Who is watching the mind? – Mandukya Upanishad 7

 The four states of consciousness – awake, dream-filled sleep, deep sleep, and beyond deep sleep.

This is a deep one, so consider yourself forewarned. Swamiji answers a question that relates back to: Who Am I? If everything begins and ends in the mind then the answer to this question has got to do with the mind and how we can transcend it to the point where we are just the Witness.

However, the path to the Witness is littered with obstacles. There are the 5 sheaths (pancha-koshas) and the 3 bodies (Sarira Traya). And then there are the 4 states of consciousness of which one has to transcend the first 3 before you can get to the 4th which is the real Self. In the video below, Swamiji draws once more on the Mandukya Upanishad where he has done so before in another lecture here. Essentially, we will come to know our true self once we transcend the darkness of deep sleep to the turiya, literally, the fourth state.

  1. The first state is the waking state, in which we are aware of our daily world. This is the gross body.
  2. The second state is the dreaming mind. This is the subtle body.
  3. The third state is the state of deep sleep. This is the causal body.
  4. The fourth state is turiya. This is pure consciousness, our true self.

More about turiya can be found in the Chandogya Upanishad 8.7 through 8.12, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 5.14, and Maitri Upanishad 6.19 and 7.11. Here is a very good site to access all of them and more. We find it helps to be able to read the verses in a sequential unit rather than singularly which makes this site great because the Upanishads are there in their entirety both in Sanskrit and English. Try it and see for yourself.

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