DIALOGUE BETWEEN SAGE VASISHTA AND THE DREAMER
(Compiled from the Dreamer’s notebook and elucidated by the editor)
7. The next higher stage is the 7th bhumika called swapna-sushupti in which a person during his dream fully recognizes that he is dreaming, that the dream world is his own mental creation and that he will next pass into a dreamless sleep state, but he does not know of his fourth avastha, the turya. In this stage, he gets mastery over his dream creation and can stop or alter it at will. One who has reached this bhumika by the path of knowledge never cares to interfere with the dream creation. He simply enjoys the scene as a theatrical performance. The yogis are sometimes enamored of the siddhi (power) acquired in this stage and take pleasure in performing miracles before their dream creatures. This often causes their fall.
8. If a jigyasa (seeker after Truth) in the 7th bhumika does not care for the siddhi and continues his practice, he becomes aware of his 4th avastha, the turya, while he is still dreaming. This is the 8th bhumika called swapna-turya.
9. When an ordinary human being (jiva) passes into the sushupti state where all creation ceases and there is nothing to see, hear, feel, or even think of, he is said to be unconscious, but he knows not that his self still exists. When, however, a jigyasu after a long and arduous practice succeeds so far as to know during his sushupti that he exists although he sees nothing, he is said to have reached the 9th bhumika or sushupti-jagrat. In this stage, he still believes that though not seen by him, the waking world as well as other personalities, like him, also exists.
10. When during sushupti, he is so far aware as to recognize that his previous states of jagrat and swapna were both merely the result of his own mental activities, he is in the 10th bhumika of sushupti-swapna.
11. When he fully realizes during sushupti, that his mind is now mindless, or in other words, when he is conscious of his unconscious state, he acquires the 11th bhumika a sushupti-sushupti. In this stage, however, he cannot stay long. He either immediately returns to his waking or dream state or passes on to the next turya avastha. This depends upon how far he has succeeded in killing his ahamkara or personality. If he has not yet been able to get rid of his adhyas (attachment) of personality, he experiences in this stage a sensation of annihilation or death of his false self, with which he has a strong love, and which he now feels reluctant to part with. This brings him back to his waking state.
12. If, however, he has succeeded in his waking state in extinguishing all love of personality (ahamkara), he will pass into the 12th bhumika of sushupti-turya and on into the turya. In turya state, he experiences an expansion of his self or ‘I am-ness’, which he now knows as his real self, the atman, the all-pervading individuality, an infinite ocean of life and joy, ever conscious, ever existent, and ever blissful. He sees the whole universe in him and himself in the whole universe and actually feels that both the waking and dream worlds are his own mental creation. The yogis call this the state of Samadhi. In the avastha, the triputy, the knower, the knowledge, and the known, still persists and therefore the aspirant returns to jagrat and other lower avasthas, but he remains a gnani or knower of Truth during all avastha. He is called a jivanmukta. Beyond turya is the turya-atit, the nirvana or kaivalya-moksha, which only parmahansa sannyasis that are free from all sanskara of vasna can reach direct. But these who are going by the path of knowledge without sarvatyaga (complete renunciation) have to pass through four other bhumikas before they reach the turya-atit. These 4 bhumikas are purely spiritual, beyond mind, and free from the trammels to avidya or Maya.
13. The first of these 4 spiritual stages is the 13th bhumika named turya-jagrat in which the sanskara of vasna (desire in the latent state) for the creation of the physical world or jagrat remain in potential and there is a liability of the one in this stage assuming a personality and appearing in the world as an avatara or prophet in virtue of the shubh icchha, the desire of doing good to the people.
14. The next higher stage is of turya-swapna, in which a latent desire of doing good to devatas or denizens of the spiritual (sukshama) world yet remains, and he comes down or appears as a Brahma, Vishnu, or, Mahesh in creation.
15. The 15th bhumika is called turya-sushupti in which the desire or seed world still persists and which causes one’s assuming the state of Bhagavan Hiranyagarva. He has practically achieved the goal, but the last obstacle is not yet removed, and he remains the seed or the egg from which creation may spring at any time.
16. The last or 16th bhumika of turya-turya is the Ishwara or mayavasishta Brahman state when there remains no desire of creation but Maya still exists in potentiality. In this stage, the Ishwara identifies himself with the world as its creator or source. He is an impartial spectator and rejoices in witnessing the play of Maya, his consort, as a magician rejoices in the performance of tricks that he himself knows to be sham and baseless in nature. Beyond the 16th bhumika, in the turya-atit or final awakening, where Maya and her triput merge into the absolute adwaita kutasht Brahman, it is avangmanas hara (beyond mind and speech), and there are no means in my power nor in that of anybody else to give you even an idea or a mental picture of this Ultimate Reality.
38. DREAMER: I am now convinced and have no doubt whatever as regards to the Ultimate Reality, but I want to have a sakshatkara (direct cognition). You yourself must have experienced it. Pray show it to me. With your help, I will have a direct cognition of the Ultimate Reality without passing through so many stages.
SAGE: You are not yet fit to understand or to bear the effects of sudden illumination. You know how bewildered or confused a man feels when abruptly aroused from his sound sleep. You have yet to learn more about the 16 bhumikas or stages in the path of knowledge and the methods of passing from one to the other by gradual unfoldment of consciousness. It is good at this stage that you consider me as guru and I take you to be my disciple. In showing you the Ultimate Reality, both ‘I’ and ‘You’ will vanish.