Steps of consciousness


Bhumikas(floor, degree) are steps of development and consiousness in the Yoga - systems. The 7 Bhumikas are also known as saptha bhoomikas and as jnana bhoomikas.

They are mentioned in chapter 4 of the Varaha Upanishad and in the Yogavasishta (or Laghu yoga Vasishtha), a dialogue on Jnana Yoga between the teacher Vasishta and his pupil Rama. 

* The  Laghu Yoga Vashista mentions seven Bhoomikas:

  1. Śubhecchā (longing for the Truth): The yogi (or sādhaka) rightly distinguishes between permanent and impermanent; cultivates dislike for worldly pleasures; acquires mastery over his physical and mental faculties; and feels a deep yearning to be free from Saṃsāra.
  2. Vicāraṇa (right inquiry): The yogi has pondered over what he or she has read and heard, and has realized it in his or her life.
  3. Tanumānasa (attenuation – or thinning out – of mental activities): The mind abandons the many, and remains fixed on the One.
  4. Sattvāpatti (attainment of sattva, "reality"): The Yogi, at this stage, is called Brahmavid ("knower of Brahman"). In the previous four stages, the yogi is subject to sañcita, Prārabdha and Āgamī forms of karma. He or she has been practicing Samprajñāta Samādhi (contemplation), in which the consciousness of duality still exists.
  5. Asaṃsakti (unaffected by anything): The yogi (now called Brahmavidvara) performs his or her necessary duties, without a sense of involvement.
  6. Padārtha abhāvana (sees Brahman everywhere): External things do not appear to exist to the yogi (now called Brahmavidvarīyas); in essence there is a non-cognition of 'objects' as the separation between subject and a distinct object is dissolved; and tasks get performed without any sense of agency (doership). Sañcita and Āgamī karma are now destroyed; only a small amount of Prārabdha karma remains.
  7. Turīya (perpetual samādhi): The yogi is known as Brahmavidvariṣṭha and does not perform activities, either by his will or the promptings of others.

* The Yogasutras  say in 2.27(Sadhana Pada): tasya saptadhā prānta-bhūmiḥ prajña (This path to enlightenment has 7 steps)

* The seven categories also correspond to the seven steps mentioned in the Kaivalya Navaneetam (The Butter of Self-Realization), a Tamil-advaitic text [2].

* In the Pancaratra, Pradyumna and Samkarsana represent the states of the dream and of deep sleep.

* In book 12 Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata(Chap. 291) Yudhishthira speaks about steps of consciousness. Chapter 293 describes three steps of consciousness :

  1. The unawakened state  (also : abuddhiman, 291.41; apratibuddha 291.42 ; 296 Primeval state of equilibrium ). The subject of experience is here saguna ishvara. By abhimana he creates the play of the gunas and identifies with them.
  2. The awakening state (budhyamana) recognices that the play of the gunas should be avoided as not real essence. The self is described as the 25th or individual soul(Purusha - later also Jiva).
  3. The awakened state (293.45 prabuddha; 293.10 buddha) points to the state, who recognizes that the quality-free God controls Nature and the Gunas . It crosses the Hindu system of the 25(24+1) Tattvas.

* The Svacchanda Tantra 11.83-84 mentions five steps of  spiritual awakening of the fivefold Atman.



The 10 Bodhisattva - Bhūmi ("byang chub sems dpa'i sa") are the 10 steps of the path of a Bodhisattva in the MahayanaThe bhūmis are subcategories of the five paths (pañcamārga, Tib. Lam lnga).

The Jhanas of the Pali canon contain 9 states of consciousness.

All of the the mentioned steps end in a consciousness comparable to that of the Ishvara. Beyond is still the all-consciousness of a sadashiva and above (Paramatman), i. step 20 - 22 of the universal path.

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