[Advaita-l] Sleep, tamas and brahman

Raghav Kumar Dwivedula raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Fri May 4 02:07:40 EDT 2018

Namaste Kalyan ji
Many interesting posts and references have emerged from your initial
questions and thank you for the same. This topic has been discussed before
too in various ways but still the questions and replies were quite

I have two specific questions for you based on your very initial post. You
had made one categorical statement viz., "The brihadaranyaka upanishad
equates deep sleep with the highest state of brahman." and gave references
from BU to back the claim. Others explained that its not tenable and you
stuck to your initial claim by saying that -
"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." (End of quote)

I fear that stand of yours goes against ekavAkyatA of the
upaniShat-pramANam , as has been pointed out - to say the different
upaniShads teach diverse views (which are quite contradictory to each other
on an important issue, to boot). And you wrote -

"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 don't know if I agree with it." (End of quote)
(Its not clear what that last statement means.)

1. Do you regard sleep as sAdhana? This has led to much merriment but I
don't think you seriously regard sleep as a GYAna-sAdhanam  but would like
to hear you give your understanding or answer to the question raised by
yourself viz., is sleep itself sAdhana since BU says avidyA is absent in
sleep and isn't it desirable to prolong being in the "temporarily liberated
state" called suShupti to foster its extension and continuance in to the
waking state, presumably?

Similarly, what is your understanding of why sleep along with Alasya etc is
put in the tamas category in the Gita?

I may add that *if we carefully examine even the waking state without any
so-called 'waking state bias', then we reach the same advaitic conclusion*
- as the kena upaniShad maintains - pratibodhaviditam matam amRtatvam hi
vindate. Through each and every cognition, the same truth of advitIyam
brahma is manifest and can be understood.  Too much is being made of this
'waking state bias'. I would suggest that if someone has such a sUxma and
shuddha anataHkaraNam as to recollect ,a temporally distant recollection of
sleep i.e., from *smRti*, a past experience of tamas-ridden suShupti and
analyze it from memory after negating the 'waking-state bias" to arrive at
brahma-GYAnam , he can very well move vertically in to the depth of the
present moment experience and arrive at the same brahmAtma-ailkya
understanding by negating that very 'waking-state bias'.  And if we cannot
transcend this "waking state bias" w.r.t. to the immediately available
experience of the present moment, then (using kaimUtika nyAya) where is the
question of negating this bias while analyzing a distant smRti of deep
sleep? (I do recognize the great utility of suShupti analysis in
avasthA-traya prakriyA, of appreciating AtmA as prapanchopashamam etc.
etc.,, but find this "waking state bias" concept to justify absence of
avidyA in suShupti to be something very airy-fairy and ultimately

If avidyA is accepted in accepted in suShutpti, then the two questions you
raised are easily answered.

One last point is -  what according to you is the logical or saiddhAntika
problem with the statement "avidyA persists in suShupti" other than that BU
4.3 bhAShya seems to talk differently. Leaving aside the textual
dichotomies etc., which have already been discussed, do you also see a
*logical* issue here which makes you want to hold on to a literalist
interpretation of BU 4.3? Or are you saying that,  to say "avidyA is there
in suShupti based on MaU" is *also* acceptable to you since different
upaniShads teach differently?


On Sat, Apr 28, 2018 at 7:34 PM, Kalyan via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Namaste
> The brihadaranyaka upanishad equates deep sleep with the highest state of
> brahman.
> Why is sleep then, associated with tamas in the bhagavad gita?
> Second question - vide the brihadaranyaka, can we say that sleeping is a
> sAdhana in itself?
> Regards
> Kalyan

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