There is some excellent discussion in advaitin yahoo group about Avasthya Traya that is worth following closely.
- To answer some questions, Dr. Sadananda eloquently explains the avasthya-traya.
- The question, comes up (in the follow-up mails): "What is the source of happiness that one experiences after sushupthi?" If a person says after sushupti "I feel happy", what is the souce of the happiness? Is it union with Brahman? If it is union with Brahman, is the union with Brahman complete? If so, why? If not a complete union with Brahman, where is the happiness coming from? sushupti is clearly a state of ignorance. What happens to the adjuncts during the sushupti? [I have an ancillary question regarding this: How can the happiness experienced during sushupthi be compared with the union of a sense-organ with the desired object? Simple examples for these are satisfaction of hunger after eating food.]
- One "Sampath from Hyderabad", a 20 year old (!!!) with the tag "paramahamsavivekananda" explains the relevant passages from Brahma-sutra Bhashya of Shri Shankara. [Refers to B.S.B 3.2.9, M.Up.S.B 5, M.Up.7, ]
- The topic shifts to the other thread, titled "The three states".
- Br. Vinayaka asks some questions and Shri Sampath answers them withr reference to Adi Shankara's Brahma Sutra Bhashya. [The post has quite a few interesting points.] [New references: M.Up.6,7, B.G. 14.19]
- More questions by Br. Vinayaka and more answers by Shri. Sampath. [New references: Br.Up.4.3.32.S.B, B.S. 2.3.29, Mun.Up. 3.1.9, B.S.2.3.30, Ch.Up.6.8.1, B.S. 2.3.31, Kh.Up. VI,9,2;3, Pai.Up. 2.8, 2.9, 2.13, 4.15, 4.16, 4.17, B.S. 1.3.42, Br. Up. 4.3.7, B.S.1.3.8, ]
- Worthwhile reading posts: by Dr. Sadananda: "absence of duality may be bliss but there is no knowledge ones real nature in that sushhupti state. Otherwise everybody will get up with knowledge after deep sleep state."
- Prof. VK refers to Shri Sampath an "Abhinava-Shankara" and blesses him saying "As one much elder to you let me bless you with 'vedoktA AshiShaH'." [Read the post for an important excerpt.]
- Shri. S.N. Sastri clarifies that nowhere did he say that "there is no ignorance in deep-sleep" and Shri. Ram Chandran points to some passages from Atmabodha (verses #53-57). [References: B.S. 3.2.9]
- Shri. S.N. Sastri also points to the references in Shankara's commentary where there is an apparent contradiction. "In Br. Up. 4.3.21 *The above passage is in the context of deep sleep and says that the jIIva is freed from avidyA during deep sleep.*" seems to contradict the following "In Ch.up. 8.3.2 it is clearly said that there is avidyA in deep sleep". [References: Br.Up. 4.3.21, Ch. Up. 8.3.2, Br.S.B. 3.2.9, S.S.3.123-3.125, B.S.B. 1.4.18]
- Br. Vinayaka has more questions and Shri Sampath answers, with a punch line: "the temporary union with Brahman is because of the obliteration of vishepa shakti of avidyA and coming back into the world is because of its avaraNa shakti." [Ch. Up 6.8.1, B.S.B. 2.3.31, Br.Up. 4.3.32, 4.3.22, 4.3.7,4.3.[17-18], 4.3.23]
- Some clarification asked by Shri Bharkarji and some replies by Shri Sampath. [Ch.Up. 8.3.2]
- Some questions by bhagni Nivedita on the rope-snake illusion and some apt answers by Shri Sampath. [References: Ch.Up. 6.2.2-3, Ait.Up 1.1.1]
- Br. Vinayaka brings up some verses from Upadesha Sahasri (with the quote "Some Swamis like Sri SSS, Swami Dayananda Saraswati opine that it is the only prakaraNa grantha written by shankara.") and Shri Sampath answers, with an interpretation of a description of Br. Up and with an brilliant observation "Sri Bhaskarji in his post said that the non cognition of multiplicity is due to the union with Brahman. This is "NOT FALSE". In some way, it is true, but the actual thing must be IMHO, ** The union itself occurs because of the cessation of multiplicity.**". [References: Br.Up. 4.3.19: hawk analogy]
- Br. Vinayaka summarizes some points with an intent to conclude the thread. He does not agree with avidya in deep-sleep. Also, he states that (i) there is complete union of the jiva with brahman in sushupthi and (ii) there is no contradiction in the passages that Shri Sampath quotes above ("I don't see any contradiction in the first palce. Like other shruti passages shruti is telling here that, you hugged brahman itself you don't know after you woke up.").
- Shri Bhaskarji asks asks couple of *VERY* important questions ("you are saying *avidyA*, in sushupti, is granting the permission to jiVa to unite with brahman!! ... Is the turIya what you are referring is something specially designed exalted state like *nirvikalpa samAdhi*?? Though you have not specifically mentioned *turIya is nirvikalpa samAdhi*, prabhuji, I think I've valid references from your recent mails to infer that you are advocating the 4th state called turIya as something strange state which is exclusive of our normal three avasthA-s") and Shri Sampath answers ("mahASaya, IMHO, turIya iss NOT AT ALL A STATE. It can be a state to the ajNAni who observes a sage experience it. This idea of attributing "State" to everything we see itself denotes that we are conditioned by avidyA. So, I feel, turIyA is not a state and it is the true nature of Brahman beyond all the three states which can only be reached by a sAdhaka through apavAda leading to the Conscious identity with his own true Self.") and asks the question that started the whole thing ("What is the cause for the "UNION with Brahman" to occur in Deep Sleep? ")
- Shri Shyam explains in a beautiful post, in simple words (using upanishadic concepts like panchakosha etc, and upanishadic examples like uddalaka/aruni, indra/prajapathi) the meaning of the three states. Shri Sampath responds, with a couple of examples -- small pot immersed in a big pot -- and restates his question ("tell me the reason for such a merger (or) ceasing from the not-self identification which is said to occur in the deep sleep."). Here is more.
- *MUST READ* Shri Sadananda explains in an eloquent post many things. His post corrects many statements made by other posters and has some gems. *MUST READ*.
- Shri Ananda Wood responds and summarizes ("it is the thinking mind that sleeps, not knowing consciousness"). Shri S. N. Sastri points to an (apparent) difference of opinion and Shri Ram Chandran also adds in.
- Shri Sampath brings in more references to enforce his POV ("Here is a very important and conclusive evidence from SrI Sankara's own words in Brahma Sutra Bhashya where he has explicitly said that avidyA exists in a potential form during Deep Sleep.") [B.S.B. 2.1.8, 2.1.9]. Shri Baskaran brings references from Swami Nikhilananda's book on Mandukya, chapter 1 verse 5 ("In deep sleep all the diversified experiences of waking and dreaming, which are nothing but the activities of the mind reach the state of non discrimination
... This unified experience of deep sleep is different from the unity experienced from the knowledge of Brahman; for in the waking and dream state that follows it, one again takes multiplicity to be real. In deep sleep no specific knowledge is present. ... and .. friction caused by subject-object relationship is absent. All efforts disappear and one in deep sleep experiences bliss, said to be happy. This bliss is quite different from that of Brahman.""). He also brings in his notes from Swami Paramarthananda ("In shusupthi, a nirvikalpa rupa everything gets resolved into one, an experience through kaarana sariram. In this state the jagrat and swapna states are negated and jeeva is ignorant of himself in that state. The basic difference is that in nidithyasanam he is aware of himself as "aham brahma asmi". In fact in jagrath avastha also he is asleep to his nature. The Kshetragna is same in all the three states. Even though the pramata, prameyam and pramanam are not experienced they get resolved as unmanifest condition –a maya aspect. There is no absence since they come back again on waking up. It is saturated with ananda associated with the experiencer –karana sariram, where duality, ragadveshas are all resolved. The very experience of absence of experience in which there is sukham the thriputies are not clearly defined/felt. It is also to be understood that in all the three stages there involves withdrawal and entry in to the stages."")
Shankara's commentaries on Mandukya, Chandogya and Brihadaranyaka. Translations by Nikhilananda. [I used Dr. Radhakrishnan's Upanishads/Brahma-Sutra commentary for cross-checking.]
Looks like people also used these translations of Brahma-Sutra.
Note: This post will be updated when more posts come up.