2 – Panchadasi: CH1, Verse 3-6

Summary of Panchadashi Discourse:

Waking, dream and deep sleep state analyzed. Atman pervades all 3, thus you are other then the 3 states. Meaning one is free of all 3 states.

Source: Swami Vidyaranya, Pancadasi CH1 – verse 3, 4, 5, 6

Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 3:

Śabda sparśā dayo vedyā vaici tryāj jāgare pṛthak, tato vibhaktā tat saṁvit aika rūpyānna bhidyate

The objects of sense knowledge (sound, sight, taste, touch and smell) that are perceived in the waking state have different properties, but the consciousness/ awareness of these is one.

Translation 2: The objects of knowledge, viz., sound, touch, etc., which are perceived in the waking state, are different from each other because of their peculiarities; but the consciousness of these, which is different from them, does not differ because of its homogeneity.

The objects perceived in the waking state are different, but the perceiving consciousness, different from the objects, is one and the same. It is improper to accept more than one consciousness when one is enough to explain things. Moreover, consciousness, having no differential, cannot but be one.


In the waking state the consciousness gets identified with the gross body and the world is born! The ‘I’ perceives a multiplicity of objects of knowledge as seen, heard, felt, tasted, smelt etc depending on the senses through which perception takes place. And all these objects of knowledge differ from each other by their specific characteristics.

However, that consciousness (samvit) which is different from these pluralistic world of objects of knowledge, is only one, it does not become many.

Through all the great changes of perceptions, the Consciousness remains one, and only one. To withdraw the mind, from the multiplicity of sounds, sights etc and fix it on this samvit which is illuminating this plurality, is a potent method of contemplation.


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 4:

Tathā svapne’tra vedyaṁ tu na sthiraṁ jāgare sthiram, tad behdo’tastayoḥ saṁvid ekarūpa na bhidyate

In the dream state, the perceived objects are transient; in the waking state, they seem permanent. But the consciousness/awareness that knows both dream and waking objects is the same.

Translation 2: Similar is the case in the dream state. Here the perceived objects are transient and in the waking state they seem permanent. So there is difference between them. But the (perceiving) consciousness in both the states does not differ. It is homogeneous.

Things perceived in dream vanish subsequently, but it is otherwise with the waking experience. But the knowledge of experienced things or the consciousness which, helps the perception, in both the states is the same.

Commentary (JS):

The dream state helps us understand the unchanging nature of consciousness.

When you experience a dream it seems as if the dream experience changes, but only the dream objects change. As the objects change, the dream state itself remains the same. There is no actual difference between dream and waking except that the duration of objects that are presented to me, awareness, is different. Consciousness is uniform and continuous in both states.

Objects are located in consciousness, nowhere else. This should be easy to understand upon analysis of the dream state. The physical body appears in the dream as a dream object. It is thought to be real, just as it is in the waking state. Dream objects are thoughts, therefore the dream body is a thought. How can it be real? It is also just a thought in the waking state, but it seems to be real.


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 5:

Supot thitasya sauṣpta tamo bodho bhavet smṛtiḥ, sā cāva buddha viṣayā’vabuddhaṁ tattadā tamaḥ

Waking from deep sleep, one consciously remembers a lack of the perception of objects. Because one only remembers previously experienced objects, it is clear that in deep sleep a lack of knowledge of objects is experienced.

Translation 2: A person awaking from deep sleep consciously remembers his lack of perception during that state. Remembrance consists of objects experienced earlier. It is therefore clear that even, in deep sleep ‘want of knowledge' is perceived.

Remembrance of not knowing anything in sleep indicates previous experience; so consciousness persists in sleep,

Commentary (JS):

Sleep is a particular experience. It is not nothingness. It is the experience of the absence of objects. It is everything in seed (potential) form. It is root ignorance. It is ananda, experiential bliss. Neither consciousness nor sleep is known at the time of sleep, because the intellect is in its seed form.

It takes place in an apparent dream world created by Maya, Ignorance, that is superimposed on awareness.

It takes place in the Causal Body, the dormant, latent mind. In that state there is a subtle non-dual (nirvikalpa) thought mode called a nirvikalpa vritti. Although it is always present because the Causal Body is always present, it is too subtle to recognize. Only after waking up is it inferred.

It seems as if there is no experience in deep sleep, but we have a word for sleep. We only invent words to describe experienced objects. If there is experience, there is an experiencer.

Since experience is consciousness plus a thought, in the deep sleep state you experience yourself in the form of an extremely subtle sentient thought. This thought is called Prajna, the sleeper.

If I call you when you are home alone and ask who is there, you will say no one is there. But you are there. Waking-state knowledge of sleep is indirect knowledge, a memory. When I am in America I have direct knowledge/experience of America, but when I am in India my knowledge of America is indirect knowledge, i.e. a memory.

You have a memory of sleep in the waking state because you had direct experience in the sleep state. You cannot have a direct experience unless you are present and conscious.


Panchadasi, CH1, Verse 6:

Sa bodho viṣayād bhinno na bodhāt svapna bodha vat, evaṁ sthāna traye’pyekā saṁvid tatvad dinān tare

Ignorance of objects is the object of awareness in deep sleep. The awareness of the objects in the waking and dream states and the awareness of the lack of objects in deep sleep are the same.

Translation 2: This consciousness (in the deep sleep state) is indeed distinct from the object (here, ignorance), but not from itself, as is the consciousness in the state of dream. Thus in all the three atates the consciousness (being homogeneous) is the same. It is so in other days too.

The perceiver is the same in all the three states.

Commentary (JS):

If experience is there in deep sleep, thought is there, and if thought is there, consciousness is there, because you cannot have a thought without a knower of the thought and you cannot know anything without consciousness even though it seems that there is no consciousness in sleep.

The doubt about the existence of the self in deep sleep is due to a confusion between pure original consciousness and reflected consciousness, the Subtle Body, about which more will be said as the text continues.

Even in a coma consciousness is there. This is why we don’t bury someone who is in a coma even though the Subtle Body is not present. In a coma the thoughts are too subtle to be experienced. In nirvikalpa samadhi the thoughts are also suksma vrittis, or vasanas.

Suksma vrittis are the subtle impressions of experiences. In the waking state they do not register; only gross thoughts are recognizable in it.

If you can develop the ability to separate the light illumining each experience from the experience itself, you will realize your nature as awareness and free your self of the sense of limitation.


Recorded 28 July, 2019


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