Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Tattvabodha - Part 12

Notes on Tattvabodha
Dr. Vishnu Bapat

Dr. Bapat (72) was the co-founder of an Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Industry and served as its Managing Director for 26 years until retirement. He is associated with several professional and spiritual bodies. He is now fully engaged in the study and practice of Vedanta.




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21. The Three states of existence

अवस्थात्रयम् किम् ?

अवस्थात्रयम् किम् ? जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्त्यवस्थाः ।।

अवस्थात्रयम् – the three states of existence किम् – what जाग्रत् - the waking स्वप्न - the dream सुषुप्ति - and the sleep अवस्थाः - states

What are the three sates of consciousness? They are the waking, dream and deep sleep planes.

After negating the three bodies, the gross, subtle, and the causal as anatma Shri Shankara now takes up another subject; the three states of awareness or experience. Which are the three states of existence? All of us have to pass through three states of existence every day; waking, dream and sleep. We get a variegated experience from the object, emotion and thought (OET). We experience the physical world as, sound, touch, form, taste, and smell (शब्द, स्पर्श, रूप रस and गन्ध). At the emotional level we get experiences of desire, anger, love, and compassion. At the intellectual level, we experience ideals, concepts, imagination etc. We also experience the absence of these experiences. The experiences derived from OET are divided into three states of consciousness namely, waking, dream and deep sleep. अवस्था means state of existence or experience. स्थ meaning ‘to be’ is the root of this noun. It means the mind which remains at any given time.


22. The waking state

जाग्रदवस्था का?

जाग्रदवस्था का? श्रोत्रादिज्ञानेन्दियैः शन्दादि विषयैश्च ज्ञायते इति सा जाग्रदवस्था ।

स्थूलशरीराभिमानी आत्मा विश्व इत्युच्यते।।

जाग्रदवस्था – the waking state का – What? श्रोत्रादि - the ear and other ज्ञानेन्दियैः – with the organs of perception शन्दादि – sound and other विषयैः - objects of enjoyment च – and ज्ञायते – are perceived इति – thus सा - that जाग्रदवस्था – waking plane स्थूलशरीर - the gross body अभिमानी - identified with आत्मा – the self विश्व –Vishwa, complete or all-inclusive इति – thus उच्यते – is called

What is waking state? The state of awareness in which the organs of perception like hearing cognize their respective objects like sound is called the waking state. The self, identified with the gross physical body, is called Vishwa.

जाग्रदवस्था का – the walking state. This is the most important state of life. Swami Paramarthananda considers the three states of life in three stages for convenience of understanding. These are mind, nature and medium.


1. The mind: In the waking state, the internal sense or the mind (अंतःकरण) is fully functional. All the four faculties of the mind such as emotion and rational thinking, ego and memory are available. Emotion includes love, happiness, hatred etc. Rational thinking is judgment, discretion, discrimination, gathering fresh information etc. Ego is the self arrogating principle of “I”, projected by the mind instead of the real self. Memory is formed when the mind gathers experience from the objects which have a form; taste, smell, sound and touch (रूप, रस, गन्ध, शब्द, स्पर्श) and registered in mind.


2. Nature: In waking state, we experience the external world of names and objects. The objective world is available for everyone to experience. It is concrete, tangible matter.


3. The medium: The waking state is sense organ based experience. The sense organs have two locations; one in the physical body and the other in the subtle body. The external sense organ is just a physical location or a cavity, technically called a fossa (plural fossae). In Sanskrit it is called a Golaka (गॊलक). The real apparatus or illuminating factor of the organ is located in the subtle body. In the waking state I identify with the gross body and become doer and enjoyer. In the dream state I identify with the subtle body and become only the enjoyer.


Jagrat Avastha is also called sthula sharira, Annamaya Kosha, or Vishwa.


श्रोत्रादि ज्ञानेन्दियैः – The sense organs like ear perceive the sense object like the sound etc. The waking state offers a very real experience of solid external world by sense perceptions. A person in waking stage identifies with all the three states of consciousness. He is aware of his gross body, the internal senses like mind, and his causal body. श्रोत्रादि – sense organs like ear. Other sense organs are skin, eye, tongue, and nose, the five sense objects. श्रोत्रं त्वक् चक्षु: रसना घ्राणम् इति पंच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाणि।


शन्दादि विषयैः - The objects of experience are शब्द स्पर्श रूप रस and गन्ध. The sense objects are perceived by the sense organs.


Krishna calls the sense organs and sense objects मात्रा स्पर्श च ज्ञायते इति जाग्रदवस्था – In the waking state or jagrat avastha the sense objects are perceived by the sense organs.


स्थूलशरीर अभिमानी आत्मा विश्व इति उच्यते – Atman identified with the gross body is called स्थूलशरीर अभिमानी, the identifier with the gross body. Our identification with gross body is the cause of waking state. The moment this identification ceases, the waking state also ceases. Just as we have three states of body, the gross subtle and causal bodies at the individual level, we have also cosmic gross, subtle and causal bodies.


23. The Dream state

स्वप्नावस्था केति चेत्

स्वप्नावस्था केति चेत्? जाग्रदवस्थायां यद्

द्रष्टं यत् श्रुतं तज्जनितवासनया निद्रासमये यः प्रपञ्चः

प्रतीयते सा स्वप्नावस्था ।

सूक्ष्म्शरीराभिमानी आत्मा तैजसः इति उच्यते ।।

स्वप्नावस्था – the dream state का -इति -चेत् – if asked what it is जाग्रदवस्थायाम् –in the waking state यद् – which द्रष्टम् – seen यद् – which श्रुतम् heard तत्-जनित-वासनया – by the impressions born from that निद्रासमये – at the time of the sleep यः – which प्रपञ्चः – world प्रतीयते is experienced - सा – that स्वप्न-अवस्था – dream state सूक्ष्म्शरीर-अभिमानी – identified with the subtle body आत्मा – the self तैजसः –Taijasa इति - उच्यते – is called

What is dream state?

All that is heard or seen in the waking state become mental impression. The consequential world that is projected during sleep is called dream state. The self that identifies itself with the subtle body is called Taijasa.

स्वप्नावस्था का इति चेत् – For the question “what is dream state”, the answer is that experiences of the waking state become the material for dream experience. As Shankara says, the dream is a product of the impressions that are gathered during waking state.

जाग्रदवस्थायाम् यद् द्रष्टम् यद् श्रुतम् तत्-जनित-वासनया निद्रासमये यः प्रपञ्चः प्रतीयते सा स्वप्न-अवस्था - Dream is the product of impressions that are projected in sleep of what is seen and heard by the senses during waking state. Here only two senses of sight and sound are indicated. By implication we have to add other senses of touch, taste and smell. Dream is created by the mind. It projects its experiences during sleep. Mind is a part of the subtle body. The dreamer has a separate identity from the waker. The buddhi or intellect also plays no part in dream. There is no notion of doership and hence no merit or demerit for the actions and enjoyment done in dream. There is only the notion of enjoyer. (भोक्र्त्रत्वम्) but there is no choice whether to enjoy or to suffer. निद्रासमये during sleep, we withdraw our identification from gross body. If the identification with gross body continues we cannot go to sleep.

सूक्ष्म्शरीर अभिमानी आत्मा तैजसः इति उच्यते – Self or Atman identified with the subtle body is called Taijasa.

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Page last updated: 27-Mar-2016