Why the same dream?
psharma at BUPHY.BU.EDU
Wed Nov 26 01:44:20 CST 1997
> From: Miguel Angel Carrasco <nisargadata at MX3.REDESTB.ES>
> To: ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU
> Subject: Why the same dream?
> Date: Saturday, November 22, 1997 8:06 AM
> Dear Prashant Sharma, I just cannot understand what you mean by ^ÓThe mind
> is like an atmosphere that all living beings share^Ô. As I understand,
> living beings are just minds. Bodies do not exist outside consciousness.
> There is only consciousness, and the content of consciousness can be
> described as minds, bodies, etc. In fact, all things, all concepts and
> percepts are just thoughts, the contents of consciousness. There cannot
> an outside atmosphere which would influence minds, because there cannot
> an ^Óoutside of consciousness^Ô. I think this is a very fundamental point
> Advaita. Consciousness does not appear in matter, but the other way
In the following I will attempt to explain the statement: "mind is like an
atmosphere that all living beings share". First, let me ask you what
exactly do you mean by consciousness? We are conscious, aware, only
through thought. Even dogs use thought, albeit in a simple manner. We
have added the complexity of language that is the "only" difference.
Thought is not yours or mine; it is our common inheritance. There is no
such thing as your mind and my mind there is only *mind*---the totality of
all that is felt and experienced by man. Your earlier objection to this
was that :
>>...I do not like the "only one mind which is the sum total of
human experiences". Expressed like that, the sum total seems the result
from the previous experiences. A sort of collective memory. The problem is
that also my dog seems to share much of my dream. He also seems to like
looking at the full moon, avoiding the blazing Spanish sun, etc.>>
(I should apologize for being conservative enough to include only "human
You see in the "totality" an element of time,a collective memory. The
point is there is nothing novel
that you and I dream. The dreams are all the same things: jigsaw puzzles
that can be fitted in various ways to give a semblance of "novelty".
There is nothing new going on here. Therefore,
there is a totality of knowledge which comprises the *mind*.
Let me attempt to clarify this matter in a slightly different way. The so
called present is nothing but an "operative" past. It is born of the past,
it has no seperate existence. And it will lead to a future, which being
based on the past can't be different from it. Actually the "true" present
is when the past doesn't operate: this is the here and now, which shall not
change. But in this "true" present we do not exist. The question what
exists (consciousness or unconsciousness?) is seemingly meaningless since
the instrument that answers it is simply not there in the "true" present.
So we can say that our existence is in the past and in the future which is
born of this past. Which brings us back to the totality...
This totality is the *mind* which is "maya". Our individuality is in this
*mind*. Everything that hapens to us is in this mind (and in some sense,
because of this mind). It is in this sense that one can say that we are all
thinking and functioning in an "atmosphere" that we all share.
I hope this is clarifying.
> You also said, dear Prashant, something very interesting: ^ÓFor a realized
> person, there is still the world, the Milky Way and the continents^Ô.
> Indeed. And that brings me back to ask again: Why did Samkara,
> Vivekananda, Nisargadatta, Ramana etc continue to dream of the _same_
> cosmos even after realization of their true Self? Of course they now saw
> it, as you well say, ^Ófor what they are, just superpositions on Nirguna
> Brahman^Ô. But why the same superimpositions in all cases?
I am sorry but I dont remember having written this.
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