Having gone through the previous page, a reader may have got a general sense of what is Advaita Vedanta, the method Self Inquiry in this school, and may have also gleaned the fact that liberation in this school is direct knowledge of the ultimate reality called Brahman. One would have also got some idea of how women have featured in this tradition, which is so heavily based on dialogue and scriptures. In fact one of the meaning of the word Upanishads (from upa “by” and ni-ṣad “sit down”) translates to “sitting down near”, referring to the student sitting down near the teacher while receiving spiritual knowledge. Another meaning of the word is “setting to rest ignorance by revealing the knowledge of the supreme spirit” (Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary). This is in stark contrast to other schools where meditation or worship or chanting are the methods for libersation.
One can witness the same three thousand years old process of dialogue and instruction being followed in the Facebook NEEV Psycho-Philosophy Group. Though it is a modern take, in the sense that dialogues occur online instead of the forest, and in English instead of Sanskrit. So the word Awareness is utilized more than the older word Brahman in the dialogue with my student Tannupriya, which I am presenting here.
After the dialogue Tannupriya encapsulates her understanding in her Journal next day, which I have posted as the conclusion of this article. This is a big jump in her understanding of life. The skeleton of Advaita Vedanta has been completed for her. With further living, pondering, questioning and dialogue, (if she continues on this path) the rest of body will be created, till it becomes a living reality of direct knowledge operating in her.
The dialogue I had with her is based on one of the most potent teachings of Advaita Vedanta based on Mandukya Upanishad. It is called examination of the three states of deep sleep, dream sleep and waking state (avastha traya). I have written about it in detail in my article Turiya : The Fourth State of Consciousness & End of Suffering
Tannupriya’s Journal: 13/8/2020
I chose this topic because for many days, I am seeing many posts coming of a man who is talking to a spirit. Is it something true?! I don’t know what happens after death but there is something mysterious which is unknown. That will be only known after death and I wouldn’t be back to my life again. It’s a one time process which happens and ends. I literally want to know that this talking to spirit is actually a real thing or its fake! I have a lot of questions in my mind regarding death. If the soul is immortal then where does it go? Can a soul or a spirit see people living around? Does the spirit gain powers after death? Several questions like this. Death is a topic which I will keep writing again and again to explore more of my views and thoughts about death.
Dialogue With Tannupriya on Awareness/Brahman
Tannupriya: Hello Sir !
Anurag: Hello Tannupriya
Tannupriya: Sir I wanted to ask you that when we sleep we always have a dream; So, is it our spirit who acts in our dreams?
Anurag: Spirit is formless. It never acts. It is the screen on which everything is happening. The Spirit is the Witness/Awareness of all that is happening in your mind/body/intellect in all three states of dreaming, sleeping and waking.
Tannupriya: Sir, dream always comes as something very unique.
Anurag: There is nothing unique in a dream. It is the same as the waking state. Just that time and space behave differently. But the waking state and dream state are identical in all other respects.
Tannupriya: It means that all the states are alike.
Anurag: All states are changing appearances on Awareness. Sleep state is closest to Awareness. Notice that there are no forms or action in deep sleep state.
Tannupriya: Yes sir. There is no action in deep sleep.
Anurag: So all action and forms are illusory…not real. Because they come to an end in the sleep state. A real thing never comes to an end.
Tannupriya: Yes sir. It happens.
Tannupriya: It happens that when we wake up the images or dream comes to an end and sometimes we forget it as we try to remember it.
Anurag: Yes. So all forms are unreal. Only Awareness, which is formless is real. Notice that you are aware that you slept (even though you saw nothing). That awareness is Soul/Spirit/Brahman. This awareness is the only thing that is present in all three states. In waking and dream state it is aware of forms whereas in sleep state, it is aware of no-forms.
Tannupriya: Ok sir. Sir, is it this way that we sleep and dream nothing.
Anurag: From the absolute reality of Awareness, nothing is ever happening It’s like a movie playing on a screen. Nothing ever happens to the screen.
Tannupriya: So, the awareness which is the spirit remains the same and the states changes?
Anurag: Absolutely Tannupriya
Tannupriya: But sir. How can death be a sleep? We cannot come back from death but we come back from sleep.
Anurag: You come back again, in a different body.
Tannupriya: Does it happen exactly at the same time as of death? Do we become alive at the same time we die?
Anurag: In sleep do you have any knowledge of time? Time and Space are born after you get up from sleep
Tannupriya: It means when we are alive we are in action in a form of such body and when we are dead, it is nothing but an awareness which is going?
Anurag: Awareness is always there. Your body lives and dies You are this Awareness in reality.
Tannupriya: Sir, you are saying that we are aware even in death or when alive. So, what is the difference in death and life ?!
Anurag: To Awareness there is no difference. It is immortal That is why you are actually immortal in reality.
Tannupriya: Sir, then nothing changes when we die or born.
Anurag: No, as long as you know yourself as formless, immortal Awareness and see from this knowledge.
Tannupriya: When we think ourself as a form, is there awareness?
Anurag: Are you not aware of your thoughts and form?
Tannupriya: Yes, I am aware of my thoughts as well as form.
Anurag: Then, that is YOU: Awareness
Tannupriya: Ok sir.
Anurag: Great !
Conclusion: Tannupriya’s Journal: 20/8/2020
Today while having a dialogue with sir on the topic of death, I understood that awareness is nor an object neither any form. It is formless; awareness is you – yourself. We are the soul which is formless and it is awareness.
When we are alive, we are in a state of body, mind and intellect. When we are in a state of sleep, we are the same as dead because no actions and no forms exist here. Sleep is death. When you sleep, in that state you are out of any actions.
When we are awake we are in a state of actions. But still, there is an awareness and that is the spirit which is always present there in you.