According to Vedanta the jiva experiences three states viz

  1. Jagrat (waking state)
  2. Svapna (dreaming state)
  3. Sushupti (deep sleep state)

My question is regarding the third state that is Susupti.

According to vedanta in this state working as well as knowledge acquiring senses becomes totally inactive along with mind and ego.

But we experience that we wake up by hearing some sounds(say alarm) even from state of Sushupti.

Now the question arises, did person hear the sound and wake up or did he wake up and hear the sound?
If we say that the person hear the word and wake up then we will have to admit that he was not sleeping(by definition of Vedanta of Sushupti). And if we accept that after waking person heard the sound then we will have to also accept that sound did not wake the person up.
Contrary to views of vedanta is modern science which claims that even in deep sleep sound sensation is there but other sensations such as smell and taste is inactive.
In any case I'm interested in knowing the vedanta view on this.

What causes the person to wake up from state of Sushupti?

Is it external stimuli like sound etc or something else?

  • This question can be asked of anyone. Is there any reason why you specifically mention advaita here?
    – user16581
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 7:39
  • Anyone can answer. By Vedanta i don't just mean advait. You could answer from any other subschool of vedant. I recently learnt that as per dvait theology hearing and skin, these senses are active even during sushupti . Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 15:11
  • "Contrary to views of vedanta is modern science which claims that even in deep sleep sound sensation is there..." This is interesting. Could you please provide references for this? I am very interested in knowing the scientific position.
    – user16581
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 15:37
  • Simple google gives many results. Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 16:35
  • I tried, but Google is confusing me. Hence I had to request you.
    – user16581
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 17:01

3 Answers 3


I think you might be confusing Sushupti with Svapna state or Turiya state. One cannot go to Sushupti without getting rid of desires. Svapna on the other hand is the non-waking state wherein desires are manifested on the subtle realm.

Vivekachudamami Verse 122

Sushupti, deep, dreamless sleep, is the special state of the causal body. This state is characterized by the dissolution of the activities of all the sense-organs and the mind. The mind remains only in seed-form. This state is described in Mandukya Upanishad mantra 5, as the state in which there are no desires and no dreams. In Vedanta the waking state is also considered to be similar to dream, because the Reality is not known and what is unreal is projected in both these states. In deep sleep, though the Reality, Brahman, is not known, there is no appearance of what is unreal, as in the waking and dream states. In this state the jiva is called prajna. The corresponding macrocosm is Isvara.

Svapna state can be broken with sound and stimuli because the senses are perfectly aware.

  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question. Also in svapna state senses r not active but mind is active. In sushupti mind exist in seed form i.e. it rests in anandmaya along with ego. If senses wer active in dream thn Ther wud b no diff between waking nd dreaming state. Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 3:47
  • There is actually none. There is no difference between the dream and the waking state except that the dream is short and the waking long. Both are the result of the mind and projections of our conscious perception. Our real state is called turiya, which is beyond the waking, dream and sleep states.
    – user9072
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 8:11
  • hinduism.co.za/consciousness_the_three_states.htm
    – user9072
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 8:11
  • And how doesn't it answer the question? You might feel that the "answer is wrong" and that's perfectly okay. But I have clearly given an answer to your question - "Svapna state can be broken with sound and stimuli because the senses are perfectly aware." regardless of right or wrong.
    – user9072
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 8:15
  • 1
    Yeah, I think it does answer the question, but I agree with @Vishalprabhulawande that the answer is wrong. It is not the case that only people who have gotten rid of their desires experience Sushupti. All normal humans experience it. When you go to sleep, for part of the sleep you dream and for part of the sleep you do not dream. The part in which you do dream is Svapna and the part in which you do not dream is Sushupti. You do not need to get rid of desires to experience it; rather, it's automatic that during part of your sleep you temporarily don't experience your desires. Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 9:58

Sushupti is not only deep dreamless sleep but also pure divine consciousness underlying all three states according to Ramana. Nirvikalpa samadhi allows you to experience it as Reality.

Noise is noticed by this underlying sentry reality and wakes the sleeper.

  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 10:09

The three states the Vedanta talks about is only from the standpoint of the aatma, to drive home the point that the aatma is the witness of all three states ("avastha traya saakshee", as mentioned in Tattvabodha).

The question however seems be from the point of view of the body+mind (by saying "person")

Now the question arises, did person hear the sound and wake up or did he wake up and hear the sound?

In the state of sushupti, there is no "sense of I" because the sense organs+mind have gone dormant. However this is not to say that the body has folded (that happens only in death). There are other activities in the body (like digestion, rejuvenation etc) that are still going on due to which the body still has many of the functions active. When there is an external stimulus, the body responds to it naturally, and then the mind. There are instances where the stimulus was not strong enough for the body to react, and that's where the alarm goes off for many minutes waking up everyone else in the household but this person! But nevertheless the body does react to external stimuli.

So, it is important to understand the angle from which Vedanta describes sushupti.

A very good question, BTW.

  • Could you add some scriptural/acharya citations to support your answer?
    – CDR
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 17:56
  • 1
    Edited to add "avastha traya saakshee" is from Tattvabodha.
    – mrbrahman
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 18:00

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