[Advaita-l] waking, dreaming, sleeping, as mutually supportive

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Oct 12 06:13:05 CDT 2009

Dear Ramesh,

Thank you for your response.

Jnana does not come from books alone, or advice alone; or experience alone. But, as the sages agree, one may be graced with moments of greater consciousness which point the way towards jnana in its purity.

Such moments have encouraged my own sadhana. I make no claims to have 'experienced' turiya any more than, as you wisely say, this is the awareness of the presence of atman which is always with us in all states and underlies them.

Perhaps the first thing to say is, let us not confuse the term samadhi which is presented as a stage in Patanjali's ashtanga yoga, with turiya as the fourth state. Of course they are intimately related. I'm referring to turiya. Samadhi is both 'necessary and sufficient' on the path of yoga to kaivalya, yogis would say ?

I'm currently reading Arvind Sharma's attempt at looking at these states and their interdependence, in his 'The Experiential Dimension of Advaita Vedanta'.  His researches are interesting, but somewhat limited by his taking Ramana and Nisargadatta as the only two to have 'experienced' Advaita Vedanta -- tough on the rest of us !

I want to do nothing more than raise the subject of the interdepence of the three states; I feel that it is always time for re-assessment of the terms we use so habitually. In particular, I'm interested, as a poet, on what might link the 'dreaming' of fantasy, the 'dreaming' of scientists such as Kekulé, and the 'creative dreaming' of poets, which seems to employ more of the resources of the mind than are commonly used; and, I would say, are all related in some way to truth. (I won't get into sci-fi, as regarded by its enthusiasts as a means of 'imagining' truth...)

And yes of course, atman provides all the answers to all the questions... which was the starting point for these reflections anyway. If one is graced by a 'higher moment' I find it good to relinquish personal claims and offer it to others -- to be squashed or taken up, as may be !

if this question interests you, would you like to say more ?


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of Ramesh
Sent: 12 October 2009 11:37
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] waking, dreaming, sleeping, as mutually

Dear Michael,

I did not really understand your question at all, but a few points:

There is really no such thing as an "experience" of turiya. The term
turiya is only used to indicate that which is common to, but not
affected by (and hence "transcends") the regular mental states such as
waking, dreaming and deep sleep. In short, turiya is nothing but the
Atman, which is present in all states. So if at all, we may say that
turiya is "experienced" all the time, in all our regular states.

If you claim to had a specific experience of turiya, it could have
been some kind of samadhi, perhaps a foretaste of samadhi. However,
samadhi per se is not mukti. Mukti in advaita is jnana only. Samadhi
when understood properly can be a powerful aid in assimilating jnana
(a beautiful example is provided in the book "Yoga Enlightenment &
Perfection of Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswaminah") but in itself it
is neither necessary nor sufficient.


2009/10/11 Michael Shepherd <michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk>:
> I have aired this question before, and received answers that were
> immaculately Advaitic, but theoretical : i.e. all these states are part of
> maya, illusion; only Brahman is real..
> So I'll come at it from another angle. I have experienced turiya, the fourth
> state -- or a shadow or hint of it, not to make false claims. The experience
> was of blissful freedom, where all three states were present : the senses
> were fully present, but quiescent; the mind was present, but quiescent --
> and there was enough residual mind to be aware that there was total freedom
> as to whether to have a thought, or not...; and the rest was so profound
> that there was no need to close the eyes; after 24 hours without sleep, 20
> minutes of this was all that was needed.
> Such experiences only explain themseves fully over time. But it has raised a
> question, of -- in our normal level of daily consciousness -- to what extent
> these states are mutually supportive of sadhana.

na nirodho na ca utpattiḥ na baddho na ca sādhakaḥ I
na mumukṣur na vai muktaḥ ity eṣā paramārthatā II
-- Māṇḍūkya 2.30
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