Sleep as a State of Consciousness in Advaita Vedānta

By Arvind Sharma

Subjects: Religion, Hindu Studies, Asian Religion And Philosophy
Hardcover : 9780791462515, 191 pages, October 2004

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents



1. Sleep in Advaita Vedanta: A Prologue

2. Sleep in the Prasthanatraya
(Upanisads, Brahmasutra, Bhagavadgita)

3. Sleep in Mandukyakarika

4. Sleep in Sankara Advaita

5. Sleep in Later Advaita

6. Sleep in Modern Advaita




Term Index

Subject Index

Explores deep sleep (susupti), one of the three states of consciousness in Advaita Vedanta, and the major role it plays in this philosophy.


Indian philosophy bases itself on three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. Deep sleep, or susupti, plays an important role in Advaita Vedanta, the major philosophical school that advocates a doctrine of pure consciousness. Explaining and savoring this paradox, this book shows how the concept of deep sleep can be used in Advaita Vedanta to reveal a philosophical insight, validate an argument, illustrate a moral, or adorn a tale. Arvind Sharma explores why sleep is a phenomenon that philosophers should be interested in and examines it in classical Hindu religious texts, including the Upanisads, and in foundational, early, and modern Advaita Vedanta.

Arvind Sharma is Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University. His many books include Methodology in Religious Studies: The Interface with Women's Studies, also published by SUNY Press, and The Study of Hinduism.