Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The tale of the three states - what is deep sleep?
The model Shruti uses to analyze the jiva, breaks it down, as is well-
known - into 5 koshas and 3 shareeras - gross,subtleand causal. Of
this the problem-child, the I-sense, the Ego-sense is primarily the
It is this vijnanamaya kosha who is the Mr.X, who thinks he is poor,
is in pain, has guilt, is getting old, fears death, dislikes karela,
loves his child etc
Now in the waking state Mr.X is experiencing Ishwara's world. He uses
his sensory apparatus and conceives of a world that is as though "out
there", but in reality, consists of vrrtis that are "in here"
In the dream state Mr.X is experiencing his own private world - where-
in the primary faculty that is operational is memory and projections
thereof which create a world which is fully "in here"
Now in deep sleep or sushupti, Mr.X is no longer in the picture.
The vijnanamaya kosha and all other so-called "outer" koshas are all
What is left is the karana shareera or the anandamaya kosha. The
anandamaya kosha itself consists of tamas, and reflects the Bliss of
Brahman. So deep sleep is blissful, because the jiva exists in the
very sourcepool of bliss in the vyavaharic level - it is where Maya-
devi allows the weary jiva to suckle the bliss of Brahman as it
were..every other experiential bliss in the world is this bliss alone -
only it needs the external duality-based circumstances to
permit....for that matter - even in a state of self-forgetfulness -
such as when i am listening to a wonderful raaga -and i simply lose my-
"self" in the process - only to come out of that state and realize "i
had a blissful experience" - at those times what is responsible for
that is the anadamayakosha alone.
What is the jiva's experience in this state - one of total
blankness. "Bliss-"ful" ignorance"
Brhadaranyaka Upanishad IV.iii.23 to 30 � " That It does not see,
smell, taste, speak, hear, think. touch, or know is because although
seeing, smelling, tasting, speaking, hearing, thinking, touching and
knowing then it does not see, smell, taste, speak, hear, think, touch
or know (the vijnanamaya kosha is dormant - there is no experience of
an external world of objects or an internal dream world.); for the
vision of the witness can never be lost, because it is imperishable".
The Kaivalya UP.(13) further clarifies in a similair vein
Sushuptikaale sakale vileene
In dreamless sleep when everything is absorbed, the
jiva, overpowered by ignorance, attains the state of
In other words, the jiva does as though attain kaivalyam but being
overpowered by Maya's avaranashakti ( or the veiling power) is not
conscious of it.
Also Ch. Up 6.8.1 as you would be well familiair with
Uddalaka the son of Aruna said to his son Svetaketu:
"Learn from me, my dear, the true nature of sleep.
When a person has entered into deep sleep, as it is
called, then, my dear, he becomes united with Pure
Being (Sat), he has gone to his own Self. That is why
they say he is in deep sleep (svapiti); it is because
he has gone (apita) to his own (svam).
[While the Sanskrit term used here is Svapnaantam (dream), Shankara
clarifies that it is referring to its core or deep sleep alone.]
This beautiful verse also explains that in deep sleep
there is a reverting back on the part of the jiva or a merging back as
it were into its Source for a temporary blissful
Bhagwan Shankara: "Just as the reflection of a person in a mirror
attains the person himself(!!) when the mirror is removed, in a
similair way indeed, there is in deep sleep, when the mind etc cease
functioning, the Supreme Deity, which, in the form of a conscious
individual soul as Its reflection, had entered into the mind for the
manifestation of name and form, attains its true nature, by giving up
Its appearance as the individual soul, called the mind... ...
In deep sleep a person becomes identified with Existence, i.e. he
becomed united with the Deity under discussion referred to by the
words Existence. Having discarded the nature of the individual soul
which has entered into the mind and which is produced from contact
with the mind etc he attains his own self, his nature as Existence,
which is the Ultimate Reality."
So in deep sleep, with only the karana shareera being active, there is
no "i"-ego which is there to register anything. The bliss that is
processed at the level of the anandamayakosha is remembered by the
memory function of the sookshma shareera and the vijnanamaya kosha
then remembers "I was in blissful sleep"
But this is from the frame of reference of the waking state ALONE.
If you analyze sushupti purely by itself, then one must remember that
there is no vijnanamayakosha, consequently there is no "i" sense which
is active. So if this state is analyzed from the standpoint of
Brahman - from a paramrthic standpoint - there is only Brahman with
every "other" thing being only in potential form - being temporarily
Why is there avidya in deep sleep? Because the ONLY thing opposed to
avidya which is jnanam has not occurred - avidya cannot be knocked off
by temporarily suspending the instruments.
But in the state itself - the entity to which avidya applies -i.e. the
vijnanamaya kosha weary traveller - well - since he is literally at
rest, and so, for that period of time, he does not deal with the
duality; which is nothing but the handiwork of avidya.
Chandog Up VIII
"So it is, Indra," replied Prajapati. "I shall explain the Self
further to you. Live with me another thirty�two years." He lived with
Prajapati another thirty�two years. Then Prajapati said to Indra:
1. "When a man is asleep, with senses withdrawn and serene and sees
no dream�that is the Self. This is immortal, fearless. This is
Brahman." Then Indra went away satisfied in heart. But even before he
had reached the gods, he saw this difficulty: "In truth it (i.e. the
self in dreamless sleep) does not know itself as `I am it,' nor
these other creatures. It has therefore reached in dreamless sleep
utter annihilation, as it were. I do not see any good in this."
2. He returned with fuel in hand. To him Prajapati said: "Well,
Indra, you went away satisfied in heart; now for what purpose have
you come back?" He (Indra) said: "Venerable Sir, in truth it (i.e.
the self in dreamless sleep) does not know itself as `I am it,' nor
these other creatures. It has therefore reached utter annihilation,
as it were. I do not see any good in this."
In this context it is important to also recognize and remember that
the jnanam of satyam-jnanam-anantam Brahman is not a janaati but a
jnaaptih - it is not a knower as in an act of knowing, but a knowing
principle which is nothing but awareness - simple awareness,
choiceless, objectless, witnessing, awareness. This knowing is that by
which one sees, hears, tastes,
So what persists in deep sleep, the "who" IS or "what" IS in sushupti,
is the very knowing, which acts as the substratum for all
other "knowing" as in the act of knowing to happen.
I see a flower - the knowing that makes me see this flower, the
knowing that envelops the flower, the antahkaranam that sees it, and
the very act of seeing and allows this entire transaction to take
place - that knowing is Jnanam - and it is this knowing that continues
in deep sleep as well - and it is this basic continuity of knowing
that helps me arrive at the very crux of what the sole objective of
this prakriya is - which is to understand mySelf to be the very
knowing. In that sense really speaking there is no knowing Brahman, or
knowing of Brahman, but a cognitive understanding of the undeniable
fact of my very nature ever-being this very Knowing.
And without there being this knowing - my true self - being both
active and changeless in all three planes or modes of existence, their
existence on a relative plane itself is rendered impossible.
Which then of course is extended to all the planes of existence with
the bold declaration - that in Me alone do these three states Exist,
and unto me alone they all resolve, I am verily susbtratum which lends
support and consciousness to all these three worlds.