[Advaita-l] Ishwara Turiya?

ShankaraBharadwaj Khandavalli shankarabharadwaj at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 14 03:44:11 CDT 2012

"> 1. I did not come across "TuriyAtita" in the upanishads, a word you use. Can you define it and differentiate it from Turiya?
It is 
supposed to have been used by twelfth century advaitins to define the 
state of Brahman. The problem with Turiya was polemical attack from 
dualists that it is the fourth and hence dependent on the the three! Sri
 Devanathan says it has upanishadic reference. He works hard and is 
trained as a scholar - SI understands the importance of textual 

That is the way anything is defined. "The one that is not the three", has to be fourth, either by the classical vedantic "neti" logic or by the normal human logic of defining the undefined based on known definitions. For instance application of the very concept "mukta" to Isvara is based on a non-mukta state that humans understand. 

But the real issue is whether there is anything called the fifth and its logical necessity, when the fourth explains all that is not in the three. After all if fourth is "dependent" on the three, the fifth depends on fourth and so on. 

"It was used by Sri Vidyasankar. Turiya is what is used by Gaudapada and 
Sankara. But turiyAvatha is figuratively right. It is the akhandakara 
vrtti of a jnani. "

The concept Turiya itself is well attested, but my question was whether it is an avastha. As another upanishadic verse goes "tvaM avastha traya atItaH" (Ganapati Atharva Seersha). Avasthas are three, and the principle that is not subject to avasthas is the turiya - so in my understanding the real problem is in understanding turiya an avastha. 

"Yes. The lamp lights even after the drama is over. Sakshi is not dependent on witnessed objects for its existence."
"He is suddha, buddha, nitya, mukta. He is sarvajna in the sense of making everything known."

There is no sakshitva when there is nothing to witness, though the "sakshi" is existent. As such, the term "saguna" makes sense only when there are gunas - when there is no vyavahara or the three avasthas, there are no gunas. What remains is nirguna alone. All the qualities that you mentioned buddha, mukta etc are with respect to a vyavahara only - my question was whether there is any guna that is existent or applicable when there is no vyavahara. If not, then saguna cannot be existing in the paramarthika frame. 

"Virata is the cosmic gross body. Hiranyagarbha is the cosmic mind. When 
Hiranyagarbha is in deep sleep, He is is called Avyakta (the 
unmanifest). The collection of gods is also described as Hiranyagarbha. 
Lord Brahma is also called Hiranyagarbha. Hiranyagarbha is also called 
karya Brahman. When Hiranyagarbha sleeps, It is called Avyakta, the 
karana Brahman. Virata, Hiranyagarbha and Avyakta are all mithya. They 
represent wakeful, dream and sleep states at cosmic level. 

However, Ishwara is beyond Avyakta (avyakto paro Narayana). He is 
turiya. He is non-different from Brahman as there are no multiple 
entities beyond Avyakta. While Avyakta, Hiranyagarbha and Virata can be 
negated, Ishwara cannot be. He is the Self, beyond all names and forms. 
 The difference between Nirguna Brahman and Saguna Brahman is that the 
latter is in association with maya. However, Maya is one with Ishwara or
 Brahman. They are multiple terms for one entity based on the role we 
see from a vyavahara perspective. Saguna Brahman is not apara Brahman 
because by definition apara Brahman is one which has a particular form. 
Saguna Brahman is beyond names and forms. 

Happy to be corrected

I am not sure what you mean by Avyakta - is that "figurative" too? Avyakta in the Sankhya terminology is pradhana or the one that is unmanifest and causes manifestation, and *is* Isvari the creator. So if you are bringing Hiranyagarbha into the picture at the subtle level then the causal will be Avyakta. In the sa-Isvara darsanas This is Isvara's function. 

" Saguna Brahman is not apara Brahman 
because by definition apara Brahman is one which has a particular form. 
Saguna Brahman is beyond names and forms."

I cannot make sense out of this - "Saguna" by definition is the one that has qualities, names and forms - whatever kind of qualities they may be. What are you trying to convey by saying Saguna does not have names? That Saguna is Nirguna? If so, why call it Saguna? 


 From: Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com>
To: ShankaraBharadwaj Khandavalli <shankarabharadwaj at yahoo.com>; A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> 
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 2:30 PM
Subject: Re: Ishwara Turiya?

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