Remaining untouched by all states of consciousness

Question: Sir, there is one statement here, ‘Sushupti does exists in your waking state’. Normally, in deep sleep, we don’t know we are there.

Acharya Prashant: When Maharishi is saying that Sushupti exists in your waking state also, he is using Sushupti to refer to Turiya. Classically, Sushupti is just another state of consciousness, so you have Jagrati (waking state), Swapna (dreaming state) and Sushupti (deep sleep). Maharishi is defining Sushupti as the state in which the ego identification is totally lost, that state really is not Sushupti, that is Turiya. In Sushupti, as is the word commonly and classically used, in Sushupti, there does remain a seed like remnant identification with the person, the body.

So, it is said that when you are in the waking state, you are identified with the world; in the dream state, you are identified with the dream; and in Sushupti you are still identified with some kind of primitive, basic, primordial darkness. But, it is not as if that you have gone beyond identification. That is the reason why a person in Sushupti will wake up if you call his name many times. Had he gone beyond identification, how would he have woken up? In this particular context Maharishi is using Sushupti to represent Turiya, you can read Sushupti as Turiya here.

Turiya is the witness state; Turiya is the state that is present behind the drama of waking, sleeping and dreaming. You are waking, still you know that you are awake. You are sleeping, yet you know that you need to get up. Doesn’t it happen that in the middle of the sleep suddenly you wake up, something important calls, not from outside but from within the mind? That call is not from Turiya, Turiya is the background, it is not really a fourth state.

The word Turiya means fourth, but it is not fourth in the same sense that these three are – one, two and three. It is fourth, but it is the foundation of these three, so when one is present, four is present; when two is present, four is present; when three is present, four is present. Even when one, two and three all are absent, fourth is still present; so you may physically die, yet Turiya doesn’t die. Once the body is dead, neither Jagrati nor Swapna nor Sushupti are possible, but death does not affect Turiya. Because it is not ‘your’ Turiya, the waking state is yours; it belongs to the person, so the waking state will come to a full stop upon the death of the person. The dream too will come to a full stop upon the death of a person, because the dream belongs to the person.

Turiya, the witness state, is not ‘yours’; it witnesses you, it is outside of you. So, your birth and death do not touch it.

Listener 2: Sir, Maharishi says that ‘You can experience Sushupti in the waking state, when you are in Samadhi’ so what exactly is Samadhi?

Speaker: Samadhi is a tranquil mind, a peaceful mind, a mind that is not faced with problems, a mind that is properly placed, that is Samadhi.

Listener 2: Sir, if Sushupti can be experienced in the waking state…

Speaker: Turiya.

Listener 2: Yes, in the waking state, then when you say the background, the Turiya state. So how is it that Sushupti can be experienced?

Speaker: Turiya.

Listener 2: Ok. So, Turiya can be experienced?

Speaker: That’s what I talked for the last twenty minutes.

Listener 3: Sir, I have a question regarding realization, “Realization is nothing to be gained afresh, it is already there. All that is necessary is to get rid of the thought ‘I have not realized.’ ” So how do we actually get rid of this thought?

Speaker: How did you acquire this thought?

Listener 3: I didn’t acquire it, it’s already there.

Speaker: No, it’s not already there. It keeps coming to you and you keep allowing its entry again and again. Everything that tells you that you are small, incomplete, all those messages from the world, they are the ones that are reinforcing this feeling in you that you are not realized, that is how it is acquired.

Listener 3: That happened in the childhood.

Speaker: That is constantly happening. Spiritual practice is the vigilance against absorbing such inputs. The spiritually alert man, the spiritually active mind, awake mind, does not just let any dirt settle upon it. It sees that the world is trying to stain it with thoughts of such and such kind. He doesn’t let them in.

Listener 3: How can we prevent these thoughts?

Speaker: By knowing what those thoughts really are. Nobody will ever harm you by first telling you that he is going to harm you. These thoughts that harm you so much, they enter your mind as well wishers, so you have to be careful against well wishers. When someone tells you that “He is worried about you”, what is he telling you?

Listener 3: He is worried about myself.

Speaker: What is he telling you? That he thinks that you are weak. Now seemingly this is a statement, a thought of friendliness but it is reinforcing inside you a feeling that you are small, an incapable. When someone tells you that “You should look after your future”, he says this as if he is a lover, but what is he really communicating to you? He is communicating to you that you are a person limited in time and space – who started with a birth, is going to have a future and then is going to die. One has to guard against such thoughts and such thoughts can enter the mind only in a disguised way, they wear masks.

Insecurity enters you wearing the mask of love.

Fear enters you wearing the mask of care.

Body centricity enters you wearing some other mask.

Spiritual practice lies in seeing beyond the mask.

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Listener 3: Sir, if somebody is a concerned person, let’s say some loved one is there and you know he or she is getting addicted to drugs or something, so he or she (concerned person) may not know that he or she is harming that other person by saying that he is worried for him.

Speaker: Yes.

Listener 3: So, what is the proper approach?

Speaker: You know somebody is, let’s take this example itself, somebody is caught in drug-addiction. One statement would be, “If you remain caught, your health will deteriorate and you will die. Nobody will talk to you, you will be disrespected.  You will become a delinquent. Your future and career would be ruined.” That is one way. The other way is: “Does somebody as Intelligent and Beautiful and powerful as you, really need drugs? You are Bliss personified, do you need any other excitement?” Do you see the difference between these two approaches?

Listener 3: Yes, I can see the difference but if I say this to the other person then he will say, ‘What are you speaking? What blather is this?’

Speaker: That depends on your own earnestness. He will surely say that “What you are saying is unbelievable”, because the way in which you will say this, deserves to be called as unbelievable.

Statements coming out of deep Faith are received in deep Faith.

Statements coming out of confusion and doubt, are received with confusion and doubt.

When you look at somebody and say with the deepest faith that “You are beautiful and you do not need make up” then that person will not say that you are talking nonsense. But, for that, first of all, you must really-really believe that the person is beautiful.

To help somebody else to get out of his addictions, you must firstly have faith in living without intoxicants, living without excitement. Then when you go to that person and say “You do not need drugs because life itself is Bliss. Why do I need another stimulant?” Then what you are saying becomes credit worthy, you have a certain credibility now because it is coming from you. He now knows that you are not just regaling him, it is not empty advice.

Listener 4: Sir, it is not exactly related to the text we read, but recently I met my parents and I came to know that their ways, the ways we interact are totally violent. And whenever I am with them, there are certain moral obligations. But, over all what I see is, if I am with them there is irritation and when I am not with them then it is cool. The first time when I left my place, my parents place, things were bit difficult. I have to do a lot of things on my own but I later realized that things are much easier, life is much easier; so I concluded that being with them is a sort of violence. Then how to deal with all these things?

Speaker: Deal with what?

Listener 4: If I interact with them, if at all I interact with them then how should I interact with them? Or should I stop interacting with them because currently I am not in a state where; I am confused regarding how to look, means see things?

Speaker: Stop thinking about them; go rather into your own mind. By thinking more about confusion, you will not come out of confusion. So give up that topic, without concluding anything. When one’s eyes are hazy and one cannot differentiate between a tree and a pole, it is useless putting more energy in the debate. Rather forget the question, forget the question for a while otherwise you will keep debating “Is it a man? Is it a bear? Is it a man? Is it a bear?” It might actually be a dog, you don’t know. Or it might be nothing.  So invest your energy in cleaning up your mind, when you will know how to deal with yourself you will know how to deal with the world and you will also know how to deal with your parents. Nothing comes in isolation.


~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch session: Prashant Tripathi on Raman Maharishi: Remaining untouched by all states of consciousness

Article 1: From chaos to zeroness – the ascending levels of consciousness

Article 2: To take the body seriously is to allow the world to control you

Article 3: Implementation is the fruit of realisation

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