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 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:

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

  1. They are not the same thing and unless you are a jivanmukta you will not be able to speak with authority on the subject.

    Turyātita is the state of Nirvikalpa Sahaj Samadhi in which no self / Self or any such concepts arise whatsoever.

    They are utterly empty and devoid of meaning.

    This Turiyātita is the stateless state which Sri Ramana Maharshi ‘entered’ ‘attained’ when he had his second death experience in later age.

    Nirvana the ‘problem making mechanism’ snuffed out.

    Choiceless Awareness where choices are possible and effortless effort is one of the boons.

    UG Krishnamurti was also in this state of Nisarga Swarupa Sthithi or the Natural State.

    The difference between the two is subtle and impossible to discern unless you have passed what I call ‘the point of no return’.



  2. Addendum:all choices are the right choices.

    Good that you address this issue as I am attempting to clear up these misconceptions about Moksha Liberation Enlightenment.

    Most of the jnanis or yogis I see are in Turiya but have not yet ‘attained’ Turīyatīta Nirvikalpa Sahaj Samadhi the Unattainable!

    Enlightenment reaches you!


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