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Thread: Turiya and Brain Damage?

  1. #1

    Turiya and Brain Damage?

    Jai Gurudeva,

    I read recently in all circumstances one should be absorbed in the truths of Vedanta. Vitarka being part of the process one can apply vedantic thoughts, even in English or any language and they can help in initial application to bring about silence and concentration and go more subtle, when Vitarka is purified and becomes more subtle it becomes tarka deep contemplation beyond ordinary thoughts in states of samadhi union with turiya. It is these non ordinary states that causes a type of brain damage.

    When I first read that swaroop lakshanam was described as brain damage as part of one persons writing on Vedanta it caught me, I knew there was a deeper meaning behind it. Its not like the brain damage of being in car crash or serious head injury. Although saying that a friend told me recently that there is a ted talk about a woman who had an stroke and the left part of her brain was heavily damaged and she lost the use of most of her physical faculties. Although she lost many of the empirical functions she has a wave of experiences in the subtle, the right side of the brain and spoke about lucid states, the story is about Jill Bolte for further research, and how she gradually built her self up, I think will be a nice research.

    As per my understanding we gain knowledge, conscious knowledge of turiya when we are in sushupti~ yogic sleep which is actually awake and free from the limitations of mental and physical consciousness, jagrat and svapna. I may have to write this in parts as its such a broad subject to explain, and there is something important to learn about it for the aspiring transcendentalist.

    Recently I was doing some research into tatastha, and came across swaroopa lakshanam and tatastha lakshanam, Tatastha Lakshanam (from a worldly standpoint); Swaroopa Lakshanam(from a Brahman standpoint). In one explanation of swaroopa lakshanam it was described as brain damage. In states beyond svapna and Jagrat there is no longer any attachment to physical and mental activity, even if there is sense of thoughts patterns and physical sensation there will be detachment according to the strength of the absorption, the deeper the absorption the deeper the detachment. In these states one is experiences awareness without name and form, or in other words they will experience a reality beyond the whole range of the empirical world, even subjectivity is not within sushupti and the deeper states of inner absorption.

    here is a quote from yogapedia describing nirvikalpa samadhi.

    Nirvikalpa samadhi is recognized as one of the highest states of samadhi. The state of consciousness before this is savikalpa samadhi where the experience of time and space alters. The yogi recognizes that everything is complete and there is nothing more to do. Thoughts still exist, but they do not affect the yogi in this state. After experiencing savikalpa samadhi, however, normal human consciousness returns.
    The difference between this stage is that in nirvikalpa samadhi all thoughts dissolve. This is considered a state of being at one with the Divine. It is a state of true ecstasy, oneness and limitless bliss. After experiencing nirvikalpa samadhi, a yogi does not wish to return to the world. They may forget their own name, how to speak or how to think properly. With practice, though, they may find it easier to experience this state and then function in a normal way afterward.
    Beyond nirvikalpa samadhi is sahajasamadhi. This state is only achieved by very few spiritual masters and is said to allow them to achieve the highest level of spiritual consciousness while still functioning in the physical world.

    Due to our brain being programmed by prakriti we associate all experience through that type of consciousness, the type of consciousness here is one that has had no experience or did not notice the experience of something beyond this, so over time reality based in the chitta becomes grouped around svapna and jagrat or mental and physical consciousness. This makes up our empirical world, the normal day to day conventional reality that we experience through the mind and 5 senses.

    To keep it simple, if some how one has a non ordinary experience of a higher state, which is beyond svapna and jagrat, mental and physical consciousness the brain doesnt know how to understand and conceptualize it, its been given an experience beyond any conceptual form that it was programmed to think or understand. In this way the states higher than svapna and jagrat, mental and physical consciousness cant be understood at this point, not only that it directly affects how we see the world and the former self which we identified with.

    The implications of this is quite important, especially as many people who aspire for transcendence are living normal lives. To many, and I would consider myself in this category that life is usually to short to realize the perfect harmony of the the jiva living as a pure divine shakti filled with the quality of turiya in this life.

    If inspired as I have run out of time I may try add some other reflections, also as an aid to explore these things in more depth
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 15 April 2018 at 06:05 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: Turiya and Brain Damage?

    I put this in canteen, its a bit of freestyle writing, im not even trying to be philosophically correct, its not about spiritual realization causing damage to the brain, , only to the perception and a attempt to write about how the conceptual conditioned world, false views , view as in dristi,are destroyed in higher states.

    What all sadhanas ~ spiritual practices boil down to is the training and purification of the chitta. Chitta or mind is originally empty, its pure awareness, its also known as memory or storehouse consciousness, in some ways its a like a video camera constantly absorbing impressions and events and recreating them as evolutes of the mind, even the most subtle thoughts, most do not hit yhe gross level, a large part of the initial practice is the practice of protecting and strengthening the chitta, I dont know the Sanskrit in pali its cultivation of kusala wholesome states, actions and abstaining from akulsala unwholesome states and actions, as the mind evolves into prakriti or material nature it takes on those qualities, the more it takes on those qualities the deeper it gets conditioned in states of svapna and jagrat or conditioned by mental and physical consciousness. Stop an ordinary man in the street and ask him if he is his body and mind he will say yes and think nothing of it, to him that is all he is, the lower the states go there is more grosser forms of consciousness jagrat. One only reaches a real stage of consciousness, self awareness in sattva, sattva is the first symptom of consciousness, rajas~creative becoming and tamas~ destruction, are considered as unconsciousness states. A key point being that sattva is the source of all success for the aspiring transcendentalist. There is strong emphasis to protect and be careful what we put into the chitta, information is junk food and brahma vidya is prasadam.

    This isnt just theory, its very practical and there are many people who struggle to find a balance with the spiritual development and living in normal conventional society.

    The deeper this study goes the more profound it becomes, its a process of unbinding, its a gradual process, as the saying goes, there are no shortcuts. I have seen time and time again and also within my own experience that when some understanding no matter how it comes there is duality within ones existence after any strong paradigm shift, if that shift does not become stabilized and matured it can bring duality or confusion between spirit and matter, this was part of Arjuna dejection at the start of Bhagavad Gita, he was seeing everything with physical attachments and this brought him grief.

    When there is genuine insight the world view changes, we may become more aware that we are not this body, or the mind, the very thing we recognize as our true self is something more, better, more profound, bright luminous, having its own source of energy and is conscious, this is an experience of pure mind or raw chitta. Due to the previous conditions in chitta those experiences do not always last very long and the conditions of previous states comes flooding back and there can be tension, even aversion to anything material, chitta has not matured at this stage and it needs further training to maintain balance and equanimity. There is a lot of importance given to the practice of samatha or calm abiding, its an essential preliminary for chitta training and attaining samadhi states, to give the boat strength when its crosses the seas and meets the storms.

  3. #3

    Re: Turiya and Brain Damage?

    Its said that one should not share spiritual personal experiences in public, I agree to this but if it can be used for benefiting oneself and others then it would be OK to share, plus if not for the sages revealing this knowledge to us in one form or another we could not even transcend basic earthly drives and instincts.

    A few days before opening this thread I saw a comment and engaged in discussion, the topic was about why the jiva falls , or thats how they talk within the Gaudia tradition, its a useless debate or discussion at the present state. I rarely get involved, but someone said something that interested me, he injected something new into the discussion which I have not usually heard Hare Krsna devotees talk about, citing that sushupti is somehow related to tatastha, that interested me and we had a fruitful discussion.

    One night after a long day I was tired and took some rest at night and put on low volume an mp3 of om chanting and started to drift into a relaxed state before going to sleep and then started to enter into a mental absorption. Having done quite a few silent retreats and vipassana over the years I can understand somethings that happen to states of mind when it becomes absorbed. Mind was gaining strength in concentration and decided to get up and do some sitting, formal sitting posture is the best as the whole subtle energetic system flows more easy and the mind is kept in bright focused steady state.

    It was a mixed state where there is awareness of normal thought patterns, the thought patterns were based around what was being contemplated for some time, there was a concentration and absorption building up around the thoughts, which were not the thoughts themselves, I would consider this state of mind as a form of vitarka as some of the things that was being subconsciously processing started to come mind, the key reflections were jagrat, svapna, sushupti, tatastha, chitta ishvara, swaroop lakshanam Turiya and mantra 7 in mandukhya Upanishad~ adṛṣtam, avyavahārayam, agrāhyam, alakṣaṇam,acintyam, avyapadeśyam, these are some main things that I have been trying to understand via various means for a while, or as the central theme of sadhana.

    Mind in this state is allowed to see the thoughts behind the thought , meaning mind here is observing thought and is not a thought in itself and rather than just being swept along by conditioned neurological patterns ~vrittis, beyond the vrittis there is some space behind
    ~chid akasha, to see how thoughts connect, as said before this is not about being philosophical correct so some Sanskrit usage maybe not totally accurate , plus my Sanskrit is limited, and i am of the clothe that a Sanskrit word a day helps keep avidya at bay, here chidakasha is meant as empty spacial consciousness behind the vrittis, also im not aligning to any one tradition or school of thought or specific teaching in any strict manner or format, for example, I have equated the sanskrit prefix vi वि ,as a partial expansion of antariyami~paramatma, may sound odd, but if insight is only gained via anugraha then to some degree it makes sense and makes every precious moment of higher states nothing less than a blessing, im not making a literal statement, just sharing what helps me build up appreciation on the pathway to Self realization, sometimes it feels like the path to gradually awakening is just as rewarding as the end goal of full realization of Brahman, and since the Self can only be understood by the Self then surely what supports Self realization is also the Self .

    When mind is in this state there is the observation of seeing how something moves within the state of absorption, what moves into the mind is not the mind and here mind is not the thought, mind is awareness chitta, absorption is samadhi, samadhi is union with turiya, what moves into chitta starts to do some type of surgery on the vrittis, and begins to knit everything together and make senses of things in a way that that could be understood, something that I have been contemplating and trying to understand for many years was fixed to in the operation, the condition is not fixed properly and will require more surgery.

    On the basis of this experience and some insight gained I want to, in my own time and words, try and write it out. In the normal empirical waking consciousness not all of it has settled, and there is an awareness that there is process that goes on in the subconscious or the deepest root of chitta, what has worked in the past is when these types of things happen its time for retreat, and usually I would do that but at the moment I cant due to some things that I need to attend to, but that is what makes it more interesting to try and see what manifests and grows in part of normal daily life and it is this aim why I am writing in public because I see it as something that maybe can help the aspiring transcendentalist and also myself to make things more clear, in the chitta I know, there is not any confusion only a process of maturing, but to speak it out I dont know how to, or it will at least take time, so this is an exercise to bridge that gap between the spiritual and the material,where we find the profound in the most ordinary things and find our true potential in union with the Supreme while living in this life.
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 19 April 2018 at 12:51 PM.

  4. #4

    Re: Turiya and Brain Damage?


    To articulate things better

    and from a post on turiya and turIyAtIta, maybe to high in certain areas but as in one post Yajvan Ji has said

    hariḥ oṁ


    'arjuna, know that you are not the doer ' can almost be said as a key theme of the Bhāgavad gītā and is called out in various chapters in different ways.

    Now the question atanu asks is a reasonable one... the answer lies within the word 'you' i.e. understanding who 'you' is referring to.
    If one thinks of a bound individual that comes and goes then the question is perplexing. If one sees 'you' as the SELF, as the Infinite
    as the unbounded, then this question is addressable.
    So its perhaps the main theme of Bhagavada Gita, so its not something that should be avoided or seen as to high where it becomes exclusive or a philosophical abstraction known only to brilliant minds or intellects, the brilliance is when turiya enters into chitta, and chitta is gradually transformed into turiya, and ones being is then guided only by Turiya, He~turiya is the doer, Krsna is driving the chariot, he takes over our life, life is cit, cit is turiya, turiya is krsna all attractive, turiya is shiva~ auspicious, vishnu~ all pervading turiya is anniruddha, unbounded and unlimited, turiya is ananda bliss and so onexpanding infintaley.

    As a subnote and in reaction to somethings I have read online and had a couple of recent chats with a friend who holds the view that turIyAtIta is somehow above or higher than turiya as 5th state, a step higher above turiya known as the 4th, thats the issue with techincal understanding which gets taken far to seriously with the empirical flat intellect, a naive mistake at best and a sinister one at worst.

    As I see it turIyAtIta is when it is always and fully only in turiya. Atman Brahman is turIyAtIta, turiya never leaves the compound, turiya is not transcended , Jiva gradually rises via experience with turiya until it reaches final union, so turIyAtIta is total union, as a simple way to explain, other can do better, we could say staying always in brahman, living always in brahman, turiya is prema, turIyAtIta is Prem, its starts and ends in prem turiya, if one remains always in prem this is turIyAtIta, or at least one way to contemplate, to see.

    Also some very wise and important advice and perhaps where I would prefer to take this thread as I have an idea in mind and keep along this theme as its more practical.Again from Yajvan Ji

    hariḥ oṁ


    If we go back to some of the initial posts in this string, the notion of approaches to turīya was initially considered. This turīya is within us ( some say we are within turīya) and it surrounds us. Yet due
    to distractions, to fluctuations, the nature of the mind in vikapla� this turīya remains hidden from our preview. What then does it take to have a glimpse of something that is present all the time ( 7x24x365x forever) ? Nirvikalpa or a non-wavering mind.

    These are not my views but are the essence of the pata�jali�s yogadarśana, 1st chapter ( called samādhi pāda); This same knowledge is also the essence of the nistaraṇga upadeṣa ( undistracted instructions) found in the vij�āna bhairava kārikā-s ( part of the rudrayāmala tantra).

    If in fact this turīya is wholeness, fullness (bhūman) non-differentated, we cannot not approach it with a differentiated (vikapla) ~mind~ or awareness. It is the wise teacher who knows how to apply yukti ( a means, device, approach) and make it a yuktistha (a method and practice). That is, that teacher, instructor, guru who knows the workings of the ignorant mind and shows it the path to this turīya is a blessing to this earth.

    Sometimes it even takes a trick... to trick the mind ( this is also another definition yukti - trick, cunning device) into experiencing the perfection of this Silence within. The mind is so caught-up with actions, and thoughts, and internal jibberish all day long , many come to think this is the normal mode of operations for this ~mind device~. This mind (we) has forgotten śamaṁ (calmness, rooted in kṛ , 'to calm one's self' , 'be tranquil').

    This IMHO is what needs to be re-established . Bringing balance back to the system. From here one finds not only the mind needs this balance, but the body too i.e. proper rest,
    yukta-cestasya karmasu
    yogo bhavati duhkha-ha

    If time and allows, I will attempt some further writings, in freestyle way as I wanted to share some things from abhidhamma, based around insights into the structure and synthesis of sila, virtue, samadhi, development of absorption and panna or prajna uncommon wisdom, on how to develop sama or true equanimity which even if practiced imperfectly can gradually not only bring the realization that the aspiring transendentalist desires but also how it becomes a real function in day to day living and brings fullness to everything we do even in the smallest of activities where we thought only duality is present.

    Jai Guru Datta

    Note: I hope yajvan ji or anyone else does not mind me using those quotes. The reason being is what he said fitted into the subject of the thread and as always says it perfectly, so only for this reason.

    Hare Krsna
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 22 April 2018 at 03:54 PM.

  5. #5

    Re: Turiya and Brain Damage?


    The above sloka from Bhagavad gita is advice on how to culture ones life for the purpose of Self realization.

    While I may have the tendency to go from one source to another, there is no intention to prove one is above the other or trying to establish one dharma marg is higher or better than another. Just as snow flakes are never identical, in essence they are non different, they may vary in weight and size and the pattern maybe unique but they all share the same quality and essence. Like a pot of cooked rice, to check to see if it's cooked one only has to check one grain to know the rest of the grains are also cooked, there is no difference between quality and quantity.

    There is one pali sutta where Buddha the awakened one, Tathagata which is very interesting compound in terms of grammar, what to speak of the meaning behind it. There is tat, agartha, gata and agata for further study to get the meaning Buddha said when asked a question about his teaching in terms of its gradation, he replied that whatever he taught was always pointing towards the final goal the final awakening, even if he was supposedly giving talks on rudimentary or so called basic truths they were all rooted to bring one higher to the next stage. The gradual elevation and depth of his teachings are told to bring one to nirodha samapatti, pure chitta, chitta vritti nirodha. Many think that's where it ends and why Buddhist are often known as sunyavadi, which was wrongly translated as voidist, nihilist, negative emptiness, even a state of darkness or blankness, and deep sleep, whereas sushupti is the awakening part, where turiya , whose body is shabda brahma, divine sound and brahma joyti divine light gradually rules over and controls maya with his transcendental nature in the citta.

    Although Buddha teachings are based around the jhanas to bring mind, chitta to the empty clear bright and luminous state of nirodha sammapati, He didn't stop there,this is not set up to prove any philosophical point but to see how turiya, via way of samadhi enters the chitta and builds up swarupa in the chitta and knowledge that leads to brahma bhuta, stage of Brahman. ‎

    As per my experience in some translation of texts samadhi and among many people's perception as a state is often seen as something very high, almost outside of our grasp or anyway to conceive it, it's been given a status of being something only a rare soul can experience, like being placed on the alter.‎

    While the highest levels of samadhi is beyond most people's ability at present and the highest states should never be cheapened, the lesser ones are more easily achieved and apply directly to awakening reconditioning, cleansing and purifying the chitta sometimes translated as the heart, only tuirya can do this effectively, so all states of samadhi is being treated here as direct experiences with turiya, so while the higher states that need nobody's support or justification is given equal respect, the culture of the mind or inner attitude is to see that when samadhi arrives even in its most subtle emenation or early stages it is no less profound or lacking, turiya in its own being lacks nothing, that theme of thought had me contemplating the invocation to sri isopanishad om purnam. Even the initial stages of spiritual experience are complete in themselves. The flower and the fragrance of the flower is one, the parts that come from om as the rest of invocation mantra goes on to say, all parts are also complete, turiya is one, samadhi is one and samadhi is no different to turiya, samadhi is anugraha, anugraha is turiya.

    I want to try and share in the following posts some information on the 8 jhana, primarily the first 4 Rupa jhanas that culminate in eqaunimity, upekkha pali upeshyA sanskrit.
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 23 April 2018 at 06:49 AM.

  6. #6

    Re: Turiya and Brain Damage?


    Today I was listening to a recital of Srimad Bhagavad Gita, second chapter sankhya Yoga. When Arjuna sits down dejected Krsna starts straight away to talk about the Atma. Midway through Arjuna asked krsna what are the symptoms of one who is situated in transcendence, 2.54. what follows is there for each of us to discover. Krsna begins by describing the qualities that are in and lead to equanimity. Each stage is as important as the next and lets say for example one has reached the highest the stage turiyatita avadhuta there is no looking down on the lower or basic foundations, everything will be only more complete, for example in the teaching of the Buddha whose early symbols was the dharmachakra each spoke was the same length, the are all equal parts of the wheel, divided in 3 main parts as sila~vitue, samadhi~ chitta training and panna, prajna, transcendental wisdom. For example there are plenty of people who seem to know everything about the 10th canto but do not knows much about the 2nd chapter of Bhagavad Gita, if one knows 2nd chapter fully they will also understand 10th canto if thats their line of sadhana.

    In abdhidarma which is the intellectual side of buddhadharma the mind goes through 9 stages before full realization, these stages or states are known as the jhanas, the texts and the teachings is all about what happens to the mind at each stage before being enlightened, this includes the lower states, , ordinary humans states (sensory and mental), deva realms and more esoteric and absolute states. Apparently all of this was seen in a moment at the time of enlightenment but it took around 250 years to compile it into the texts and finalize everything, which is interesting between experience and trying to learn everything by reading and memory, im just comparing the process of speed and assimilation, it also shows how much care was given to ancient texts.

    The first four are rupa jhanas, form meditations which aim to bring the mind to the state of equanimity, the 5th jhana mind enters into the first arupa jhana formless absorption, this is known as stream-entering. Its the first stage of sunya or sushupti where there is no longer any attachment to the mental or physical process., mind finds its own current and becomes effortless, all external distractions are absent. There is no real need to go much further here because in this state mind is being directed by something other than the empirical sensory world and the old acquainted self, the importance comes back to the 4th jhanas as they are the foundations for practical application.

    The initial application of the mind on a meditation object is vitarka, vitarka has different usages, vitarka is most often called applying ones mind to an object, the breath, a mantra, etc . Each person has their own center of devotion and practice, if one does japa or even silent meditation there is always some noticing that the mind wanders, when the mind is brought back to the object of meditation that is vitarka, from continued application of the mind on the object of meditation, which traditionally would be seen as something divine in the form of an istadeva or a mantra, and study of sacred texts, vitarka is very broad, it can be puja, how ever its exercised in spiritual practices the function is to bring the attention to the object of concentration and focus on that. It can also be used in noticing the sensations of the body rise and fall, or bringing the attention back to notice that thoughts pass by and leave when not attended to. These are initial practices of samadhi training or citta bhavana, mind training.

    When the mind is settled on the meditation object and mind finds some stability or grove that is called vichara. Vichara is hard to explain properly, but according to abhidharma when the mind finds interest in the meditation object it stays with it and studies it with increased attention, due to the mind not wandering and following external thoughts it begins to find happiness, joy and a sense of rapture, The suttas translated version describes it as such

    Quite secluded from sense pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states of mind, he enters and dwells in the first jhana, which is accompanied by applied thought and sustained thought with rapture and happiness born of seclusion. (M.i,1818; Vbh.245)
    The rest of the process of Self realization or initial application and how everything else unfolds is based on repetition of the first jhana state and the winding integrate synthesis of sila, samadhi and panna prajna.

    Each experience of the jhanas perception is changed from normal to supernormal, it has direct impact on the conditioned being, it totally breaks down everything that ever stood in the chitta that is an obstruction, but then builds it back up, as its built back up it takes on completely same nature as that which built it up, its mostly this part has been translated and misunderstood more than anything else.

    The importance of the jhanas and the esteem given is very high in early Buddhism, even a small moment of absorption can give higher birth, save one from fear at death and so on, such was the reverence paid towards states outside of the ordinary waking state. It highlights the importance of bhakti and devotion being key to success in yoga. Bhakti or the devotional feeling plays a massive role in the retraining of the chitta to not fall down again.

    I think I will leave it there, just sitting at the back of the canteen jotting down some notes.....

  7. #7
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    Re: Turiya and Brain Damage?

    Namaste Markandeya,

    Very good topic with lots of gems of wisdom within ! Thanks for writing this.

    I was slightly confused in the beginning with the usage of some words by you :

    a) Brain Damage : My understanding ==> Brain is physical part of our body and it is not mind though it is an instrument which makes mind work in physical form.

    However, you say that you don't mean physical damage of the brain and that clears this usage by you.

    b) Vitarka : My understanding : Vitarka comes from : Vi (opposite/counter) + Tarka (logic) ==> During debates, it is counter logic against a proposition to deny that.

    But here, in this post you have used it in a different sense. I was not aware of such usage of this term.

    c) Turiya : My understanding : Turiya is beyond all the three states i.e. JAgrat, Swapna and Sushupti and it is the essence of the all these three states i.e. Turiya is always present and on it appear the three states.

    You have used Turiya meaning the same as Sushupti but in some places you have also described it in a manner which transcends the three states. May be it is described so in Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition or may be this is how it is understood in Srimad Bhagwatam.

    I don't mean that you are using the terms wrongly. I just shared here the way I understood these terms before reading your this thread.

    However, I think you should continue writing this. I would like to particularly understand how the Buddhists reach different stages of Jhanas. Does it come naturally with practice of Vipassana ? Suppose during meditation, mind keeps wandering in thoughts and doesn't reach its tranquil state. Then what do they advise to the practitioner ? Bhagwad Gita advises to bring back the mind again and again to AtMAn (i.e. Brahman) but how long it goes on ?

    I think that it is necessary to cut off from worldly involvement / interactions as much as possible so that mind doesn't get stimulations to react and produce unnecessary thoughts to indulge in.

    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  8. #8

    Re: Turiya and Brain Damage?

    Namaste Devotee Ji,

    Thank you for the reply, and for understanding the entry. Somethings were left open without going into to much details, as there are lots of micro details in the background, plus there was a lot covered in a small amount of space with limited language skills. I will come to sushupti and turiya in a moment, there was no intention to say they are the same or represent it as a view from any particular tradition. After I wrote the last entry there was a thought that maybe there was a bit of confusion on something, maybe equating 1st jhana to the full experience of turiya, and that is not so, nor about turiya being the same as sushupti. I haven't re read the above and if you want to quote something it might be easier, then I can try and explain better, but I will address it further down, which will hopefully make it more clear.

    Over the past few months I have noticed and been aware the usage of vi वि, , its attached to many words such as in this case tarka. Im not opposing any other translation but seeing how its usage is given more depth or complements it. From some sources of studies and something that developes over a course of time, is that vi means inner, standing apart, vi most people know from vipassana which means insight meditation, passana means seeing, we could say seeing inwardly, introspectively and tarka is more along the lines of contemplation. Tarka is part of the 6 limb yoga as described in a couple of the Upanishads, not to dissect it to much or make it exclusive its part of a compounded experience in samadhi, tarka is rooted in samadhi as that which contemplates directly the object of meditation. So vitarka is used to described application of the mind to the object of meditation, one can discuss the logic and epistemology behind vedanta, etymology is part of vedanga these are types of vitarka, but its not just limited to that or divorced from it.

    As you say in Bhagavad Gita the instruction is to bring the mind back to Self, when mind wanders bring it back to Self.

    Who can do that directly, like with neo advaita, it seems that the first hint of experience in sattva~consciousness becomes the Self and they then become everything..... Apparently many people get experience of the first jhana in a spontaneous way but do not know how to then cultivate it, and what many people nowadays might call an awakening, still quite a bit further to go to be fully awake and is easily lost.

    So in the initial stages one is given an object of meditation, it can be the breath, a mantra, bhajanas~kirtans, puja, study of shastra and ancient texts, meditations techniques the list goes on and on how vitarka can be applied, one cant just do vitarka that is when it becomes mindless or unskillfull repetition, so it needs other factors to support it. What supports all levels of equanimity and absorption's is sattva sila, and thats a practice for life within life along with chitta training and prajna knowledge of the Self.

    One interesting thing that ive noticed is that most the states are compounds, but each compound is complete, so a lot of things are happening simultaneously, for example in the first 1st jhana, mental absorption, vitarka and vichara when balanced and in cohesion, accompanied by happiness, rapture and joy all are within that compounded state, turiya is at the centre of this state , turiya is not a compound. The more refined the mind becomes it becomes more and more difficult to explain as the compounds become complex and beyond any form of normal sensory or mental perception.

    What I did want to expand a little more on was the 5th jhana, things become very interesting at this stage of absorption, the dharma chakshu is opened the dharma eye and the dharma ear. What does it then see without the faculties of the indriya sight, and what does it hear without the indriya faculty of hearing, all mental and physical phenomenon has ceased. Its also interesting that its called streamenter, or streamwinner, to me this means nothing less than union with paramtama or antariyami, many way to desribe it, vysa in the guha teaching veda through naad, were now entering in the esoteric side of things, this is shusupti, Turiya is samadhi, turiya is not touched or influenced by sushupti, turiya deep cleanses the chitta in sushupti. To reach 5th level of absorbtion mind has to be in perfect equilibrium, sama, upekkha. In terms of the abhidarma, all samskaras, which are ruled by the kelshas are eliminated by samadhi, chitta is fully cleaned only by samadhi, Mind can only be liberated by the Self.

    As you say there are 3 states jagrat, svapna and sushupti and Turiya which is not considered as a state but dwells in all 3. Sushupti is the state of the supramental or above the mind, above mental and physical consciousness. So much to be said about this.

    In terms of the way of sadhana or chitta training turiya enters into the chitta and retrains the chitta to the stage of brahman or brahman Bhuta, Self realization. If not for the intervention of Turiya within the chitta then we would remain always in samsara like when we go to sleep at night our consciousness is totally absent from the waking state and goes into pure chitta but because its arrived at through ignorance when one wakes up the same mental physical process will continue. The yogi or aspiring transcendentalist due to having some method will invoke samadhi and from there the path to liberation of becoming starts.

    The last part about development of the jhanas will the topic of the next entry.
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 24 April 2018 at 04:30 PM.

  9. #9

    Re: Turiya and Brain Damage?

    Namaste Devotee Ji,

    Back to the last part of your post

    I would like to particularly understand how the Buddhists reach different stages of Jhanas. Does it come naturally with practice of Vipassana ? Suppose during meditation, mind keeps wandering in thoughts and doesn't reach its tranquil state. Then what do they advise to the practitioner ?
    How the different stages of Jhana is achieved is based on so many things. To keep the theme of whats being said in the previous entries, mind is stabilized by sila~virtue, samadhi ~chitta training and panna or prajna transcendental knowledge, non of them is more important than the other, they work in union for complete purification and perfection of the chitta.

    What to do with wandering thoughts is perhaps the most regularly question asked, and the answers are always different, the reason being is that each answer will be for a certain state of mind. In traditional abhidharma there are certain instructions, if one is attached to the body then one thinks about the body in terms of it as being unattractive made up of bile, mucus, veins, blood, puss and so on, and also impermanence and death, if one has negativity then there is the recollections on metta bhavana or generating kindness and compassion to oneself and others depending on where the negativity is directed, the skill becomes on how to deal with the mind and its thoughts on a moment to moment basis or to deal with mental phenomenon as it naturally occurs, for each different mind state and condition there is a specific method, it cant be just about individual instruction but learning how to deal with mind states as a whole and what to apply, there are advices to just leave them or watch them change and not be attached and also there is the gritting of the teeth and hold on and wait till the storm passes, so its impossible to give a single answer.

    vipassana~insight meditation is when the mind is in a state of samatha or calm, I havent done any deep research on to much compounds of the words due to limited time, association and resources but there seems to be some relation between Sa and Vi, sa has the meaning to flow on initial understanding of the word and vi is inner, samatha and vipassana always work together perfectly, it could be translated as calmly flowing into inner seeing.

    The first four jhanas is where there is effort to bring the whole state of mental and physical conditions to the point of equanimity, above the state of equanimity are the arupa formless jhanas or with the awareness of mental and physical consciousness, jagrat and svapna, effortless jhanas starting with the 5th jhana, dhyana is spontaneous or mind is carried...... who carries it..... or what power carries it and retrains the chitta.

    In terms of typing it i am not the best and thats why I played safe saying its not representing any tradition and there was no real effort to be philosophically correct, but as far as I know it represents the heart of the traditions and is more or less in line apart from my limited language skills and lack of real maturity in realization, its a big thing. In terms of what happens in the 5th to the 8th stages of jhana is a process of the minds conditions being purified but not only that its replaced wit some skill, ability , some siddhi, great and profound insights, reforming of character, bringing one closer to the ultimate state, as one gets closer to the fire it takes on the nature of heat until it becomes fire, the chitta is being trained to be turiya . Although I cant spell it out as of yet, but it will align exactly to Vedanta.

    The same position of ishvara as the one who controls the materiel energy or maya or is the remover of avidya, not as a creator God, but as one who purifies and empowers through the chitta in sushupti and brings one to Brahman, divine alchemy. This has a lot of significance in the way I understand Vedanta and Brahman and so many things have fallen into place where there was some confusion before and is the real hard part to describe.
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 24 April 2018 at 05:15 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Turiya and Brain Damage?

    Namaste Markandeya ji,

    Thanks for your great effort in explaining a very complex thing !

    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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