[Advaita-l] Waking and Dream States
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 28 19:30:28 CDT 2009
PraNAms to all
In response to some discussions I bagan to put in writing what I understand - 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 I 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 states are not really equal. We will examine these two sutras as well and also how 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 silver/nacre etc all have certain limitations and care should be exercised in
extending these examples beyond their range of applicability. On the other 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 states 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 a creator of such universe, he has to be the intelligent and instrument cause, 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 house – 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 cause 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 since anything inside the creation is part of creation. Hence God, or the creator cannot be separate from the creation. In addition, since creation is not a random phenomenon, there should be some basis for the creation, even if God wants to create. We need to know on what basis He is going to create – does He have a blue print for His creation and if so where does He get that blue print. The dream example provides a glimpse of this process at local level. The dreamer, the creator of the dream universe, should have the know-how of 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 mind 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 have the know-how of what is being created. One cannot
create a gaagaabuubu in the dream unless one knows what that is. The dream provides a direct nature’s clear example of how both the material cause and 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 the 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 same.
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 the rivers and mountains in the dream are not real as in the waking state since 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 or bhaashyaas for support. We ignore the fact that those particular Brahmasuutra statements are made to dismiss some other doctrinal arguments. 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 and special coordinate system do not correspond to that of the waking state. Dreamer has no problem in seeing multistoried buildings that are gigantic in 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 time incompatibilities. No dreamer will complain that his head is aching that he cannot accommodate all these gigantic things in his world of plurality. In 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 from 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 be 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 the 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 relation to the waking state. Similarly when one transcends to the highest state,
paaramaarthika, both waking and dream states are sublimated as unreal. Thus dream example provides a direct example for the possibility of higher state of consciousness where the multitude of plurality that is perceived will not 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 and 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 one 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.
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