Mandukya Upanishad, Class 11


Waker I , dreamer I and sleeper I are all adulterated I.  We have to remove the impurities and arrive at the pure unadulterated I.  For removing the adulteration, we use this principle.  Everything has two type of nature:

  1. Incidental or temporary or subject to arrival and departure.
  2. Intrinsic is permanent and not subject to arrival and departure.

For example, heat is incidental to hot water but intrinsic to fire.  Similarly, the waker I, the sleeper I and the dreamer I are all adulterated I because they are a mixture of intrinsic and incidental nature.  When you remove the incidental nature, the you get the intrinsic nature which is thuriyum.

What is the intrinsic nature of waker, dreamer and sleeper is that nature that is not lost.  The intrinsic nature is that which is permanently flowing.  Consciousness is the essential nature which is in the waker (which is why the waker is conscious of the world), the dreamer has a conscious (that is why he is aware of the dream world) and the sleeper is also conscious (because he is able to say that he was sleeping).  Therefore, consciousness is inherent for the sleeper I, waker I and the dreamer I.  Therefore, consciousness is intrinsic nature for all three.

What is the incidental nature of the waker?  If anger is my intrinsic nature, then I will be angry all the time.  Similarly, if youth is my intrinsic nature, then I will be young all the time.  Actually, the very term wakerhood itself is incidental because we are not awake all the time. Wakerhood is incidental to my nature; similarly, the dreamer status is incidental; When the mind is extrovert, we get waker status.  When the mind is introvert, we get the dreamer status.  When the mind is neither introvert nor extrovert and is resolved and passive, we get sleeper status.  So, all three status are temporary depending on the condition of the mind.  When you are neither extrovert, not introvert nor passive, you are pure consciousness which is in and through all three.  This pure consciousness is realized by separating the temporary attributes of waker, dreamer and sleeper.  This is thuriyum.  Finding this thuriyum is an intellectual discrimination and not an experience.

Karika 10

Being free from all miseries, thuriya is considered to be the Lord, capable of freeing one from misery.  It is immutable, effulgent, all pervading, and the non dual truth of all being.

Thuriyum, the real I,  is a powerful master.  Because I the thuriyum am free from all the pains and sorrows of the waker, sleeper and dreamer.  Thuriuum is not affected by the pains (in the form of disease, anxiety etc.)  of the waker,or dream or sleeper.  The illuminatior of the object is not affected by or is free from the properties of illumined object.  For example, the light is not affected by the properties of things it illumines.  Similarly, the consciousness is not affected by the impurities of the body.  Therefore, I am ever the master.  Thiriyum does not deteriorate due to age etc.  It is the non-dual principle among all the divided objects of the world.  Everything becomes evident because of consciousness but the consciousness does not need to be evident because it is always self-evident similar to gold is self-evident in chain, ring etc.

Where is this consciousness located?  Consciousness is not just in the body, but it is everywhere.

Karika 11

Visva and Taijsa are both considered to be conditioned by cause and effect. But Praga is conditioned by cause alone. Both of them do not exist in Turiya. 

In the next four verses, Gowdapadha does a compare and contrast study of the four padhas.  Compare:  seeing the common features. Contrast:  The study of uncommon features.

Example of rope and snake.  Imagine there is a rop in a partially lit room.  Because of partial knowledge of rope, I commit and error and mistake and consider that to be snake.  This snake perception is an error and any error are possible only if there is ignorance.  Rope ignorance leads to error of snake.  Ignorance is the cause and error is the effect.  You can apply this example to all four padhas of humans.

In the seventh thuriya mantra, the Upaishads has clearly stated that my essential nature is thuriyum.  Thuriyum is all pervading; limitless I is my nature.  But unfortunately, I do not know this fact.  We all have the fundamental problem of self-ignorance – ignorant of the fact that I am limitless – similar to the rope ignorance.  In the rope ignorance, snake is the error.  In the case of self-ignorance, I mistake myself as the limited I.  The limited I is the error born out of ignorant of limitless I.

When I am the waker, viswa, I look upon myself as a limited I, which Gowdapadha says is an error.  In dream also when I use the word aham or I, I am limited by space and time.  Therefore the dreamer I, Taijasa,, limited I,  is also an error.  When I am in sleep, we do not experience limitation of time and space, but instead there is an ignorance of limitless I.  Thuiryum is free from limitation and ignorance.

Gowdapadha calls ignorance as agraharanam or non-comprehension or nonperception;

  1. Agrahanam or non-perception of a fact.  Rope ignorance is nothing but the non-perception of the fact that it is the rope.
  2. Ignorance is karanam and error is the kariyam.
  3. Ignorance he calls the seed and the error the tree or plant. beeja anguara.
  4. Ignorance he calls sleep or nithra and error he calls swapna or dream