Question 129: The Seven States of Ignorance, the Seven States of Knowledge:

hmmmmLife is a journey from womb to tomb; how do we avoid coming through another womb in the present life? The sage offers young Rama a lecture about the seven states of ignorance, and the seven states of bliss. Awareness of Atma is fruit of long effort, determination, discrimination and detachment. Read the advice of the sage to young Rama.


ashabad pad: the state divested of words, speech. The inexpressible Brahman state;

bhoomika: refers to the state of mind

bhoomikas: different states of the mind, different states of knowledge.

purushartha: the repository of spiritual knowledge acquired by endeavour in pursuance of the precepts obtained from sages and scriptures

sandhi: one of three states in the day based on the movement of the Sun, called (junction) or (transfer to) phases of time: sunrise, noon and sunset. Those who have due diligence chant Gayatri mantra at these times.

sandhi: interior junction state where / when one is stabilised in the Self; it is pure Consciousness, beyond description.

videhamukta: liberated; having no body feelings or body consciousness.


Question 129: Sir, what is meant by stabilising in the Self (Swaroop) and what are the phases (bhoomikas)?

Answer: Ramji, the peaceful state in between the two states of consciousness — waking and deep sleep – is the junction (sandhi) state. This junction state is free from all desires and sankalpas and in this state there is non-existence of all objects of the universe. To stay firm in this state is to stabilise in the Self. To remain firm in the state where one has abandoned all one’s desires, or is desireless like a rock, and yet is alert in that state, is called stabilising in the Self. This state is free from the ideations of ‘I’ and ‘you’ and also from the distinctions of the sentient and the insentient, and the individual and Brahman. It is free from all traces of inertness, and is pure consciousness, beyond description.

Forgetting the Self the individual wanders in various states of ignorance, and these are seven in number. Listen about these intently. These are:

  • Seed-waking (beej-jagrat),
  • waking (jagrat),
  • great-waking (maha-jagrat),
  • waking-dream (jagrat-swapna),
  • dream (swapna),
  • dream-waking (swapna-jagrat) and
  • deep-sleep (sushupti).

All these phases are states of attachments. Now listen about the characteristics of these states.

Seven States of Ignorance:

  • Seed-waking (beej-jagrat): In the Primordial Consciousness, that is ashabad pad or is free from all sounds, the ego first arising is the primordial individual. It is the prime seed of all objects and is called seed-waking (beej-jagrat) state.
  • Waking (jagrat): The firm ideas of I and mine and the feelings of duality (I and you) arising in an individual out of the seed-waking state mark the waking (jagrat) state.
  • Great-waking (maha-jagrat): The state of a firm conviction of one’s long life in a dream is called the great-waking (maha-jagrat) state.
  • Waking-dream (jagrat-swapna): The ideas arising and experienced with certainty, consequent on absorption in the tendency of I am developed in great-waking state, constitute the waking-dream (jagrat-swapna) state. Or, to assume one thing for another, e.g. to perceive water in mirage in a desert, or a snake in a rope, signifies the waking-dream (jagrat-swapna) state.
  • Dream (swapna): When the mind is active in deep-sleep (sushupti), there is perception of many objects. It is called the dream state. But on waking, the individual realises that the vast perception of the short duration was non-existent and unreal.
  • Dream-waking (swapna-jagrat): The state where there is the realisation of a long period in the dream (swapna) state and there is also firm feeling of body-ego, and one experiences the cycle of rebirth assuming the self to be real irrespective of the existence or non-existence of the body in the waking state, is called dream-waking (swapna-jagrat). This kind of dream develops into great-waking state.
  • Deep-sleep (sushupti): When all the six states just mentioned are absent, and there is the attitude of inert existence (non-ideation), that state is called deep-sleep (sushupti) state.

All the seven phases are states of ignorance and are distinct from each other. When the illusory dream experience is prolonged, the dream state becomes like the waking state and there is further dream in it and in this manner a variety of states arise in each state. It is also called deep attachment and it is due to this that all individuals (people) are wandering and are subject to attachments of different kinds. All these illusions vanish with continuous practice of contemplation.

Ramji, now listen to the seven phases or states (bhoomikas) of knowledge. Bhoomika refers to the state of mind. The awakening in the true self is called knowledge. Those who cross the phases of wisdom or knowledge become videhamukta. The phases are:

  • shubh ichcha (right longing),
  • vichara (reflection and contemplation),
  • tanumansa,
  • sattvapatti,
  • asamsakti,
  • padartha bhavni, and
  • turiya. He who attains to the turiya state, becomes free from all sufferings.

Now listen to the description of each state.

Seven States of Knowledge

  • Right longing (shubh ichcha): The wish to direct the mind from the unreal universe to the real Atma, the adoption of an attitude of detachment by following the precepts of scriptures and sages, and the urge for spiritual discipline, are called right longing (shubh ichcha).
  • Reflection and contemplation (vicharna) : To reflect on scriptures, to remain in holy company, to live with the sages, to cultivate discrimination, to practise the truth, to accept the real, and to reject the unreal – all this constitutes reflection and contemplation.
  • Tanumansa: By following the discipline just mentioned and practising awareness of Atma, one controls the senses and attains subtlety — this state is called tanumansa.
  • Sattvapatti : To practise the first three phases, to be indifferent to worldly objects, and to be established in Atma by the contemplation and practice of scriptures — all this constitutes the state of sattvapatti.
  • Asamsakti: To remain undisturbed in the state that is attained after the four states just mentioned have been crossed, is called asamsakti.
  • Padartha bhavni: When one is oblivious of the universe and is perennially in peace in Atma, that state is called padartha bhavni.
  • Turiya: When an individual practises the six states continuously over a period of time, his mind is firmly merged in Atma, and then there is no ideation of duality. The state where all the six phases merge into one, is called the turiya state. This is the state called liberation.

Ramji, the first three phases pertain to the waking state, the fourth one is of the individual having spiritual knowledge (tattva gyani), the fifth, sixth and seventh states describe the liberated beings (jivanmukta). The videhamuktas are established in turiya-atit, the state beyond the turiya. One is able to enjoy the seven states as a result of highly superior karma (actions). The liberated ones are unaffected by joys and sufferings and ever remaining established in the peaceful state, they carry on the normal functions. Such persons, though they are free from the restrictions of the mundane universe, perform various routines for the functioning of the physical body of five elements. Although they function, they are free from all obligations and restrictions. While they interact, they know well that the world is unreal. Only he whose mind is pure is fit for these states, whatever his caste or station in life.

Ramji, only practice triumphs and this alone leads to the destination. He who undertakes purushartha of any kind for the sake of Atma, is a great being and worthy of praise. The great men of the world are insignificant in comparison with spiritual aspirants, because the spiritual aspirants conquer enemies such as the senses which are very difficult to vanquish. The victor of the senses is like a great emperor. Just as we perceive ornaments as ornaments — and hardly think of gold – so also because of the individual consciousness modifications arising in the self, the true self is forgotten and ignorance arises, and then due to ego, we consider ourselves as different entities. When we direct our minds away from the forms of the ornaments, we perceive gold. So, when an individual takes his thinking away from names and forms, and concentrates on Atma, he realises the non-existence of the world.



Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaya Dheemahi
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat

“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”