[Advaita-l] Sleep, tamas and brahman

Kalyan kalyan_kg at yahoo.com
Tue May 1 05:55:26 EDT 2018

Namaste Sri Venkatraghavanji

//1) If avidyA is indeed absent in deep sleep, why did Shankara say in the mANDUkya bhAShya that there is the presence of a bIja, a seed that manifests itself as the world, in deep sleep?
2) Why does the mANDUkya upaniShad deny turIyatva to suShupti by saying na prajnam in mantra 7?//

I have already mentioned that there seems to be a difference in teachings between the BU and MaU. For the former, deep sleep is highest. For the latter, it is not. Perhaps we can adopt the point of view that the upanishads teach diverse views. 

Or, as Sri Bhaskarji says, if you examine deep sleep in itself, it is the highest state. But if we look at it from waking state bias, it is tamasic. I liked his answer, though I dont know if I agree with it.

//3) Is the absence of avidyA an absence without trace, and if so how does this reconcile with satkArya vAda? That is, if avidyA is totally reduced to a zero in deep sleep, then something which is accepted as causing the world's appearance during the waking and dream states does not exist now. Similarly, something which is absolutely non-existent now, causes the world to appear in the waking and dream states. How can a non-existent thing cause anything?//

Avidya is always non-existent from the paramArthika view and deep sleep is a paramArthika view.

//4) If avidyA is indeed absent in deep sleep, why do the upaniShads advocate jnAna as a means for moksha? jnAna would be redundant.//

Because deep sleep is temporary and jnAna is permanent. 

//5) How is deep sleep different from death? If a person is free while sleeping, he must be free after death too. Why does he come back? Why does a person wake up after sleep afflicted by avidyA? This would mean moksha too is temporary.//

I dont know about death. As to why a person wakes up from deep sleep, a similar question was raised by Shankara in 4.3.31, but he does not answer it.

I agree any internally consistent theory must answer your questions and I have not. But this does not negate the fact that in BU 4.3, deep sleep is treated as highest.


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