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What Does the Deep Sleeper Know?
Carl: Hi, Ramji.
Thank you for recommending Panchadasi, it was exactly what I needed, a little more advanced text that can challenge my jiva’s ideas and it removed the jiva’s ignorance about subtle matters.
Although I am free from ignorance as the Self and totally unaffected, happy and complete as I am, still my jiva has too much passion for Vedanta and subtle matters to just ignore these questions.
On the fourth video, you talk about the three states of experience and say that consciousness is aware even of deep sleep because when you wake up you know the absence of experience, which is the object of your experience. This far I am following. But is it not the prajna, the experiencing entity, that knows the absence of experience, since it can remember the absence of experience upon waking up from deep sleep?
Ramji: No, because the prajna jiva is such a subtle entity, i.e. vritti that is has no intellect to gain knowledge.
Carl: The Self can’t remember anything, since it does not have any instrument to remember, but makes remembering possible for the experiencing entity by giving it some sentiency?
Ramji: Yes, nor does the prajna have chitta, a remembering function. The manas, buddhi, chitta and ahamkara only function when the subtle body is operating.
Carl: If the Self can’t remember, then it must be the prajna that knows the absence of objects, right?
Ramji: Yes, it knows ignorance and bliss, which is the absence of objects. It enjoys itself without thoughts. So you can’t really say that it “knows.” It experiences without knowing, like an animal.
Carl: I heard you say in another video that prajna means almost ignorant, so I thought that maybe then the prajna must reflect a little awareness to be able to know what it knows.
Ramji: Well, that isn’t a statement of fact, only a clever way to point out that limitlessness and bliss, which is the experience of prajna, are “two thirds of enlightenment.” The missing “third” is the knowledge “I am the Self.” Even if the prajna did know it was the Self when it was experiencing limitless and bliss, it wouldn’t be helpful to the waking-state jiva because the prajna jiva has to cease to exist for the waking-state jiva (viswa) to appear. The waking-state jiva is endowed with a subtle body so it can gain knowledge. In this case it can infer the existence of the Self because knowledge of deep sleep is not possible without the Self (consciousness). So while viswa has no direct experience of the Self in deep sleep, it can infer its existence. And it so happens that inference is a valid means of knowledge.
Carl: Although the reflecting medium, the mind, is absent in deep sleep, it can’t be totally absent since the chitta, memory, is still partially functioning and remembering the absence of objects?
Ramji: No. See above.
Carl: Also, there must be some awareness for the prajna to be able to be aware and remember the experience of no objects.
Ramji: Prajna has no intellect or memory. See above
Carl: If prajna would not have been there, then there could not have been any feedback from the waking-state jiva that it was aware of the absence of objects, right?
Ramji: No. Because there is no connection between the prajna jiva and the viswa jiva. The only connection is the Self. It is present when both are present.
Carl: Because the Self can’t talk about the absence of objects, so it must be the prajna.
Ramji: The Self doesn’t know there is an absence of objects. Or if it did, it wouldn’t mean anything to it, since objects are non-separate from it. The key to this puzzle is the means of knowledge. You are thinking that only knowledge gained by direct perception is valid, but inference is equally valid. Remember, the only purpose of Vedanta is to remove the viswa jiva’s ignorance, and inference is enough. The Self is not an object, so it cannot be perceived by the waking-state entity.
Carl: Basically, when I analyze the experience of deep sleep, I come to the conclusion that even the causal body should reflect some awareness, which is not a lot but still that little awareness makes it possible for the deep sleeper, prajna, to know what it know.
Ramji: It reflects the existence “aspect” of awareness, pure matter, i.e. sat, not the consciousness aspect, chit. So it experiences bliss, but not knowledge.
Carl: Ultimately, the prajna knows what it knows, the absence of objects, because the Self is there to support, to make the experience of deep sleep possible where prajna can know the absence of objects.
Ramji: No. Prajna experieces, but it doesn’t know. Knowledge only happens in the subtle body because it is made of sattva, which reflects awareness and makes knowledge possible. The causal body is pure tamas, which absorbs the light of the Self and makes the bliss of the Self available for the experience of prajna jiva as pure tamas.
Carl: By borrowing the light of the Self, the prajna comes to know what it knows.
Is this right or am I missing something?
Ramji: Close, but no cigar. It doesn’t know, it experiences without knowing. However, if you want to say that it knows, you need to know that what it knows doesn’t help the viswa jiva, which has the ignorance problem. Prajna is ignorant all right, but it doesn’t know that it is ignorant, so it doesn’t have an ignorance/suffering problem. Why would it? It feels wonderful always.
~ Love, Ramji