जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्तभेदे तुर्याभोगसम्भवः (sūtrā I.7)
There are three stages of consciousness, jāgrat, (normal active stage, or stage of awakening) svapna (dream stage) and suṣupti (deep sleep stage). These three stages are the normal level consciousness of a man. Bheda means difference. Beyond these three levels of normal consciousness, there are two more levels of consciousness. Out of these two, this sūtrā discusses about the fourth level of consciousness known as turya. Ābhoga (आभोग) means ecstatic stage (abhoga अभोग means non-enjoyment). Sambhavaḥ means existing.
This sūtrā says that even during the first three stages of consciousness, the fourth stage of consciousness, the ecstatic turya exists. When spiritual transformation happens in a person, there is a meeting point between the material awareness and the spiritual awareness. Beginning from that point, when the upward movement in the spiritual path really begins, one’s ego begins to dissolve. When ego begins to fade away, it leads to universal attitude of the soul, when the knowledge of the omnipresent nature of the Brahman begins to unfold. This is what is to be precisely practiced in meditation. The fourth stage of consciousness continues to prevail in the other three mundane stages of consciousness, as one is bound by ajñānā (ignorance) and consequent eogtism. When ego begins to get dissolved, the spell of ajñānā also begins to fade away, paving the way for the realisation of the Self. This transformation happens in the stage of turya.
Turya state is un-inferable, inconceivable and indefinable where manifold sensory perceptions paves way for the realisation of the Shiva. Mandukya Upanishad (7) says, “Turiya is not conscious what is happening within. It is also not conscious of what is happening externally. It is not conscious of anything in between. It is also not a mass of consciousness. It is not conscious of all objects simultaneously; it is not unconscious either. It is invisible, not susceptible to any kind of usage, not within the reach of any organ of action or perception or thought. In it there is only consciousness of the Self and there is a total cessation of materialism as such. It is the embodiment of peace and all that is good. It is one without a second. “
The fourth state of consciousness is always present in all the men as a witness in all the three mundane levels of consciousness. This is in contrast to the first three level of consciousness that prevails one at a time. When one is awake, he cannot sleep, when one is dreaming he cannot be awake and when one is in the state of deep sleep, he can neither be awake nor dream. But, turya is present in the first three states of consciousness, sheathed by māyā, thereby making it unrealizable. This can be realised only in the advanced stages of meditation. Preliminary stages of meditation merely formulate groundwork and lay proper foundation for the realisation of Shiva. If the foundational consciousness is weak, the most powerful Shiva cannot manifest. When proper preparatory work is completed, turya takes over the consciousness, and the emancipation happens thereafter. It does not mean that his body ceases to exist (death), but his consciousness is purified by his preparatory work, making it easier for turya to take complete control of his consciousness. He still experiences the first three stages of consciousness, the exception being that the quality of his consciousness has undergone complete transformation, moving closer and closer to Shiva, awaiting the final realisation of Shiva at anytime