Shiva says, “The fourth is what you truly are. You aren’t awake, you aren’t dreamy, you aren’t deep sleeping... in all the three there is a fourth and that’s what you are!”
If you keep remembering this fact in all your states, gradually the fourth will resurrect and you will be out of suffering. Suffering cannot touch the fourth state. It can occur at the level of your body, mind or intellect only. The fourth cannot be subject to suffering for the simple fact that it is different from all of these. It’s the centre of your being and once you are able to establish it as different from the periphery the magic is done.
Right now the centre of your being and periphery of your existence are intermingled. You are almost 100% at your periphery and are totally oblivious of the center. For example, when you perform your day’s work you think you are performing them whereas it’s only your body-mind organism, not you. So also, when you are dreaming while in sleep, your body and conscious mind are at rest and subconscious is at work. This is also not you.
Your subconscious, a storehouse of memories, experiences and unfulfilled desires, has the unique ability of creating dreams. And in a dream, everything is so real that you intensely get identified with it. It’s only after awakening that you realize it was a dream. But, the core of your being still remains untouched. Shiva says you can remember the fourth in dream state also. By just remembering, the dream breaks instantly and there is a tangential growth in awareness. Then this breaking up of dreams midway becomes a dear habit as it leaves one deeply rested.
Finally, when the subconscious is at rest too and you have a very deep rested sleep, still, there is a light.... a luminous but cool flame that is alive constantly. That’s what the core is. And Shiva says even when your body, mind, intellect, memories etc all the layers are at complete rest, you can remember this core which is a rock like real bliss and rest personified. A reality that is free of time and suffering, a joyful state.
There is no way you can define the fourth state fully. For understanding sake, you can give it a representative term. Mahavir has called it ‘Kaivalya’ whereas Krishna calls it as being ‘Atmavant’. Lau-tsu calls it ‘Tao’ and Kabir says it is ‘Surati’. Shri Nanak Dev ji calls it as ‘Akaal Purakh’. Whatever way you describe it the essence is difficult to fathom as our world, unfortunately, is a world of definitions. In order to understand a word we need even more words. Hence Shiva has given a unique term – ‘Turiya’, i.e. “the Fourth”. He indicates a “state” and not a word. This is the beauty of Shiva.
Turiya is our true state of being and we will do well by remembering it constantly.