Let us take it in detail.
Four states of consciousness are spoken of amongst us. "Waking"
consciousness or Jagrat; the "dream" consciousness, or
Svapna; the "deep sleep" consciousness, or Sushupti; and
the state beyond that, called Turiya[FN#3: It is impossible to avoid
the use of these technical terms, even in an
introduction to Yoga. There are no exact English equivalents, and
they are no more troublesome to learn than any other technical psychological
terms.] How are those related to the body?
Jagrat is the ordinary
waking consciousness, that you and I are using at the present time.
If our consciousness works in the subtle, or astral, body, and is
able to impress its experiences upon the brain, it is called Svapna,
or in English, dream consciousness; it is more vivid and real than
the Jagrat state. When working in the subtler form--the mental body--it
is not able to impress its experiences on the brain, it is called
deep sleep consciousness; then the mind is working on its own contents,
not on outer objects. But if it has so far separated itself from
connection with the brain, that it cannot be readily recalled by
outer means, then it is, called Turiya, a lofty state of trance.
These four states, when correlated to the four planes, represent
a much unfolded consciousness. Jagrat is related to the physical;
Svapna to the astral; Sushupti to the mental; and Turiya to the
buddhic. When passing from one world to another, we should use these
words to designate the consciousness working under the conditions
of each world. But the same words are repeated in the books of Yoga
with a different context. There the difficulty occurs, if we have
not learned their relative nature.
Svapna is not the same for all, nor is Sushupti the same for everyone.
Above all, the word samadhi,
to be explained in a moment, is used in different ways and in different
senses. How then are we to find our way in this apparent tangle?
By knowing the state which is the starting-point, and then the sequence
will always be the same. All of you are familiar with the waking
consciousness in the physical body. You can find four states even
in that, if you analyse it, and a similar sequence of the states
of the mind is found on every plane.
How to distinguish them,
then ? Let us take the waking consciousness, and try to see the
four states in that. Suppose I take up a book and read it. I read
the words; my eyes arc related to the outer physical consciousness.
That is the Jagrat state. I go behind the words to the meaning of
the words. I have passed
from the waking state of the physical plane into the Svapna state
of waking consciousness, that sees through the outer form, seeking
the inner life. I pass from this to the mind of the writer; here
the mind touches the mind; it is the waking consciousness in its
Sushupti state. If I pass from this contact and enter the very mind
of the writer, and live in that man's mind, then I have reached
the Turiya state of the waking consciousness.
Take another illustration.
I look at any watch; I am in Jagrat. I close my eyes and make an
image of the watch; I am in Svapna. I call together many ideas of
many watches, and reach the ideal watch; I am in Sushupti. I pass
to the ideal of time in the abstract; I am in Turiya. But all these
are stages in the physical plane consciousness; I have not left
In this way, you can
make states of mind intelligible and real, instead of mere words.
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