The Upanishads say that human consciousness has four states. One: while you are awake, the waking consciousness; second: while you are dreaming, the dreaming consciousness; third: while you are so fast asleep that there is no dream, the sleeping consciousness. And beyond these three is the fourth. The Upanishads have not given it a name. They simply call it the fourth – turiya. Turiya means the fourth. That fourth is the state where you realize Brahman. All of the first three states are illusory if you enter the fourth. Think of it in this way, because that fourth is not yet your experience. But you have experienced these three; thinking about these three something can be inferred about the fourth.
While you are awake, while you are in the waking consciousness during the day, what happens? The dreaming consciousness has disappeared, it is no more. The sleeping consciousness has disappeared, it is no more. Then the night will fall and you will fall asleep again; dreams will start. When the dreams start you change the consciousness. The gear of consciousness is changed; now all that was in your waking consciousness simply disappears.
You were awake in Mount Abu, but you can dream you are in London or New York or Calcutta. Mount Abu simply disappears; it is no more for the dreaming consciousness. For the dreaming consciousness London is more real, and you cannot even remember that you were in Mount Abu while awake. It disappears so completely that there is not even a trace left. And you cannot feel any contradiction and you cannot raise any question: “How did it happen? I was in Mount Abu and now I am in London.” No, not even a doubt arises because the one has so totally disappeared that you cannot bring it in to compare.
In the waking state you were living with your wife in the house. In the dream the wife has disappeared, the house has disappeared. You are living with another woman; you have again married. And there is not even any guilt that you have not divorced your wife – because you cannot compare. The first has disappeared so completely that there is no contradiction, no inconsistency about it.
And then you enter the third state, deep sleep, where dreams disappear. Now the waking state, the wife, the house, they have already disappeared. Now the dreaming state, the wife you have just now married, the new house, they have disappeared. Now both states have disappeared. You are so fast asleep that you do not remember anything.
And then in the morning you are entering waking consciousness again. Now the dream has disappeared, the sleep has disappeared. The same wife, the same house, again start – the same world. Now again you are in Mount Abu. The Upanishads say these three states show that whenever one of these states gets a grip on you, the other two disappear.
There is a fourth state. We are making all the effort for that fourth – to be beyond these three. That fourth state is called turiya – total awareness. In that total awareness all these three disappear and all that belongs to these three disappears. That fourth cannot be transcended. There is no fifth state of consciousness. The fourth is the last. Buddhas live in it, Christs live in it, Krishnas live in it. It cannot be transcended. Because it cannot be transcended, it cannot be canceled by anything. Hence, the Upanishads say this is the ultimate reality. All else was just relatively real. That which cannot be canceled by anything is the final, the ultimate, the absolutely real.