(Unconsciousness and lack of self-awareness create the illusion of deep sleep)
~Shiva Sutra (1.10)
Acharya Prashant: Tenth Sutra, “अविवेको मायासौषुप्तम्” – Unconsciousness and lack of self-awareness create the illusion of deep sleep. That which we called as ‘deep sleep’ is the final frontier of ‘Maya’ because it gives the illusion that, no objects remain. So, it appears so much like Samadhi.
Sushupti is the final frontier of Maya. You know what is ‘Maya’? What is ‘Maya’? –Illusion.
Why is Maya mentioned only in the context of ‘Sushupti’? Because only in ‘Sushupti’ do you feel that ‘Maya’ has vanished. If the objects are illusory then you feel and see no objects in Sushupti. So, only in Sushupti, can you be assured that because objects are not there so ‘Maya’ too is not there.
‘Maya’ expresses herself through objects. In Sushupti, in deep sleep, in dreamless sleep the objects vanish. If objects vanish, then it is easy to feel as if Maya herself has vanished.
The sage is cautioning. The sage is saying – Don’t be indiscrete. Don’t be a aviveki.
Had Maya totally vanished then how could you have woken up from deep sleep when your name was called? Had you really given up on all thought and identity then how is it possible that this stage gives way to other stages?
How it is possible that from Sushupti you return to the normal state of waking identification very quickly?
This distinction is important to make and this distinction would be understood only by the ones, who are sincere about it.
What is Sushupti? What does Sushupti meant to us?
Sushupti is the great escape. Sushupti means the disappearance of objects, only for the objects to return a little while later.
Sushupti means the world is gone but, not really gone, it is only suspended temporarily. It will come back.
So Sushupti is like a weekend vacation. The evil boss is gone only to return on Monday. Weekends enable you to sustain all the torture that you suffer in the week days. Had there been no weekends, you would have quit your job long back. That is why you are given so many holidays so that you can keep taking the shit.
Do you get it?
Similarly, Sushupti is the last and very powerful recourse of Maya. You feel as if the world is gone and you have come into Samadhi. But it is not Samadhi, it is deceptive. Very soon somebody will call your name or the alarm will ring and you will be back into the waking state. Very soon the boss will call and the vacation will be over.
So, the sage is cautioning that apply your discretion ‘Vivek’. Do not be taken in. This is not ‘That’.
L: So we use Sushupti as a gateway because it is so close to Samadhi?
AP: In some sense, yes. Because for sometimes the mind gets the feel of its disappearance. It’s not a real feel, it’s a proximate feel. But yet, yes. That is why sages are often talked of Sushupti and Samadhi together.
L: But in practices like ‘Yoga Nidra’ where you trying to find the whole consciousness open in term of Sushupti.
AP: The author is cautioning against all such things. He is saying that if you have that option available then you will continue to be enslaved by the world. You will say whenever the world becomes too heavy then I will escape into ‘Yoga Nidra’. Now, you will not go for the real thing because have a cheap substitute available.
L: So it’s a false refuge.
AP: It’s a false refuse!
L: What is the difference between that state and deep meditation?
AP: There is a thing called deep meditation? What is deep meditation?
L: Deep state of meditation or emptiness.
AP: Who experiences that? That is always there. You are talking about the ‘Atman’.
L: I don’t understand the difference between the two.
AP: There is nothing called deep meditation.
L: It seems a forced Samadhi, because you have to wake up. Deep meditation is possibly going to deep retreat from the world.
AP: That is the same what we call as meditation is just an escape, that is why it happens only between 7 am and 8 am and then, at 8:30 you are back into the same grind. In fact, it is because you want to excel in worldly affairs that you enter into more of so-called meditation.
You see you say you want to meditate why? Because you are tensed and why you are tense? -Because you neck deep into the world.
So you will relax and now you will relax so that you can take more of the tension.
L: Retreating from the world is almost like…
AP: So what we call as meditation is almost like Rishikesh.
Right! You are retreating from the world coming here only to go back. Go back more calm, more composed so that you do better there. It is not as if you’ve seen that as false you just want to do better there.
Have better relationships, better this, better that.
AP: It is better to find Rishikesh wherever you are. If you come to a physical place called Rishikesh, you will have to go back.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Shiva Sutra: Sushupti is the final frontier of Maya
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