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

savithri devaraj savithri_devaraj at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 22 23:08:22 CDT 2009

A lot has been said in this thread. I just wanted to share my understanding of the advaitic interpretation of the 3 avasthas in avasthAtraya prakriya (based on mAnDUkya) and it is completely contrary to the title of this thread and perhaps to the discussion there in.  So, please ignore if you like.  As I understand it, the three avasthAs are completely mutually exclusive and independent of one another. The gist of the tenet is this. 
The states are all-encompassing, including the subject, objects, time and space. In other words, the subject, objects, perception of time and space including all concepts such as physical, spiritual, etc..,  belonging to one state, belongs exclusively to that state only, and cannot be conjured up in any other state. 
Not only that, the paraphernalia constituting the state, say for example the waking state, are to be found no where else when the subject is in a different state. That means, the seer of the waking state and the objects of that state have no existence when the subject is in deep sleep or in a dream state. States are defined by the subject time and space. The subject of the waking state is called VaishvAnara, the subject of the dream state is referred to as Taijasa, and the subject of the deep sleep state is referred to as prAjna. 
It is a totally different view - it is a shift from the world-based view to a state-based subject-centric view where it is as though the states are thrust upon the person in succession, and the states are the window to reality. In this case, we have to discount the general world view that we live in this world transacting with others, sharing the waking state (and sometimes the dream state) and an common understanding of time across states with others.  This vedantic view can be somewhat reconciled when we understand that we go thru' dream as though it were "as real as" the waking state. There is no concept of any other state in the dream state or deep sleep state. The concepts of time are totally elastic in dream as compared to the waking, the units of time in the different states have no comparison or commonality. Problems of the waking state cannot be solved in the dream state or vice versa. So this vedantic view is against the general
 (and perhaps the scientific) view that dreams can be explained or reasoned from the waking experiences, etc.  
Here the means of knowledge, or the logic of reasoning cannot be applied to the states. The means and logic of the waking state may be appropriate for the transactions of the waking state, but are indequate or may be deemed biased for discussions or judgements on the collection of states. Even the determination that we go thru' the 3 states is a biased view of the waking state only! But our atma, the witness of the states, is ever changeless and absolute. In this way we can say that he who is the witness of the states is the real of the real and hence absolute, while all that is witnessed is changing and relative, as in the sruti statements -"svapnAntam jAgarItAntam ca ubhau yennanupashyati. mahAntam vibhumAtmAnam matvA dhIro na sochati." 
In fact, by this tenet, we can't even say that we experience 3 states, that implies we are taking our stand in a space/time beyond the 3 states and witnessing them. The definition of a state behooves that - there is no common time/space/subject between states, each state is defined by its own space, time and subject. Similarly, the states are neither in time, space, nor are they an object to a subject. The underlying reality of all this elusive transience (mitya) is the ever-resplendent sentient being.

--- On Thu, 10/22/09, Praveen R. Bhat <bhatpraveen at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Praveen R. Bhat <bhatpraveen at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] waking, dreaming, sleeping, as mutually supportive
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 6:33 AM

Hari Om, Michaelji,

On Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 3:56 PM, Michael Shepherd <
michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:

> Thank you. I know that 'sleep cycles' are calculated to last 90-120
> minutes,
> which may be significant; as dreaming occurs then.

If you meant all three by sleep cycles (waking, dream and deep sleep), then
yes, it was something like that in the artlcle. However, I remember it to be
lesser steps of minutes before the state changes in a cycle. And this
happens even during the day as the author claimed.

> Also it's said that the mind returns to atman between each thought and each
> desire.

Well, its not so much so that the mind returns to Atman, but mind being a
bunch of thoughts, what exists between thoughts for whatever small fraction
of time is the Atman without the add-ons. At least thats how Tripura Rahasya
brings it out.

--Praveen R. Bhat
/* Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known!
[Br.Up. 4.5.15] */
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