The term "Shaivite" is overused nowadays. For instance, Iyer Brahmins are often called Shaivites, but they are actually followers of Adi Shankaracharya's Smartha sect (which I discuss here and here), and simply adopt Shiva as their Ishta Devata. True philosophical Shaivism is relatively rare nowadays (in contrast to Vaishnavism which is pretty common). I discussed one genuine Shaivite sect, the Lingayat sect of Basava, in my answer here. But my question is about a more famous sect of Shaivism, known as Shaiva Siddhanta.
Just as the Sri Vaishnava sect is based on the Pancharatra Agamas and the poems of the 12 Alwars, the Shaiva Siddhanta sect is based on the Shaiva Agamas and the poems of the 63 Nayanars. In any case, in this excerpt from his book "The Sivadvaita of Srikantha", S.S. Suryanarayana Sastri says this about the Shaiva Agamas:
Yet a third view of the Agamas is that their purpose is to interpret the Upanishads, that they develop the teaching of the latter and "that they bear the same relation to the Upanishads, as the New Testament of the Christian Holy Bible bears to its Old Testament." According to this view, the Upanishads present the quest, and the Agamas its attainment... Upanishadic knowledge ascends to the four states, of waking, dreaming, sleep and the fourth beyond these three: Agamic knowledge, however, extends to the turiyatita, which is beyond even the fourth.
The four states of consciousness are Mandukya Upanishad, as I discuss in my answer here. They are known as Jagrata or waking, Svapna or dreaming, Susupti or deep sleep, and Turiya or "superconsciousness". At least from an Advaita perspective, Turiya is said to be a state of self-realization.
But I'm interested in the fifth state mentioned, "Turiyatita". My question is, what scriptures discuss the Turiyatita state? Is Sastri right that the Shaiva Agamas describe it? If so, which Shaiva Agamas?
Ramana Maharshi, despite being an Advaitin, was a follower of the Shaiva Agamas. Here is what he says about Turiyatita:
- Why is the Self described both as the fourth state (turiya) and beyond the fourth state (turiyatita)?
Turiya means that which is the fourth. The experiencers (jivas) of the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep, known as visva, taijasa and prajna, who wander successively in these three states, are not the Self. It is with the object of making this clear, namely that the Self is that which is different from them and which is the witness of these states, that it is called the fourth (turiya). When this is known the three experiencers disappear and the idea that the Self is a witness, that it is the fourth, also disappears. That is why the Self is described as beyond the fourth (turiyatita).
And the Nayanar Tirumular discusses Turiyatita in various verses in chapter 8 of the Tirumantiram. Here is one such verse:
2195 Limitations of Experiences in the Five States of Awareness
In Turiyatita State
The Consciousness of the Self is not;
In Turiya State
The Consciousness of the Self
Through spoken word comprehended
In the Sushupti State that is Maya bound,
The Desire-potency to speak afterward exists;
In the Waking State and the Dream State
Experiences in ways diverse.
I think that the idea is that in the state of Turiya the soul have self-realization, but in Turiyatita there is no more soul to even have self-realization because it no longer exists after Moksha; it would be similar to Bhaskara's philosophy of Bhedabheda as I discuss here. In any case, Tirumular, like all the Nayanars, were operating in the tradition of the Shaiva Agamas, so it's all the more indication that the notion of Turiyatita is found in the Shaiva Agamas.
But where in the Shaiva Agamas is Turiyatita described? And is it mentioned in any other scriptures, like the Pancharatra Agamas or the Puranas? So far all I've found is a mention in one minor Upanishad, the Mandalabrahmana Upanishad:
There are five avasṭhās (states), viz.: jāgraṭ (waking), svapna (dreaming), sushupṭi (dreamless sleeping), the ṭurya (fourth) and turyāṭīṭa (that beyond the fourth).
But does anyone know where else in Hindu scripture it's mentioned?