Saturday, 5 March 2016

Avastha Thriam – Three states of Experience

Tattva Bodha – 4

The existence of a human being is divided into three states of experience. These are Jagrat avastha (waking state), Swapna avastha (dream state) and Sushupthi avastha (deep sleep). During Jagrat avastha, one is aware of one’s body, senses and anthakaranam and with their help one is aware of the external physical world of objects, persons and events and also of one’s thoughts and emotions.  During Swapna avastha one is not aware of the body and senses and only partially aware of anthakaranam with whose help one projects an inner world of objects, persons and events which is subjective and not open to others and which is as real to dreamer as the external world was at the time of Jagrat avastha. In the Sushupthi avastha one is not aware of anthakaranam also and one experiences total ignorance and the bliss born of ignorance which one recognises only when one wakes up.  With this brief introduction to three states we shall now see them in a little more detail now.

Jagrat avastha, the waking state

During the waking state all the three bodies sthula, sukshma and karana sareeras are active. Stula sareera is active making interaction with external world possible.  For contacting sensory objects and reacting to contacts, sthula sareera needs sense organs and anthakaranam. So sukshma sareera is active.  Sukshma sareera always goes with karana sareera and so all three are active. In fact waking state is the only state where all the three sareeras are active, sthula sareera in particular.  Since anthakaranam is active, the waker enjoys pleasure and pain and the consequent emotional reactions like happiness, sorrow, anger etc. due to the interaction with the external world. As one is fully functional the waker has a technical name Viswa which means fully complete.

Swapna avastha, the dream state
During the dream state, the sthula sareera  is not operational and sukshma sareera is only partially operational as besides prana, only the chitham, the memory faculty of anthakaranam is functional So the dreamer is not alive to the external world but experiences a new internal world of people, objects and events that is projected by the chitham from a cocktail mix-up of impressions stored in the conscious and subconscious chitham during the waking state.  Anthakaranam functions like a sophisticated video recorder in the waking state recording in chitham not only the sound and form but also smell, taste and sensation of touch and also of emotions including imaginations, phobias, etc.
In the dream state, chitham functions like a video player playing out a new script crafted from the stored data, which the dreamer experiences as a subjective world. This is very much real to the dreamer and to the dreamer a dream is not a dream in dream.  Only when he wakes up he realizes that it is all a dream and not real. This internal experience is limited to the dreamer only and he cannot let anybody share it even if he wants to in the dream. Why, he himself cannot continue the dream even if he wants to if dream is broken or if he becomes awake. 
For the dream world, the chitham is the srishti, sthithi laya karanam for chitham projects the dream world, sustains it and also dissolves it in itself.  It is also the upadhana karanam, material cause, as well as the nimitha karanam, efficient cause for the dream world.  For chitham creates the dream world out of itself only. One may wonder as to how, many of the things experienced in dream had not been encountered in real life.  Because it may be of things read, imagined, desired or seen in a movie or T.V. show in the waking experience, all jumbled up in a random order, or of objects connected to them.  For instance you may dream about Everest, if you had read about a trip to Mount Kailas.  Or the dream may be about a monkey wearing a bikini carrying an umbrella that may be a jumble from memories of a street performer with monkey, a bikini clad model seen in a T.V. show and an umbrella you had desired to buy.  Rarely the previous janma’s memory gets projected in the dream. Seeing exactly future events to come, in dream is not dreaming but it is the extra sensory power in operation. The dreamer has a technical name Taijasa, meaning internally illumined, that is what the dream world is for the dreamer.

Sushuthi Avastha, deep sleep state
During deep sleep state, sthula sareera is not operational and sukshma sareera except prana is also not operational and only karana sareera is operational. Anthakaranam which was fully operational in waking state and partially operational in dream state is also not fully operational in deep sleep state with the result the sleeper neither experiences the objective external world nor the subjective internal world of dreams.  There is total blankness and an agitation-free peace and relaxation that comes of anthakaranam going blank. This blankness is the blankness of total ignorance.  So it is called सुख अज्ञान अनुभवः(sukha ajnana anubhavaha), an experience of relaxing ignorance. This experience is recorded in the dormant anthkaranam which at that time stands resolved. It is claimed only when one gets up, not at that time of deep sleep. The reaction is “I don’t know anything. I slept well. I feel relaxed”.  And blankness is not vacuum for there is an entity that stands witness to this state of peace and ignorance and makes possible the recollection of relaxation and ignorance in this state.  This entity is our Real Self, Athma. Since in this state there is no tension, no stress and no pain, everybody loves to be in it.  The sleeper in deep sleep state has a technical name Prajna, which means blissfully ignorant.

So the same individual, Jiva, has three names, Viswa, Taijasa and Prajna depending upon the current state of experience. It is similar to one person being called father, husband and son depending upon the state of relationship of the person calling. But the Real Self of the Jiva is neither of these and it is Athma, the invisible, immortal, inner Self, as Swami Paramathmananda beautifully puts it.

1 comment:

  1. Illuminating explanation for TATTVA BODHA 4 . Compliments and thanks.