I acknowledge this picture from the Net.

In the next dharana, the 23rd ,  of Vigyana Bhairava Tantra Shiva says

Let the body disappear even if for a trice

Mind follows thoughtless 

You reach your true form of Shiva  23


There are two levels at which Shiva addresses mind body consciousness in this sutra.

One at the physical level of not identifying one’s own  mind body with one’s energy. A few like Ramana Maharishi exemplified this state. When doctors tried to persuade him to take medicines for his cancerous sore, Ramana refused saying he had nothing to do with his body. Whether he felt the pain or not, he refused to identify with it and let it bother him.

At another level, one transcends the consciousness of the mind body. perhaps not strangely, this happened when i contemplated on Ramana and his self enquiry, peeling off layers of identification, till i faced an emptiness. On another occasion, during a vipassana practice, the mind body consciousness disappeared leaving just one molecule dancing within me. Though my own experiences amounted to only a few, i believe that we can go beyond the physical and metal sheaths of the body, finding something within which is nothing.

The kosha system of mind body enumerates five sheaths : Physical, Breath, Memory, Thought & Bliss. The sareera system talks about seven  layers adding two more layers of causal and divine mind bodies. Both recognise three states of mind body: gross body of physical state; subtle body of thought state; and causal body of awareness state.

These three states of mind body correspond with three of the four states of consciousness described in Mandukya Upanishad. The physical and gross body state corresponds to the  Vaishvanara or Awake state; the subtle mind body state to the Taijasa or Dream state; and the causal state to Prajna or Deep Sleep state. We cycle through these three states every day and night.

In the Awake state, we identify with mind body, and think. We claim awareness, but as Shankara says, we stay deluded in maya. NLP calls this a mind map!

In the Dream state,we continue thinking, without mind body awareness. A lion attacking you will only wake you up, not kill you.

In the Deep Sleep state, we rejuvenate, seemingly without mind body awareness. Mandukya Upanishad says awareness in this state can happen, and when it does we can rewire and reframe our thoughts and beliefs. This may correspond with the Collective Unsconsciousness of Jung, the all knowing state.

Yoga Nidra, the complete meditation, leads to awarenss in the Deep Sleep state, creating true awareness, Prajna.

Beyond these three states lies the fourth, simply called the Fourth or Turiya in Mandukya Upanishad. In this state, mind body consciousness disappears. We become witnesses to our mind body. Ramana, i believe, lived in this state, perhaps a few others too.

Turiya signifies disengagement, the true renunciation Krishna talks about in Bhagavad Gita. Mystic experiences, dancing in bliss, identification with an avatar or deity or spirit do not fall in the realm of Turiya. Turiya lies beyond. The bliss of Turiya reflects calmness, silence, emptiness, detachment, not joy, exuberance and emotion.  In Turiya, we commune, not communicate.

How do we reach there? I know of no guranteed method. Just be and it will happen. Keep delayering, keep detaching, keep witnessing and it will happen. If we try hard, it will never happen. If we let it go, it will surely happen.