[Advaita-l] dream

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Jun 21 01:53:23 EDT 2021

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is this passage:  4.3.15 (as part of a long

The essence is:  The dreamer only 'sees' (and does not 'do') good and bad
in dreams and thus is not attached by the effects of the good and bad
there.  Nor is he a doer of the acts in dream for he is not connected to
the body-mind complex as he would in the waking.

स वा एष एतस्मिन्सम्प्रसादे रत्वा चरित्वा दृष्ट्वैव पुण्यं च पापं च ।

Bhashya select passages:  दृष्ट्वैव न कृत्वेत्यर्थः, पुण्यं च पुण्यफलम् ,
पापं च पापफलम् ; न तु पुण्यपापयोः साक्षाद्दर्शनमस्तीत्यवोचाम ; तस्मात् न
पुण्यपापाभ्यामनुबद्धः ; यो हि करोति पुण्यपापे, स ताभ्यामनुबध्यते ; न हि
दर्शनमात्रेण तदनुबद्धः स्यात् ।    .....

 ननु स्वप्ने न करोति पुण्यपापे तयोः फलमेव पश्यतीति कथमवगम्यते ? यथा जागरिते
तथा करोत्येव स्वप्नेऽपि, तुल्यत्वाद्दर्शनस्य — इत्यत आह — सः आत्मा, यत्
किञ्चित् तत्र स्वप्ने पश्यति पुण्यपापफलम् , अनन्वागतः अननुबद्धः तेन दृष्टेन
भवति, नैव अनुबद्धो भवति ; यदि हि स्वप्ने कृतमेव तेन स्यात् , तेन अनुबध्येत
; स्वप्नादुत्थितोऽपि समन्वागतः स्यात् ; न च तत् लोके — स्वप्नकृतकर्मणा
अन्वागतत्वप्रसिद्धिः ; न हि स्वप्नकृतेन आगसा आगस्कारिणमात्मानं मन्यते
कश्चित् ; न च स्वप्नदृश आगः श्रुत्वा लोकः तं गर्हति परिहरति वा ; अतः
अनन्वागत एव तेन भवति ; तस्मात् स्वप्ने कुर्वन्निव उपलभ्यते, न तु क्रिया
अस्ति परमार्थतः ; ‘उतेव स्त्रीभिः सह मोदमानः’ (बृ. उ. ४ । ३ । १३)
श्लोक उक्तः ; आख्यातारश्च स्वप्नस्य सह इव - शब्देन आचक्षते — हस्तिनोऽद्य
घटीकृताः धावन्तीव मया दृष्टा इति । अतो न तस्य कर्तृत्वमिति । कथं
पुनरस्याकर्तृत्वमिति — कार्यकरणैर्मूर्तैः संश्लेषः मूर्तस्य, स तु
क्रियाहेतुर्दृष्टः ; न ह्यमूर्तः कश्चित् क्रियावान् दृश्यते ; अमूर्तश्च
आत्मा, अतोऽसङ्गः ; यस्माच्च असङ्गोऽयं पुरुषः, तस्मात् अनन्वागतः तेन
स्वप्नदृष्टेन ; अत एव न क्रियाकर्तृत्वमस्य कथञ्चिदुपपद्यते ;
कार्यकरणसंश्लेषेण हि कर्तृत्वं स्यात् ; स च संश्लेषः सङ्गः अस्य नास्ति, यतः
असङ्गो ह्ययं पुरुषः ; तस्मात् अमृतः । एवमेव एतत् याज्ञवल्क्य ; सोऽहं भगवते
सहस्रं ददामि ; अत ऊर्ध्वं विमोक्षायैव ब्रूहि ; मोक्षपदार्थैकदेशस्य
कर्मप्रविवेकस्य सम्यग्दर्शितत्वात् ; अत ऊर्ध्वं विमोक्षायैव ब्रूहीति ॥

Swami Madhavananda's translation:

Mantra:  15. After enjoying himself and roaming, and
merely seeing (the results of) good and evil (in
dreams), he (stays) in a state of profound sleep,
and comes back in the inverse order to his former
condition, the dream state. He is untouched by
whatever he sees in that state, for this infinite
being is unattached. 'It is just so, Yajiiavalkya.
I give you a thousand (cows), sir.
Please iftstruct me further about liberation


i.e. experiencing
the fatigue due to it, and merely seeing, not
doing, good and evil, i.e. their results (pleasure and
pain). We have already said (p. 633) that good and
evil cannot be directly visualised. Hence he is not
fettered by them. Only one who does good and evil
is so fettered ; one certainly cannot come under their
binding influence by merely seeing them. Therefore,
being identified with dreams, the self transcends death
also, not merely its forms. Hence death cannot be urged
to be its nature. Were it so, the self would be
doing things in dreams ; but it does not. If activity
be the .nature of the self, it will never attain Liberation ;
but it is not, for it is absent in dreams. Hence the·
self can get rid of death in the form of good and evil.
Objection : But is not activity its nature in the·
waking state ?
Reply : No, that is due to its limiting adjuncts,
the intellect etc. This has been proved on the ground
of apparent activity from the text, 'It thinks, as it
.were, and shakes. as it were' (IV. iii. 7).

It may be asked. how is one to know that a man
does not do good and evil in dreams, but merely sees
their results? Rather the presumption is that as he
does good and evil in the waking state, so he does
them in the dream state also, for the experience is the
same in both cases. This is being answered: He, the
self, is untouched by whatever results of good and evil
he sees in that dream state. If he actually did anything
in dreams, he would be bound by it ; and it
would pursue him even after he woke up. But it is
not known in everyday life that he is pursued by deeds
done in dreams. Nobody considers himself a sinner
oil account of sins committed in dreams ; nor do people
who have heard of them condemn or shun him. Therefore
he is certinly untouched by them. Hence he
only appears to be doing things in dreams, but actually
there is no activity. The verse has been quoted: 'He
seems to be enjoying himself in the company of
;women' (IV. iii. 13). And those who describe their
dream experiences use the words 'as if' in this connec-
tion, as. for instance, 'I saw to-day as if a herd ot
elephants was running.' Therefore the self has no
activity (in dreams).
How is it that it has no activity? (This is being
explained:) We see that an action is caused by the
contact of the body and organs, which have form,
with something else that has form. We never see a
formless thing being active ; and the self is formless,
hence it is unattached. And because this self is unattached,
it is untouched by what it sees in dreams.
Therefore we cannt>t by any means attribute activity
to it, since activity proceeds from the contact of the
body and organs, and that contact is non-existent for
the self, for this infinite being (self) is unattached.


On Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 2:35 AM Kuntimaddi Sadananda via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> PraNAms
> As I understand, the dream is expression of suppressions and oppressions
> in the waking state forming the requisite vasanaas. If the activities in
> the dream are immoral, it therefore indicates that the mind had those
> suppressed thoughts in the past.
> If one wakes up and recognizes those dreams, it means that their
> impressions are strong.
> Hence it is important to purify the mind so that the mind is free from
> those thoughts that pulls one down. One best suggestion that I can make,
> and that also works for me is to think of the Lord before you go to sleep
> offering all the actions of the day at this feet.
> And think of Him again in the morning when one gets up for giving you one
> more day to do duties that can be offered to Him - meaning the dharmic
> duties. niyatam kuru - is the instruction - Do your obligatory duties.
> That way the mind gets slowly purified and most of the dreams will be of
> satvic nature.
> In essence, mind needs to be purified from the past impressions.
> Hari Om!Sadananda
>     On Sunday, June 20, 2021, 03:08:44 AM EDT, Jaldhar H. Vyas via
> Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>  On Mon, 14 Jun 2021, Kaushik Chevendra wrote:
> > namaste sir.Sir,is there a sin in dreams sir? if one commits a mistake
> in a
> > dream should he perform a penance?
> > i have searched in the smriti texts sir,but there has been no mention of
> > penance for a dream.
> > But says that a sin committed mentally too,needs a penance.But in the
> dream
> > we arent completely aware  sir,so is it a mental sin?
> Kaushika asked me this question but in the recent fuss I didn't answer
> sorry.  I'm posting to the list because I'd like to check if other members
> agree with my answer which is:
> Just as the rope can appear to be a snake, if some sin happens in a dream
> and the dreamer believes it is real then he should make a prayaschitta for
> it.  But if he knows it is just a dream, then he as the creator of that
> dream world can absolve himself of any wrongdoing.
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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