Br^hadAraNyaka IV.3.14 (fwd)

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Thu May 7 11:53:02 CDT 1998

On Tue, 5 May 1998, Srinivas Sista wrote:

> Gummuluru Murthy wrote:
> >
> > I am presently studying and reflecting on Br^hadAraNyaka upanishhad
> > and the teaching by YAgnavalkya in IV.3.14. YAjnavalkya says in this:
> >
> > "Everyone sees his sport but himself no one ever sees. They say that
> > one should not wake him (the sleeping person) suddenly; for it is
> > difficult to cure if he does not get back (rightly to his body).
> > Others, however, say that the dream state of a man is the same as
> > the waking state, because what he sees while awake, that only he
> > sees when asleep. This is wrong. In the dream state, the person is
> > self-illuminated. ....."
> >
> > My questions on this are:
> >
> > 1. Is there any modern medical research in this field (after-effects
> > of sudden waking up of a person) and if so what is the explanation of
> > the modern science ?
> >
> I dont know about the advaitic stance on this topic. But there are
> references to `astral traveling' in the tibetan yogic literature.
> The sensory/extra-sensory experiences of the astral body in these
> realms are supposed to be perceived by us as dreams. There is also a
> reference to such a phenomenon in Tripura Rahasya. I am typing it up from a
> copy I have (Rama this is the one you gave me :-))
> -------------------------------------------
> [...]
> The wide spread belief is that the astral body is connected to the
> physical body through a silver cord that is infinitely stretchable.
> As death nears, this cord weakens and finally snaps thereby disengaging
> the astral from the physical. It is also believed that this snapping
> can occur if there is a sudden shock to the physical body while the
> astral body is out or if the astral body gives in to the malefic influences
> of the astral plane. Hence, extreme caution is to be exercised while
> undertaking such experiments. In Tibetan lamaseries it is a skill that
> has to be acquired under the expert guidance of the guru. People with
> a weak heart or who have irrational fears should refrain altogether from
> astral traveling. Once in the astral realm, it is very easy to go
> astray and there are hordes of elementals that try to take over the
> body of the astral traveler. Hence one has to be quite courageous and
> never give in to `fear'.


I gather from the response that it is the *astral body* that is out of the
physical body during the sleep (dream) process. Further, if a sudden shock
is applied to the physical body at that time, the link between the
physical and the astral body can be snapped or jarred with resultant
possible defects which Swami Nikhilanada mentioned. I originally took
Swami N.'s use of the word self as the Self, but now see that what Swami
N. calls self is the astral body. The Self (with the upper case S, the
Atman) is not involved in this process at all and of course is not
involved in any process.

It is a new concept to me that the astral body (even for an ordinary jeeva
without any yogic powers) can wander out of the physical body and can get
back into it. So, is my understanding correct then

(1) that during a dream process, the astral body is out of the physical
body and creates a world of its own (the sense organs are quiet, but the
mind is active and is the creator and venue of this dream world)

(2) that during deep sleep state, the astral body is within the physical
body, with the sense organs and the mind all folded into Atman.

(3) the fact that Atman is not involved in any of these processes is also
clear; Isha upanishhad says that Atman is faster than the mind and yet, it
does not move; that shows, Atman is not involved

> >
> > 2. Swami Nikhilananda says in his commentary [upanishhads, vol. 3, p270]
> > "... There is also a popular belief which supports this view that the
> > self, while dreaming, is distinct from the body and organs. People say
> > that a sleeping person should not be suddenly awakened; for the self,
> > while dreaming, goes out of the body through the channels of the
> > organs and remains outside. If the sleeping man is violently roused,
> > his self may not suddenly find the organs to enter the body. Blindness,
> > deafness, or other physical ailments may be the result of such
> > *confusion* (my emphasis on word *confusion*). Therefore, through this
> > popular belief one can understand the self-luminosity of the Atman
> > in dreams".
> >
> > Whose "confusion" is it ? The Self is not confused, certainly. The
> > body-mind combination (without the Self) is inert and incapable of
> > confusion. The jeeva (the body-mind combination with the Self) who
> > is aware of the separation of the Self from the body-mind is under
> > no confusion. Hence, I am not able to see the use of the word
> > "confusion" there. Any clarifications ?
> -------- speculation ON -------------
> The confusion, in my opinion, is surely that of the subtle body, which
> carries the bundle of associations with the physical(inert) body. Even
> the subtle body is definitely part of the mind. The mind although inert,
> gets powered by the Self and assumes a jeeva. The Self cannot get confused
> since it is not related to the content of the mind. The jeeva is the one
> who gets confused. Since it is the jeeva who is Mr. X, Ms. Y ..etc having
> a body and its acessories(car, house ..etc). If the jeeva does not identify
> with Mr. X, then a confusion does not arise if after waking up he finds
> all the associations pertaining to Ms. Y.

Thanks for the clarification. Still, I do not see the use of the word
*confusion*. I see that the "confusion" is that of the subtle body to get
back into the physical body. But, I think the motion of the subtle body is
faster than any of the physical motions that can be imparted to the
physical body.

On a matter arising out of this, I have difficulty also with the last
sentence in that quote from Swami N. above ("... Therefore, through
this popular belief one can understand the self-luminosity of the Atman
in dreams."). I have no difficulty in seeing the self-luminosity of the
Atman, in the waking state, in the dream state or in the deep sleep state.
But, the above-discussed popular belief does not say anything about the
self-luminosity of the Atman during the dream process. The Atman remains
the same in all the three states and the above, I think, cannot be taken
as a proof of the self-luminosity of the Atman. That can never be
*proved*. It has to be accepted as shruti vAkya (YAjnavalkya talks of the
luminosity of the Atman with King Janaka in Br^hadAraNyaka u.).

> regards,
> Srinivas Sista.

Gummuluru Murthy
... nAnyo'to'sti drashhTa, nAnyo'to'sti shrotA, nAnyo'to'sti mantA,
nAnyo'to'sti vijNAtA: eshha ta AtmAntaryAmy amr^tah. ...
                                        Br^hadAraNyaka III.7.23
There is no other seer but He, there is no other hearer but He, there is
no other perceiver but He, there is no other thinker but He, He is your
self, the inner controller, the immortal.

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