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Isvara Gives the Three States
Cassie: Dear Sundari, right now I am thinking about the three states.
During the waking state, I witness my subtle body and my gross body interacting in the apparent reality. Everything looks so stable because of my gross instruments.
Sundari: No, everything looks so stable because of the deluding power of Maya, operating through the sense instruments, making the apparently real and always changing seem real and unchanging. Viswa is the waking-state entity which is the self under the spell of ignorance, or jiva, with the mind totally extroverted towards objects; this is your typical samsari, the doer hypnotized by duality.
Cassie: During the dream state I witness my apparent dream world according to my vasanas and my subtle body plus the dream objects. In this state, everything looks subtle because I only have my subtle instruments available in this state.
Sundari: In the dream state the subtle body is present but not functional as it is for the viswa, or waking state entity. As you say above, the gross instruments are not working, only the subtle instruments. Taijasa, the shining one, or awareness with a subtle body, or jiva, shines in the dream state. The viswa is not present in the dream state, although the jiva as taijasa can experience everything that the viswa experiences, but there is no actual doer or ego in the dream state. The doer/ego is a dream doer/ego; the vasanas condition the subtle body as they are out-picturing in the dream state for the dream doer/dream ego. If the jiva was not actually awareness, how else would it know that it is dreaming – unless the dream and dreamer are objects known to it? There would be no dreamer and no dream without awareness.
In the dream sates, the gross sense organs (ears, eyes, nose, etc.) are introverted, turned inwards, but if there is a loud noise in the room when you are in the dreaming aspect of the sleep state, you wake up because the sense organs, temporarily detached from the sense instruments, register the sound and extrovert the organ. It is not that the subtle sense instruments (ability to hear, see, smell, etc.), which are in the physical body, do not receive stimuli from the world when you are dreaming. They are part and parcel of the world. But for the stimuli to reach the mind, the sense organs which are in the subtle body, need to be extroverted. When you are dreaming the sense organs are turned toward the causal body, and so they experience the momentum of their past actions (prarabdha karma, or vasanas) as the dream world. They do not experience external sense stimuli, even though they can experience sense stimuli as vasanas. You can smell, taste, touch, etc. in the dream state. As long as the body’s environment is relatively quiet the mind stays and sense organs remain introverted. But when, as mentioned, a persistent or dramatic stimulus takes place in the external environment, the sense organs extrovert and you wake up. The process of waking, however, is gradual, although it may not seem obvious. The sense organ does not just “turn around” instantly unless the stimuli is very dramatic – someone kicks you or the alarm goes off. But as stimuli from the body begins to demand more attention, the dream mechanism incorporates it into the dream, as a kind of signal for the dreamer entity to extrovert and become a waker entity. The physical body does not get involved. It is inert. Isvara knows that the body needs attending to, for instance, it generates the idea of urinating in the dream and you wake up. Remember, this whole drama is taking place in Isvara which permeates and governs the changes from state to state and every change in every state.
You need to remember that the self-body-mind-sense complex is one seamless entity. There are no actual divisions in it. Everything affects everything all the time.
Cassie: And in the deep sleep state I witness the bliss sheath. My subtle body is inactive and so my mind and its memory function. For this reason, I can only say that I slept well but I have no idea why my sleep was so good.
Sundari: Yes, correct. Awareness as a jiva in the deep sleep state is called prajna, which means “almost enlightened.” Prajna is awareness operating as the jiva experiencing the macrocosmic causal body, i.e. the deep sleep state, or the bliss of awareness minus the knowledge, which is ignorance. The subtle body disappears in deep sleep state; so does the microcosmic causal body (personal subconscious), which belongs to the jiva. The deep sleep state (defined as no mental activity) is the same for everyone because everyone’s personal subconscious or microcosmic causal body is subsumed into Isvara, the macrocosmic causal body during deep sleep. The gunas are still there in the macrocosmic causal body but they have no effect, because the subtle body of the individual is not there to be conditioned, because the person or doer is not present. Although the gross body is not experienced by prajna, it is still present and can be experienced by other viswas because the gross body belongs to Isvara, or the dharma field.
The macrocosmic causal body remains in deep sleep because it is the deep sleep state, which is another name for Isvara. Although the nature of both the jiva and the causal body (or Isvara) is awareness, both the jiva and Isvara are inconstant factors. Jiva is inconstant because self-knowledge removes the notion that it is a limited person, revealing its true nature to be pure unlimited awareness. The causal body, or Isvara (in the role of Creator), wields ignorance (maya) but is not conditioned by ignorance, because Isvara is not a person. Isvara in the role of Creator is a “function” of awareness when maya is manifest and controls the dharma field. Isvara is inconstant because (so the scripture tells us) its role as Creator is only relatively eternal in that the creation is withdrawn at the end of the kalpa when the macrocosmic causal body goes back to seed form within awareness. Thus Isvara in the role of Creator is eternal with reference to the jiva but not with reference to “pure” awareness, Paramatman.
Cassie: The states change; so do the instruments, but the knower, the witness, awareness, stays the same.
Sundari: Yes, correct. We use the three-states teaching not to describe the three bodies, states and experiencing entities, but to eliminate them as self and reveal the fact that the self is free of all three. The teaching eliminates them by the rule of variable/invariable factors. Variable factors – the three states and their respective experiencing entities – can be dismissed as not-self, leaving the invariable factor – awareness (me) standing alone
Cassie: My question is: What is responsible for my waking up and for the dream or deep sleep state? What causes me to dream or to go into the bliss sheath?
“Who” decides this?
Sundari: Who is it that controls the Field of Existence, which includes the jiva (enlightened or not)? Isvara, the causal body – the repository of all vasanas, the deliverer of the jiva’s karma. As you know and I explain above, in the dream state only the subtle organs of perception (the ability to hear, see, feel, etc.) are working, not the gross organs (ears, eyes, etc.). As a result, reality has no structure, therefore the vasanas are chaotic. Very often we cannot make any sense of dream content for this reason. The doer/ego is a dream doer/ego similar in some respects to viswa but with unique powers, like flying, for instance.
In the dream state, you can see the waker going about its business, walking, talking, eating, etc. But you cannot build more vasanas, because it is not an actual doer, only a dream doer. Not that either doer is real; both are objects known to you, awareness. These powers are inherent in the dream state and do not belong to taijasa, although in normal dreams it identifies with them. Some dreams are different in that we know we are observing the doer – and these dreams usually have symbolic meaning for us. The doer-ego and the events appearing in the dream are just waking state events that have become vasanas picturing as dream events.
The dream state has two aspects: waking, dream and sleep dream. It is called the pratibasika state, the subjective state of reality. It is jiva’s creation (sristi). It is an individual jiva’s interpretation of reality. In the dream state (whether the jiva is awake or asleep) vasanas influence how reality is interpreted by the jiva. Isvara provides the raw material for the interpretation, but not the interpretation itself. Ultimately it is all Isvara, but to get to that understanding (which is tantamount to moksa) the jiva must understand its oneness with Isvara and its difference from Isvara so that it can be free of both itself and Isvara.
Cassie: And there is only one awareness, you and I are the same awareness, but when I am asleep you could see my body lying on a bed. It feels like awareness is cracked into many parts.
Sundari: The power of maya makes it seem like awareness has many parts, but if you follow the logic of Vedanta, all the parts dissolve into awareness, that is the meaning of teaching on the three states. As I said above, the gross body belongs to Isvara, the field of existence, it is part of the empirical world of matter, like a mountain, a chair or any inert material object. Because it is only apparently real does not mean that it does not exist. It remains for others to see when you are asleep, but it is not present for the sleeper.
~ Love, Sundari