Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

The Dream Problem
Part 13

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 12

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



DREAMER: You are perfectly right in saying that I am not yet fit to learn yoga, as I am not quite free from doubts. The great difficulty is that when I am in your presence, I feel quite convinced of what you say and doubts seldom arise in my mind, but when I am alone, especially in my waking state, I am overwhelmed with doubts, and they are mainly concerning the dream state which in spite of your having proved it to be unreal, still appears to me as real as the waking state. The transient and illusory nature of the dream I only realize when I return to the waking state and the great wonder is that this has been going on repeatedly every night when I go to sleep.

 Quite recently, I had a dream that was very perplexing and which proved clearly that my knowledge of the nature of dream is yet very defective. In that dream, while sitting in my room, a friend well-known to me came in with a pistol in his hand and addressed me thus: ‘I have come to kill you in retaliation for what you did last night in my dream. I had a quarrel with you and you killed me. I know that it was a dream and nothing really happened, but as you have been proving to the world that there is no difference between the dream and the waking state worlds, I have come to take my revenge for what you did to me in my dream. When you are certain that this is also a dream, why are you afraid of being killed?’

Now, in spite of my knowledge that his threat was also a dream, I began to remonstrate and argue with him thinking how could he be standing there talking if he had been killed by me last night? He did not pay any heed to my entreaties and raised his pistol to kill me. I ran out of the room to save my life, being followed by him, till I woke up and found myself lying in bed. This shows that the problem of dream is yet a mystery and not fully realized by me.

SAGE: It will continue a mystery so long as you do not know the Ultimate Truth and realize that your real self is neither the body nor the mind. Both the dream and the waking worlds are mere states of consciousness. They have no existence in Reality, but only appear to you real because of your ignorance. The knowledge of the Ultimate Truth only will remove this ignorance.

DREAMER: Tell me what is it that prevents me in the realization of Truth. You have been teaching me about it and I have complete and implicit faith in you. Also, I have read the same as you say in the Upanishads and other scriptures that I also believe as true, yet I do not feel quite convinced.

SAGE: What prevents you from realizing the Truth is your intellect. And what will, in the end, help you in the realization is also the same – the intellect. Little children, in whom the intellect is not yet developed, and those grown-up people in whom the intellect is suppressed by the strong emotion of love or devotion, implicitly believe in what they are taught or told by their elders or teachers. They never raise any questions nor ask for proofs for what they are told. For instance, when it is pointed out or suggested to a child that a particular woman is its mother, it calls her its mother and loves her as such. If every woman that is seen by the child is suggested to it as its mother, it will call all the women in the world ‘mother’ and love them. As the child grows older and the intellect begins to manifest in him, he would not so blindly believe in what he is told by others. He will raise doubts in almost everything he is asked to believe. If a child is removed from its parents soon after birth and brought up elsewhere, away from the parents, he will not recognize them if brought home at the ripe age of 16 or over. He will have his doubts, and unless his doubts are removed, he will not love his parent to the same extent as he would have done if brought up by them.

There have been many such instances especially in countries where secret marriages are common. To impress this point more forcibly upon your mind and to show you how the intellect interferes, as well as helps, in the knowledge of the Ultimate Truth, I tell you the story of a girl whose parents were very rich. They died when their only daughter was yet a minor. They left their will with instructions to friends (under whose guardianship the girl was brought up) to look after her education and see that the man to whom she was married was a suitable match for her in rank and position. Now, it so happened that the girl, while reading in the school, fell in love with a man who was an ordinary person and not her equal in position. When her guardians knew this fact, they showed her the will of her parents and said that they had already selected another suitable husband for her. On hearing this, the girl was very much disappointed and acting on the advice of her lover, secretly married him. As the result of this union, a boy was born whom the girl gave over to another person without the knowledge of her guardians. She thought that when she would attain her majority, she would be in a position to make the marriage public and receive back her child.

The man to whom the child was entrusted, left the place and gave the child to some other person in return of a sum of money. After some years, the man, whom the girl’s guardians had selected for her marriage, died of some disease, and as the girl had now attained majority, they consulted her about her marriage when as was evident, she told them that she would marry the man whom she had already married secretly. Her guardians made no objection to it and the marriage was then celebrated publicly.

Thus, the husband and wife began to live a rich and easy life. They now made a search for their child but no trace was found of the boy. Their only hope remained now in getting another child, but years passed on and they had no more issue. Both of them wanted to have children, especially the lady who was pining to have a child. As they had inherited a large estate and were very rich, they thought of adopting a son. With this object they advertised for a boy page in many newspapers and visited many orphanages from where they thought they might be able to get a suitable boy.

 A large number of boys were brought to the lady in response to the advertisement out of which she selected one she liked and employed him as her page. This boy was in reality her own child, but neither the boy nor the lady knew of this fact. As time passed on, the love between the two grew so strong that the boy loved the lady as his mother and the lady loved the boy as her son. Yet the lady was anxious to find out her own child and kept on her search for it. The boy, on the other hand, desired to find his parents. Both continued their search independent of each other for years without success.

One day, the man in whose care the lady had first entrusted the child came there and happened to see the page boy. The man recognized the boy and told the lady that page had exactly the same features as her child and that he was almost certain that it was that very child. The lady was much pleased to hear it and wished with all her heart that the man’s statement may be right, but her intellect did not accept the assertion of the old man and wanted decisive proofs. The boy was also desirous of finding out his parents and therefore the group of three, viz., the lady, the page boy, and the old man, started investigation.

The man was promised a big reward for his troubles. After years of search, they discovered the woman under whose care the boy was placed. This woman was mentally deranged and was unable to tell where she got the child from, nor could she say whether the boy was her own or somebody else’s child. This put a check to their further enquiries. Although the subsequent events were all verified and found true, but the one missing link in the chain of proofs was enough to create doubt in the lady’s mind. The lady brought the poor mad woman to her house and placed her under competent doctors, specialists in mental diseases, to look after and treat her. In this state of suspense, the mother and son lived for a long time and although they were living and loving each other as if they were really mother and child, yet they wanted the old woman to recover and tell them the truth.

This is exactly the position in which you and your fellow beings possessing intellect are placed regarding the Ultimate Truth. You are already living with and loving the Truth, but the mad woman, your intellect, requires being cured or made clear to remove all doubts. The moment the intellect is purified and cleared of all doubts, it will recover its original phase or the state of consciousness called intuition (anubhava), when you will have direct cognition of Truth without the help of proofs, reason, or logic, in the same way as a child believes in things by its power of instinct and never raises questions about what he is told by its parents.

Read Part 14

Page last updated: 22-Sep-2013