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Since scholars have interpreted the Upaniṣads and Śaṅkara’s views on deep sleep in a variety of ways, it is necessary to analyze the Upaniṣads and Śaṅkara’s commentaries to determine what position they actually hold regarding the presence of ignorance (avidyā) in deep sleep. I will argue that the Upaniṣads hold that in deep sleep, one experiences the pure bliss of Brahman without any kind of ignorance. Śaṅkara, in his commentaries, seems ambivalent about whether there is ignorance in deep sleep. However, I will argue that this ambivalence is only apparent. According to my reconstruction, Śaṅkara consistently holds that ignorance exists in a latent form in deep sleep. I will also examine the philosophical assumptions that compelled Śaṅkara to accept the presence of ignorance in deep sleep, even though the Upaniṣads explicitly hold the opposite view.


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