Turiya or also known as Transcendental Consciousness, is not a state of consciousness - it is the foundation of all states of consciousness. Turiya is not deep sleep, not dreaming, and not waking. Turiya is initially described in terms of what it is not, because this is the experience. It is literally awareness of Pure Consciousness, the Absolute, the Realm of Reality or Goloka. Turiya is commonly experienced between the states of waking and deep sleep. It can also be experienced between deep sleep and dreaming, and dreaming and waking, as illustrated in the drawing below.
Turiya can be experiences in the gap in consciousness that we experience between waking and deep sleep. We remember that we did nothing in particular to go to sleep, other than to stop being active. Sometimes we stopped being active by choice and sometimes, in spite of trying to remain active, we found it impossible to stay awake and suddenly dropped off to sleep.
However, Turiya is much more that simply the gap between two states of consciousness. It is the Pure consciousness in which one can be the witness of all other states of consciousness – beyond all common states of consciousness.
It is difficult to convey the experience of Turiya in common words and expressions because it is an experience that is beyond words. Our language, especially the English language, is a waking state derived structure. Because Turiya is beyond waking state, the terms and language of waking state cannot effectively be used to convey an accurate meaning of it.
As mentioned in the section on dreaming, if we lie down, that posture is conducive to sleep and dreaming states of consciousness. We all know that sitting up straight is conducive to wakefulness. There is a specific posture that is conducive to Turiya known as the padmâsana (lotus posture). The padmâsana (illustrated below) is the classic physical expression of the S’rî Chakra – lotus or padma is an allegorical reference to the S’rî Chakra.
To assume the padmâsana, follow these steps:
- In a sitting position, stretch your legs straight out before you.
- Bend your right leg at the knee and bring it toward you so that you can take hold of your right foot with both hands.
- Place your right foot on top of your left thigh. The right foot should be brought toward you as far as is possible so that eventually the right foot is touching the groin. In order to now complete the posture successfully, the right knee will have to rest on the floor.
- Bend your left leg at the knee and bring it toward you so that you can take hold of your left foot with both hands.
- Place your left foot on top of your right thigh. The left foot should be brought in as far as possible so that eventually the left heel will also touch the groin. Both knees should eventually rest on the floor.
- The reverse position, in which the left foot is brought up first, then the right foot is also acceptable.
- Rest the hands palm up on the knees and touch the index finger to the thumb.
Sitting in the padmâsana will quickly give rise to the experience of Turiya, if that is your intention and a specific mental technique for that purpose is practiced. When experienced directly, Turiya can be experienced in two ways, deep inside the mind or outside and above the mind, depending on the specific mental technique employed.
If you can sit in padmâsana and would like to experience Turiya, here is a mental technique that you may practice which will give rise to the experience:
- While seated in padmâsana, close the eyes and look up with closed eyes to a spot that is above the head approximately six inches.
- Within a few seconds you should feel a shift in consciousness and experience Turiya for a few seconds.
You may find it difficult to maintain this experience for more that a few seconds before thoughts arise in your mind. This is normal when the S’rî Chakra is not fully activated. In the book Âtmavedî, Part II we will go into a specific practice for activation of the S’rî Chakra. However, the point to consider now is that Turiya is not confined to just the transition periods between waking and sleep states of consciousness. In fact, Turiya is available at any time with the proper application of a physical posture and mental technique.
An excellent method to begin to experience Turiya is through the practice of Atmavedi Meditation. You may receive initiation into the technique of Atmavedi Meditation by applying here.