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Vedas And Upanishads

Mandukya Upanishad- An Inquiry Into What Is Real And Unreal-4
By T.N.Sethumadhavan, May 2012 [tnsethu@rediffmail.com]

Chapter :

DREAMSTATE

MANTRA – 4

svapnasthano  antah  prajnah  saptanga  ekonavimshati  mukhah pravivikta bhuk taijaso  dvitiyah  padah .. 4..

The second quarter (pada) is the Taijasa whose sphere of activity is the dream, who is conscious of internal objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who experiences the subtle objects.

Waking consciousness is nothing but a state of mind when it is aware of the external objects through its various means (i.e., through organs of perception, action, and antahkarana). This awareness leaves in the mind impressions (corresponding to the objects observed). In the dream state the same mind possesses impressions left on it in the waking state without any of the external means like a piece of canvas with a picture painted on it.  Thus the experience of the dream state is also like that of waking state which is due to the influence of ignorance, desire and their action.

The dreamer is called the swapnasthana because the dream state (taijasa) is his sphere of activity.  Taijasa is called antahprajna or conscious of the internal because his consciousness in dream becomes aware of the mental states, which are the impressions left by the earlier waking states. The subject of the waking state (Visva) experiences consciousness associated with external objects, whereas in the dream state the object of the experience is consciousness consisting of vasanas, the impressions of the past experience. This dream-state-experience is thus called the experience of the subtle.

The experiences of waking and dream states of mind are similar in nature. In both the states the experiencer is aware only of his mental states which are not related to any external objects as they are not existent.  From the stand-point of dream, dream objects are as gross and material as those experienced in the waking state. From the view point of waking state alone, one may infer  that the dream objects are subtle, i.e., composed of mere impressions of the waking state, in as much as in the dream state no gross object exists at all.

The rest of the mantra (seven limbs and nineteen mouths) is the same as the previous one. This is the second pada of the Atman.

DEEP SLEEP STATE

MANTRA – 5

yatra  supto  na kanchana  kamam  kamayate  na kanchana  svapnam  pashyati tat.h  sushuptam.h . sushupta  sthana  ekibhutah  prajnanaghana  evananda mayo hy  ananda bhuk.h  cheto mukhah  prajnas  tritiyah padah .. 5..

That is the state of deep sleep wherein the sleeper does not desire any objects nor does he see any dream. The third quarter (Pada) is the Prajna whose sphere is deep sleep, in whom all experiences become unified or undifferentiated, who is verily, a mass of consciousness entire, who is full of bliss and who experiences bliss and who is the path leading to the knowledge of the two other states.

The state of deep sleep (susupti) is characterized by the absence of the knowledge of Reality. The absence of knowledge of Reality is the common feature of the mental modifications associated with the perception of gross objects (waking state) and non-perception of them (dream state).  In the sleeping state, a person does not see any dream, nor does he desire any object. The desire to take a thing for what it is not is absent in the state of sleep. The person in the deep-sleep state is called susuptasthana because his sphere is this state of deep sleep. Similarly this state is also called ekibhutah – the state in which all experiences become unified, a state in which all objects of duality which are nothing but objects of thought in the other two states become non-differentiated without losing their characteristics just as the day which reveals all phenomenal objects, is enveloped by the darkness of night.

Sleep is a condition wherein the mind and intellect retire and therefore it is a state of living in which all these apertures are also closed. In sleep we experience a mere all-round ignorance or complete negativity - a state which has neither form nor sound, nor taste, nor smell nor touch. Thus the only thing we know in sleep is that we have no knowledge.

In the waking state, our awareness is dissipated and scattered over sensory objects of the outside world thereby registering the knowledge of the things. In the dream state, the awareness expresses itself in enlightening the mental thoughts.  As against this, in the deep sleep state, consciousness doesn’t illuminate anything and it collects together in us and gets crystallized into one mass of awareness. Hence the Upanishad says that the experiences, which are nothing but forms of thought, perceived during waking and dream states, become a consolidated thick mass of consciousness in the state of deep sleep and calls it as ‘prajnanaghana’ – a mass of consciousness unified.

At the time of deep sleep state there is a total absence of any mental modifications; all objects of consciousness become a mass of consciousness only wherein the mind is free from miseries of the inter-actions between the subjects and objects. Hence this state of homogeneous consciousness is called ananda maya that is endowed with abundance of bliss. But this is not Bliss itself because it is not Bliss Infinite. It is just as we say in common parlance that one is happy after a night’s sound dreamless sleep. The Upanishad calls it as the highest bliss because of the absence of causes for the mental agitations. As this state is a threshold to recognize the dream and waking states it is called cheto mukhah. It is called Prajna because it is the knower par excellence; consciousness undifferentiated as against consciousness in the waking and dream states where awareness is associated with certain experiences. It is because of consciousness present in the state of deep sleep (without any break or intermission) we are aware of the states of waking and dream. The consciousness, which exists as prajna in deep sleep appears as particular (visesha) in the other two states.  The prajna, thus defined, is the third quarter of the Atman

Chapter :

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