Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

The Dream Problem
Part 3

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 2

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

4. DREAMER: Of the dream world it is true that it disappears when I am awakened, but, I cannot believe that the waking world ceases to exist when I withdraw from it.

SAGE: When you wake up, why do you call this world a dream, a creation of your mind, having no real existence? Because when you wake up, the nature of this world becomes clear to you and you believe that it was in your mind only. Why do you believe so? Simply because you do not see the dream world in your waking state and conclude that had the dream been real, it would not have disappeared on waking. Now, why don’t you apply the same reasoning here and say, that as the waking world is not to be seen now, it must have no real existence. In reality, it is so, but the charm of your own Maya or ignorance has put you under the illusion that the creators and seers (drishtas) are many, and, when the creator and seer in you is here, other creators and seers are creating and seeing the other world. This wrong impression (kalpana) is very difficult to remove. You may believe in the real and independent existence of both the worlds as the theosophists and occultists do, but to understand that both are unreal and appearances only is almost impossible unless you are awakened into the Ultimate Reality. Till then, you will have to see both the worlds real as long as they last.

5. DREAMER: But surely, you will allow that all things animate and inanimate that are here before me, are copies or reflections of what I have seen, heard, or, experienced, in my waking world including yourself. Of course, I never saw you in person in my waking state, but I had an idea of yourself in my mind because I am a constant reader of your book. My impression is that my own ideas or thoughts of the waking state are warp and woof of this scene that exists in my mind only and has no separate or independent existence of its own. It is all an illusion and the figures are mere phantoms of the persons of the waking state.

SAGE: It is exactly as you say for a gnani or knower of the Ultimate Truth, but to you, a knower of the relative truth only, it is as real as the waking world. Touch anything you like, dissect or analyze it, and, you will find it here exactly what it was in your waking state. Even the so-called natural laws operating here are the same. So long as you are not awakened, you cannot call this unreal, and, your waking world, a real existence. Each is real as long as it lasts. Ask any one of the creatures here and none will admit his non-existence. From the standpoint of the Absolute, however, both worlds are unreal or mental creations.

6. DREAMER: But, I believe I am a knower of Truth inasmuch as I am conscious that it is my dream and exists in my mind only, and, when I will wake up everything here will disappear.

SAGE: Your knowledge that it is a dream is yet a relative one, being the result of a partial revival of your memory of the waking state. You have been studying about the unreality of the world in your waking state and constantly pondering upon this question. The impressions (sanskaras) of such thoughts existing in your mind are revived here to some extent, and, therefore, you call it a dream. You are not yet certain and cannot be so as long as you believe that your waking state is real. Now, if you are certain that it is unreal and is a dream, you must also know that your waking state body, which you think is real, is lying comfortably safe at this moment in your bedroom, and, what you see here are simply thought forms and have no real existence. Can you drown yourself in the river here and do away with this false dream body of yours? No, you can’t do it, as I see you shudder at the very idea of committing suicide. Why can’t you do it? It is due to your attachment (adhyas) to this dream body that you believe to be real. Your attachment to it is so strong that you think that the pain caused to this body and its death, will give pain to and cause the death of your real self. In the waking state also, you and all so-called vachik gnanis who have only heard from others that the world is a dream, have like attachment to their personalities of the waking state. Thus, your knowledge that it is your dream and all others are your dream creatures is not true knowledge. You are only dreaming of the unreality of this world. And, further, you have a desire (vasna) to convince others that it is your dream when you know that they have no real existence. These two factors, personality and desire, are yet in your way as obstacles to right knowledge. It is true that it is your dream and you are the creator of this world, but, so long as you have ignorance (avidya) in any degree whatsoever, you cannot say that you are its creator, nor can you escape from the laws operating in the plane. Put your hand in the fire of this world and you will experience pain and burn your fingers exactly in the same way as in your waking state. It is the result of avidya or Maya that is keeping you so much attached to this false personality, and, so strong is this attachment that you do not want to part with your personality. This attachment (adhyas) you have transmitted to the beings created by you, the dream creatures, that each of them has, therefore, a firm conviction of his being an independent and separate entity. This is the reason that your own dream creatures do not believe in your assertion that you are their creator and that they are merely created beings.

Your dream creatures, both here and in your waking world, can be made to believe in your preaching (updesh), if you show them any miracles or facts that are beyond their poor intellect. Make the dead alive as Lord Christ did, show them the whole universe in your mouth as Sri Krishna did, or, show them some hypnotic performance as the yogis and occultists do, and, the great majority of them will believe your being the creator of the world, their God. But, the moment you preach to them the Ultimate Truth and say that none of them exists as a separate personality, they will lose all faith in you and will even try to kill you as was done in the case of Mansur, Shamstabriz, Jesus Christ, and, other knowers of the Absolute Truth.

The dream creatures may believe in the non-existence of your personality, but, never for an instant, will they admit the non-existence of their own personalities. The love with one’s own personality, both here and in your waking state, is so great that one would gladly exchange fortune, position in life, family relations, and, even name, but, one would be loath to exchange one’s personality with another. Even when offered to be made emperor of the world, would a man stick to his own personality rather than assume that of the Emperor whose position he is offered.

If you ever think of founding a new religion and wish it to be one of universal interest, always preach dualism, or better, pantheism, and say that everybody has an independent, separate, and, everlasting personality (ego), and, that cessation of a dream does not result in the disappearance of any one of the dream creatures. Even your own dream creatures will not believe that yours as well as their real or original self is one and the same, lying comfortably in bed, free from the worries and troubles of this world of dream.

7. DREAMER: You are right in saying that I do not want my dream body to be injured or killed and indeed have a strong love with this personality in spite of my knowledge that it is a dream, but, if I do commit suicide here, will I be awakened?

SAGE: No, you will not be awakened, but you will have another dream (supnantar) where you will lose even so much of knowledge that it is a dream. Unless you attain to the highest state of knowledge, suicide of this false body cannot save you from further dreaming. When you will acquire the highest state, you will never think of suicide because you will then know that the present body is bound to exist as long as the effects or reactions of your prarabdha karma last.

8. DREAMER: What are the prarabdha karmas and how am I to escape from their effects?

SAGE: All the actions or deeds that you do, mentally and physically, leave behind invisible impressions (sanskaras) as desires (vasnas) on your mind where they are retained, and, the moment you are unaware, i.e., you come under the influence of avidya, they are let loose or become free to operate. The dream world is the result of your karmas of the waking state. During your waking state, your conscious mind keeps a sort of control over these sanskaras and they remain suppressed, but, the moment you go to sleep and thus give up yourself to avidya, the censor of your conscious control is removed and each of your suppressed desires tries to come out to express itself, but, your instinctive or subconscious mind allows only a certain number of them to come out and the dream is the result of those impressions called prarabdha karmas. The impressions of karmas that remain behind are called sanchit karmas. You can efface the impressions of sanchit karmas by knowledge (gnana) but the prarabdha karmas must act till exhausted and you have to suffer the consequences even if you know why you are suffering. Of course, after you attain gnana, you will stop creating impressions of future (agamic) karmas.

9. DREAMER: It appears true that this dream world is the result of my prarabdha karmas, but, whose karmas create the waking world and can he, like myself, be seen and addressed to as a separate personality in the waking world?

SAGE: The creator of that world and of this as well as of all other worlds is one. He is called Brahma or Universal Mind. It is his action or karma that is the cause of all creations. But, in his case, it is not called karma but will, the highest phase of vasna or desire that creates the world. He is present in every created being and, in its turn, every creature of his dream, creates its own world on the same model. As a rule Brahma, the original creator, remains unmanifested, but sometimes he manifests himself in any of his created beings in the waking world in the same way as he is manifesting himself at this moment in you, but, there too, his dream creatures do not believe in his being their creator unless he shows siddhis or extraordinary feats of nature. In the waking world, he has manifested many a time in the form of avatara such as Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, and, others, and, even now there are manifestations of him, viz., the gnanis, who know that the creator is in them. But, as they are not yogis, people do not believe in what they say just as your dream creatures do not believe in your being their creator.

Read Part 4

Page last updated: 30-Sep-2012