[Advaita-l] Waking & Dream states - An objective outlook

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Wed Dec 28 01:46:27 CST 2005

Humble praNAms
Hare Krishna

Last year, in advaitin list, I had written the following while discussing
the monthly topic *Real & Unreal*...I dont know whether I've posted  the
same mail to this list also..Since the topic *more reality of waking world
as against dream world* has again come up for discussion..I am posting it
once again...Kindly ignore this mail if it is a duplication...

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

// quote //

In  shruti-s,  one can see, various methodologies have been adopted to
Atmaikatva  vAda (oneness of Atman).   Our  traditionalists have gracefully
out   these   methods   &   clealy   explained  the  intrecacies  of  these
methodologies.   adhyArOpa-apavAda (superimposition-rescission) is  the
principal  method  adopted by shrutis,  in  that  we  can  see
subdivisions  like avasthA traya prakriya (analysation  of  our  three
states  i.e.  waking,  dream & deep sleep states), kArya-kAraNa  (cause  &
effect)  prakriya,  pancha  kOsha  (five  sheaths)
prakriya etc. etc. Since *avastha traya* prakriya  holds  the  key
position in this month's topic *Real & Unreal*, this  is a humble attempt
on my part to analyse our
waking  &  dream states from an objective view point without any subjective
attachment to the waker & his related world!!

Since  our  childhood,  we've  been  invariably experiencing three states
called, waking, dream & deep sleep  states.   Despite  occurrences  of
these  three  states  at  utmost regularity,  we are, without our knowledge
giving more importance to our waking
state  when  compared to the other two states!!  why this is so??  why this
special preference to waking state when we are equally experiencing all the
three  states  with the same degree of reality??  Kindly note that I am not
denying  the  fact  that  the  waking  state is the one in which alone real
action  is  possible & for all practical  purposes we tend to give *more
validity* to waking state.But vedAnta, while settling the doctrinal issues,
declares  that life to be truly understood with a consideration of the
other two states (i.e. dreaming & deep sleep states) as  well  which  are
as indispensable to our life as waking.  Hence, waking  state  should  not
be  permitted to dominate over the other two states
since these two states are entirely independent from waking state.

Interestingly, we donot know which state we have experienced first!!  is it
waking?? I dont think so, coz. in our childhood we've spent most  of  our
time  in sleeping.  In our embryo state (bhruNAvasthA) at mother's womb, we
obviously  donot  have  any connection with our socalled waking world.  So,
the  question  to  be asked to ourselves is which avastha we've encountered
first??  is it waking first then due to its vAsana-s dream?? or is it first
sleep  then  waking  or  dream??  how can sleep can lead us to waking/dream
state??   How  all  of  a sudden this mind can take control of waking world
when  it  is  conspicuous  by  its  absence in sleep??  Or if we say, it is
waking  state  that  has  come  first  to jIva then naturally question will
arise,  how  can there be waker & his waking world taken position in jIva??
which  of  those  vAsana's  can  influence  jIva's first  cognition of  the
waking  world??  From  where do they (vAsana-s) come in Atman when it is in
its  true  state??   questions keep on coming from each & every inquisitive
mind & it is never ending.

Being the students of shankara's advaita siddhAnta, first we should
see  what  our parama guru offers in explaining avastha-s.  An advaitin can
easily  say  to  all  the  above  questions  that  these avastha-s are mere
superimposition  on  our sAkshi svarUpa.  Due to avidya, it appears that we
are  undergoing these avastha-s in us.  But, this is not an abstract answer
to  the  complex  problems,  advaitin arrived to this conclusion by closely
scrutinising  these  avastha-s  from  sAkshi  view  point.  After objective
analysation  of  three  states,  intuitive realization of Atman reveals the
fact  that there is no avastha whatsoever to nirvikalpa parabrahman & it is
mere appearance in Atman because of our anAdi avidya.

Now,  the  question  is,  how  can  we  say  all  these  avastha-s are mere
appearance  in  Atman  when  we  are  clearly  experiencing  it??  For that
advaitin  say,  yes, no doubt, we do experience all the three states in day
in  day  out.  But  to  analyse the futility of  these states & to know the
reality  of  our pure consciousness we should *stand out* of these states &
look  at  it  objectively.   We  cannot  stand-in  in  any one state & give
arbitrary  verdict on other two states.  In shAstra jignAsa, for paramArtha
nirNaya,  this  is  how  we  have  to  analyse it even though this
analysation  is  also  from waking state (??!!) we should remember that our
constitutional position is something which transcends these avastha-s.

What   we  should remember here is, when we say this is an enquiry into the
avastha-s,  it  does  not mean that we are simply analysing these avastha-s
'as  it  is'.   Our primary intention here is to realise the true nature of
our Atman who's notional experiences of avastha-s. And also we should
always keep in mind that waker has his waking mind through which he sees
waking world, so is
the case with dreamer & his dreaming world.  In both cases mind projects
world as an external object & its absence is quite evident in our deep
sleep state.  so, bottom line is, *in avastha-s there is world, its not
in world we are experiencing avastha-s* this is the crux of the avastha
traya prakriya as purported in mAndukya shruti. With this backdrop, let us
go further :

Waking,  sleep & dream states are different from each other, this is in our
experience.   But these states donot have independent existence.  And if we
check the other two states (dream & sleep) from waker's (vyAvahArika) point
of  view, it appears that waker controlling the other two & he has intimate
connection  with other two.  But in reality there is absolutely no relation
between  these  states & these states are mere false appearance on our ever
existing  nature.   A  simple  logic  would suffice to prove that the dream
state  is not dependent on waker & his world.  To say either the difference
or  relation  of  these  states,  first  & foremost thing is we should have
"common  time  &  space"  for  all  these states.  But what is there in our
experience??   The time & space frames applicable to waking state donot get
entry  into  the dream, like that the time & space frames applicable to the
dream  donot  get  entry into the waking world & no need to mention in deep
sleep  state  the notion of time & space of both waking & dream states  get
ceased  without any trace.  So, the idea of the succession of the states is
purely  waking idea and cannot be logically be extended beyond waking.  For
instance,  when  I  say,  "after  sending this mail to advaitin group, I am
going  to  attend revenue meeting at conference room" the continuity of the
waking  consciousness  warrants  the sequence in which I am programming the
events  i.e.  *my  writing mail* say around 2 PM & then *going for meeting*
say around 2.30 PM .  But please note when I say " I went to bed at 11 pm &
slept  till  morning",  in  this I know that I was awake only till eleven &
then  my  waking  is  completely  ceased, is it not??  All the events of my
waking  state  are  connected  one with another as a series in a continuous
flow of time of my waking consciousness & accompanies them as an invariable
condition.   My  forthcoming  memory  of these events obviously assumes the
presence  of my consciousness during the occurrences of these events.  When
I  speak on the contrary of my sleeping subsequent to going to bed, if I am
not  biased against waking, I must admit that my waking ceased before sleep
began  and  that  my  waking consciousness was absent during all the time I
slept.    I  express  indeed  my exprience in terms of time and say that my
sleep  succeeded  my  waking.  But this sequence is not like of sequence of
events of my writing mail & attending meeting which are taking place in the
waking  state in which I am aware of the continuous flow of time throughout
which  I feel in the form of duration, my taking note of time or my feeling
of  time  ceases  with waking, and I am not and cannot be conscious of when
waking  ends  or sleep begins, for sleep is just the condition in which our
intellect  ceases  to  function. With this, we can easily conclude that  to
conceive  sleep  &  waking  as  occuring one after another in the same time
series is completely wrong & this is purely a biased view of waker.

There is one more problem in accepting waker & his waking world's influence
on dream.  See, the sequence as we think for dream is, from waking state to
sleep  &  in sleep there is  dream.  But, as a student of vEdAnta,  we know
that there is no waker's mind & his consciousness in sleep.  If that is the
case,  how  can  this  waker's  conscious can get entry without passing the
state  of  sleep??  is it  there in anyone's experience of this big leap of
waker's consciousness from waking world  to direct dream land??

Now,  coming  to  our  age  old  theory  that  dreams  are  the  product of
impressions  created  in  waking.  Though vyAvaharically we can accept this
theory,  while  determining  our svarUpa this is not a  proven fact always.
We  often  say,  "y'day  in  my sleep I had a nightmare, the impact of that
dream was such that even after I awake, my body was sweating & shivering of
fear.   What does it mean??  is it  not quite evident that in this case the
dream  (nightmare)  is  kAraNa  & sweating & shivering of my waking body is
kArya??   What we have been holding sofar is that waking is kAraNa & dreams
are  kArya  of waking vAsana...but here this order got reversed is it not??
>From  this,  if  we  relook  into  the  sequence, it looks like from kAraNa
(waking)  -kArya (dream) happened- then from kArya (nightmare) again kAraNa
(shivering  etc.  in  waking  body)  took place...is it logical to say like

Further,  if we say,  waking is kAraNa (cause) & it is  true (sat) &  dream
is  the kArya (effect) &  is false (asat), it is illogical to say true (sat
/  waking)  has  given birth to false (asat /dream).  Because we cannot say
true cause can give birth to false effect.  Unless this problem resolved we
cannot  say  true waking's vAsana-s causing false or asat  dreams.  This is
the main objection rised by Sri gaudapAdAchArya in kArika against those who
upholding more reality of waker & his world.

Finally, all of this are not just dry logic.  This method assumes nothing &
does  not  call  for  belief  in authenticity & seeks the aid of no special
intuition  as  such.   It  is  fundamentally  based on human experience and
insists that all the three states should be investigated before we can bank
upon  the  ultimate reality.  It simply points out the basic error involved
in  speculation  which  confine  the  application of reason to the facts of
waking  state,   while admiiting the practical utility of such speculations
so  far  as  they  go,  it  shows  their utter futility and helplessness in
arriving a true science of reality.

This  avastha  traya  has  shruti  reference  also.   Out  of  10 principal
upanishads,  prashna,  ItarEya, chAndOgya, bruhadAraNyaka have quotes about
avasthA  traya.  But in mundaka shruti this prakriya (methodology) has been
discussed  exclusively  based  on pure jnAna without any stint of injuctive
statements  such  as  karma & upAsana. Since this mail already getting very
lengthy,   I'd just say few words about this very very important upanishat.
Sri  GaudapAdAchArya  has  written  kArikA-s  on  this  up.  & shankara has
written  commentaries  on  both  kArika  & upanishads.  While commenting on
kArika,   shankara  says,   *vEdAntArtha  sArasangrahabhUtamidaM  prakaraNa
chatushtayam*  (  these  four  chapters  are  summary of the essence of all
vEdAntic  teaching).  While discussing this fundamental issue shruti  first
says  from  adhyArOpa drushti "soyamAtma chatushpAt" subsequently withdraws
this  (apavAda)  by  saying  "nAntaH  prajna  na  bahiprajnaM, what remains
finally  is  Atman & Atman alone.  Apart from this, while identifying Atman
in  jAgrat  &  svapna  shruti  addresses  both  vishva & tejasa as saptAnga
yEkOnavimshati  mukhaha  (  7  faces  & 19 faces).  Please note there is an
equal  treatment  to  both  vishwa  & taijasa here by shruti. Interestingly
shankara  also in his commentary says samAnam na anyAt (both are same & not
different) about waker & dreamer.

The bottom line is this, the three states so called are really no states of
consciousness.  In the first place the witnessing principle (sAkshi)  in us
which  is  no  other  than  pure consciousness (shuddha chaitanya), remains
quite  unaffected  by the appearance or disappearance of these states.  And
in the second place, the three states admit neither of concurrence in space
nor  of  succession  in  time.  Strictly speaking, we have to conclude that
sleep  is  only  pure consciousness which has no relation whatever with its
manifestation in shape of pramAtru-pramEya, & this state of ours is neither
waking  nor  dreaming  nor  sleeping at any point of time.  It is therefore
neither  cause nor effect from this absolute stand point.  It is this phase
of  sleep  as  identical with the everchangeless Atman that is described as
*the  fourth*  (turIya  -  chaturtha  manyanto  sa  Atma) relatively to the
empirical  egoes of the three states and seves as the theme of ajAtivAda as
propagated by bhagavadpAda's paramaguru GaudapAda.

shree sadgurucharaNAravindArpaNamastu

Humble praNAms to all sincere truth seekers
Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

References :
(a)  shankara  bhAshya  on mAndukya & gaudapAda kArika published by
Adhyatma prakasha
(b) paramArtha chintAmaNi - An independent work in kannada by my parama
guruji Sri
SachidAnandEndra sarasvati swamiji.
(c) gaudapAda hrudaya in kannada by the same author.
(d)  shankara  samsmaraNa  by  Devarao  kulakarni  (  direct desciple of my

// unquote //

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