[Advaita-l] Waking and Dream States

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Mar 30 18:48:28 CDT 2009


Thank you for your courtesy and care in spelling all this out.

In a way, we are just chasing hares -- anything less than Brahman may be
said to be equally untrue.. and one could extend that to say that anything
argued under maya, in attempting to relate one thing to another, is equally

But perhaps in a relative world, the exercise of one's human powers of
observation and reason is not entirely useless ?

Those who seek absolute truth, as one sage has said, make for the caves and
the mountains.. the rest of us try at least to discard untruths one by one,
and perhaps sharpen our minds a little !

Thank you again. I shall continue to ponder the mysteries of the three
states !


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of vaidehi
Sent: 30 March 2009 20:44
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Waking and Dream States

hari om to michael shepherd

see if this is useful for your understanding. here i wish to present
to you how goudapadaacharya compares waking state with that of dream
state and proves that waking state is also an illusion:

from Mändukya Upanishad – Vyathatya prakarana

The Illusion of Waking state is proved:

# Just as dream objects are unreal in dream state the objects in the
waking state are also unreal due to the commonness of being seen (
Druçyatvät) i.e. ‘being perceived’ as an object of experience in both
the states.

# that which is not present in the beginning and end is also not
present in the middle i.e. during the time it seems to be existing.
Though they are on the same footing as the unreal, yet they are seen
as though real. Eg. Mirage, snake on the rope.

# even from the utilitarian point of view, the waking state is not
real for-the same utilitarian value is contradicted in the dream
state. Eg. We have quentched our thirst, satiated our hunger in the
wakig, but we eat and drink in the dream for want of quenching thirst
and hunger. Therefore, even the need seen in waking state has a
beginning and an end just as in dream.

# however, it can also be that there is uniqueness of experience in
dream such as an elephant with four tusks, two heads etc., which
enables dream state true – was a sudden tangential observation made by
the poorvapakshi – opponent. Gudapada uses this this show the illusory
nature of not only the dream but also the waking state by comparing
the waking state and  dwellers of heaven. The uniqueness is attributed
to the experiencer in that particular state ( sthänidharma)  as in
case of dwellers of heaven. Indra is attributed to have thousand eyes
etc., similarly in case of dream also. Al these are imaginations of
the mind.

Even in the waking state we day dream just as we dream in the dream
state. How different is it ? so, it depends on the perceiver in that
particular state of experience. The experience of the dwellers of the
heaven, though may be real for them, is not real for us both in waking
and dream state.

# In dream state it is reasonable to agree that whatever we see is
imagination of the mind within us. But we see objects and their
truthfulness outside of us in the waking state. Also, due to
commonality of experience unlike in the dream state. Therefore, waking
state must be real and not a mental projection. Therefore, conditions
under which something exists determines the Reality of experience
viz., inside and outside (ANtíetsa - bihíetsa antaçcetasä –
bahiçcetasä). This stand by the opponent is rejected  by Gauda pada
saying that the inside – outside as perceived in both states are only
imaginations and are therefore relative to each other. For, all this
notion  of inside and outside is because of the shift in theLocus of
Identification  which is our gross body (sthüla çaréra) in waking
state and subtle body (sükñma çarérain) in dream state. When there is
a shift in the locus of identification, i.e. the point of reference,
there is a corresponding shift in the concept of location of
experience and their respective objects of experiences viz., inside in
case of dream state and outside in case of waking state.

However, even in dream one makes a division of inside and outside,
real and unreal etc. for example, in dream also I can see snake on the
rope. But when woken up I will see the unreal of the dream as unreal
and even the realof the dream also as unreal. Therefore, in both
cases, the inside – outside notion is mere imagination of the mind.

One of the profound implications of this reference point is on the
notion of creation. Creation in dream is happening at a locus
different from that happening in waking state. From the waking state
point of locus, the dream state is falsified and similarly, from the
dream state of locus point, waking should be falsified. However, we
misconstrue the relative reality of the waking to be the Absolute
reality having no changes – a taken for grated assumption- and falsify
the dream state alone without questioning the waking state by the same
logic with reference to dreamer’s stand point. On questioning the
waking state from the dreamer’s stand point, the waking state is as
much false. Therefore, the creation in both states is false.

It is for the same reason of misplaced reality of Absoluteness that
the vagueness of experience of objects in dream and their definiteness
of waking state are also considered to be the projections of the mind.
Similarly, the psychological time (icÄkal cittakäla) in the mind
(refering to dream state) and physical time (Öykal dvayakäla)  with a
beginning and an end refereing to waking state are also projections of
the mind alone.

     So, what is the criteria for Absoluteness?

- changelessness, and eternality are the criteria for Absoluteness. It
is called paramartika satta which is deviod of waking state reality
and dream state reality. Waking state reality can be called
transactional reality / objective reality (vyaavahaarika satta) and
dream state reality is called subjective reality (pratibhasika satta).
>From the standpoint of the Absolute state of Reality i.e.
paaramarthika satta, even the vyaavaharika satta is pratibhasika satta
itself because both realities are projections of the mind alone.

hari om

vaidehi chaitnaya

On 3/29/09, Michael Shepherd <michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:
> Shri Sadananda,
> I am deeply grateful for your generous response, and look forward to your
> further thoughts as outlined.
> My 'bhakti' attitude to this question is that these three states of being
> awake, being in sleep and being in dream are given by the Lord for the
> to know itself; and that since a further mysterious grace is that the jiva
> is given a constant daily repetition of these states, it is likely that
> three states together provide this self-knowledge.
> Indeed, since being in dream is the briefest measured by 'waking' time, it
> may be as powerful or more so, than the seven hours of sleep or the
> seventeen hours of 'dreaming being awake' !
> And the question of sequence seems possibly significant : if being in
> occurs between being asleep and being awake, then that suggests that it
> brings new material to be assimilated..
> And finally, I have not forgotten that it is said that the liberated man
> does not dream. If that is so, that too is significant !
> My own cautious sense of direction in this, from a taste or hint of the
> turiya state after 24 hours chiefly engaged in chanting (which I thought
> 'not my thing' at the time) is that the state of being in dream is
> to complete freedom of mind..
> Thank you again, and I look forward to your further elucidation. Not only
> blessing, but a blessed duty for each of us ?
> Michael
> -----Original Message-----
> From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> [mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of
> kuntimaddi sadananda
> Sent: 29 March 2009 00:30
> To: advaitin at yahoogroups.com; adviata-l
> Subject: [Advaita-l] Waking and Dream States
> PraNAms to all
> In response to some discussions I bagan to put in writing what I
> - If it helps others it is a blessing if not it is also fine.
> -----------------
> Comparative analysis of waking and dream states
> Analysis of dream states has been done in Mandukya and Brahadaranyaka
> Upanishads. Debate goes on in terms of the reality or relative reality of
> each state and the world of objects that are perceived in each state. Here
> present some similarities and differences and to what extent one has to
> dwell on these to appreciate that which is beyond any state. References to
> Brahmasuutras 2-2-28 and 2-2-29 are often given to prove that the two
> are not really equal.  We will examine these two sutras as well and also
> advaita Vedanta, from my perspective, looks at it from the relative and
> absolute references. This analysis is not for academic interest but for
> those who can use it as a direct illustrative example that nature provides
> us to understand that which transcends the states. All other examples that
> we take to illustrate the advaitic concept – like snake/rope or
> etc all have certain limitations and care should be exercised in
>  extending these examples beyond their range of applicability. On the
> hand dream example is directly relevant and within everybody’s experience
> which can be used to appreciate the absolute reality.
> The analysis of dream and waking states are important to examine ones own
> experiences to help to transcend both states  - this is the anubhava
> (experience) part that is emphasized when it is said that shastra
> (scriptures), yuki (logic) and anubhava (experience of the three states –
> waking, dream and deep sleep) needed to be used to arrive at that which is
> beyond the three states, the turiiyam. We are using all the three means
> (shastra, yukti and anubhava) here to help us transcend all the three
> of consciousness. There are several lessons that we can learn by examining
> waking and dream and of course deep sleep state too.
> We will be addressing the following one by one:
> 1.	Oneness of the material and efficient causes.
> 2.	Relative realities of the two states
> 3.	micro and macrocosms in the two states
> 4.	How to use this analysis to transcend the two states
> 5.	What are the differences between the two states
> 6.	Relevance of the Brahmasuutras 2-2-28 and 2-2-29
> 7.	Expanding the mind for self-realization and jiivanmukti (sadyomukti)
> 8.	Concluding remarks.
> 1.	Oneness of the material and efficient causes: We are all aware that any
> creation requires 1) the knowledge of creation (the know-how of how to
> create), and 2) the material for creation. If this universe is a creation,
> as it is an ordered and well behaved thermodynamic system, and if there is
> creator of such universe, he has to be the intelligent and instrument
> and the material cause. Creation of the universe is unlike any other
> creation that we are familiar –ex. creation of a pot or creation of a
> – where material and intelligent causes are separate – the pot-maker is
> different from the clay.  The know-how of how or what to create as well as
> material needed for creation of the entire universe have to come from a
> single source, since we cannot afford to have two separate causes. The
> for the entire creation cannot be outside the creation since that outside
> also has to be created (hence that outside becomes inside the creation
>  or creation has to be infinite) and cannot be inside of the creation
> anything inside the creation is part of creation. Hence God, or the
> cannot be separate from the creation.  In addition, since creation is not
> random phenomenon, there should be some basis for the creation, even if
> wants to create. We need to know on what basis He is going to create –
> He have a blue print for His creation and if so where does He get that
> print.  The dream example provides a glimpse of this process at local
> The dreamer, the creator of the dream universe, should have the know-how
> how and what to create in the dream world of plurality and also needed
> material for the creation. Since the dream is projection of the waker’s
> into varieties of objects that are created in the dream, whatever that are
> created have their roots in the waker’s mind.  That is, the mind should
> the know-how of what is being created. One cannot
>  create a gaagaabuubu in the dream unless one knows what that is. The
> provides a direct nature’s clear example of how both the material cause
> the efficient cause can be one and the same.  In the dream case, it is the
> waker’s mind supported by the consciousness can be both material cause and
> the efficient cause for the dream creation. Similarly the scripture says
> waking world is also a creation where the efficient and material cause for
> creation can be one and the same. Thus dream analogy provides a perfect
> example to learn that efficient and material causes can be one and the
> 2.	Relative realities of the waking and dream worlds:  We say the dream
> world is not real and it lasts only for a short duration while the waking
> world is real since it lasts long. Thus time-wise they are not comparable.
> Space-wise also they are not comparable. For example, the elephants and
> rivers and mountains in the dream are not real as in the waking state
> the dream is projection of the waker’s mind, which does not have place for
> all the elephants, rivers and mountains. Such a comparative analysis does
> not help us in understanding the relative reality of the two.  These
> statements ignore the fact that we are comparing the waking and dream
> states, sitting in the waking state, and some even quoting Brahmasuutras
> bhaashyaas for support. We ignore the fact that those particular
> Brahmasuutra statements are made to dismiss some other doctrinal
> We should be careful in understanding what exactly the sutras compare and
> how one should
>  interpret these in term of our spiritual study.
> First, we should be aware that we are doing the comparison in the waking
> state about the dream state and its relative validity, in relation to the
> waking state. It is the waker’s claim that dream is not real since time
> special coordinate system do not correspond to that of the waking state.
> Dreamer has no problem in seeing multistoried buildings that are gigantic
> comparison to his size that are blazing with fire and elephants and the
> rivers and mountains that are infinitely large compared to his size.  All
> these can exist comfortably in the world of dream without any space or
> incompatibilities. No dreamer will complain that his head is aching that
> cannot accommodate all these gigantic things in his world of plurality.
> fact no dreamer thinks that they are all in his mind! There are dream
> hospitals, dream doctors and dream medicines for dream diseases, and dream
> banks also to finance these which are all needed for the subjects in the
>  dream.  They are all sublimated or negated only when one wakes up from a
> dream. Hence Shankara drives this fact in his aatma bodha – …sakaale
> satyavat bhaati prabodhe satyasat bhavet|| and also in his Dakshinamuurthi
> sloaks, vishvam darpaNa dRishyamaana nagarii tulyam nijaantargataam.. As
> long as dream lasts, they are experienced as real, and only when awaken
> the dream; one recognizes the unreality of those in relation to the waking
> state.
> The purpose of this analysis is to understand that in each state the world
> appears to be real in that state but that is only real, relative to that
> state.  But once one transcends that state, what is considered real is
> dismissed as unreal. In the same token even this waking state appears to
> real in that state until one transcends that state. The two systems are
> parallel although the relative realities are different. We categorize that
> the waking state is vyavahaarika and dream state is praatibhaasika, but
> parallelism has to be understood while appreciating their divergence. We
> will bringing out some of these, but suffice here to know that both are
> relatively real, and the degree of the reality is the same in their own
> states.  Only when one compares the two states, say in the waking state,
> then the dream state appears to have a lower degree of reality, in
> to the waking state. Similarly when one transcends to the highest state,
>  paaramaarthika, both waking and dream states are sublimated as unreal.
> dream example provides a direct example for the possibility of higher
> of consciousness where the multitude of plurality that is perceived will
> have any validity. Thus mithyaa aspect of the waking world is to be
> understood using the dream example, otherwise mithyaa aspect of the waking
> world is difficult to know until one realizes the paaramaarthika satyam
> it may become the case of catch 22.  At vyaavahaarika level, the
> praatibhaasika is dismissed as unreal and at paaramaarthika both
> vyaavahaarika and praatibhaasika are dismissed as unreal. But as long as
> does not have the reality of the higher state, the lower state is taken as
> real, just like as long as I do not see the rope as rope, the snake that I
> see where the rope is, is as real as the real snake bites.
> To be continued.
> Hari Om!
> Sadananda
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