which ISvara abides? Nobody among vedAntin-s talks of an
avasthA catushTaya analysis; it is always described as avasthA-traya
parIkshA - an analysis of the three states, namely waking, dreaming
and sleep. These are the usual modes of functioning for all embodied
beings. The point of this analysis is that the AtmA is unchanging and
eternal through all these states. "amAtraS caturthaH" should not be
thought of as if it were a separate fourth state apart from the rest.
That said, what the mANDUkya upanishat and kArikA are saying is not
that the turIya is merely a matter of logical inference about the eternal
existence of the AtmA. The state of being of the AtmA is not strictly
an experience, and it is a constant across all experiencecs, but it is
nevertheless "experienced", through asparSa yoga according to the
kArikA-s. BSBh 3.2.24, which is being cited in another parallel thread,
adds saMrAdhana = bhakti-dhyAna-praNidhAnAdy anushThAna as 
means to see the Atman. This may seem like an aside and not meant
to have anything to do with your queries about ISvara and turIya. But
look at bhagavatpAda's words here - nirasta-samasta-prapancaM ...
paSyanti yoginaH and see how they resonate with prapancopaSama,
the term used in the mANDUkya to describe the turIya. 
The question that you should really be asking is, why is prAjna in the
sushupta state described as sarveSvara, sarvajna, yoni and bhUtAnAM
prabhavApyayau. Why is the jIva in the state of deep sleep said to be
ekIbhUta with brahman and why is that deep sleep state attributed with
omnipotence and omniscience? That is the crux of the vedAnta approach
that needs to be understood. I would also like to point out gItAbhAshya
8.18 here to you, where a prabodhakAla and a svApakAla are ascribed
to brahman. So, what is the avasthA in which ISvara abides? As you can
guess by now, there is a vyavahAra perspective to this and a paramArtha
one. The former says that the apperance, sustenance and dissolution of
the universe is nothing more than ISvara going through different states,
while the latter perspective would say that ISvara is always in the turIya
state. That is what our religous art and mythology attempt to capture,
by showing Siva as always seated in samAdhi or vishNu as being in a
state of yoga-nidrA etc.


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