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which represents cosmic consciousness. The moun- tainous terrain below symbolizes the mind’s kinetic activity in the states of waking and dreaming. Deep in meditation, he abides in the unitive consciousness that is experienced in turiya, the fourth state.


yogic state of samadhi or unity consciousness. Sri Swami Chidananda (1916-2008) explained it


thusly: “Because the pure consciousness or aware- ness is there, these three ever-changing states of S ô


ô33L õ ô õ õôô 3 ôô ^ õ 33 ô


to manifest. So, the support and substratum of the ever-recurring and ever-changeful threefold state, or avastha-traya (three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming and deep sleep) is the turiya avastha (the fourth state), the permanent, existence-conscious- ness principle which is the Purusha (The Supreme Being). Existence-consciousness or Sat-Chit, which is unchanging, which is permanent, supports all the three states. Existence-consciousness is super- consciousness” (from Swami’s book: The Philosophy, Psychology and Practice of Yoga, 1984, The Divine Life Trust Society). Thus, we can see that from the perspective of Advaita Vedanta, Existence-Con- sciousness-Bliss (Satchidananda) is the supreme real- ity and ultimate state of consciousness. + 3 3 ô ^


ôõ ô ô U 3 3 ô


Encyclopedia of Hinduism (India Heritage Research Foundation, 2010), based on Adi Shankara’s com- mentaries on the Mandukya Upanishad. “Turiya is the same as the highest self, or Brahman. It is the transcendent, non-dual, omnipresent, omniscient, eternal, immutable, self-effulgent, quiescent and in- expressible, absolute and ontological reality.…Turiya has been described as lying beyond the three bodies õ


ô ^Rô 3 ô Non-being, darkness and death are the nature of our consciousness


on this side of deep sleep. Being, light and immortality arise once we cross over deep sleep into ever-wakeful awareness, the inner light. Crossing over death is not possible without crossing over deep sleep. That is the alchemical journey of the soul, which involves a transfor- mation within our own core awareness and self-identity.


4. Superconsciousness, Turiya Avastha Beyond these three ordinary states, more hidden and mysterious, en- dures the potential for an ever-wakeful awareness not subject to dai- U _


3m ô 3 ô õô V LH turiya in yogic thought.


Discovering this is the goal of higher yoga practices, taking us beyond time and death. Turiya holds the real secret of our existence, but to unravel it we must search it out with full determination. It is the state of unitive consciousness that underlies and transcends the other three states. The Mandukya Upanishad, verse 7, offers this description: “That


which is neither conscious nor unconscious, which is invisible, im- ôL


õô^ ôL ôL ô ôL S 3ô Rô U ô33ô ô


consists of the experience of its own self, which absorbs all diversity, is tranquil and benign, without a second, which is what they call the fourth state—that is the atman. This it is which should be known.” (Vedic Experience, p. 723). The fourth or ever-wakeful state is the


3Kã ! 3


Turiyatita, the State Beyond the Fourth *


ô3 3 3 ô ^ 3 ôL ôô 3 ô ] ô


duality. Thus, it is the non-dual state of conscious- ness, free from all phenomenal projections.”


ôõ turiyatita (“beyond the


fourth”). For some this is the most profound superconscious state attainable; for others it is beyond all forms of consciousness. The former describe it as abidance in a state of the witness, or pure con- sciousness. For the latter, when we become fully established in turiya, 5ô


õô L 3 ^ôõ S õ S _ ô


yatita and ultimately have the great non-experience of nirvikalpa sa- õ


õL Sô ô 3L


ô 5 ô3 *ô Æô -


ization. The Mandala Brahmana Upanishad (2, 4-5) says, “There are ^Rô 3


ô3 (avastha): jagrat (waking), svapna (dreaming), sushupti


(dreamless sleeping), turiya (the fourth) and turyatita (that beyond the fourth). The yogin is one who has realized Brahman, which is [turiyatita] all-full beyond turiya.” Sri Ramana Maharshi explained, “The experiencers of the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep, known as vishva, taijasa and prajna, who wander successively in these three states, are not the Self. It is with the object of making this clear—namely that the Self is that which is different from them and which is the witness of these states—that it is called the fourth (turiya). When this is known, the three experiencers disappear and the idea that the Self is a witness—that it is the fourth—also disap- pears. That is why the Self is described as beyond the fourth (turya- tita)” Spiritual Instruction, no. 8.


april/may/june, 2017 hinduism today 39 ô ô 3 ô


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s. rajam


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