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Vishwa – Taijasa – Prajna In Hindu Philosophy

 In the waking state our consciousness is usually associated with the body. Vedanta calls this consciousness vishwa.

In the dream state the gross body does not exist for the dreamer. Only his mind is then active and his consciousness is associated with it. The mind along with the pranas constitutes the subtle body. The same ‘I’ that experienced objects in the waking state does it in the dream state too. The consciousness during dream state is called Taijasa.

During deep sleep the ‘I’ does not experience any object but remains shrouded in ignorance. This state of ‘I’, detached from the body and mind and closest to the Atman, but separated from It by ignorance, is called the causal body — ‘causal’ since the subtle and gross bodies arise from it in the dream and waking states. The consciousness associated with the causal body is called prajna.

Behind the three bodies (gross, subtle and the causal) is the Atman, their common substratum that lends continuity to the pre-sleep and post-sleep states of the individual.

Thus, at the microcosmic (individual) level, identification with the gross body = vishwa. When body consciousness is absent, identification with the subtle body = taijasa. When identification with the mind too is absent, identification with the causal body = prajna.

Identification with the body and mind cease spontaneously during dream and deep sleep respectively. Struggling to make this happen in the waking state is what spiritual life and spiritual disciplines are about