Turiyam,The essence from Mandukya Upanishad


The Mandukya Upanishad is one of the shortest Upanishads in the Vedantic texts . It contains only 12 verses but it is said to contain the essence of all the Dharmic teachings. So what does this Upanishad teach? The Upanishad tries to answer the age-old question of "who we are and what is our true nature"

The Article is divided into 5 parts as;
          b) Taijasa
          c) Pragya
          d) Turiyam


The Mandukya Upanishad is an inquiry into the self. As I mentioned, the Upanishad is a short one with only 12 verses and I'm gonna give away the suspense here, The suspense regarding what it says our true nature is. The Mandukya Upanishad declares that what we perceive as the individual self the individual soul the "I" is actually a part of the ultimate reality.

State of Mandukya Upanishad The Waker State                                          

The Mandukya Upanishad declares that the Atman, the individual self, is part of the Brahman the ultimate reality How does it come to this conclusion. The Mandukya Upanishad starts by stating that the self, the consciousness with which we identify ourselves can exist in four states. 


The first state is where our journey begins. The first state is called the Vaishwanara the waking state. This is where the "I" starts its inquiry. The waking state is experienced by the waker. The waker is actually us experiencing this material world. In the waking state, there is no perception of oneness.

Our experience in this world tells us so. We strive to carry a unique identity and this is reflected in our actions here.However, if we do have an inquiry into the question Who am I or who we are the answer would just lead to limiting conclusions at the level of nationality language religion skin color cast etc The waker, the Upanishad States, is not who we are The waker is an error since we do not perceive or understand the oneness with the ultimate reality. So we proceeded to the next state, the next stop in this enquiry - Taijasa the dream state. This is a state experienced by the dreamer.

Even in the dream state there is a distinction.The dreams are tied to "me" - the dreamer. The dream state of course is subtler than the waking state. Our dreams often ignore the laws of physics that govern the waking world. However the dream state also reinforces the distinction of the "I". Dreams are tied to "me" the dreamer. My dreams are completely different compared to another person but dreams do not add anything to this inquiry into the true nature of the self. In fact one could be completely different with very different attributes in the dream world than in the waking world and this at times even shakes the conviction in the limiting answers that we can come up with in the waking world to describe ourselves. 


So the Upanishad declares that this is not who we are either. So we continue the journey and move one state beyond Taijasa to the next state Pragya the sleep state this is experienced by the sleeper a dreamless deep sleep. The Upanishad describes the state of existence as a mass of undifferentiated consciousness in hibernation. In this state, of course the distinction of the "I" fades away. There are no desires.

There is no perception of illusory individuality. However there is also no awareness because there's nothing for consciousness to illuminate. As deep sleepers we ourselves have had a temporary experience of this state and we do know that there is no awareness.

In the waking and the dream state we have awareness. However illusory and in error, this awarness is, we do have some amount of awareness. In Pragya there is no awareness. The Upanishad states that this is also not the reality We cannot answer the question Who am I without awareness. According to the Mandukya Upanishad in order to understand our true nature we need to go beyond these three states. We move to the fourth state the Turiya. This state is the identification of the self with the ultimate reality in this state there is infinite awareness and the correct perception that we are one with the Brahman the all-pervading reality.

The Brahman is called Turiyam from the point of knowledge. Cognizance of the self as part of the ultimate reality that pervades all is Turiya. The Upanishad goes on to say that we are not the Waker the dreamer or the sleeper. What we are is "Turiya" the ultimate reality. The real you, me, and all that exists is the fourth state the Turiya where there is awareness of the oneness that pervades all. The Turiya is the only reality that Upanishad states and  all other states can be considered as states in which the waker the dreamer and the sleeper are not awakened to the truth. 

What is Turiyam or What is State of Turiyam

Vaishwanara Taijasa and Pragya the other three states are merely the Turiya expressing itself as the waker, as the dreamer, and as the deep sleeper. It declares that the true self is all-pervading. It declares that you are one with everything. There are some techniques in the other Upanishads that talk about practices to realize the Turiya. Of course realization of the Turiya does not make the waking world disappear. It is just equivalent to the self being in an awakened state... an enlightened state making its way toward salvation. This is the core teaching of this Upanishad.I will try to make a more detailed analysis on the Mandukya Upanishad later. I wanted to call something out in my analyses. There are still some gaps that I want to seek out and understand better.

For instance, why does the Turiya choose to manifest itself this way What is the point of this dance? It is not that there are no answers! there are answers. I've seen people give answers but so far none of those answers have satisfied me, this illusory "me", so I want to keep seeking I want to keep searching and I want to keep digging so that I'm reasonably equipped, or at least mildly more equipped in this journey. As always the known is a drop and the unknown is an ocean.
So, there is lot more to share in this context ,I will try to bring some more details in a simplified way.

Om Tat Sat

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