A Stream of States

The Razor’s Edge

[Expanding Spheres]
Figure 40: “Expanding Spheres” Configuration

In truth (paramarthatas), the universe (jagat) is merely the vibration (eva the spanda) of the unqualified source (nirguna brahman). [1]  The unqualified source is the great ocean (mahasagara), and the ten strings are an unbroken stream of states (abhinna srota of avasthas). [2]  The stream is the razor’s edge (kshurasya dhara). [3]  This straight and narrow path is hard to go by.  The ascent (udaya) through the stream is the experience (anubhava) of “not this, not that” (neti neti). [4][5]

The Sound-Current

  A: Guna B: Avastha
10 tamas jagrat
9 rajas svapna
8 sattva spashta
7 jiva sushupti/buddha
6 chit sakshi
5 ananda daiva
4 sat rita
Table 7.1: Strings and States
  1. Physics (tamas) is the waking (jagrat) state.  But it’s a misnomer, because it’s actually a “dream within a dream.”
  2. Emotion (rajas) is the dream (svapna) state.
  3. Mind (sattva) is the lucid (spastha) state.  This state is akin to a lucid dream.  The lucid dreamer understands the meaning of dream objects and can control them.  These lower three states comprise the material triad (prakrita traya). [6]
  4. The soul (jiva) is the deep sleep (sushupti) state, which is to be awakened (budhya). [7]  Then it’s the awakened (buddha) state.
  5. Consciousness (chit) is the witness (sakshi) state.
  6. Bliss (ananda) is the divine (daiva) state.
  7. Existence (sat) is the order (rita) state.  It’s similar to the fourth (chaturtha) state of the Mandukya Upanishad [8], except it’s not the origin (mula).  These upper three states comprise the spiritual triad (paurusha traya). [9]

This minor heptad (apradhana saptaka) is the sound-current (shabda-srota) of transmigration (samsara). [10]  It’s states (avasthas) are characterized by impermanence (anitya).  Not because they gain or lose existence, but because they’re subject to change.  Much like steam doesn’t perish when it condenses into water.  Nor does water perish when it freezes as ice.

The Silent Current

  A: Guna B: Avastha
3 ishvara yoga
2 prakriti dvaita
1 purusha advaita
Table 7.2: Strings and States

The remaining states are beyond the fourth state (turiyatita). [11] 

  1. The oversoul (ishvara) is the union (yoga) state.
  2. Nature (prakriti) is the dual (dvaita) state.
  3. Spirit (purusha) is the non-dual (advaita) state.

This major triad (pradhana traya) is the silent current (nihshabda srota) of cessation (nirvana). [12]  In this context, the term “nirvana” consists of “without” (nis) and “sound” (vana) and means “silence.”

Beyond the Silence

A: Guna B: Avastha
0 (nis) mula
Table 7.3: Strings and States

Beyond cessation (parinirvana), the ground state (mula avastha) is indistinguishable, unthinkable, and indescribable isolation (alakshana, achintya, and avyapadeshya kaivalya). [13]  In other words, it’s beyond the mind and must be experienced to be understood.  Thou art that (tat tvam asi). [14][15]


  1. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.1.
  2. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.2.
  3. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.3.
  4. Vyasa. Yajur Veda: Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.3.6.
  5. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.4.
  6. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.5.
  7. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.6.
  8. Vyasa. Atharva Veda: Mandukya Upanishad 7.
  9. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.7.
  10. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.8.
  11. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.9.
  12. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.10.
  13. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.11.
  14. Vyasa. Sama Veda: Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7.
  15. Vyas, S. K. Advaita Samkhya Sutras 7.12.