Śrī Praśānt Neti

Some Notes on Avasthātraya vicāra

An Enquiry into three States Waking, Dream and Deep Sleep

1) To start with, avasthātraya vicāra is being made by the waker from the waking standpoint.

2) The waker, being a waking state abhimānin (enjoyer of waking state) is bound by the limitations of the waking state.

3) The default position of the waker is that he considers himself most naturally to be a kartā-bhoktā-jñātā. Waker is nothing but what we call jīva and waking state is what we call jīvatva. Now look into anubhava. Waker and waking state though spoken of as two in language, they are actually one and the same. Waker was never separate from the waking state. There is no waking state independently existing without a waker. This is where majority of people make a counter attack when I say, ‘there is no waking state independently existing without a waker’. I immediately get a counter statement that I am wrong. When I ask how, the reason they give is, ‘when you go to bed, you are not waker but the world continues to others’. I tell you, this is fundamentally wrong way of understanding Vedānta. In Vedānta, the enquiry should be from the reference point of the one who is making the enquiry. In this case, this individual waker is making the enquiry and from his reference point of view, including waker’s body mind and everything external to this waker’s body-mind including all those so-called others put together is the waking state. When we say ‘when waker drops’ it means ‘when the waking state drops (which includes all others)’. If you have to argue that ‘those others’ continue to exist independent of you the waker, then when you are not the waker, you have to provide testimony of that existence of others (belonging to waking state) to yourself. That means while being located outside of waking, you have to provide a testimony to yourself about the existence of ‘those others’ who are within the waking state. Can you do so? Is this possible ? The answer is no. Therefore, strictly speaking waker and waking state are one and the same i.e. jīva and jīvatva are one and the same (they get projected together and they drop together). This is perfectly in line with anubhava. And this most natural state that waker finds himself within is what Bhagavatpāda calls adhyāsa/avidyā.

4) Now when I say waker is bound by limitations of waking state, it means the limitations such as space & time with in which the waker enjoys waking state are also part and parcel of waking state only. Even the avasthātraya analysis that is being taken up is also from the waking state. Therefore, the vicāra is also within the clutches of waking state.

5) That means, waker ‘operates within’ and ‘limited to’ waking state’s space-time construct. You may ask why cannot space-time be outside waking state? The answer is, it can be. But, outside waking state (i.e. say in dream state) it is not same space-time construct as that of waking state. But it is a different spacetime construct. Please look into your anubhava. When dream starts the space-time construct within the dream is not same as space-time construct we had in waking. The 5 years of my life in the dream is actually 2 hours of the time spent in bed from the waking standpoint (once I am awake). But while the dream lasted, that was 5 years to the dreamer. Therefore, looking into the anubhava, the space-time construct I have in waking is limited to waking and the space-time construct I have in dream is limited to dream when we take waking and dream from their respective standpoints.

6) Thus Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad first of all though starting the enquiry from the waking state, to demonstrate the mithyātvam (falsity) of both waking and dream, it presents waker and dreamer with two separate names. That is the key. Viśva is not taijasa and taijasa is not viśvaViśva is limited to waking and taijasa is limited to dream.

7) When a common man can easily negate the reality of the dream even without help of Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad, just by waking up and looking up on dream from the waking standpoint and understanding ‘oh! it is all just a dream’, what the common man cannot do on his own is, to negate the reality of the very waking viewpoint itself. That default viewpoint is what we call adhyāsa/avidyā and we most naturally assign a higher status of reality to it compared to reality we assign to dream. We take waking state for granted as our most trusted frame of reference and a more solid reality than dream. The entire vyavahāra is what Vedānta calls as adhyāsa/avidyā.

8) We know how Kārikās give out all the yukti needed in comparing waking with the dream. In showing that waking and dream are mutually exclusive (based on śruti use of viśva and taijasa names), while pointing that from the aspect of ‘having a cognition’ (i.e. in the aspect of experiencer having an experience) they are indeed similar, what Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad and its Kārikās are trying to do is, negate the individual reality we take for granted to each of these two.

9) As an example when we ask ourselves why we take waking state as of higher order of reality compared to dream, the most likely answer is, because we ‘feel/experience’ continuity in waking which is not in dream. Then to such answers we say that while the dream lasted i.e. to the extent the dream lasted, there was continuity in dream too. How can we say based on the argument of continuity that waking is any higher order of reality than dream? Several other tarka are also presented to the seeker in the Kārikās as an elaboration of the manana on śruti mantras related to waking and dream states.

10) Therefore what Kārikās are doing here are, taking the śruti definitions of viśva and taijasa and their boundaries of operation, and presenting śruti aviruddha tarka so as to understand the mithyātva of these two states.

11) Now when it comes to deep sleep, there is a problem. For waking and dream states, it was possible to shift the attention/viewpoint of the person analysing (i.e. waker, because after all it is waker who is doing this analysis) to corresponding waking and dream stand points. Isn’t it? That means, it is easy to ask the waker to put himself into the shoes of a dreamer and give an account about dream. That means, a waker can comprehend in his analysis as if a dreamer so as to give an account of the dream state. That means, some ‘recollection’ of dream is possible to a waker. Can we do the same with deep sleep? Can we, from the waking stand point when doing the analysis assume a sleeper’s viewpoint and give a true recollection of the sleep state? The answer is both yes and no.

12) Lets take the first answer i.e. “Yes we can take the position of sleeper’s viewpoint from the waking state”. To this I would say, OK go ahead and explain about sleep (give an account of sleep) from your waking state by taking the stand point of sleeper. The explanation will be like this: “Sleep is that state where I was not dreaming anything, where I was not desiring anything, where I did not knowing anything.” This is how we normally talk about deep sleep. Isn’t it?

13) Now, look here carefully the way we explained about sleep. “I was not dreaming”, “I was not desiring”, “I did not know anything”. I will ask you, honestly answer me is this really an explanation from sleeper’s viewpoint? Have you really, while in sleep took yourself as “Oh I am not dreaming”, “Aha I am not desiring”, “Oh I did not know anything”? The answer is clearly “No”. That means this way of talking about deep sleep is not from deep sleep’s viewpoint, but it is after all from the waker’s standpoint only.

14) Go back to above point no. 11, when I said it is possible for waker to recollect about dream (by putting himself into shoes of dreamer while analysing from waker’s viewpoint). While doing so, the account given about the dream is mostly true to what is the content & cognition of the dream. We can recollect most dreams and also cannot properly recollect many others. That’s fine. Whereas when we try to provide an account of deep sleep from the waking stand point, the description is never true to the anubhava we really had in sleep (in fact, honestly speaking, in the sleep, we had no objectified experience/anubhava at all as we had in the dream and waking. So to some extent that way of describing deep sleep as “I did not know anything” is also nothing but negation of objectified experience in that state only.

15) Therefore the way of describing sleep in terms of absence of desire, absence of objectified knowledge is in fact not true description of sleep from sleeper’s viewpoint, but it is description of sleep from the waker’s viewpoint where existence of desire and objectified knowledge are taken for granted. That means, this way of talking about sleep is nothing but a waker’s viewpoint description which is what we call as adhyāsa/avidyā! That means, looking up on sleep “as a state” in the same way as looking up on waking and dream as states which start and end in time is, within the domain of avidyā/adhyāsa only.

16) To add more, there are some more descriptions we naturally give about deep sleep from the waking stand point. We look at the world around us in the waking state and say “all this was not there in the sleep”. “I came from sleep into waking”. “I went into sleep”. Look at all these ways of common parlance we take most naturally. That is what we are pointing as adhyāsa/avidyā. That way of transacting i.e. looking upon, as if the world is an independently existing entity into which you come and go, and the way of talking about world in terms of its present existence and enquiring into what would have been a state prior to this present existence, all this way of talking in terms of cause-effect within the fabric of time is the causality framework, which is grounded on the very fundamental identity that “I am body-mind”. Taking this fundamental identification with body-mind alone we can talk in these lines of causality. This entire gamut i.e. identification with body-mind, space-time construct, causality framework, body and world around the body, coming into and going out of world, existence and non-existence of world all these ideas put together is adhyāsa/avidyā.

17) By the way who comes and goes into sleep if I may ask? Have we ever properly observed? Is it waker? No. Because waker is limited to waking state only. Is it dreamer? No. Because dreamer is limited to dreaming state only. Then who “goes into sleep”? The truth is there is no going and coming. It is waker’s ignorant identity with body-mind that is making waker to say so. Look into anubhava holding on to śruti mantras about waking state and dream state and deep sleep “state”. There is no going and coming other than your fancy imagination of going and coming. Waker is not going into and coming out of waking. Waker finds himself as waker in waking state. He has no idea of its start and end. Similarly, dreamer will not go into and come out of dream. Dreamer finds himself in dream and when dream ends, dreamer ends. That is anubhava. This is śruti aviruddha tarka at work to strengthen the conviction of mithyātvam in considering oneself as a waker, dreamer. śruti-yukti anubhava always should go hand in hand. After all it is adhyāsa/avidyā within the waking itself which is creating the entire havoc called saṃsāra which is nothing but ‘fancy ideas’ of birth and death (creation, destruction) etc which are owing to lack of right knowledge.

18) And from this adhyāsa/avidyā alone we are looking up on deep sleep as a causal state where all my so-called objectified knowledge was spoken of as an undifferentiated mass of cognition (prajñāna-ghana). This fellow’s aviveka (i.e. the waker’s aviveka) in the waking state (due to lack of Ātma-anātma viveka from śruti) itself is being spoken of or superimposed as the ‘viveka rāhityam’ in sleep (lack of discrimination in sleep) and nothing more. If this waker gets sublated, that so-called fancied descriptions about sleep as a viveka rāhityam state, avidyā bīja avasthā (state of seminal ignorance) etc. will all stand sublated. At the individual level sleep (i.e. at prājña’s level) this causal seed (latent vāsanā) is after all a waker’s imagination alone. Outside this imagination there is never an anubhava which ratifies experience of a seed vāsanā by the prājña while in sleep. Corresponding to this default position of waker aka jīvaśruti makes an equivalent adhyāropa at cosmic level sleep where Īśvara as the wielder of the cause (māyā aka avyakta nāmarūpa). All in all, the conclusion is that, the ‘very idea that there are latent vāsanās in sleep is within waker’s adhyāsa/avidyā alone’. It is wrong to take that vāsanās are outside adhyāsa/avidyā of the waker and it is totally wrong to think that they are really located in prājña but not in viśva, the waker. They are actually within the viśva only but they appear ‘as-if’ they are in prājña. The very prājña is afterall an imagination of waker when waker attempts to talk about sleep from waking standpoint. So seed is not really in deep sleep but it is in waking only. This is the key.

19) To purposefully draw our attention first of all to this wrong way of talking about sleep (i.e. jīva’s way of talking about sleep) that Māṇḍūkya has to start with saying “yatra” supto. Note here that we had to call it as wrong way of talking only because there is a right way which gives the true account of the nature of sleep, which Māṇḍūkya is about to give in next mantra (as Turīya). So, what Māṇḍūkya is doing here before that is, purposefully pushing us into that aspect of looking upon sleep which we most naturally do, which is, unfortunately the view shrouded in waking state’s or waker’s ignorance. Note that Māṇḍūkya hasn’t used that specific prefix “yatra” (wherever) for waking and dream states but uses it only for suṣupti. Let us ask why that prefix “yatra” only to suṣupti but not to other two states?

20) The answer is because apart from looking into sleep as a state, there is another way of looking into Sleep which is from Sleep’s own viewpoint. As Māṇḍūkya is ultimately negating that the idea of sleep “as state” is not the ultimate reality, it has to first of all push us into this wrong way of looking into sleep as a state and then negate it as not the reality. But why it has to do so only for sleep but not for waking and dream states? The answer is, sleep in its true nature is non-dual Brahman alone. As it is not possible to talk about Brahman in words, because, Brahman’s “viewpoint” cannot be assumed in the same way as waker assumes dreamer’s viewpoint, śruti first of all makes an adhyāropa and then follows it by apavādaŚruti’s definition of prājña (at vyaṣṭi or particular level) and Īśvara (at samaṣṭi or universal level) is such adhyāropa where causality is superimposed to prājña and Īśvara. Recall what Bhagavatpāda says in Gītā Bhāṣya, “as knowers of sampradāya say, that which by its very nature is not available for transaction is brought into discussion (for sake of instruction) through adhyāropa-apavāda.”

21) Now that other way of looking into sleep (which is not from waker’s viewpoint) is, nothing but stop looking sleep from waking viewpoint i.e. sublate the waker’s viewpoint by understanding the mithyātvam of the waker’s viewpoint. Brahman’s viewpoint is nothing but sublation of jīva’s viewpoint. Because earlier in our comparison between waking and dream we have been presented with the śruti aviruddha tarka to show how waking and dream are mutually exclusive and each of them negate the reality of the other yet they are both on a common substratum. By taking this śruti aviruddha tarka which is also in line with the anubhava, understand that the very want of causality in waking state alone is being superimposed on the sleep. And this want of causality from waking state alone is assigning the causal status to the deep sleep. That means, my identification with body-mind in the waking state which exists alongside the desire to know the cause of the body-mind is altogether the jivattvam. Based on the śruti pramāṇa that Ātmā is asaṅgaḥ (Ātmā is neither waker, nor dreamer, nor so-called sleeper) understand that such identification (I am a waker, dreamer and thereby based on it I am a sleeper) is altogether an error. Self is neither the waker nor the dreamer and not even the enjoyer of sleep (i.e. not that enjoyer of sleep which waker imagines to be as one who is not knowing anything while being in a mass of undifferentiated consciousness).

22) Now here I ask if you are not that so-called sleeper (the way waker imagined/described it) then what is after all ‘that sleep’ whose very existence you cannot deny ? Waker cannot describe it rightly through words but waker cannot deny its existence. That existence is non-dual Ātman. Now strikingly all that via negativa description that Māṇḍūkya gives for Turīya in the subsequent mantra is valid also for suṣupti (acintyamagrāhyam etc etc). Try it. In that way, the “real suṣupti” which is not “yatra supto na kancana…” type waker’s description of suṣupti, yet that suṣupti which is intuited as undeniable pure existence, and that intuition which is through sublation of idea of being a waker (and therefore a sleeper), is indeed the true self in all its glory i.e. asaṅga Ātman. To be precise that waker’s description of suṣupti is not at all existential. It is only an imagination. What exists is only real suṣupti i.e. asaṅga Ātman/nondual Ātman. Waker is not asaṅgaḥ. Dreamer is not asaṅgaḥ. The fancied prājña (fancied from viewpoint of identification with body-mind as enjoyer of sleep) is not asaṅgaḥ. Drop them. You will then “intuit” Ātman as asaṅgaḥ which is the real nature of the suṣupti. That itself is Turīya. You are That. If suṣupti is not thus superimposed with causality and then retracted to show as the non-dual asaṅga Ātman, there is no evidence of Ātman as asaṅgaḥ in our universal experience (sārvatrika anubhava). If we stop at adhyāropa portion where causality is superimposed then avidyā is common to all three states, same as Brahman is substratum of three states as sruti says. That amounts to showing Brhaman and avidyā as two realities existing in parallel or in other words in our sārvatrika anubhava there is no proof for asaṅga Ātman. Entire Vedānta will be nothing more than a laughing stock. Now, here I would recall Bhagavān Bhāṣyakāra’s short, precise and unambiguous statement in Māṇḍūkya Kārikā I.2 Bhāṣyam which support almost everything I have written so far with regards to looking up on sleep from waker’s viewpoint and from sublation of waker’s viewpoint (i.e. pāramārthika “viewpoint”): Tāmabījāvasthāṃ tasyiva prājñaśabdvācyasya turīyatvena dehādisambandhajāgradādirihatām pāramārthikīṃ pṛthagvakṣyati, bījāvasthāpi ‘na kiñcidavediṣam’ ityutthitasya pratyayadarśanāddehe anubhūyata eveti tridhā dehe vyavasthita iatyucyate. That which is designated as prājña (when it is viewed as the cause of the phenomenal world) will be described as Turīya separately when it is not viewed as the cause, and when it is free from all phenomenal relationship (such as that of the body, etc.), i.e., in its absolutely Real aspect. The causal condition is also verily experienced in this body from such cognition of the man who is awakened from the deep sleep, as “I did not know anything (at the time of deep sleep).” Therefore it is said that (one) Ātman is perceived as threefold in the (one) body. One must understand why the Bhāṣyakāra said only about prājña that prājña will be described later as Turīya when not viewed up on from causal framework? He would have said so about viśva and taijasa as well, but he did not. Why? The answer is because of the reasons I mentioned above, which is, there is a wrong way of looking at sleep from a causal aspect and also a right way which gives immediate intuition into non-dual Ātman as our true nature i.e. nature of suṣupti.

23) That asaṅga Ātman of the nature of deep sleep is not limited to deep sleep. That imagined prājña (out of viśva’s ignorance) is the one who is bound to the idea of “state of sleep”. When you understand (intuit) like this, real suṣupti is not a state in time. But suṣupti is the substratum on which waking, dreaming and the ‘so-called description of sleep using words by the waker as a causal state’ all appear and merge. Thus, sublation of waker’s viewpoint while intuiting into the suṣupti by holding the torch called śruti vākya is called as “looking into” suṣupti from suṣupti’s own viewpoint. Here the figurative expression I made while saying “torch called śruti” is not a torch which revealed suṣupti Ātman, but it is torch in whose light jīva is sublated. As the intuited suṣupti Ātman is self-evident and ever existent, it does not need another pramāṇa to reveal itself. That is why Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad says in suṣupti “Veda is aveda” (Veda is no more Veda). Veda’s task is to sublate jīvatvam and with the sublation of jīvatvam Veda ceases to be Veda. Therefore properly intuiting in to deep sleep is the key.

24) People here normally ask who is intuiting? whose intuition? etc. I tell you the one who starts off thinking I will intuit will drop. Because “knower of Ātman” is only a figurative expression. Ātman/Brahman is that where the knower-known-knowing triad drops. Because at the culmination of intuition the vākya is Tattvamasi. You are That in which there is no division called knower-known-knowing whatsoever. That is why expression like jīva’s liberation etc. are all only figure of speech. There is no cessation, no birth, none in bondage, none aspiring for liberation, no liberation, none liberated – this is the ultimate truth. Or in other words knowing brahman is that type of “knowing” where all knowing along with the desire and need to know drops. You are That.

25) People object saying that if suṣupti is Brahman why did not I know that I am Brahman in suṣupti? The answer is you did not know because Brahman being non-dual there is no second thing to know. Some people object saying “does it mean that an unenlightened person goes to suṣupti and comes back liberated?” The answer is refer to above paragraphs where it is said how wrong it is to talk of going and coming. There is no going and no coming to you the real Ātman. That idea of going and coming from sleep is ignorance and error. A simple vicāra in the light of śruti vākya can help sublate that error. Go try it.

26) Some people refute by saying Caitra when went to deep sleep woke up as Caitra only why is he not liberated in sleep ? The answer is Caitra never went into sleep. And Ātman never really became Caitra. This question which is being put forward by the so-called Chaitra who does not know that “as Chaitra” the identification is only an error. So Caitra when asks this question i.e. when he is in waking state needs śruti to help him transcend this question (transcend the idea that I am not liberated and I need liberation)! That is why śruti is given only to Caitra as there is a need for śruti to Caitra. Where there is an error (avidyā/adhyāsa) there is need for correction and there exists means of correction (śruti). Where there is no ignorance/error (in suṣupti) there is no need for correction and no means of correction is accepted there. Recall what Bṛhadāraṇyaka says i.e. Veda is aveda in suṣupti. From suṣupti’s standpoint, there is no bondage to start with that a liberation is allowed along with its means. The idea of liberation is only valid to the viewpoint of bondage. If you still take yourself to be bound, you need śruti to help you transcend that idea of being in bondage.

You can see how breaking out of causality is key and important to intuit into non-dual Ātman as true nature of suṣupti. You are that asaṅga Ātman which is the substratum even to this waking state right now but you happen to be identifying yourself as being a waker. That is only a wrong identification which is due to lack of right knowledge. Deep sleep as a causal state is given in Māṇḍūkya not to establish avidyā in all three waking, dream and deep sleep. But it is a call to negate/sublate the causality aspect superimposed on the Self. When we see other Upaniṣads, they straight away declare suṣupti as non-dual Ātman. Period. Māṇḍūkya is special and with its Kārikās it is thorough in the sense that it plucks away that attachment to causality because no causality whatsoever is possible in the non-dual Ātman. This introduction of causality superimposition in deep sleep in Māṇḍūkya is not a call for introduction of more sādhanās along the way. But to say that Truth is beyond any causality. And also to demonstrate how causality can be transcended by focussing on śruti-yukti-anubhava based reasoning alone, no wonder why in chapter 4th of the Kārikās the final chapter, the task at hand for Gauḍapādācārya is to show the mithyātvam of causality framework. With his precise sword of śruti aviruddha yukti, he cuts through causality purely through śruti supported reason and establishes ajā advaya Brahma as the only reality which is identical to pure non-dual existence (non-dual Ātman) in suṣupti. The causality superimposed to sleep is a part of the prakriyā. It is not to be shown as another cause and use it for prescribing further sādhanās, upāsanās (under the name of attaining citta suddhi) etc by looking up on ‘māyā the cause’ as a divine power of Īśvara. First of all, māyā is not the cause. Period. So, don’t make māyā as a great power out of misreading these śruti statements. Instead understand that māyā is within the scope of the avidyā/adhyāsa. Don’t try to put māyā as a cause and submit to it and wait for your turn under the name of gaining citta suddhi etc. Citta suddhi is of course needed in this path no doubt. But māyā is not really a ‘power’ which is carefully and purposefully preventing the dawn of knowledge. But it is rather your own ignorance which is the only cause. Being in ignorance/superimposition (that you most naturally find yourself within) and not knowing that this is ignorance, you take yourself for granted that you are in bondage and start accepting māyā to be the cause behind that bondage. The cause behind the bondage is not māyā. The only cause behind the bondage is not knowing the truth and nothing else. Because bondage is only an error, it is not a real bandhana under the control of a mysterious power called māyā as you are used to imagine. Ignorance/superimposition (avidyā/adhyāsa) alone is the cause of bondage (saṃsāra). Finally what I understood when Bhāṣyakāra says “prājñastu bīja bhāvena eva baddhaḥ” is: Look at that eva śābda prayoga in the statement (which means “only” or “alone”). The meaning is, the prājña is bound “only” by the bīja bhāva. Now ask for yourself who fancied this prājña to start with? It is viśva who fancies prājña and superimposes that causal aspect (bīja bhāva) onto prājña. There is no real cause other than your want of cause which in turn is owing to lack of knowledge. Also look at the immediate vākya in Bhāṣya: tattvāpratibodhamātrameva hi bījaṃ prājñatve nimittam (The non-apprehension of Reality alone is the cause of bringing about the state of prājña). That’s all. It is viśva out of ignorance appears to uphold the prājña status (causal status) to sleep. In other words, Īśvara (Īśvaratvam) is fancied by jīva (jīvatvam). jīvatvam fancies Īśvaratvam and being strongly attached to the idea that “I am a jīva” jīva goes into the control of Īśvara. As long as I ask for cause, I get a cause and once I accept the cause, I am bound to the cause. No doubt. What is by its very nature non-dual unborn Brahman, is being taken as Īśvara ‘on the basis of’ taking yourself to be jīva. Drop your jīvatvam. Non-dual unborn Brahman (without any Īśvaratvam) alone remains. You are That. Let us leave it here for now. This is the Advaita Vedānta (and avasthātraya vicāra) that I understood to be as that which is taught by Bhagavān Bhāṣyakāra in the Prasthānatraya Bhāṣya. To be honest, with all humility, I admit that I haven’t even covered all aspects of avasthātraya vicāra. There will be many other objections/doubts that may come along and some of the points mentioned in above paragraphs need to be further expanded (as a manana). But I tell you for every objection, it is possible to answer in a neat way just based on Bhāṣya correlating with the anubhava while holding to śruti aviruddha tarka and yet make the answer comprehensible to every sincere seeker without taking the idea of mūlāvidyā. It is easy to show lack of citta suddhi as a reason behind not grasping and use it to promote idea of mūlāvidyā as that which takes care of this aspect. But alongside sufficient citta suddhi, it is also the prakriyā which is equally important. A high amount of citta suddhi but wrong prakriyā will only make the seeker go round and round. Do the vicāra properly using right prakriyā and you intuit your svarūpa. There is no wonder why it is said “Māṇḍūkyam ekam eva alaṃ” (Māṇḍūkya alone is sufficient). Some may ask if a seeker is unable to grasp properly when taught as above, is there an āvṛtti (repetition) that is allowed in the Bhāṣya Prakriyā? Students are either ‘sincere and earnest’ or pretending to be so. To those who are pretending to be so there is no teaching. Period. Sincere and earnest seeker (sraddhāvān seeker) alone is to be taught because ‘sraddhāvān labhate jñānam’ says blessed lord in Gītā IV.39. And those who are not so, should not be taught, says blessed lord in Gītā XVIII.67 where he advises what type of people should not be taught. If the sraddhāvān seeker is unable to comprehend when taught in the above mentioned way, understand the pratibandhakas (obstructions) which are not allowing him to grasp the right way of sublating the jīvitvam. Based on those pratibandhakas if they are of the nature of doubts, wrong understandings etc, clear them and try this again and again until it is properly grasped by the sincere earnest seeker. Sometimes when guru assesses that there is lack of citta suddhi then let guru decide what is the sādhanā to be taken up (karma yogajapadhyāna etc.). Most importantly the doubts and misconceptions must be identified and removed under the light of śruti vākya. Uddālaka did the same to Śvetaketu, by giving his instruction Tat tvam asi repeatedly and while repeating, he removed the obstructions which appear to prevent raise of right knowledge. That is the only āvritti as I know that Bhāṣya supports. “Method of enlightening the disciple” section in Upadeśa Sāhasrī can also be referred to understand the same in detail. This is śravaṇa-manana-nididhyāsana as advised in the Bhāṣya (which includes the āvritti from teacher as necessary). Once “grasped” (i.e. once sublation of jīvatvam and the identity with non-dual Ātman through śravaṇa of śruti vākya Tattvamasi is “attained”) there is nothing more left to be done. No repetition of knowledge beyond that.