Mandukya Upanishad, Class 10
In the seventh mantra the Upanishads is talking about thuriya pada, which is consciousness not associated with any other padhas and looked at its own stand point. The first three padhas are divided into subject object duality. But in thuriyam, it does not have pramadha premaya duality. Thuriyum is neither pramdaha knower and premayam the knowable.
Thuriyum is neither a kower and a knowable object. If Thuriyum is neither the subject nor the object, then what is it? It is apremayam. Not only it is can’t be grasped by the sense organs, it can’t be grasped by karmandhryam – hand etc.
The seventh mantra can be divided into three portions:
- Thuriyum is different from the three knowers obtained in waking, dream and sleep.
- Thuriyum is different from the three worlds obtained in the three stage.
- Thuriyum is in and through all the three padha.
Thuriyum is achindhyam, inconceivable, unimaginable, incomprehensible. The witness of all the concepts can’t be conceived.
Thiryum is avyapadesyam, not describable; beyond verbal description. however, Upanishads have been describing what can’t be described. That is strengthened by the communications between guru and sishya.
Thuriyum is avyvahariyam, beyond all transactions; non-empirical; absolute. Because all our transactions are either through gyanedhriyam in the form of perception, or through karmendrayam in the form of handling etc. Thuriyum is beyond karmendreyam and gyanendrayam; thuriyum is beyond time and space because whatever falls within time and space, is available for transactions.
In the third part, the Upanishads positively defines thuriyum: It is pure consciousness, which has to be traced through atma prathyayaha – through the experience in the form of I, which we experience all the time. Thuriyum has to be traced through, atma pragyaha, I cognition, which is one continuous principle. There is one changeless I among all the experiences of life. By studying that I we should understand thuriyum.
The continuous I experience indicates, that I am a conscious entity continuously present throughout my life. Experiences of life like happiness, sad etc. are not continuous conditions. Therefore, they can’t be my real nature. The attributes like happy, sad, young, old etc. are subject to arrival and departure and the only continuous entity is that I am a consciousness being. I am something minus that something is thuriyum. Drop the non-continuous attribute part and own up to the consciousness part. When you drop attribute, you are neither a waker, nor a dreamer or a sleeper but chaithanyam.
Prabanjoba samam: Prabanja means the three-universe obtained in the three pada; sthrula prabajna, sukshama prabanja and karana prabanja. Thuriyum is free from these three prabanja. Consciousness is ever without the universe; free from matter; never associated with the material world. That means there is no universe at all. This word is negating the first three padhas. To understand this, you should remember two laws:
- Anything that is existent can’t be negated. Whatever is sat can’t be negated.
- What is nonexistent need not be negated
Whatever is negated can’t be sat (existent) or asat (non-existent) category. With this the vedas is negating the world. Therefore, the Upanishads says that the world is different than sat and asat or mithya category. What is different than existent and nonexistent: That will come under the third category like our dream; dream does not come under existent or non-existent category, but it comes under seemingly existent category. This unique categoy is called mithya. According to vedas, this universe is unreal, seemingly existent but it is not. Whatever is unreal or seemingly existent, can’t be counted even though we experience it. The first three padhas are not real and therefore can’t be counted, thuriyum is the only padha countable, thuriyum is ekam – it is non dual, advaidam, principle. Consciousness alone exist, matter is unreal and therefore can’t be counted.
Advaidam is the next word occurring in this mantra. The entire third chapter is attributed to this word – Advaidam.
If consciousness is only one, why do we call is thuriyum? The Upanishads says that ignorant people wrongly think that consciousness is the fourth entity. Thuriyum is undisturbed by the material world so it is shantham and ananda swaroopam; This thuriyum alone is the real atma.