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Sleep as a State of Consciousness in Advaita Vedanta

Arvind Sharma

Publication Year: 2004

Indian philosophy bases itself on three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. Deep sleep, or sus|upti, plays an important role in Advaita Vedaµnta, the major philosophical school that advocates a doctrine of pure consciousness. Explaining and savoring this paradox, this book shows how the concept of deep sleep can be used in Advaita Vedaµnta to reveal a philosophical insight, validate an argument, illustrate a moral, or adorn a tale. Arvind Sharma explores why sleep is a phenomenon that philosophers should be interested in and examines it in classical Hindu religious texts, including the Upanis|ads, and in foundational, early, and modern Advaita Vedaµnta.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page

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pp. v

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pp. vii-ix

Advaita Vedānta is a well-known philosophical system of India. One of the well-known doctrines associated with Advaita Vedānta is that of avasthātraya, or of the three states of consciousness: ...

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pp. 1-9

This monograph deals with the question of sleep in Advaita Vedānta. But the theme presupposes that the phenomenon of sleep is an issue of some kind for Advaita...

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1. Sleep in Advaita Vedānta: A Prologue

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pp. 11-13

Karl H. Potter, in his introduction to the philosophy of Advaita Vedānta, lists twelve propositions as constituting the theoretical basis of Advaita. The last of these propositions reads...

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2. Sleep in the Prasthānatraya (Upaniṣads, Brahmasūtra, Bhagavadgītā)

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pp. 15-40

The tradition of Advaita Vedānta can certainly be traced as far back as the Bṛhadāraṇyaka and Chāndogya Upaniṣads, the two earliest Upaniṣads.1 They are also considered primarily...

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3. Sleep in Māṇḍūkyakārikā

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pp. 41-48

One leading Advaitin thinker who preceded Śaṅkara is Gauḍapāda (seventh century), whose kārikās or commentarial verses on the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad1 have long enjoyed a special...

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4. Sleep in Śāṇkara Advaita

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pp. 49-72

Śāṇkara Advaita contains several references to the phenomenon of sleep, particularly deep sleep. In this respect one encounters a remarkable statement in his gloss on...

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5. Sleep in Later Advaita

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pp. 73-98

It has been said that “most later Advaitins largely accepted Śaṇkara's views on dream and deep sleep, finding all states illusory, dream even less real than waking, and an ambiguity between sleep as ignorance and/or bliss. The only immediate...

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6. Sleep in Modern Advaita

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pp. 99-126

The discussion of the phenomenon of deep sleep takes on a new texture in modern Advaita. This is so on account of the fact that while the literature of premodern Advaita combines both intellectual and mystical...

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pp. 127-137

(1) The role that sleep plays in Advaita Vedānta is, on balance, more illustrative than probative in nature....


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pp. 139-170


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pp. 171-174

Term Index

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pp. 175-177

Subject Index

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pp. 179-181

E-ISBN-13: 9780791484302
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791462515
Print-ISBN-10: 079146251X

Page Count: 181
Publication Year: 2004