There is a fourth state called turiya which is the transcendental state in which we are always in peaceful bliss. It is the state of Samadhi or deep meditative experience.
You may wonder how, the state of awareness too is not real. Well, today the awareness is all based on false notions. The basis of our awareness itself is wrong. So what we believe to be the awareness will actually be maya. We also become dependent on various factors that will make us conclude about ourselves that we are highly aware. We feel we are highly aware because we are well informed, educated, brought up in sophisticated families and are up- to- date.
However this foundation on which we are standing, itself is wrong. This is maya in guise of awareness. This maya acts like a blanket for us during winter and an air-conditioner (AC) during summer.
According to the state of our ego and convenience or anukoola shastra, maya works. It puts us in comfort zone. This state makes us forget the Guru’s chatra chaya - divine umbrella of shelter. We become ignorant of the existence of the Guru in the jagrat state, swapna and sushupti states. The Guru never lets us down but our lack of belief lets you down.
Instead of the force of nirvana, some other force will occupy us all the time. That is why we need the grace of the Guru. He alone can illumine the three states of jagrat, swapna and sushupti. The Guru reveals the light of knowledge to us when we offer faith and devotion to him.
Then the first domain we enter is the realm of knowledge. From here, we operate in the real state of awareness, which is based on the right blend of common sense, experience and maturity. This is the state of operating with discrimination. Then we start moving towards the state of turiya where you see god everywhere, in each and every being, in the animate as well as the inanimate. Enlightened beings are always in the state of turiya. Sadashiva Brahmendra, Ramana Maharshi, Sri Rama Krishna Paramahamsa, Shri Shirdi Sai Baba are some of the saints we can remember. They were not at all body conscious. They were in the state of Bliss - Turiya.
A devotee once asked me, Guruji “Where is God?, I answered “I see God in front of me standing as you.” This is the beauty of the turiya state. It is the state of unity. Don’t, think that the turiya state is the end of the journey. In fact it is the beginning for some other soul seeking truth. We are born to light others because we have the guru in our chit.
Lord Shiva concludes that our soul dissolves our body and mind consciousness into that true Self called as the light and that light shows us the chit which is the Sanskrit name for True Self. This is the state of sat-chit-ananda or Truth, Consciousness and Bliss. This is the state where we stop differentiating amongst people and treat everybody with equanimity. We address everybody with unconditional love.
Wisdom prevails in us and liberates us.
Extract from The Force of Nirvana by Shri Shri Nimishananda