[Advaita-l] Who Slept Very Well? -Part 1

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 4 22:01:11 CST 2014

PraNAms to all - This is in response to a question posed to me by a sincere seeker. I am posting here in parts due to length of the post. 
Hari Om!
                                                                                               Who Slept Very Well? 

First, before I forget, I want to express my appreciation to Pujya Sastriji and Shree Subbuji for directing me to the Pancadashi Ch.11, where the deep-sleep aspects are discussed extensively by Shree Vidyaranya.  This write-up is in response to the question posed by a sincere seeker in a private mail some time back. His question focused on the following:  Who is the experiencer, knower, and the recollector of the deep-sleep state, when the mind is not there. In essence, who slept very well and knows that he slept very well and now recollecting that information when he is awake.  This response to the question posed is based on my understanding of both what Shree Sastriji wrote to me in private and what I understood by studying the 11th Chapter, and what Shree Subbuji  also posted.  

In searching for answers I came across what Shree Ananda Wood wrote many years ago in discussions with Shree Dennis Waite (which is available in his website) where he discussed Shree Atamanada Krishna Menon’s understanding of what deep sleep state is. Given the fact that all descriptions of deep-sleep state are necessarily done in the waking state, we can only relay on 1) shaastra pramANa and 2) those experiences that are universally common for analysis.  The problems with Shree Atmanadaji’s interpretation of the state of affairs of deep –sleep state are noted in the end, since there are many people as I see in facebook as well as elsewhere that follow what Atmanandaji writings related to deep sleep state.  Since my write-up runs into many pages, I will post them in parts. 

Common Experiences in Deep-Sleep State:

We all experience deep sleep state.  Everyone longs for it and prepares all the things needed to get comfortable sleep that involves soft bed, pillows, mosquito curtain where needed, etc., to ensure uninterrupted relaxing sleep.  The external ingredients do contribute to comfort and happiness for the one who is preparing to sleep.  This is the object-induced happiness, when the mind is still awake. This happiness that is born out of comforts makes the mind to give up the waking state easily by detaching oneself from the body-identification and glide into the dream and deep sleep states.  This object-induced happiness will not have anything to do with the happiness or suffering in the dream state. In spite of comfortable bed, one can go into uncomfortable dream experiences where the dreamer’s body, mind and intellect, BMI, can undergo severe pain and unhappiness.  Likewise, in spite of the uncomfortable BMI conditions in the waking state, the
 dreamer’s BMI can have all the comforts in the dream. In essence, the dream experiences can be contradictory to the waker’s experiences.  While it is still dark in the bedroom where we are sleeping we can dream bright and brilliant sun in the dream.  Thus the experiences in the two states can be contradictory. We all experience theses during our waking and dream states. When we go to deep sleep state there appears to be no more identification with BMI-s and their related experiences. Everyone enjoys deep sleep state in spite of whatever conditions one has during waking or dream states. There is a famous Telugu song by Annamacharya  that says – nidra okkate….the sleep-experience is the same whether one is a beggar lying down on the street-pavement or an emperor sleeping in a comfortable bed in the palace.  

Thus, everyone experiences happiness in deep sleep state.  This happiness differs from the happiness that one gains during waking state and dream state. In these two later states, the happiness is related to fulfilling the desires and thus object-induced happiness; the object can involve physical, mental or intellectual fulfilment.  In essence, there is a tripuTi or triad that involves experiencer-experienced and experiencing, each differing from the other.  This duality or plurality is inherent in the happiness that one gains in the waking and dream states.  In contrast, the happiness that one experiences in the deep sleep state is devoid of the obvious duality of experiencer-experienced.  The object oriented happiness arises not from the object per sec, but due to the reflection of intrinsic fullness of the self when the mind is momentarily quietened when it is satisfied momentarily with the objective gains.  That satisfaction can arise, for example,
 when a desire for an object is fulfilled. Vidyaranya calls this as vishayAnande brahmanandaH – where the happiness which is intrinsic nature of Brahman is reflected in the mind as the object-induced-happiness in the mind.  There is a hierarchy of levels of happiness that Tai. Up. discusses in terms of the units of one man’s happiness who owns the whole world and enjoys everything in it. All these objective happiness are also matched by renouncing the desires for the objects backed up by the knowledge of the scriptures, says the Upanishad – shrotriyasya akaamaya tasya – for the one who understood the import of the scriptures and has renounced the desires pertaining to the loka that he is in.  One who has understood the absolute truth and hence has sublimated all the desires for object oriented happiness and therefore revels in himself by himself is a realized master, says Lord Krishna – prajahAti yadA kAmAn sarvAn pArtha monOgathAn, Atmanyeva
 AtmanA tuShTaH. Therefore, the happiness of the realized person comes with the clear understanding gained using the mind that he is full and happy by himself, and therefore there is no need to long for object –oriented happiness. Hence, there is no desire for object oriented happiness. That understanding comes using the mind and in the mind only and not in the absence of the mind. In essence, the happiness that one enjoys comes from oneself, either via fulfilment of desires are by renunciation of desires. 

In the deep sleep, there is no object-oriented happiness, since no object is perceived as the perceiving senses are folded and there is no subject-object duality.  In addition, the mind that experiences happiness also appears to be folded. The question arises as to who experiences the deep sleep state? Is there an experiencer-experienced –experiencing triad in the deep sleep state?   When I am awake from deep sleep state I say that I enjoyed the sleep or I slept well.  The law of memory is that the experiencer and the recollector of that experience have to be one and the same. I cannot recollect somebody else’s experience. Therefore, in principle, I was the one who slept and thus experienced the happiness in the deep sleep state, in spite of the apparent absence of experiencer-experienced duality, since I am able to recollect that I slept very well and that I was happy.  I do complain and become irritant, if I did not have good sleep.  Hence the
 benefits of the deep-sleep experience of happiness are felt in the waking state. Some even take sleeping pills to get into this deep sleep state of non-duality where one is relieved of the pains of BMI. Thus the first experience of deep sleep is happiness that one enjoys. 

The second aspect of this deep-sleep experience is, I have no knowledge of that experience, while I am in the deep sleep state. This is also a common experience of all beings.  I experience homogeneous absence of everything, or absence of duality seen in the waking and dream states. Scripture (Mandukya Up.) states this as - na kanchana kAmam kAmayate – that there is no desire to enjoy any objects in the deep sleep state since their existence is not perceived or experienced.  There is no experienced duality that includes knower-known duality.  Hence all the objective-knowledge gained in the waking and dream states is, as though, absorbed into a homogenous mass of undifferentiated knowledge, which scriptures call it as prajnaana ghanam.  The prajnaana ghanam includes the knowledge of things I know and also the knowledge of the ignorance of things that I do not know, viditam vA aviditam vA.  In one sense, in the deep sleep state, I have the knowledge of
 the absence of particular knowledge of any kind.   What we have is knowledge of the deep sleep state as ‘I do not know anything’ – that is lack of any particular or differentiable knowledge.  Non-existence of objects is also knowledge, since when I am awake I say that I did not know anything during deep-sleep state. This is anupaladbi pramANa, as knowledge of the non-existence of a thing, just as when I say that I see there is no pot here. That is, I see that I do not see a pot here, or I have the knowledge of the absence of a pot here. To have that knowledge, I should have prior knowledge of a pot for me to say that I do not see any pot here. I cannot say there is no gaagaabuubu here, since I do not have a prior knowledge of what gaagaabuubu is. The absence of an object is knowledge only if its presence in the universe was known before, and is stored in the memory.  

To be continued as part II

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