[Advaita-l] Sleep, tamas and brahman

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Apr 30 21:42:37 EDT 2018

On Tue, May 1, 2018 at 12:23 AM, Kalyan <kalyan_kg at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Thanks for pointing out the dichotomies between  the BU and mandukya
> bhashyas. I reiterate - in deep sleep Shankara does not admit any ignorance
> in BU 4.3, as anyone is free to verify.
> // It has been said that in the state of profound
>  sleep there is not, as in the waking and dream states, that
>  second thing differentiated from the self which it can. know
>  ; hence it knows no particulars in profound sleep. Here
>  it is objected: If this is its nature, why does it give up
>  that nature and have particular knowledge? //

What Shankara means is 'in profound sleep the ignorance of the kind
vikshepa, projection of multiplicity, is not there.  The basic ignorance of
the type aavarana, enveloping, is definitely there.'  This has been
clarified in that bhashya's commentary/gloss. Thus, there is no dichotomy
across the Upanishads that Shankara has commented.  That is why I pointed
out the Mandukya 1.2 bhashya which gives the ruling for 'all' the
Upanishads thereby setting aside the doubt/confusion regarding the jiva
merging in Brahman in deep sleep/pralaya.

> The question is a just different way of asking - why does jIva wake up
> from deep sleep and have particular knowledge?

This has been amply answered by the Mandukya Upanishad first chapter
itself.  There continues the bija avidya in all states, in all lives of the
jiva, while the perception of duality, multiplicity, is temporarily
suspended during sleep since the individual's mind-body-senses complex is
in a state of resolution.  Shankara has made this clear in the BU too.  For
example in BU 4.4.5 he makes this statement:  एवं कार्यकरणसङ्घातमयः सन्
आत्मा प्राप्तव्यं वस्त्वन्तरं पश्यन् — इदं मया प्राप्तम् , अदो मया
प्राप्तव्यम् — इत्येवं *विपरीतप्रत्ययः* तदभिलाषः काममयो भवति ।
 Madhavananda:  Similarly, being identified with the body and organs, the
self, on seeing something to be attained, forms the *false notion *that it
has got this one, and has to get that one, and setting its heart on that,
becomes identified with desire.

Thus it is vipareeta pratyaya, also called adhyasa, that is possible when
one is identified with sense organs. This happens in waking directly and
indirectly in dream and completely absent in sleep when the sense organs
identity is not there.  Hence alone there is no karma, etc. being initiated
by him then.  This idea is more explicitly brought out in the Mandukya
while comparing contrasting the three states.

The concept of turiyatita is not there in the Upanishads commented upon by
Shankara.  It is only with a view to give the comprehensive teaching that
so many Upanishads have been commented upon by Shankara and one who studies
all of them alone will get that complete teaching. That is the sampradaya.
Even if one has not the time and wherewithal to study all the 10 upanishads
with the commentaries, if he is lucky enough to be taught by a competent
Acharya even one Upanishad or just the Bhagavadgita, he will have the
benefit of getting the complete teaching as the Acharya is capable of
conveying the complete teaching since he has gathered the same by the
complete study.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list