Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

The Dream Problem
Part 18

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 17

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



(Not included in the 3 dialogues of the Dreamer and Vasishta)

Some of your psychoanalysts claim to have discovered the cause of dream creation in the suppressed desires of the dreamer. But can they create dreams, as they like, by suppressing desires? No, they cannot do that which means that their analysis of dreams and their cause is yet defective. They are correct to state that desires stimulate or help the dream creation, but what supplies the material out of which they are made and what turns the desires into actual expression, making the dreamer see his own suppressed desires materialized and appearing to him as real, they do not know. This creative power is as effective in creating dreams as electricity is in combining the 2 gases into water. The chemist may keep the 2 gases mixed in a tube, but they will not form water until an electrical current is passed into them. Similarly, you may suppress desires as much as you like, but they will not create dreams until the creative power in you is brought into action.

You may try the experiment upon yourself. When lying in bed, just before going to sleep, concentrate your mind or meditate on any of your cherished suppressed desires, which you could not realize in the waking state because of their impracticability. For instance, contemplate that you are an emperor of the world sitting upon a throne with a crown on your head. You will notice that so long as you are self-conscious and do not leave your consciousness of the waking state and are only thinking of it, your desire will remain as a thought in your mind, as in day-dreaming, but the moment you forget yourself and thereby let the ignorance prevail upon you, not only your suppressed desires, but the whole store of your desires of past, present, and even of future lives, will come into play and you may have such dreams which you never wanted to see. The desires supply the impulse, but the creator of the dream is some other power in you, which operates when your ignorance, the opposite of knowledge, or to express it in other words, your consort, the Maya, is present. Without this, your mate or other half, the creative power in you, is incapable of creating the world of dream just as a man without the help of a woman cannot procreate in the waking world. To this combined creative principle, male-female, is given the name of Mayavasisht Brahman, or Brahman. This is the explanation of the dream creation given by the yogis who have control over their mind and can create or stop dreams at will.

Now, in order to understand the nature and functions of your psychic faculties, and find out what in you sleeps, dreams, or wakes up, let us proceed with a thorough and complete analysis of your personality or apparent self. The personality, as it appears to you and to all other creatures, both in the waking and dream worlds, which you erroneously call your ‘I’, and which in reality or from the viewpoint of the Absolute, is as unreal as the appearance of the snake in the rope, is a composite thing divisible into 2 obvious parts.

DREAMER: Pardon me for interrupting you here. What is the use in wasting our time over studying and analyzing a thing that has no real existence?

SAGE: The personality, undoubtedly, has no real existence for those who are awakened and have known and realized the underlying Reality. For those who are yet under illusion and have not seen the rope, the appearance of a snake is, to all intents and purposes, a reality. Assuming, therefore, that whatever you see or perceive by your senses is real, let us take up the analysis of your personality. Without such an assumption, no answers to your questions can be given. This is called the method of adhyaropa in Vedanta philosophy and there are 2 ways of employing it. The one is to believe in the ideal of the unknown Reality taking the scriptures as true and start analyzing everything that comes within the cognizance of the senses and comparing it with the given ideal. If the thing analyzed answers the ideal in all particulars, it is the Reality sought for. If it does not answer the ideal, it is to be discarded as untrue. This is called the process of exclusion or neti neti, meaning ‘not this, not this’. This is rather a difficult process and its success depends upon your implicit faith in the authority of the scriptures. The other process of adhyaropa, in which you have to accept what you perceive already, will be most acceptable to you and all others having a non-philosophical mind.

DREAMER: Why should we not employ the third or logical method that the modern scientists or positive philosophers use in the investigation of Truth? They accept nothing as given and count all as demanding proof.

SAGE: Should we adopt this method that you call logical? We will have to define one unknown by means of another unknown and come to the same result as the positivists have reached regarding the Ultimate Reality. By their analysis, they at first found that matter was the Ultimate Reality and there existed nothing but matter. Then they discovered the existence of energy or force, which is just as real as the matter, and their definition of Reality stands as follows: ‘Matter is that from which proceeds the change called energy and energy is the change which proceeds from matter.’

Foreseeing such a result, the eastern philosophers adopted the method of adhyaropa that lays down that in the enquiry of anything unknown, we must start from some sort of foundation, that is, something must be recognized as true till it is proved to be otherwise. Even in the science of mathematics, we give a supposed value to the unknown X, and when its real value is found, the supposed one is discarded.

Following then the method of adhyaropa and thereby assuming that what we know already by intellect and perceive by the senses is real, let us now analyze your personality or the apparent self that the majority of men believe sleeps, dreams, and wakes up. As already stated, the personality is divisible into two obvious parts, the visible material body or sthula sharira, and the invisible subtle body or sukshma sharira. The composition of the visible material body and the part it plays during sleep, dream, and waking states are well known to you. They are the same as the material scientists, the chemists, and anatomists have discovered. But in the description of the nature and functions of the subtle body or psyche, the psychologists differ widely from one another, because it is invisible and cannot be dissected or analyzed like the physical body and its component parts cannot be cognized by the senses. This has, therefore, given rise to many different schools among the modern psychoanalysts. If you put their results to the scientific test of synthesis, you will discover that the majority of them cannot stand the test. The error of the school that declares that suppressed desires are the cause of dreams, I have already pointed out to you.

The analysis of the personality made by the yogis or practical Vedantists, you will find correct by the scientific test of synthesis. The physical body, with the organs of the senses, is according to their analysis, nothing but an instrument of the psyche to manifest itself and gain the knowledge of the objective world. It is a creation of mana (mind), one of the faculties of the psyche, and you have experienced yourself that when the physical body of the waking state becomes inactive during sleep, the mana creates another body for the psyche to work with during the dream state and this dream body and the senses are exactly of the same pattern as those of the waking state. The yogis have further found out that when the physical body passes into that state of sleep called death, the psyche remains active and creates another body to manifest itself. So long as the psyche does not disappear or return into its source, it continues to created new bodies for itself. The material scientists, whose knowledge is confined to the physical body alone, do not believe in the survival of the psyche and say that nothing remains after the death of the physical body. Recently however, a class of scientific workers under the name of Psychic Research Society has to a great extent confirmed experiments and demonstrations arrived at by the Indian yogis.

Regarding the chemical composition of the physical body, you need not bother your head in remembering the multitudes of names that the chemists have coined to represent the various elements of which the body is composed. The yogis have simplified the matter and have divided all material objects into 4 classes or phases in which they appear to the senses. These are solid, liquid, gaseous, and ethereal. About the functions of the various parts and organs of the physical body, the descriptions of the yogis tally with those of the scientific physiologists. The bones and flesh form the framework to support the many organs of senses and to carry the body from place to place. Of the internal organs, the brain is the most important, being the master tool of the psyche. The heart and lungs are the instruments by means of which the psyche distributes life force or prana to every part of the body through the blood. The other organs such as the stomach, liver, etc., are concerned in digesting food and supplying nutriment to the blood and through it to all parts of the body.


In Answer To The 14 Points By Indian Writers [1]

1. This part is missing from the manuscript that was found in the 1960’s in the Theosophical Library in Chennai. If one does a search for The Dream Problem or the publisher, Practical Medicine, Delhi, on Google, mention is made of part of this book which was published in the early 1920’s, which I believe contains the above responses to the 14 Points by various Indian writers that responded to the Dreamer.


Now concluded

Page last updated: 05-Dec-2013