Here comes Gaudapada’ Karika in explanation to Mandukya Upanishads. Goudapada takes us the preceding six verses of Mandukya Upanishads & comments upon those. We will have the Karika verses only with comments of Sri Sankarcharya.
[Verse – 1]
Viswa (the first quarter) is he who is all pervading and who experience the external (gross) objects. Taijasa (the second quarter) is he who cognizes the the internal (subtle) objects. Prajna is he who is a mass of consciousness. It is one alone who is thus known in the three states.
The implication of this passage is this: That Atman is (as witness) distinct from the three states and that he is pure and unrelated, is established by his moving in three states, in succession, and also on the account of knowledge, “I am That”, resulting from the experience which unites through memory. The Sruti also corroborates it by illustration of the ‘great fish’.
He is pure & unrelated (The Atman ) –
The idea of pure & impure, weal & woe, pleasure & pain etc. are the characteristics of the state and do not, in any way pertains to the Atman, who is only the witness of the three states. The ‘Jiva’ or the reflected consciousness, which is identical with the Atman, identifies himself with the states, out of ignorance of its real identity, thus renders himself impure, miserable etc. though his real identity, the Atman remains ever pure.
No relation of any kind even causality exists between any of the three states & Atman as the latter alone exists. This is further known from the fact that the experiences of waking state do not affect the Atman in dream state & those of the dream state too do not affect the Atman in the ste of deep sleep.
Though it appears that Atman identifies itself with each of the three states for the time being, yet the fact that he moves from one state to another without being affected shows that he is the witness of the three states.
In Brihadaranyaka Upanishads it is described that,
It also gives another illustration of a bird, that flies unobstructed in the sky, yet unattached to the surrounding lands