A jīva has different experiences during three different stages of consciousness – jāgrat, svapna and suṣupti. When jīva undergoes three different types of experiences, it subtly means that the Self (in this case it is kūṭastha, as we are discussing about a jīva) is veiled by these three states. Thus the Self projects itself as viśva, taijasa and prājña. In the active state (Self as viśva) viśva is associated with the material world, which includes all objects that can be seen with biological eyes. In other words, in this state, consciousness is associated with organs of perception and action. This is the stage where whatever is seen is taken as real (not as māyā). This is the stage where the Self seems to be associated with sthūla śarīra (gross or physical body). In this stage, innate spiritual ignorance is predominant due to dynamic sensory organs.
In the dream state (Self as taijasa), taijasa is associated with sensory organs and ceases to function, but one of the components of internal organs (antaḥkaraṇa), mind is still active in close coordination with stored vāsanā-s in the subconscious mind, causing dreams, most of which are generally irrelevant to our present life. (There is another dream state called lucid dream state, which occurs immediately after hitting the bed and just before getting up from the bed. Divine revelations (communication of knowledge to man by a divine or supernatural power) are normally revealed during this dream state. Most of the dreams in this state can be recollected after waking up.) As dream state is related to the subtle body, consciousness is associated only with the mind and subconscious mind and not with our physical body, as is the case with viśva.
The Self in this state seems to be associated with our subtle body or sūkṣma śarīra. In deep sleep state, we have no dreams and the body functions as if it is dead. Both the sensory organs and antaḥkaraṇa do not function during this state and this state of deep sleep (Self as prājña) remains as the Self (purest consciousness). This is the state, where the difference between seer and seen is totally annihilated. Here the Self remains in the state of ānanda, its original state. Here the Self remains in its original form in the kāraṇa śarīra. However, it must be remembered that the Self is not in any way affected by these stages and remains only as a witness. These stages of consciousness comes one after another, like changing our dress from one set to another. In the deep sleep state, duality is dissolved and the Self alone prevails. This is the stage we experience during nirvikalpa samādhi. To explain this further, we call different people by different names, though the Self within all of them is the same. Names are only for different shapes and not for the Self. Similarly, viśva, taijasa and prājña are the state of consciousness and does not refer to the Self, as Self is always the same, without any modification.
During deep meditation, mind dissolves itself and consciousness related to the body is completely lost; breathing slows down drastically and our body could droop down, as our consciousness does not remain in our body. When the body is not able to sustain lesser intake of oxygen, we automatically come out of samādhi.
Brahman without Māyā cannot create. Similarly, Consciousness without antaḥkaraṇa cannot function or cannot become visible. When Consciousness is reflected in ego, it is called pramātā, and is the cause for psychical and physical conditions of a jīva. Pramātā means the seer. Seer here is kūṭastha (Self here is called kūṭastha and this was discussed in previous articles of this series). Seer, seeing and the object seen are three stages of Pure Consciousness; but superimposed by limiting factors mind and ego. Kūṭastha always remains only as a witness, known as sākṣī. As Kūṭastha illumines different mental modifications, we experience pleasure and pain, love and hate and all other dyads in our day to day life. How do we experience these dyads? Because, they are present in the witness or sākṣī, which is Kūṭastha. If Kūṭastha is not a witness to these dyads, then we cannot experience these dyads. The Light of Kūṭastha falls on the mind and ego and makes us to experience these dyads. However, Kūṭastha continues to remain immutable and remains only as sākṣī all the time. To put this in a simplified manner, individual soul (Kūṭastha) as Consciousness reflects in avidyā functions as pramātā, through the limiting adjunct of antaḥkaraṇa, particularly the mind, which is situated in the body (subtle body).
The knower is known as pramātā; the object that is known is prameya, the knowledge of knowing is pramiti and the means of knowing is pramāṇa. While seeing an object, following things happen. First, the mind with the help of biological eyes fixes on the object. Then the veil of ajñāna around the object is removed. The Consciousness illuminates the object. Then consciousness of subject and object unite (Consciousness as Brahman is omnipresent). Finally we perceive the object.