Bhagavadgita Pages, Chapters 1 to 18

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File name: TURIYA_STATE.htm

A pictorial demonstration of  various levels of Consciousness compared with the Turiya Consciousness of a Yogi

Since we are embodied souls, we are endowed with three states of consciousness; the Higher Consciousness, Turiya, is a state realizable only by Yogis . These three states attests to the dualistic world, while Turiya attests to monistic world. The soul sprang from a monistic source and took its birth in a bodily form in the dualistic world. Turiya restores that monism that we sprang from.


        New Eponyms for Brahman; X and Y Chromosomes. 

    Macrobrahman, Mayabrahman, and Avidyabrahman or microbrahman: Transcendent Brahman without attributes is Pure Consciousness and therefore is Macrobrahman (Nirguna Brahman). Isvara is Mayabrahman or Macrobrahman (Saguna Brahman) with Maya. Human beings with a load of Avidya (ignorance) are microbrahmans or Avidyabrahmans.   These eponyms are coined by me for easy identification of three levels of Brahman. Macrobrahman is Parabrahman or Supreme Brahman. Aparabrahman (Sabdabrahman) is Siva and Sakti ensconced in a sheath of Maya. Aparabrahman state is Parang-Bindu (complementary halves of seed, two halves or cotyledons wrapped in a tight skin or sheath).  Polarization of Siva and Sakti takes place within the sheath; this is like the polarization of the Y and the X chromosome in Meiosis with the resultant Y and X gametes. This polarization of Siva and Sakti is Parasaktimaya; Sakti (Unmuki) turns toward Siva  for a longing glance from Siva. When the Maya sheath explodes with the sound of  Ham and Sa ( Hamsa Mantra), Sakti undergoes reduction division: Bindu, Bija and Nada. Bindu and Nada are the progenitors of universe. Bija is the mystic syllable of  Mantra.

    Brahman has four states upon becoming Isvara, and man has the first three states of consciousness with the fourth state achievable only by meditation and realization.  

(1) Visva is the waking state and entails cognition of external objects and duality of experience. Consciousness is outward moving. It is the perceptual self and entails actions, reactions, and dualities. The empirical world is its playground. The sound A of AUM corresponds to the waking state, which is Vaisvānara meaning “relating to all men.” (See below, compared to level four.)  The presiding deity is Aniruddha, the son of Pradyumna and the Grandson of Lord Krishna; He is one of the four emanations (Vyūhas) of Purushottama. In Garuda Purana, nine forms of Visnu are listed: Sudarsana, Hari, Acyuta, Trivikrama, Vāsudeva, Pradyumna, Samskarsana, Aniruddha, and Ananta

If an aspirant meditates on Brahman in the Visva state, he returns to earth as human being and enjoys the objective world.  

(2) Taijasa is the dream state, in which we enjoy subtle objects. We experience pain and pleasure; consciousness is inward moving; the self is imaginative and the dreams are woven from the experiences of the waking state. The self is released temporarily from the empirical world.  Mind is active and the senses are inactive and disengaged from the sense objects. The sound U of AUM corresponds to this state. (See below, compared to level three.) The presiding deity is Pradyumna, the son of Lord Krishna and Rukmini; He is one of the four emanations of Purushottama.

    If an aspirant meditates on Brahman in Taijasa state, he reaches the subjective world of Soma Loka (Sphere of Moon) after his death. After his sojourn there, he comes back to earth to live among human beings.  

The following modification is based on Joseph Campbell's view of dream sleep. (Page 70, Myths of Light.)

When you are in dream sleep, all dreams are mental creations like a movie in which you see yourself, others and events. Though there is duality of you on one side (subject) and that, he, she, and it on the other side (object), they are all one because they are your mental creation. It is a dream, a myth, and an illusion that you created. Life likewise is a dream, a myth, and an illusion. The heaven and hell, good and bad, god and soul, I and That, I and He, I and She, I and it are one. The acts in the dream are your acts; the it, that, he, and she are you because there is nobody else; they are all within you; therefore we walk and work in a world of dream, myth and illusion.

(3) Prajna is deep sleep. No desire is known or expressed. This third quarter of the self is prajna (a state of knowledge), full of received bliss, and enjoys bliss. Consciousness enjoys peace and there is no awareness of external or internal objects. It is a temporary state during deep sleep; it is a conceptual self in that the concepts are incubated without awareness until they are hatched. This state of union with Brahman confers a temporary relief lasting for the duration of deep sleep. It is Prajna consciousness because it does not have heterogeneous experience of the empirical world and it knows only one homogeneous mass of Bliss. It is not Bliss itself, but enjoys Bliss. The Higher Self is all Bliss; Brahman is all Bliss. Objective consciousness is absent, but its seed is present. The sound M of AUM corresponds to this state. (See Below, compared to level two.) Samkarshana is the presiding deity, one of the four emanations of Purushottama; He is Balarāma who originated from embryo transfer from Devaki’s womb to Rohini’s under the direction of Yoga Maya power of the Lord. The embryo transfer was necessary because maternal uncle Kamsa killed six male children of Devaki before, on hearing a voice from the sky tell him that the eighth male child of Devaki would kill him (Kamsa). Samkarshana means extraction of anything and in this instance, it stands to mean the actual process of extraction and transfer of embryo from one womb to another womb; He is the second of the four forms of Purushottama.

If an aspirant meditates on Brahman as a whole (all three parts or AUM), he goes, after death, to the sphere of the Sun from where he goes to Satya Loka, where he becomes one with the Absolute. He becomes  homogenized with all other souls (with no distinction) which joined the Absolute.  

(4) Turiya is Spiritual Transcendental consciousness. Visva, Taijasa, and Prajna merge and fuse sequentially. Turiya is without any attributes. It is santam, sivam, and advaitam (peace, goodness, and nondual), for didactic purposes.  It or He is the Self. Objective consciousness is absent and its seed is absent. Ramana Maharishi calls this “Wakeful Sleep.” Turiya is present and functional in the perfected ones, even when they are awake. In Turiya, there is an irreversible union with Brahman: There is Oneness with Brahman. There is a permanent Metaphysical Unity. There are four progressive Turiya states, one deeper and subtler than the earlier one. The silence that follows the Sound AUM corresponds to this state. (See Below, compared to level one.) The presiding deity is the Supreme Vāsudeva Himself; He is Vāsu and Deva, meaning an indwelling God.

If an aspirant meditates on Brahman in all his four parts (AUM-Silence) he becomes non-dual with Brahman. 

Ramalinga Swamigal of Madras (1823-1874 C.E.) explains Turiya as follows: 'I became it; It became me.' 

Here is the view of Joseph Campbell on Turiya. (Page 71-72, Myths of Light.)

The goal of the various forms of yoga is to go into that realm of undifferentiated consciousness while remaining awake. We don't have a counterpart to this concept in our Western vocabularies. It doesn't even have a name in India; it is called simply the fourth state, and that is the fourth letter of the syllable (AUM), the level of silence. Because all the words that we speak refer either to waking images and logic, dream images and logic, or ignorance. We do not have words for this, and so it is the ultimate silence, but it is that which we are....

The Indian word for this form of forms is Isvara, "lord." Any god can be taken as this lord. The image that you have held in your mind as that image of God is what will there be experienced, be it Yahweh, Siva, Vishnu, or the Goddess, be it Christ or the Trinity or the highest image of the Buddha. Any will be all right. And what beholds it is that jiva that has gone  through many incarnations and is the soul of your own existence. Here, the subject beholds its proper object. At this level the erotic principle or the second cakra finds its goal: the true beloved, the beloved that our soul  intends, is God. And anything short of that is simply an inkling of what the experience of God would be. 

            It is obvious from this that each of the four states of consciousness is presided by one of four emanations (Vyūhas) of the Lord: Aniruddha, Pradhyumna, Samkarshana, and Vāsudeva. (Note: The fifth entity is Prakrti (the Bhutas) which is not an emanation of Vāsudeva as the other three are. This fifth entity is a material complement to the spiritual side. (Aniruddda is the son of KAma (son of Krishna and Rukmini) and Rati and the grandson of Krishna. Pradyumna is the incarnation of god of love, KAma.  (The story goes like this. The Devas had an enemy, TAraka.  The Devas recruited Kama to entice Siva and Parvati to come together to give birth to a son who would defeat Taraka. Kama, the god of love shot arrows of love at Siva in meditation. Siva became angry at the interruption and burnt KAma with the fire from His third eye.  Kama's wife Rati begged Siva to let her husband be incarnated again as Pradyumna.

Vasudeva is the first and the most important presiding Lord over Citta (reason); next comes Sankarsana, the serpent (Ananta) manifestation of the Lord, who presides over ego and destroys the universe at the time of dissolution. Pradyumna, the son of Krishna, is the third Vyuha presiding over knowledge of the universe, intellect and comprehension, and creation. Aniruddha is the fourth Vyuha presiding over the mind and the senses and sustenance of the universe of beings.

The primary Vyuhas are arranged from your left to right without regard to order in the lineage but with centrality of importance given to Krishna (Vasudeva) and His brother, Sankarsana (Baladeva): Pradyumna-Sankarsana-Vasudeva-Aniruddha, (Krishna’s emanations or manifestations). Pradyumna is the creator; Aniruddha is the protector; Sankarsana is the destroyer; and Vasudeva is the supervising and the controlling authority.

The foursome Vyuhas are available for worship only by the heavenly beings and liberated souls in Vaikuntham. The Vibhava (omnipresent) forms of incarnations are realized only by perfected souls. The Archa (image or idol) forms are consecrated images and idols in the temples for worship by the faithful.  The Vibhava and Archa forms are the same, the former for the spiritually perfected ones and the latter for devotees.

An exception in Thirnaraiyur

Naachiyar Koil at Thirunaraiyur near Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu shows the Moolavar Thirunaraiyur Nambi (main deity of Vishnu) in His ceremonial wedding stance marrying Vanchulavalli Thaayaar (Lakshmi). The legend has it that Goddess Lakshmi was born of Sage Madhava in the shade of Vanchula tree.  Bhagavan appeared in Pancha Vyuha form (Sankarshana-Pradyumna-Aniruddha-Purushotama-Vasudeva) and married Goddess Lakshmi. These forms are seen in Garbha Graham (Sanctum).

  The configuration of Aniruddha-Pradyumna-Samkarshana-Vasudeva is as follows: Grandson-son-brother-Himself.





Son of Lord Krishna and Rukmini

Brother of Lord Krishna, aka Baladeva

Lord Krishna Himself, son of Vasudeva and Devaki

Grandson of Lord Krishna and Son of Pradyumna (incarnation of KAma, god of love)

Dream sleep

Deep Sleep









All qualities

Sustenance (Protector)

Knowledge and Intellect



Mind and senses

Presiding deity: Brahma


Presiding deity: Rudra

Presiding deity: The Soul

The presiding deity: Moon










Jnāna (Wisdom)





Aisvarya (Auspiciousness)

Aisvarya (Auspiciousness)





Sakti (Energy/Power)





Bala (Strength)





Virya (Valor)





Tejas (Splendor)



The Rays of the Sun




Color of  Raiment





Weapons in four hands

Bow, Arrows, Conch, and abhaya mudra

Plough, Pestle, Conch, and Abhaya mudra

Discus and Mace, Conch, and Abhaya mudra

Sword, club, Conch, and Abhaya mudra

Special weapons

Bow and arrows

Plough and pestle

Discus and mace

Sword and club

Alternate configuration

Right upper: M

Right lower:C

Left upper:L

Left lower:D

Right upper: L

Right lower: C

Left upper: D

Left lower: M

Right upper: D

Right lower: C

Left upper: L

Left lower: M

Right upper: D

Right lower: L

Left upper: M

Left lower: C

Banner, Emblem

Makara (crocodile)

Tala  (palm tree)

Garuda (Eagle)

Mrga (deer)



M=Mace, C=Conch, L=Lotus, and D=Discus.

All manifestations show abhaya mudra: freedom from fear, depicted by the open palm of the right hand raised to the level of the chest and facing forward.

  Let me get back to Turiya.

(4A) Jiva Turiya: Jiva (individual self) realizes its pristine spiritual nature and its organic relationship with God or Self. Duality still exists: self and Self

(4B) Para Turiya: Jiva realizes Brahman; and union, absorption, or merger takes place; they are still “NOT” united in essence. Duality is still apparent between object and subject, Jiva and Brahman. It is worthwhile to remember that Brahman, the all-knowing subject, can never become an object.  

(4C) Brahman Turiya: Jiva unites with Brahman, and is fully absorbed and integrated into One Being.

(4D) Beyond Turiya: Jiva and Brahman become ONE as butter is poured into butter, and water is mixed with water. It is an undifferentiated and homogeneous state of subject-object fusion. 

(Saiva Siddhanta: Siddhantists say that this Turiya state is experiencing of Suddha Vidya of Suddha Tattvas through Samadhi yoga. Turiyatita [the fifth state] is experiencing higher states of Consciousness as follows.)

Here is another variation of the above.

Avastha or state of consciousness for Sahasrara is Turiya-Turiya, 7th higher level of consciousness.             Turiya-jagrat = awakening to higher consciousness --the fourth state;

Turiya-svapna = the fifth state of mystical visions;

Turiya-Susupti is the 6th higher state of Consciousness of Sa-Vikalpa Samadhi-Duality between yogi and Brahman present;

Turiya-Turiya = Nir-Vikalpa Samadhi-7th state, No duality, merger between yogi and Brahman.


Saiva Siddhanta points to another state beyond Turiya called Turiyatita, [which is consolidation of Turiya], which has two phases: Un-mesham Consciousness, the opening of the eyes (Isvara Tattva is attained) and Nimesha Consciousness, the closing of the eyelids (Sadasiva Tattva is attained). Un-mesham is opening of the eyes; Nimesha is closing of the eyes. Sadasiva Tattva (Nimesha) experience and Consciousness are deeper and purer than the Isvara Tattva (Un-mesham) Consciousness, and the yogi enjoys equality with Siva, when Siva reveals his Grace to the Yogi. For more information on Suddha Tattvas, refer to TATTVAS-36.htm

Yogi ascends the Tattvas from the Muladhara plane to Sahasrara plane where the Yogi enters Turiyatitta for onward journey to the source of SuperConsciousness or Pure Consciousness; it is a retrograde involutional process (as opposed to evolutional descent of Consciousness from Superconsciousness to mere human consciousness to sub-consciousness and instinct in animals), which is Jiva's homecoming to the source where creative cascade starts. As the Yogi ascends the Suddha Tattvas from Vidya Tattva through Isvara, Sadasiva, Sakti to Siva Tattva, the Consciousness becomes purer and purer, when it is the Purest at Siva Tattva.

Ramprasad, devotee of Kali, though he attained Turiyatitta by becoming one with Brahman, says that he would rather be enjoying sugar (Brahman) than becoming Sugar himself. He liked to be separate from Kali so that he could worship Her, because Oneness with Her does not permit worship.

The following tells us the distinction between the Absolute and God; Brahman and Isvara; Turiya and Prajna.  

Level One: The Absolute, Brahman, Turiya, and the Silence after AUM have a horizontal relationship with one another. All are Imperishable Brahman. It is all thought, all Bliss, no dream, no activity, no name, no form, all light and all absolute repose.  

Level Two: God, Isvara, Prajna, and AUM belong to the category of the Unmanifest becoming the manifest universe of beings and matter. He is the Sutratman (Thread-Soul) running through all the souls of the universe.  These are derivatives of the imperishable immeasurable Brahman. Brahman BECOMES ISVARA OR PERSONAL GOD with pure wisdom or Prajna. Brahman does not diminish or cease to be, by becoming Isvara. Isvara is the Principle behind the Mula-Prakrti or the unmanifested, the inner guide (controller) of all souls. This is compared to deep sleep.  

Level Three: Isvara is the immediate cause of Hiranyagarbha, which is the embryo of the world. When this embryo (an internalized state compared to the dream state, ideas, and possibilities) projects into space and time, we get Virāt or manifestations. Ramanuja says that Isvara is the inner controller of Cit and Acit (Beings and universe, sentient and insentient).  

Level Four: When the embryo stage matures and is exteriorized, the manifest world is like the waking state. This corresponds to Vaisvanara. Vaisvanara = Visva + Nara = Whole, universal, entire, all + Men = relating to all men. 

Turiyatitia, Turiya, Susupti, Svapna, Jagrat have concordance with Avyakta, Brahman, Isvara, Hiranyagarbha, and Virat.

The Triads:

Three states of consciousness Jagrat Svapna Susupti
3 individual Jiva Visva Taijasa Pajna
3 collective Jiva Vaisvnara Hiranyagarbha Sutratman
three functions of the Lord creation maintenance destruction

  Coming back to sleep, science is still trying to explain why we have and need dream (REM sleep) and deep sleep NREM sleep). NREM = Non-rapid eye movement sleep. The newborn spends many hours in REM sleep. REM and sleep are two entities; REM can occur without dream in injuries of frontal lobe and perceptive brain. Dolphins sleep while swimming with half brain at work and half brain in REM mode. Humans spend two hours dreaming in REM sleep. Deprivation of deep sleep kills rats a few weeks faster than deprivation of REM sleep. Medications can alter sleep states.

Premature babies and Immature animals spend longer periods in REM sleep. It appears, younger the brain, more REM sleep is needed. It is reasonable to think that the newborns are laying down new neural pathways and building new neurons during REM sleep; the human baby's brain grows three times its size during the first year. REM sleep is dream sleep. Do the newborns have dreams during REM sleep? It is anybody's guess. During REM sleep mind is active, and transmitter brain chemical, pontine acetylcholine sets the stage, while noradrenaline and serotonin, the chemicals next in the cascade series activate the frontal brain to have the dream run; dream lets you drive your car in dream sleep, but does not get you out of the bed to go to your car and drive it, because REM sleep is associated with muscle paralysis. REM dream sleep is paradoxical paralytic sleep, paradoxical because the brain acts as if it is awake, though the muscles are paralyzed.  REM is a cholinergic state and a dream-trigger, while dream itself is a dopaminergic state.  The drama of dream needs an intact of frontal and perceptual cortex (Occipito-temporo-parietal junction) and dream-paralysis of motor cortex. Frontal cortex is the site of dream, but the interpretation of images, colors, smells, texture and sound takes place as usual in visual and auditory cortex. The images and perceptions are not fed from an outside world, but are internally generated and so the frontal cortex does not exercise judgment but plays the role of out-of-body spectator. REM sleep is necessary for mental health and NREM is necessary for physical health.

Some people with somnambulism might do complex activities in total absence of awareness of what they are doing. Waking mentation and consciousness, and normal inhibitions and volitions are absent, automatism takes over control of acts, of which they may not have a memory. It is dissociative motor arousal (mind-body dichotomy) without volition or inhibition; it takes place during stages 3 and 4 of deep Sleep. Automatism is seen in psychomotor epilepsy and other conditions. This is not the place for discussion of criminal automatism.  

When retrograde involution takes place, the Cit, the Acit, Hiranyagarbha, and Isvara go into Brahman. AUM straddles all levels and is imperishable. A is for the waking state, U is for the dream state, and M is for the Deep Sleep. The silence that follows AUM is the Turiya State. AUM is worshipped as Isvara and Brahman.

Devotion is of several kinds, thus bringing different results; the object of devotion or worship can range over a wide array: nature, lesser gods, personal God, holy places, holy objects, Saguna Brahman and Nirguna Brahman. The Self is the same in all these entities. The fruits of this worship or devotion are according to the object of worship, and can range from acquisition of earthly goods to success in certain endeavors: graduated liberation, samādhi, jivanmukti, or moksa. The choice of worship depends on the mental make-up and the aptitude of the devotee; not everyone can become a Jnāna Yogi. They may have to be satisfied with karma yoga, bakhti yoga, or Prapatti and Sarnāgati. The self is the same in the snake worshipper and the yogi practicing Jnāna yoga, but at both ends of the spectrum and in-between it is conditioned by the excellence of the mind, though all have the potential for eventual moksa. The Yogi sees God in the Higher Self without attributes (he is beyond attributes) or Nirguna Brahman and does not see any problem with worship of idols, icons and images, which become a repository of sacred vibrations received at consecration. Tantrics believe that devotee's consciousness awakens Sakti (divine power) in the inert idol or image which subsequently comes to life; this is Prana Prathistha, dwelling of Life in the image.

    Jung says, "A symbol, then, is a living gestalt or form-- the sum total of a highly complex set of facts which our intellect cannot master conceptually, and which therefore cannot be expressed in any way other than by the use of an image." The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, Page 61.

      This brings into question the views of some (which we respect) that images, icons, and idols should not be used to represent God.