I have found some guys claiming to be enlightened. They say they've realized there is no self. But as I start questioning things like deep sleep awareness and turiya they say they do not experience that.
They say they have pronounced experience of no self, and the feeling of being "normal" and that's it.
Am I misguided or what's going on?
Is turiya and beyond denote something meaningful?
Does enlightenment concede an unbroken stream of underlying awareness behind all the 3 states or dream, sleep and waking?
Very interested in your answers.
Good! This IS the most critical question of all. They seem to think that looking into the awake consciousness mind and finding no person there proves they are immortal, that awareness permeates everything, is deathless, universal, etc., but they only perceive anything in the waking and dream states.
In all the literature, I could find only a handful of people that claimed to have a continuous awareness in deep sleep.
However, I tend to question that, because I suspect they are saying they have a waking-style awareness when the body is asleep. But that is not what is generally meant by waking sleep as used in traditional advaita.
My experience is, when I am asleep, of entering and existing deep sleep, I feel first a "heavy" sort of darkness descending and taking over my waking mind, but when deep sleep leaves, I don't have an intuition of waking up, but rather an intuition that the layer-state of deep sleep was leaving, and the intuition and experience that "I" was never asleep. That is, sleep came and went, dreams came and went, waking consciousness came and went, but I never was touched by any of these states. I was beyond any of these states.
So, I can assert that I was aware of heavy darkness while in deep sleep, but it is only in transitioning to waking that I can "remember" it or say anything about it, because waking is when the mind arises and can remember or remark about anything.
Now I can consciously follow the comings and goings with total awareness of transitions between waking and dream states where I see no change in the nature of consciousness at all during such transitions.
Concerning those who claim to be awake all the time, I have heard or read of none of them to explain what they have experienced. Robert claimed to have that continuous awareness, but when he was alive, I never thought of questioning him about it.
But you see "awakening" for me, and the one Robert authorized, was not seeing that I was nothing, that there was no I, nor even a sustained I-thought, and continuous emptiness in the psyche, but rather an experience where I saw waking and dream states come and go, totally apart from me as "objects" as experienced states separate from me, and I was untouched by the coming and going.
Also, I was able in meditation to go from full waking awareness to total submergence in the deepest parts of the mind, even deeper into total unconsciousness lasting a few seconds, then coming out the other side into samadhi of total oneness of the world. But there was always a brief interval without a continuous awareness of a few seconds or so.
The traditional advaitins explain this as passing through the causal body of complete ignorance, not knowing, which is vital to go beyond knowledge.
Does this help?
I think the neo advaitins have confused the method of looking within, self-inquiry, with actual enlightenment, which even for Nisargadatta took three years of doing nothing but abiding in the I. He too, so far as I know, did not state he was continuously aware (as a conscious type awareness) during deep sleep. Even Ramana, though he claimed we do exist during deep sleep and offered rather "tacky" proofs, I don't think ever talked about his sleeping experiences.
Even if some of these teachers did experience continuous awareness, it certainly would not be as a person. Personhood demands the presence of an ego and mind. Both are destroyed by deep sleep. Nisargadatta states this over and over. Therefore too, there is no survival if any individuality after death. That would require the continuity of the mind and ego, and if deep sleep can end the ego, the mind, and according to Nisargadatta, the I Am sense also, death would provide an even more effective terminator of the individual.
What always survives is universal consciousness. That is, somewhere, there is consciousness manifesting in some sentient being, like leaves on a tree. Some fall off as individual leaves, but do not come back as another leaf, but other leafs and continuously generated unrelated in a specific sense to the one that fell off. Each is unique and an individual expression, never to be repeated.