Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

The Dream Problem
Part 12

by Dr. R.V. Khedkar, edited by Ram Narayan


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The Dream Problem, by Dr. R. V. Khedgar, edited by Ram Narayan, published 1922 by Practical Medicine, Delhi.

Read Part 11

(Compiled from the Dreamer’s notebook and elucidated by the editor)



There is a close connection between the breathing process and mental action. With the stoppage of the mind, the breathing also stops. If you watch a sleeping man, you will notice a gradual slowing down of his breathing till it stops altogether for a few moments and that is the only time when all mental actions stop and the person is in a state of dreamless sleep. This period of total silence is, as a rule, so short that many people think that during sleep, they are never free from dreaming. This state of complete inaction or silence comes to every healthy sleeper and he confirms or testifies its occurrence by saying on awakening that he slept so soundly that he was not aware of anything. In ill health, the mind is sometimes so disturbed that the sleeper is seldom free from dreaming and then he does not feel refreshed after such a sleep. What occurs in this state of dreamless sleep is that both thinking and breathing processes stop simultaneously and an ordinary person, who has not learned the art of controlling his breath and mind, feels a choking sensation that sets both his breath and mind to work again. He cannot, therefore, stay long in this state of perfect silence. But yogis, who acquire by practice the control over their breathing process and go into this state consciously, can stay in it for very long periods, even for centuries. They call it samadhi and feel in it great bliss.

DREAMER: When the yogis go into this state consciously and find it so blissful, why do they return from it at all?

SAGE: The yoga practice that keeps yogis conscious in the state of dreamless sleep is a mechanical process learnt by regulation of breathing and concentration of mind. It gives them power of control by which they can stop the mental action and hold their breath for long periods without dying. Thus, they can remain in this state of silence or samadhi and enjoy the bliss of being one with the cosmic consciousness. But when they are out of it and come back to their waking or dream state, they undergo the ordinary pains and pleasures of life; in fact all its miseries like other people in accordance with the laws of karma. What brings them back is their ignorance of the Ultimate Truth and the desire of knowing it. If a yogi, before going into samadhi has realized the Ultimate Truth and knows that the extinction of his separate personality or false self is not the death of his real self, the atman, and by this knowledge all his desires are annihilated, he would not return from samadhi any more and attain the final release from the states of dreaming and waking or birth and rebirth.

DREAMER: Teach me the yoga practice which will keep me conscious during sushupti and I think I will not return from that state because I am convinced that I, my real self, the atman, never dies. I do not care if my false self, the separate personality, disappears with the stoppage of mental action nor have I any more desire of dreaming and waking.

SAGE: You are not yet advanced to learn the yoga practice with a view to be awakened into the Ultimate Reality. You have not yet realized even this much that this dream world is your own mental creation. You call it a dream at my suggestion and know it unreal by intellect only, not by realization. Try as much as you can, you cannot stop or alter your dream. If a lion appears here, you are sure to run away in fear and call for help; or if your body be put into the fire here, you will resist and cry in spite of your intellectual conviction that this body is not your real self and that there is neither lion nor fire actually present.

Are you ready to undergo these tests both here and in the waking state world, which you have now known is as unreal as the dream world? No, you are not. So long as you have the least doubt unresolved regarding the reality of Atman and the unreality of both the dream and waking states, the practice of yoga will not help in awakening you into the Ultimate Reality. By learning yoga, you may acquire some supernatural powers and may perform miracles in the eyes of your fellow beings such as healing the sick without any medicine, curing incurable diseases by mantras or prayers and mental suggestions, even to the extent of making the dead alive and doing other wonderful acts which might raise you to the dignity of a God in the estimation of your dream or waking state creatures. But, in the knowledge of the Absolute, you will remain as ignorant as other created beings in the world. I advise you, therefore, not to go in for yoga practice.

First, have all your doubts cleared and then you can learn the practice of yoga if you like, but I tell you that when you are fully convinced of the Absolute Truth and have realized it, you will not care to acquire powers or yoga siddhis. If I teach you yoga now, the powers that you will acquire will be a hindrance and will keep you back from the realization of the Ultimate Truth. The applause of the people to whom you will show your powers will elate you and strengthen your egotism (ahankara), which is the greatest obstacle in self-realization. I have seen many master yogis thus fall from the great heights in the path of knowledge. The numerous disciples and followers keep their gurus in the world of illusion while they themselves often pass over and attain liberation.

I have seen the miserable end of a great yogi who had acquired great siddhis (yoga powers) and had thereby attracted a crowd of disciples and followers to serve him. He was once crossing a barren country having no tree to give shelter to a traveller or any well from where to get water. The yogi got tired and felt very thirsty and seeing no shady place to take shelter under and no water to quench his thirst, he employed his yoga powers in creating what he wanted. He contemplated on a green shady grove and on a fresh water brook and there and then they appeared. After quenching his thirst, when he was sitting under the shade of a big tree, he thought of a bed to lie on and rest for a while and immediately the bed was there. While he was comfortably lying, a thought came to his mind that the place was lonely and that, if he went to sleep, a lion might come and kill him. With the thought of a lion, the brute appeared, and the yogi, forgetting all about his powers began to run followed by the lion till he was caught, torn to pieces, and eaten up. Thus ended the self created personality of the yogi, and when reborn, he did not know even this, that in his previous state he was a yogi. The same will be the end of your personality if I teach you yoga at this stage of your knowledge. Being possessed of yoga powers, you will use them upon your dream creatures to acquire mastery and domination, thus showing your superiority over them, and in doing this, you will bring on your own fall because the dream creatures are your own manifestation in different forms.

When a person ignorant of Reality acquires powers, mental or physical, he always tries to use them upon his brothers who do not possess such powers. What are your waking state creatures, the scientific materialists, doing? Having learnt the method of making bombs, machine guns, and airplanes, they are using these powerful implements against their weaker fellow beings for bringing the latter under their subjection and slavery. But these haughty persons, proud of their achievements, know not the ultimate result. Like that yogi, their own implements will be the cause of their destruction. They do not understand that by killing their fellow creatures, they are killing themselves.

Some ignorant but good-hearted people in the world wonder why God, who is all-powerful, does not punish the murderers and other criminals. The explanation is simple for one who understands and is wide-awake but incomprehensible to one who is ignorant and asleep. God sees no crime nor criminal anywhere in His Universe just as the sun sees no darkness anywhere in his solar system. God sees all beings as Himself or His own manifestation. If one part of your body is diseased and interferes in the sound working of other parts, you don’t destroy it but try to heal it. When your tongue comes between your teeth and is bitten, whom will you punish? Will you knock out your own teeth? No, because you know that they are to you as dear as the tongue. In the case of the two sons of the same father fighting together, it may be that the justice loving father may punish one whom he finds at fault, but when the war is going on inside one’s own body, there is no question of punishment. Love or sympathy is the only means to stop the disturbance. Your relation with God is not even like that of a son with his father, but you are God yourself.


Read Part 13

Page last updated: 17-May-2013