Mandukya Upanishad, Class 13


Mantra # 7; Karika # 14:

स्वप्ननिद्रायुतावाद्यौ प्राज्ञस्त्वस्वप्ननिद्रया  
निद्रां नैव स्वप्नं तुर्ये पश्यन्ति निश्चिताः १४

Vishwa and Taijasa, the former two are associated with the conditions of dream and sleep, Prajna is the state without dream. Those who have known the Truth do not see either sleep or dream in Turiya.

Swamiji said in these karikas beginning from # 11 Guadapada is comparing and contrasting the four padas by making use of presence or absence of Ignorance and Error in them. Ignorance is self-ignorance while error is self-delusion.

Ignorance is indicated by words such as: Agrahanam, Nidra, Karanam and Beejam, all mean self-ignorance.

Error is indicated by words such as :Anyathagrahanam, Swapna, Karyam and Ankuraha; all indicating error or self-delusion.

Of the four padas, the first three are associated with Ignorance, while Turiyam, the fourth pada, is not. With respect to error, of the four padas, two are associated with error while two are not. Thus we can say the following:

First pada has Ignorance and Error.

Second pada has Ignorance and Error

Third pada has Ignorance without Error

Fourth pada has no Ignorance or Error.

Next in the Karika #15 Gaudapada arrives at an important corollary.

Karika # 15:

अन्यथा गृह्णतः स्वप्नो निद्रा तत्त्वमजानतः
विपर्यासे तयोः क्षीणे तुरीयं पदमश्नुते १५

Dream is the misapprehension of Reality, while sleep is the state in which one is in a state of non-apprehension of Reality. When the erroneous knowledge in these two states disappears, Turiya is Realized.

This Karika reinforces the same ideas as last Karika but with a new set of words.

Swapna belongs to that pada associated with anyathagrahanam or wrong perception or error. When self-delusion is there, it is swapna. The self-delusion is that I am a Jivatma. Why is it a delusion? In reality, I am Paramatma and not Jivatma; this is the delusion. Such a person is in a dream. If one has a self-delusion even in waking state, Vedanta calls it Swapna; thus even jagrat avastha is a Swapna.

Nidra: First and second padas are associated with Error; hence swapna belongs to them. On the other hand Nidra belongs to that pada which is associated with Self Ignorance. Therefore Nidra, sleep, belongs to the pada associated with Self Ignorance. This is the third pada. In Pragya state there is Nidra or self-delusion. So sleep, philosophically, means Self Ignorance. In waking state if we are Self-ignorant, we are asleep. Philosophically, in sleep, if we are self-ignorant, we are asleep as well. Thus in sleep too, in philosophical sense, sleep is Self Ignorant.

So sleep, philosophically, belongs to all three padas. Both, waking and dream states are associated with self-delusion.  In deep sleep there is ignorance but no self-delusion.  Turiyam has not ignorance or self-delusion.  As long as Ignorance and Error exist, I am away from Turiyam because Turiyam is free from both.

(Note: My association with the three states is only a seeming one. Once I understand the association to be a seeming one, I am free. The stick under water only seems to be bent. If I take the bend to be real, I have to do something to straighten the stick. When I know the bend to be only a seeming one, I do not need to do any sadhana to straighten the stick. Let the stick be in water and appear to be bent. But it is straight all the time. Similarly, I appear to be a waker, dreamer or a sleeper. Even when I appear as all these three, they are only appearances. I am always Turiyam and this I have to know in the waking state.)

How can I attain Turiyam? Gaudapada says definition of Turiyam is freedom from Ignorance and Error.

If you have freedom from Ignorance and Error you can claim status of Turiyam. Therefore he comes to a corollary that a seeker can attain status of Turiya Padam when error backed by ignorance, self delusion and self ignorance, is eliminated from me.

Why so? If I am associated with Ignorance and Error, I am in first or second pada. With Ignorance alone I am in third pada. When I eliminate both, Ignorance and Error, I become Turiyam.

Thus Ignorance and Error have to be eliminated in first three padas to attain Turiyam.

Stated as an equation:

Vishwa minus ignorance and error equals Turiyam

Taijasa minus ignorance and error equals Turiyam.

Pragya minus Ignorance equals Turiyam.

Turiyam minus nothing equals Turiyam.

Thus, Vishwa, Taijasa and Pragya are all Turiyam without ignorance and error.

If so, how to remove Ignorance and Error?

You can never directly remove Ignorance, even as darkness can’t be removed. Darkness goes when light comes in; even so, only Gyanam can remove Ignorance. What Gyanam removes Ignorance? By gaining Turiya gyanam Ignorance may go, but how about Error? When ignorance goes, Ignorance caused Error also goes. Thus when rope Ignorance goes snake delusion, the Error, automatically goes.

So, only knowledge is needed to remove Ignorance as well as Error. How to get Gyanam? We have to start with Karma Yoga for Chitta shudhi; then go to Upasana Yoga for Chitta Ekagritha; then go to Gyana Yoga to obtain Gyanam. What is Gyana Yoga? It is sravanam, mananam, and nidhidhyasanam.

Karika # 16:

अनादिमायया सुप्तो यदा जीवः प्रबुध्यते  
अजमनिद्रमस्वप्नमद्वैतं बुध्यते तदा १६

When individual soul sleeping under the influence of the beginingless maya is awakened, then it realizes in itself the birthless, sleepless, dreamless and non dual (Turiya).

I realize that Ignorance and Error are obstacles between me, and my Turiyam status. How did Ignorance and error come? Why did they come? Who created me with Ignorance and Error? When did he create it?

Gaudapada says nobody created Ignorance, as such all three questions are wrong. It was there from the beginning of time. The Jiva is in state of philosophical dream, with Error or self-delusion, because of Maya or Nidra, the beginning-less Nidra or philosophical Nidra or Self Ignorance.

Jiva is a Self-delusion because of beginning-less Ignorance. Generally a Jiva does not try to remove the Ignorance. How to remove it? Some rare Jivas try to remove it. The word Prabudhyat in shloka means wake up. If a Jiva wakes up to his real nature, philosophical awakening, it is knowledge. Suppose a Jiva knows Turiyam nature by karma yoga, upasana yoga and gyana yoga, then he understands that I am not Vishwa, I am not Taijasa, and I am not even Pragya as well; rather I am Turiyam; advaita Turiyam; or Turiyam free from anidram, that is without nidra or self-ignorance.

Pure Nidra is associated with third pada. So, I am different from third pada, Aswapnam or Self –delusion; Turiyam is free from Swapna or free from second pada.

Ajam: means birthless or janma rahitaha.

Turiyam in first pada is associated with physical body or sthula shariram. Birthless means free from physical body associated with Vishwa, the Waker; also called Vishwa vilakshanam. This the seeker recognizes.

Karika # 17:

प्रपञ्चो यदि विद्येत निवर्तेत संशयः  
मायामात्रमिदं द्वैतमद्वैतं परमार्थतः १७

If the perceived plurality were real, then certainly it would disappear. This duality that is cognized is a mere illusion, or maya. Non-duality alone is the supreme Reality.

In this karika gaudapada is assuming a possible question that can come up from previous karika.

If one knows through knowledge that I am Turiyam the adviatam, in wake of knowledge there is advaitam. Thus, with knowledge it eliminates Dvaitam. Then question comes, can knowledge eliminate world of plurality?

Can knowledge eliminate anything at all? If knowledge of table can eliminate table, then table should get eliminated while in reality we don’t see this happening. Can knowledge of a disease eliminate the disease? Reality is that it is not knowledge rather it is the medicine that eliminates disease.

Secondly, even if we assume knowledge eliminates dvaitam then advaitam comes. In wake of knowledge dvaitam goes and advaitam comes. If so, will advaitam also go and dvaitam come back later? Thus, advaitam and moksha wont be permanent. So, can knowledge eliminate dvaitam?

Gaudapada answers in next three karikas these questions. He says question of elimination of dvaita prapancha to arrive at advaitam itself is wrong. If there is dvaita prapancha, it may go or not go, but fact is, there is no dvaita prapancha at all to talk about or its going and coming. It is like in waker, with rope knowledge, will snake knowledge go away? This question itself is wrong, as there is no snake to begin with. If there is a dvaita prapancha existent it may perhaps go away, there is no doubt about it. Really speaking there is no dvaita prapancha to go away, just as there is no snake to go away with rope knowledge.

Then, in wake of knowledge, what goes away? Dvaita prapancha (phenomenon) does not go away as it was not there to begin with rather it is Dvaita Brahmyam, delusion of Dvaitam, that goes away. This dvaita prapancha is only a delusion, a brahmyam, and a maya. If at all, it is this brahmyam that goes away. Thus, dvaita nivrithi is dvaita brahmya nivrithi.

In swapna you saw a thief entering your house; upon waking there is no thief; what has gone is the thief delusion or thief brahmyam. If dvaitam is brahmyam, what is fact? Really speaking, there was always advaitam, there is always advitam and there will always be advitam as well; there was only dvaita brahmyam.

Karika # 18:

विकल्पो विनिवर्तेत कल्पितो यदि केनचित्  
उपदेशादयं वादो ज्ञाते द्वैतं विद्यते १८

If any one has ever imagined or projected the manifold ideas, they might disappear. This explanation is for the purpose of teaching. Duality in the explanation ceases to exist when the highest Truth is Realized.

In previous Karika it said that Gyanam eliminates Dvaitam and it takes you to advitam; it eliminates dvaitam Brahmyam. Here Gaudapada adds more to the previous idea of knowledge of eliminating dvaitam.

He says, when knowledge eliminates dvaitam it includes the dvaitam that is the very basis of Gyanam. The very idea of Gyanam presupposes duality; thus the question comes who is the knower and what is the subject of knowledge. Gyanam eliminates all duality; it also eliminates knower and known duality. Can Gyanam eliminate knower known duality? Gaudapada answers, if there is a knower known duality then one can talk of its elimination perhaps; but in reality knower known duality does not exist; the question itself is wrong. It is similar to rope knowledge that eliminates snake. If there is duality (subject, object) created by someone, perhaps, it may or may not go, if it exists, but fact is that there is no knower known duality to go away.

Then what goes away? It is the notion, delusion, that there is a knower and known. This duality goes away. After knowledge, I will not even claim I am a Gyani, because to claim I am a Gyani I have to have a knower and known duality. I am Turiyam, free from knower and known duality.

If knower and known division are not there, why do scriptures talk about it? In Taittiriya Upanishad it says, Knower of Brahman attains liberty. The scriptures temporarily accept knower known division for sake of teaching. Once teaching is successful then there is no more duality; the knower known duality; the teacher student duality, all of them go away.

Take Away:

Thus when rope Ignorance goes snake delusion, the Error, automatically goes.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy