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Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad, verse 5

यत्र सुप्तो न कञ्चन कामं कामयते न कञ्चन स्वप्नं पश्यति तत्सुषुप्तम् । सुषुप्तस्थान एकीभूतः प्रज्ञानघन एवाऽऽनन्दमयो ह्यानन्दभुक् चेतोमुखः प्राज्ञस्तृतीयः पादः ॥ ५ ॥

yatra supto na kañcana kāmaṃ kāmayate na kañcana svapnaṃ paśyati tatsuṣuptam | suṣuptasthāna ekībhūtaḥ prajñānaghana evā''nandamayo hyānandabhuk cetomukhaḥ prājñastṛtīyaḥ pādaḥ || 5 ||

5. That is the state of deep sleep wherein the sleeper does not desire any objects nor does he see any dream. The third quarter (Pāda) is the Prājña whose sphere is deep sleep, in whom all (experiences) become unified or undifferentiated, who is verily, a mass of consciousness entire, who is full of bliss and who experiences bliss, and who is the path leading to the knowledge (of the two other states).


Śaṅkara’s Commentary

The adjectival clause, viz., “Wherein the sleeper,” etc., is put with a view to enabling one to grasp what the state of deep sleep (Suṣupti) signifies, inasmuch as sleep characterized by1 the absence of the knowledge of Reality is the common feature of those mental modifications which are associated with (waking, that is) perception2 (of gross objects) and (dream, that is the) non-perception3 (of gross objects). Or4 the object of the introduction of the adjectival clause may be to distinguish the state of deep sleep (of the sleeping person) from the two previous states as sleep characterized by the absence of knowledge of Reality is the common feature of the three states. ‘Wherein,’ that is to say, in which state or time, the sleeping person does not see any dream, nor does he desire any desirable (object). For; in the state of deep sleep, there does not exist, as in the two other states, any desire or the dream experience whose characteristic is to take a thing for what it is not. He is called the ‘Suṣuptasthāna’ because his sphere is this state of deep sleep. Similarly it is called Ekībhūta, i.e., the state in which all experiences become unified—a state in which all objects of duality, which are nothing but forms5 of thought, spread over the two states (viz., the waking and the dream), reach the state6, of indiscrimination or non-differentiation without losing their characteristics, as the day, revealing phenomenal objects, is enveloped by the darkness of night. Therefore conscious experiences, which are nothing but forms of thought, perceived during dream and waking states, become a thick mass (of consciousness) as7 it were (in deep sleep); this state of deep sleep is called the ‘Prajñānagharta’ (a mass of all consciousness unified) on account of the absence of all manifoldness (discrimination of variety). As at night, owing to the indiscrimination produced by darkness, all (percepts) become a mass (of darkness) as it were, so also in the state of deep sleep all (objects) of consciousness, verily, become a mass (of consciousness). The word ‘eva’ (‘verily’) in the text denotes the absence8 of any other thing except consciousness (in deep sleep). (At the time of deep sleep) the mind is free from the miseries9 of the efforts made on account of the states of the mind being involved in the relationship of subject and object: therefore, it is called the Ānandamaya, that is, endowed with an abundance of bliss. But this is not Bliss Itself; because it10 is not Bliss Infinite. As in common (experience) parlance, one, free from efforts, is called happy and enjoyer of bliss. As the Prājña 11 enjoys this state of deep sleep which is entirely free from all efforts, therefore it is called the ‘Ānandabhuk’ (the experiencer of bliss). The Śruti also says, “This is its highest bliss.” It is called the ‘Cetomukha’ because it is the doorway12 to the (cognition) of the two other states of consciousness known as dream and waking. Or because the Ceta (the perceiving entity) characterized13 by (empirical) consciousness (Bodha) is its doorway leading to the experience of dreams, etc., therefore it is called the “Cetomukha’. It is called Prājña as it is conscious of the past and the future as well as of all objects. It is called the Prājña, the knower par excellence, even in deep sleep, because14 of its having been so in the two previous states. Or it is called the Prājña because its peculiar feature is consciousness15 undifferentiated. In the two other states consciousness exists, no doubt, but it is (there) aware of (the experiences of) variety. The Prājña, thus described, is the third quarter.


Ānandagiri’s Ṭīkā (glossary):

1 By, etc.—The mere absence of desire or objects associated with waking or dream states is no characteristic of the Highest Knowledge; for, deep sleep, swoon, etc., are characterized by such absence. Therefore the Knowledge of Reality is true Jñānam.

2 Perception—In the waking state one is aware of the mental modifications which are known as the perception of gross physical objects.

3 Non-perception—Dream experience is here designated, as “non-perception”, as it is distinct from the perception of gross objects of the waking state. In the dream state the objects of perception, which are also modifications of the mind, are but the subtle impressions left by the objects of the waking state. That the dream objects are such can only be known from the experience of the waking state.

4 Or—The commentator gives two meanings of the first sentence of the text. The first meaning.lays emphasis on “yatra”, i.e., wherein, because we are.dealing here with the three states. The natural meaning of the text is that after describing the states of waking and dream the Śruti proceeds to describe the state of Suṣupti or deep sleep which is said to be distinguished from the two other states in not having desire, etc., the common feature of the other two states. And such a distinction has to be made because all the three states have the common feature of the absence of knowledge of Reality. The second meaning emphasizes the word supta” and explains it thus in this connection. Jāgrat, Svapna and Suṣupti are the three states which have for their perceiver one who experiences the three states. Though the perceiver of the three states has three different appellations yet the word “supta” is used as the common term for them by Śruti in a special sense, to denote the absence of knowledge of Reality. Therefore, in this sense, though the word “supta” means the same as the experiencer in the state of Jāgrat, and Svapna yet it is differentiated from the latter by the adjectival phrase, “Wherein the sleeper does not see, etc.”

5 Forms of thought—Mental or thought forms arise in Ātman, which constitute external and internal objects.

6 State of indiscrimination—This is known in the empirical language as the causal state. One viewing suṣupti from the waking state takes it to be the causal state because he finds that the experiences of jāgrat and svapna merge in suṣupti. The mind moving within the sphere of causality further takes suṣupti to be the cause of the waking and the dream states, believing the former to be antecedent to the latter.

7 As it were—As suggested in the previous note suṣupti is designated as the state of causal unity because the waking man looks upon it as the cause of waking and dream experiences. But even suṣupti is also a vṛtti or an idea of the waking man, which arises in his mind on account of his seeking for a cause of the waking and dream experiences. Therefore the unity experienced in suṣupti as understood by the wakeful man is not the unity of Brahmajñāna—otherwise the reappearance of multiplicity as real in the waking state would not be possible.

8 Absence, etc.—The state of suṣupti is characterized by the absence of the objects which one perceives in the waking or dreaming state.

9 Miseries of the efforts—The perceiver in the jāgrat and svapna states who always experiences subject-object relationship, finds its absence in suṣupti.

10 It is not, etc.—The suṣupti is not the state of Bliss infinite because the perceiver from the waking standpoint associates deep sleep with the Upādhi of the idea of the causal state.

11 Prājña—The experiencer of suṣupti. That the Prājña, in deep sleep, enjoys bliss is viewed from waking state.

12 Doorway—Suṣupti is the doorway because it leads to the experience of the waking and dream states. The state of unified existence of suṣupti, wherein all diversities disappear, is the invariable antecedent of the waking and dream experiences. Hence it is looked upon as the cause of the two other states.

13 Characterized, etc.—It is because the consciousness, present in suṣupti, is a necessary condition for becoming aware of the states of jāgrat and svapna. No experience is possible without consciousness.

14 Because, etc.—Though there are no specific states of consciousness in suṣupti still it is known as Prājña or the knower par excellence because all previous states of consciousness experienced in jāgrat and svapna are the same as that of suṣupti.

15 Consciousness, etc.—This consciousness, which exists as Prājña in deep sleep appears as particular (viśeṣa) states of consciousness in jāgrat and svapna.

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