Mandukya Upanishad, Class 9


Karika # 9:

भोगार्थं सृष्टिरित्यन्ये क्रीडार्थमिति चापरे  
देवस्यैष स्वाभावोऽयमाप्तकामस्य का स्पृहा

Others think that the world is being created fore the purpose of God’s enjoyment, while others still attribute it to a mere play of the Lord. But it is the very nature of the effulgent Being, the Atman; for what desire is possible for Him, whose desires are always in a state of perfect fulfillment?

Swamiji said Gaudapada concludes his analysis of first six mantras with Karika # 9. Here the first three padas were described as:

First Pada: is Sthula Atma in Jagrit avastha

Second Pada: is Sukshma atma in Swapna avastha

Third Pada: is Karana atma in Sushupti avastha.

Each of them is nothing but conscious principle associated with nama and rupa. Sthula atma is associated with Sthula nama rupa; Sukshma atma is associated with Sukshma nama rupa and Karana atma is associated with Karana nama rupa.

Each is divided into knower and known principle. Sthula atma has sthula parapancha, Sukshma atma has Sukshma prapancha and Karana atma has Karana prapancha. Each atma is a mixture of knower and known pairs. The three pairs constitute the three padas. Now we enter the fourth pada, the Turiya atma. We will also now enter the mantra # 7. So from karika # 9 we are now entering mantra # 7.

Mantra # 7:

This mantra defines Turiya atma. Knowledge of Turiya can liberate a person from samsara. The knowledge of the three padas can’t give us liberation. This mantra is the most significant mantra of Mandukya Upanishad as well as entire Upanishadic literature. As we dwell on mantra # 7 more and more, we will appreciate it better. Guadapada has written over 200 verses on this mantra. It is called Turiya lakshanam. The mantra itself does not mention the word Turiya; it uses the word Chaturtham or the fourth pada.

With respect to Turiya atma there is a misconception. We will remove the misconception first them come to conception. First pada is associated with waking state. Second pada with dream state and third pada with sleep state of experiences.

The common feature among padas is the association with a state of experience. Therefore for the fourth pada also we assume it is associated with a fourth state of experience. So people have inserted a fourth state to connect with fourth pada. They have given it a name called Turiya pada as the fourth pada.

Once this misconception has come up the corollary is that Turiya pada is now available only in Turiya avastha. Therefore, they conclude, during Vedantic study we can never know Turiya pada as we are in jagrat avastha during the study. So confused people conclude that during Vedantic sravanam we can only learn about Prathama pada alone; they feel they should work for Turiya avastha or Samadhi; and there are many types of Samadhi as well. These words have however no connection to Vedanta. We have to drop this misconception right now.

Mandukya Upanishad does not talk of Turiya avastha. It talks of jagrat, swapna and sushupti avasthas via usage of words Jagrat sthana, Swapna sthana and Karana sthana. A Turiya sthana or a fourth state is, however, not mentioned at all.

Then what does Upanishad say? It says Turiya is different from first three padas of Vishwa, Taijasa and Pragya. It is in and through all the three padas. Therefore, since Turiya is through all three padas wherever Vishwa is available Turiya is also available; it is same with Taijasa and Pragya as well. So, it obtains in all three avasthas. Turiya coexists with all three states. Each state may come and go but Turiya remains. Thus Turiya never comes and goes in any state; it is available in all states of experience.

To understand that Turiya is different from all three states, we can take example of golden bangle, chain and ring. Gold is not different from bangle, chain and ring. It is identical to all of them. Bangle is not equated to gold; as bangle comes and goes; but gold does not come and go. So it is with chain and ring as well.

So gold is different from bangle, chain and ring; but don’t search for it outside; it is in and through all three of them. How then to comprehend the gold; we see it by seeing the gold as a part of all three. The intellect filters out the name and form of chain, bangle and ring and we see only gold.

Here we see gold is coexisting in chain, bangle and ring. So here gold is the fourth entity. It really is not away from the three; it is in and through all three although different from them.

Similarly, Turiyam is different from Waker but is in and through Waker. Turiyam is different from dreamer but in and through dreamer; Turiyam is different from sleeper but in and through sleeper as well.

When I say I am the waker, sleeper, and dreamer, what is it that is in and through all three states? The common factor is “ I am”, the shudha chaitanyam; all others are incidental states such as, “I am father; I am happy”, etc. Here the “I am”, is Turiyam. It is there even after waker goes away. It is there even after dreamer goes away; it is there even after sleeper goes away. The “er” in dreamer, sleeper and waker is the common principle; Waking, dreaming, sleeping are not. This is thrust of mantra.

For all three padas; each pada has a pair; a Pramatha (knower) and Prameya (known). Turiya is different from the three pramathas of Jagrit, sushupti and swapna; the three knowers, that is the waker, dreamer and sleeper. Similarly there is a Prameyam. Turiyam is different from the three pramathas and the three prameyas, the three states of Sthula prapancha, svapna prapancha and karana prapancha. It is different from all three states but it is also in and through all three states.

Thus, seventh mantra can be divided into three parts:

First part: is Turiyam and it is different from the three knowers. In shloka it is described from “naanta to Na prgyam”.

Second part: Turiyam is different from three prameyams. In shloka it is described from “adrishtam to avyaya”.

Third part: Even though Turiya is different, it is in and through all three states. It is the adishtanam. In shloka it is described from “Eka atma to end”.

Thus, Turiyam is both transcendental and immanent.  Transcendental here alludes to the gold that is different from bangle, chain and ring.  Immanent alludes to the fact that It is in and through all three states.

“ I am that Turiyam”, one who knows this, he is free here and now. So all our struggles are to reach this state.

Describing the meaning of words in mantra swamiji said:

Bahishpragyam: means the Waker, the jagrat pramatha, the knower in waking state, turned extrovert. Turiyam is not bahishpragyam, not the waker I, not the prathama pada.

Nanta Pragyam was in mantra #4 as well. It means dreamer I turned inwards. Turiyam is not nantapragya, the dreamer I; nor Pragyandhanam, nor sleeper I, nor svapna Pramatha; the knower I in sleep state. Turiyam is none of them.

Na Ubhayataha Pragyam means intermediary experiencer. Intermediary state is one before you go to sleep; you are sleepy but are also awake; not total sleeper nor total waker; or upon waking, in morning you are still sleepy. It is at this time that you get ESP experience, paranormal state of experience. Turiyam is different from these intermediary states as well.

Na Pragyaha, means the all knower or God. Turiyam is not even the Knower of all. The only thing that does not meet all these conditions can only be an inert stone. But Upanishad says it is not an inert principle; It is consciousness without being a Knower.

Thus all Pramatas are negated. With this part 1 is over.

Prameya Trayam: It is not an object of experience. It is Aparameyam. To reveal this Upanishad says it is not an object of any instrument of knowledge. Sarva Pramaha agochara. Pramanam means instrument of knowledge. It is not an eye, or sense organ or adrishtam, pancha indriya agocharam or Pratyaksha Pramana agocharam (not accessible).

If someone says I saw Brahman he has experienced some experience; but Vedanta says that experience is not the ultimate reality. If you saw, if you heard, it is not true.

Agraahyam: It cant be grasped by pancha karmendriyas; touch, smell, see….); if it is, it cant be ultimate truth. Any bhagavat darshanam of any bhakta we don’t question it but Vedanta says it is not the ultimate.

Alakshanam: Lakshanam means inferring through clue. Smoke without seeing fire. Smoke is Lakshanam. Turiyam is Alakshanam; it can’t be known from clues.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy