Understanding Turiya (the 4th state) and Turiyatita (the state beyond the 4th state)

Question: I get confused between the idea of Turiya, the so-called 4th state, which is the Self, and the idea of Turiyatita or beyond the 4th state. How can there be something beyond the Absolute Self, the ‘4th’?

Tom: Turiya means the Self. That is the only reality – there is no real ‘beyond turiya’ (turiyatita). First see how Turiya is defined in the Mandukya Upanishad in verse 7 here.

Then note what Bhagavan Sri Ramana says in Guru Vachaka Kovai verse 567:

567. The difference between the first three dense states and the fourth and fifth states are only for those who are not able to immerse and abide firmly in turiya, which shines piercing through the dark ignorance of sleep.

Sadhu Om’s commentary: The import of this verse is that advanced aspirants should know that all states other than turiya which are mentioned in scriptures [i.e. sleep, waking, dream and turiyatita] are unreal.

Tom: Now see further verses from Guru Vachaka Kovai which explain Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teaching on this subject further:

  1. In Jnanis, who have destroyed the ego, the three
    states [waking, dream and sleep], which were seen
    previously, will disappear, and the noble state of
    turiya [the ‘fourth’] will itself shine gloriously in them
    as turiyatita
    [the state transcending the ‘fourth’].

Tom’s comments: ie. the forth state (Turiya) is in fact Turiyatita – they are one and the same. This is stated more explicitly in the next 2 verses:

  1. The state of turiya, which is Self, pure sat-chit, is
    itself the non-dual turiyatita
    . Know that the three
    states are mere [false] appearances, and that Self is
    the supporting base for them [i.e. the base on which
    they appear and disappear].
  1. Is it not only if the other three states [waking, dream and sleep]
    were real that wakeful sleep [jagrat-
    sushupti], the pure Jnana, would be the fourth?
    Since those three states are [found to be] unreal in
    front of turiya, that [turiya] is the only state; know
    [therefore] that it [turiya] is itself turiyatita
    .

Using much simpler language, I also explain this type of teaching in a slightly different way that you may find helpful here in this video:

2 thoughts on “Understanding Turiya (the 4th state) and Turiyatita (the state beyond the 4th state)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.