[Advaita-l] Sankara in BU 4.3 says Turiya is Supreme State (Was Re: Sleep, tamas and brahman)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue May 1 21:21:13 EDT 2018

Kalyan via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> At many places in B U 4.3, Shankara admits no ignorance in deep sleep.
> ...
> My interest is limited to B U 4.3. (Since I am typing from mobile,
> it is difficult to paste the Sanskrit bhAshya. Interested readers
> are welcome to cross verify with original commentary.)
Here's a reference from the Sankara Bhashya on Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (BU) 4.3,
where all the three states (INCLUDING Deep Sleep) are rejected as not being
the Supreme Atman! THAT is said to be the fourth state, Turiya:
Sankara's commentary as introduction to BU 4.3 (Translation by Swami Madhavananda):
  evaM abhayaM pariprApito janakaH yAGYavalkyena
  AgamataH saMkShepataH .
  atra cha jAgratsvapnasuShuptaturIyANyupanyastAni
  anyaprasa~Ngena - indhaH, praviviktaahaarataraH,
  sarve prANAH, sa eSha neti netIti .
  “Thus did Yajnavalkya set Janaka beyond fear by a
  brief reference to scriptural evidence.
  Here, in a different connection, the states of
  have been introduced in the words, 'Indha,' 'Has finer
  food,' 'The different vital forces,' and 'This Self
  is That which has been described as "Not this, not this"'.”
The *FOURTH* state, called the *TURIYA*, is distinct from the three states
of waking, dream and deep sleep, hence is described as "Not this, Not this"
(i.e. to distinguish it from the three states), and is the Real Nature of
> For those who still doubt that deep sleep is highest state -
> Shankara says in 4.3.34 that the transcendental form of the Atman,
> free from ignorance, is experienced in the state of deep sleep -
> तत्र च सर्वात्मभावः स्वभावोऽस्य, एवम् अविद्याकामकर्मादिसर्वसंसारधर्मसम्बन्धातीतं
> रूपमस्य, साक्षात् सुषुप्ते गृह्यते — इत्येतद्विज्ञापितम्
Obviously, the state of deep sleep has already been rejected as the Supreme
and the Turiya state placed in that position instead (introduction to BU 4.3).
So the interpretation that you've given above cannot be correct.
Right after the line you've quoted above comes:
  स्वयंज्योतिरात्मा एषः परम आनन्दः ...
  svayaMjyotirAtmA eShaH parama AnandaH ...
  "The Atman is Self-luminous and is the Supreme **Bliss** ..."
The Bliss of Deep Sleep is an *ANALOGY* to the Bliss of the Self! That is all!

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