Question: Some Vedāntists assert that wakefulness (jagṛta–sthāna) is in sattva, the dream state (svapna-sthāna) is in rajas, and deep sleep (suṣupti-sthāna) is in tamas. Is this concept correct, and if so, how?
Answer: Yes, this is correct because while awake, you can perceive things as they are, e.g., you can perceive a laptop as a laptop—the quality of sattva; in the dream state, you mistake one thing for another e.g. you mistake your saṁskāras for real objects—the quality of rajas; in deep sleep (suṣupti), you don’t perceive anything—the quality of tamas. These three states related to the three guṇas are also referred to by Śrī Kṛṣṇa to Uddhava in the Bhāgavata, verse 11.25.20.
Question: Surely jagṛata-sthāna is also ignorance in the sense that one identifies with the body.
Answer: Yes, but in comparison to svapna and suṣupti, jagṛata-sthana is sattva because you can know things as they are.
Question: How is svapna-sthāna in rajas?
Answer: Because your experience is all an illusion.
Question: How can suṣupti be the closest thing to brahmānanda if it is created by tamas?
Answer: It is true that suṣupti-ānanda is close to brahmānanda, but we are neither aware of brahmānanda nor of martyānanda. We are in ignorance only during suṣupti.
Question: Thanks for your reply—it clarified my understanding. One other question – based upon the premise that suṣupti is a complete lack of awareness of brahmānanda and martyānanda – what is the avasthā (state) of someone who falls into a coma? Is the coma also suṣupti or something entirely different?
Answer: A coma is not the same as suṣupti; it is similar to suṣupti but a different state. There may be bodily movements during coma but not in suṣupti.
Creation of Varṇas
Question: The first created beings, prajāpatis like Kaśyapa, were brāhmaṇas. When and under what circumstances were the other varṇas created?
Answer: Brahmā first created brāhmaṇa sons such as Kumāra, Nārada, Vaśiṣṭha, Pulaha and Pulastya. Later he had a son, called Manu, who was a kṣatriya. Brahmā ordered Manu to rule over earth and create progeny. The kṣatriyasdescended from Manu. The other sons of Brahmā created the various species of life. In the beginning of creation, people were sattvic and as a result, they were all brāhmaṇas. Varṇa was not by birth but according to the person’s qualities. with the passage of time, people having qualities of kṣatriyas, vaiśyas etc. were born.
Signs of Advancement
Question: How can we know that we are making spiritual progress?
Answer: You can know that you are progressing if the following qualities develop:
In summary, the more you like doing devotional activities and the more you lose the taste for non-devotional activities and association, the more you have advanced.
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