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:

  1. 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
Still burns;
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?

  • 3
    Even Sri Ramakrishna mentions a similar concept. He says that the idea 'I am Brahman, the world is illusory and God alone is real' is called Jnana, while the idea of losing that separation between God and the world, i.e. realizing that everything is the same, is called Vijnana. :) I don't see it as a contradiction of Vedanta. It is just the way somebody explains the state of Self-realization (which is unexplainable) to another person to make them understand :). One can keep going on and on and adding more and more states, because nothing put in words, can describe That. :)
    – Sai
    Oct 11, 2015 at 15:43
  • @Sai The more I read about this, the more I'm getting the sense that according to Shaiva Siddhanta Turiya refers to Vijnana or total realization, whereas Turiyatita refers to something even beyond that. In Turiya you still see the world around you even though you're unaffected by those sensory experiences, while in Turiyatita the world around you completely disappears and you forget that you ever existed in it. If you see anything, you just see Shiva and Shakti dancing. Your body becomes motionless, because you forget that there is even a world that your body can move around in. Oct 12, 2015 at 2:55
  • 1
    @Sai I've also seen claims that Turiyatita is only achievable after death, unlike Turiya. I suppose it's similar to Sri Vaishnavism, where you can achieve complete realization while you're alive, but you haven't attained Moksha until you've died and left the world of Samsara. Oct 13, 2015 at 3:16
  • Perhaps it is related to avadhoota state. Sanyasa is called turiya asrama and avadhoota state is referred to as the fifth asrama
    – user1195
    Oct 13, 2015 at 7:28
  • @KeshavSrinivasan As Ramana beautifully explains Turiyatita is actually Turiya itself. From standpoint of duality, Turiya is pointed as witness, a goal to attain. But, once, Turiya is attained, it is realized as being everything. Hence, called as Turiyatita. Consider quadrants of circle, the fourth quadrant is shown as final goal, but on attaining fourth quadrant one realizes that the whole 360 degrees have been attained. Hence, Turiyatita. Oct 13, 2015 at 16:38

7 Answers 7


Turiyatita state is mentioned in Malinivijay Tantra chapter 2.

Lord Shiva said:Wise people should know the system of unification (Sarvavesha krama) divided into five states i.e, waking (Jagrat), dreaming sleep (Svapna), dreamless sleep (Sushupti), fourth(turiya) & the state beyond the fourth (turiyatita). 2.2.27

The same chapter describes in details about the respective dwellers of these states which is quite esoteric in nature owing to the concept of Gross- Subtle embodiment relationship.

Also, from the words of Āchārya Abhinavgupta -

Unmillana Samadhi is experienced in turyatita and nilanā samadhi is experienced in turya. This is the difference between turya & turyatita. Nimilanā samādhi means absorption of universal consciousness; when universal consciousness is absorbed in your nature, that is turya. When universal consciousness is expanded everywhere, that is TURYATITA (Unmilanā samādhi). Tantrāloka 10.288


enter image description here

which represents 5 realms/states:

1) Waking state represented by Satyaloka and other 13 realms, realm of Lord Brahma and is the 'A' sound. This is state of Prajapati, lord of sand, the Creator.

2) Dreaming state represented by Vaikuntha, realm of Lord Vishnu who is sleeping on Sheshnaag and is the 'U' sound. This is state of Narayan, lord of water, the maintainer.

3) Deep Sleep/Meditation state represented by Kailash, realm of Lord Mahesh/Shankar meditating there and is the 'M' sound. This is state of Rudra, lord of fire, the destroyer.

4) Turiya State(means two) represented by the dot above, which is a star made of two triangles, which means everything is made up of Prakriti-Purush, and is the state of Adi-Shakti and Maheshwar and is actually this black brahmand/universe or Shivlingam. This is state of Tatpurush and duality associated with him like of Mother-Father, Prakriti-Purush, observer-observation, inhalation-exhalation etc., lord of air, which is base of entire universe.

enter image description here

The dot of Om when magnified, is the star or the Prakriti-Purush as cause of everything and is symbol of Adi Parashakti.

5) Turiyatit State(means one) represented by the realm of Brahman, the Sadashiva, is the pause that comes in between chanting of Om and represents the state of silence as experienced in Brahman, the state beyond everything. This is state of the Advaita, lord of space in which everything resides, both moving and non-moving.

In Vidya Geeta(Tripura Rahasya), narrated by Sage Dattatreya to Parshuram, the subtle difference is mentioned between Turiya and Turiyateet

"My concrete form is the eternal couple - the Supreme Lord and Energy - always in undivided union and abiding as the eternal consciousness pervading the three phenomenal states of waking, dream and sleep, and reclining on the cot whose four legs are Brahma - Waking(the Creator), Vishnu - Dreaming(the Protector), Siva - Sleeping (the Destroyer) and Isvara - Turiya (Disappearance) and whose surface is Sadasiva - Turiyateet (Grace)"

Turiya is also called bindu(as in OM) which is symbol of Adi Shakti/Mahamaya Prakriti/Ishwara who creates, maintains and destroys and whose three sons are Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh while formless Brahman of Vedas is state called Turiyateet as explained in Devi Bhagwat within conversation between Indra and Uma, little bit of which was also in Kena Upanishad.

Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Mahesh and Sadashiva. These are of the nature of earth, water, fire, air, and ether, the five elements and also of the nature of Jâgrat (waking), Svapna (dreaming), Susupti (deep sleep state), Turiyâ (the fourth state) and Atîta Rûpa, the (the fifth state)

Mâyâ is of the nature of Brahmâ in a state of equilibrium. But, during the beginning of the creation, Her form consisting of the several Gunas appears, when Mâyâ is Bahir Mukhî, She becomes Tâmas, in Her Unmanifested state. O Indra! For this reason Her state of abstraction, and becoming introspective, this is Her Antarmukhî state; it is known as Mâyâ and Her looking outward is Her Bahirmukhî state; it is denominated by Tâmas and the other gunas From this comes Sâttva and then Râjas and Brahmâ, Visnu and Mahes’a are of the nature of the three gunas. Brahmâ has the Râjo guna in Him preponderating; in Visnu, the Sâttva guna preponderates and in Mahes’a, the Cause of all Causes, is said to reside the Tâmo guna. Brahmâ is known as of the Gross Body; Visnu is known as of the Subtle Body; and Rudra is known as of the Causal Body and I am known as Turîya, transcending the Gunas.

This Turîya Form of Mine is called the state of equilibrium of the Gunas. It is the Inner Controller of all.

(Turiyateet explained) Beyond this there is another state of Mine which is called the Formless Brahmâ (Brâhman having no Forms). Know, verily, that my Forms are two, as they are with or without attributes (Saguna or Nirguna). That which is beyond Mâyâ and the Mâyic qualities is called Nirguna (without Prâkritic attributes) and that which is within Mâyâ is called Saguna

Nirgun Brahman - Turiyateet

Gunateet Brahman/Ishwar - Turiya

Turiya/Turiyateet as explained in Nath Sampardaya

From the point of view of the enlightened Siddhas, this entire world is nothing else but the cosmic play of Shiva (God) and Shakti (Goddess). In all diversity chaotic realities of the material world, Yogi sees unity and the manifestation of the one Divine Will, and the one Divine Plan. At the certain stage of sadhana, yogi has to realize his ātmatattva (the true nature of the soul, higher self) as Shivatattva, when he experienced himself as Shiva being the master of universe and of his personal Shakti (power). However, this is not the ultimate end of Nathas, because Shiva and Shakti taking care of their creation much better then any human could ever dream to do.

Yogi have to transcendent even this state and to reach the state of Turyātīta, which means ‘Turyā as past’. The highest ideal of Nāthas is to realize themselves not as the Shiva, who is consort of the Goddess, but rather as Goraksha Natha, who known as Parvati putra ‘the son of the Mother Goddess’, in reality probably one of reborning son or son-disciple. Goraksha Natha is also known as bāla ‘a child’, and as Jatī. Jatī is the state of innocent child, who is bellow 10 years age, who does not have any idea about sexuality. As Jatī, he harmoniously unites opposite principles, and being in their midst, does not become affected by their play. Then he is called Shree, Shambhu, Yati (Śrī Śambū Jatī) Guru Gorakṣa Nātha, where Shree is the name of the Goddess of wealth and fortune Lakshmi, Shambhu (Beneficial) is the one of Shiva’s names. In other words, Śrī Śambū Jatī is name for the Great Cosmic Trinity of Mother, Father and Son. Yati is the Holy Man, Godman.



Generally this word is not used in most of the popular texts but some minor texts and agamic literature do give importance to the fifth state of nondual experience. Even puranas linked to agama such as Devi bhagvatam has mentioned it as given in the question itself.

Some of the scripture where it is mentioned is,

II.4. There are five AvasthA-s (states): jAgrat (waking), svapna (dreaming), suShupti (dreamless sleeping), the turIya (fourth) and turyatita (that beyond the fourth)...

II.5. The Yogin is one that has realised Brahman that is all-full beyond turIya. (from "Mandala Brahmana Upanishad", Translated by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar)


  1. There is nothing other than Brahman of the five padas (i.e. the turyatita)… (from "Para-Brahma Upanishad", Translated by Prof. A. A. Ramanathan)

We can also find explanation of this in the books of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Another reason for five states, rather than four, is due to the stage of establishing oneself in the Witness State and recognizing that 'I am' is not any of the other three states. Perhaps here, the term 'turIya' is used to stand for the fourth state as the Witness State. However, the spiritual aspirant has yet to realize herself as the non-dual Brahman - a fifth 'state' (so called). Hence this latter stage is referred to as turyatita, beyond the fourth (turIya). Sri Ramana says as much when asked, "Why is the Self described both as the fourth state (turIya) and beyond the fourth state (turyatita)?" He replies:

"turIya means that which is the fourth. The experiencers (jIva-s) of the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep, known as vishva, taijasa and praj~nA, 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 (turyatita)."

(from, "Spiritual Instruction" no. 8.)

There is another so called minor upanishad whose name is derived from the word.

Turiyatita Avadhuta Upanishad Translated by Prof. A. A. Ramanathan Published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Chennai

Om ! That (Brahman) is infinite, and this (universe) is infinite. The infinite proceeds from the infinite. (Then) taking the infinitude of the infinite (universe), It remains as the infinite (Brahman) alone. Om ! Let there be Peace in me ! Let there be Peace in my environment ! Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

In Kashmir Shaivism also this concept is present.

In Swami Laxmanjoo lectures

*. . . that state of doership he perceives in all the other three states–in wakefulness, in the dreaming state, and in the dreamless state. In wakefulness, in the dreaming state, and in the dreamless state, he perceives the state of that doership. As he used to perceive that [state] in turya and turīyātitā, in the same way, he perceives that state in these three states also–in jāgrata, in svapna, in suṣupti also–always (nityaṁ syāt suprabuddhasya).

The final state is anupaya, which means “the non-technique.” At this point there’s no effort at all. We simply relax into our inner being continually, resting in our true nature. At this level we enter a superhuman state of consciousness called turiyatita, which means “even beyond turiya.” Abhinavagupta’s descriptions of what this is like sound like science fiction and yet the reality of this condition has been attested to by many advanced yogis. At this level the distinction between us and Shiva dissolves. We feel ourselves pervading all of space; the universe itself becomes our body. We can sense anything that’s happening anywhere. If we sense that anyone is in distress, through the merest flicker of our will we can send comfort and aid. Abhinavagupta says that masters of this caliber can create their own universes if they want to. And indeed the yoga tradition is full of accounts of Buddhas and other great siddhas who actually manifest new heaven worlds which other souls can visit.

  • In Kashmiri Shaivism, there are at least 15 states of consciousness described. :P May 18, 2017 at 14:39

I have heard about the mention of the fifth State Turiyatitam in the Saiva Sidhantha Scripture Sivagnanabodham. The fourth State Turiya is like self realization stage where in the yogi experiences that self Athman is the receiver of the divine grace of Siva and enjoys it. And in the fifth state of Turiyatita the yogi realizes the god, and involves in completely love and bakthi that the yogi does not feels difference between God and self. What ever the Athman does is Gods action and decision. It is like the bondage of body of soul. We Cannot differentiate body and soul when we live. And it clearly states that there exists always Athman and it is not like disappearance of vanishing of the Athma into the Brahman. (It is not like When few air is inside the pot and when the pot breaks the air inside the pot had merged with total air). In Tamil, Pathi(God) , Pashu(Athmas), Pasam(The universe) always exists. Even during maha pralaya, there is no universe, everything has merged into Brahman, It does not means all got Mukthi, but it is like a vacation. All the universe and Athmas according to their karmas restarts from what they have remaining karmas.

  • 1
    Welcome. Being a reader of Shaiva Siddhanta you can contribute to some questions on Shiva citing scriptures. We should always try to cite scriptures. Aug 6, 2017 at 12:05

Not aware of any other references to a '5th state'. It appears to be a minor difference that is really a misinterpretation of the 4th state from the standpoint of the relative world. One might see the distinction from the relative world, but from the standpoint of Brahman there is no difference. It would appear from the scriptural reference given, that the fourth state as defined in the Mandalabrahmana (from the description later in the same Brahmana II. that you reference) is what is called savikalpa samadhi, where one sees Brahman, but still sees oneself different from Brahman - there still is some ego. Later towards the end of the same Brahmana you mention (Brahmana II of Mandalabrahmana U.) it says (translator K. Narayanasvami Aiyar):

The yogin is one that has realized Brahman that is all-full beyond turya. They (the people) extol him as Brahman; and becoming the object of the praise of the whole world, he wanders, over different countries.

This is what is called nirvikalpa samadhi, complete absorption in Brahman, no individual ego left. Brahman is described as the all-full (see opening peace chant to the Brihadaranyaka and Ishavasya U.). This is the state of a jivamukti.

It should also be remembered that the 4th state should not be thought of as a separate state from the other 3 states - it is a transcendental state that pervades all the other three states. It is Pure Consciousness. Swami Sarvananda says in his commentary on the Mandukya U.:

Another common mistake also has to be avoided. The Turiya is often translated and understood as the fourth state. The Turiya, however, is not a state at all. It is identical with existence itself, and it is this that appears as having the three states.

Brahman is Brahman is Brahman - there are no gradients of Brahman. It is only from the lens of the apparent world that these small distinctions may be apparently seen.

  • 1
    There is definitely a difference Swami Ji. This is the state higher than turya. Unity consciousness that began in turya is consummated in turyatita in which the whole universe appears as the Self. Mar 6, 2017 at 15:06

There are many places in scriptures where the fifth state is described but the complete definition of turīyatīta I found only in Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad of Atharvaveda. It is a minor Upanishad but the fifth chapter clearly defines this state.

The turīyatīta is one who either may take fruits, eating them with his mouth like cows, or if he is an eater of food, may beg food from three houses. The naked man having the body alone has the bodily actions (quiescent), like the dead body. Such an one is the turīyātita.


"The turīyatīta is one who either may take fruits, eating them with his mouth like cows, or if he is an eater of food, may beg food from three houses. The naked man having the body alone has the bodily actions (quiescent), like the dead body. Such an one is the turīyātita."

This sums it up well in my experience.

I use the word experience only in an explanatory sense as it is the de facto end of / beyond all experience and could be called an experience in any sense of the word.

After that...

There is no more clinging in the mind however subtle.

One no longer gets stuck.

Non-stick Mind.

Like clouds floating by in an otherwise spotless blue sky full of brilliant golden sunshine.

Panta Rhei

Natural State ∆

In fact it's not a state of any kind and in that there is no Self of any kind whatsoever there.

I suspect that this is the reason Buddhist realizers took issue with the concept of Brahman and criticised it as Eternalist.

In fact the term Self is not other than a pointer for the unrealised mind on the path - a didactic concept like the Witness; a finger pointing at the moon, because what it connotes ultimately is no-thing.¶

Sri Ramana described it perfectly when he said on realising Turiyatita, the idea of Self itself disappears altogether.

Up to the 'point of no return' as I call it, the idea of the Self remains as an objective ideal for the seeker, often becoming another semantic trap or a dangling carrot if you will, whereas the Self is in the place prior to the person and can never be known or realised as an object of any kind of search.

I can also confirm that you have to reach the 'point of no return', which happens outside of your volition (through 'grace') and necessarily means your (ego-) death after considerable practice / enquiry / meditation.

In my case the mind was wiped, the cellular memory was erased; Nirvana literally means 'snuffed out'.

Ramana Maharshi stated that in Turiyatita / Sahaj Samadhi the mind is dead. Correct.

Until then, in the mind of the one seeking, the goal is akin to Christopher Columbus fretting about reaching America and falling off the edge of the world lol.

I like to joke with people who are still seeking by telling them:

"Sorry, you will never attain Enlightenment/ Moksha / Liberation. No refunds, come back next life!" Lol

As one of my teachers, Adi Da said:

You can't get there from here.Lol

If anything described it best it would be that the search burns itself out and Enlightenment / Moksha / Liberation finally reaches you.

The truth is you will 'attain' to it get there in the end' as long as that is what you truly desire above all else, and it will hit you unexpectedly like a bolt out of the blue one day.

Like a moth to a flame you will be drawn towards it and eventually it towards you.

Gods / non-physical entities like Shiva, Shakti, Brahma, Aditi, Vishnu, Laxmi, Surya, Kubera, Buddha, Jesus, Angels etc. may arise / come and go within that awareness but they in no way define it nor are they able to condition it or change it.

In fact their true nature becomes obvious to the enlightened one..

With often hilarious results.

Best described as a soap opera.😂

Gods behaving badly.

¶ I generally prefer Buddhist terminology in it's description of enlightenment.

∆ If you want the 'fast track' watch / listen to UG.

Looking back at some of his words, I remember he said "You would not want this!"

I can confirm he was absolutely right.


"And the river bank talks of the Waters of March, it's the end of all strain, It's the joy in your heart."

Waters of March / Aguas de Março - Antonio Carlos Jobim

  • 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
    Jun 21 at 15:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .