Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

The Dream Problem
Part 4

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 3

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

10. DREAMER: It follows then that updesh or preaching is ineffective and it is no use trying to convince others of the truth one has found himself. Why, do then, so many religious leaders and even prophets exert themselves so much in converting everyone to their own faith that they believe to be the only right creed?

SAGE: A knower of the Ultimate Truth, or puran jnani, never preaches nor tries to convert people into his own religion or creed. He sees every religion as his own. The knowledge simply emanates from him automatically (subhavic) as light flows from the sun without any regard as to who should and who should not be illumined by it. It falls equally on all. If the object upon which the light falls is well polished (shudh), free from all kinds of impurities and dirt (mal), and is not shaky or moving (vikshipt), it receives the light in full and reflects it as well. Like the sun, a puran gnani remains where he is. It is only a vachik gnani or half wise who goes about preaching all over the world, starts a new creed, and, tries to increase the number of his followers. A puran gnani never does such things. The earnest desire in a disciple to learn the Truth creates a guru for the disciple in the same way as your desire has created me. A thirsty man goes to the well and not the well to the thirsty.

11. DREAMER: How can a silent (maun) guru benefit his disciples? He may be a puran gnani, a devata, or, Brahma himself, but, unless he talks and gives updesh, he cannot communicate the knowledge to others.

SAGE: It is not at all impossible. Go and see in the Hindu temples where the ever silent stony image (murti), the representative of God, gives no updesh to any one, and, yet thousands of men are benefited by the invisible rays of love (bhakti) and knowledge (gnana) issuing from the so-called idol.

12. DREAMER: In such cases, it is due to the follower’s own faith, love (bhakti or bhavan), in the devata whom he devotedly worships.

SAGE: And the same occurs exactly when a talkative guru preaches to his disciples. Let the guru preach before an assembly of idiots or children or negatively hostile persons and he will never succeed in attracting a single person towards him from amongst the audience.

13. DREAMER: If it is no use telling my dream creatures of the Truth that I have come to know, how will they, poor ignorant creatures, know the truth that it is a dream?

SAGE: Try as much as you can, but you will never succeed in convincing them by simple arguments and reasoning. You should convince your own self and reach the highest stage of knowledge and then all of them will be convinced, as you know they are your own reflections or thought-forms. With the improvement of knowledge in you, they will also improve till you will find not a single ignorant (agyani) among the whole assembly of your dream creatures.

14. DREAMER: Then the ignorance (agnana) that is in me is also, in reality, not in me, but it is in my creator Brahma whose dream creature I am, and I can never be a gnani unless Brahma becomes a gnani.

SAGE: It is exactly as you say. The ignorance is not in your real self, the atman. It is the false ego or your kalpit personality, a creation of Maya sakti, which is agyani, and, not you, and, your created personality cannot be a gnani unless Brahma, its creator, is totally free from Maya. Brahma is in a higher state (bhumika) of gnana than you, but he too, is not altogether free from ignorance (avidya). If you want to supersede Brahma, then do away with the false personality. The underlying reality (adhistana) of Brahma and yourself is Satchitananda, the Paramatman, all pervading and unchanging. Remember that Brahma is the creator of your separate (parchhin) personality and not of your real self, the atman (soul), the self of all including Brahma. Give up this parchhin personality back to your creator Brahma and be free forever.

15. DREAMER: What is the difference between my dream body and that of the waking state?

SAGE: There is no difference whatever between the 2 bodies. Both are kalpit (mental) creations. If you go to sleep here and dream again, a swapnantar (sub-dream), the creating power (Brahma) in you will create a 3rd body like the present one.

16. DREAMER: What becomes of this dream body when I cease dreaming and go back to my waking state?

SAGE: nothing more or less than what happens when you leave the waking state. In your waking state, when you leave it altogether, that is what you call death. Your people burn or bury your body, but when you go to sleep, they let it remain and take care that nothing disturbs your sleep. And this is exactly what they do here when you die or go to sleep.

17. DREAMER: But this world disappears when I awaken.

SAGE: And so does your waking world disappear when you leave it. What proofs have you to offer that when you are here, the waking world exists and that your body is at this moment lying asleep in bed? None, but the testimony of others tell you when you go back that the waking world existed in your absence. It can never be your own experience. If you have to rely so much on other people’s testimony, then surely that of your dream creatures is also worth having. They too, when questioned on the subject, are sure to tell you that they do not disappear when you are here no more. The burning of your own body after death you can never see for yourself in the waking state. Your idea of death is derived from the fact that you see other people die and their bodies being burnt by their relatives. The same I can show you here. Look towards yonder river and the burning ghats near it. There, you see people are piling wood over the dead bodies to burn them. On the road, you see many are carrying dead bodies on their shoulders to the burning ghat. What other proofs do you want to be convinced of the fact that everything here is taking place exactly in the same manner as in your waking state? You infer it to be a dream when you wake up, but you can by no means prove here that it is unreal and that your waking world is real. On the other hand, when you are awakened into the Ultimate Reality, you will then know that you neither ever sleep nor die. Everything is kalpit (mental) having its existence in the mind as long as the latter is in a state of activity (motion, vibration, flux or sfurn). When you are dreaming, there is no waking world existing anywhere and when you are awake there exists no dream world anywhere because in the Ultimate Reality there is nowhere in which they can exist. You will find this mystery solved when the sfurn (action) of your mind is stopped in the next dreamless sleep or death, and this is possible when you acquire the faculty of remaining conscious while you are in that state.

18. DREAMER: What is death and in what way does it differ from sleep?

SAGE: What you call death is nothing but a change from one dream to a different dream.

19. DREAMER: Is the after death state of all persons the same or different?

SAGE: As the dream of one person, for obvious reasons, is different from that of another, so the after-death state of each person or jiva is different. It is determined by the impressions or sanskaras of his karmas (deeds) during his preceding life dream. In their turn even the creatures of your dream sleep die and have their dreams, each differing from another. Now listen in detail to the after-death states of the jivas (persons) or dream creatures. They may be divided into 3 classes according to the degree of knowledge they possess: 1) Ignorant persons or agyani jivas. 2) Partial knowers of truth, half wise or knowers of relative truths or vachik gnanis, those who have known the truth by intellect only, and, 3) Puran gnanis, or knowers of the Absolute Truth, or, jivanmukta, who have realized the Truth.

When an ignorant or agyani jiva dies, he has no knowledge or consciousness that his previous state is changed just in the same way as when he goes to sleep, he does not know that he is dreaming, but, sees the dream world as a reality. He sees in his after-death state the same sort of world, meets the same sort of people, and, enjoys or suffers in the same way as he did before, his good or bad karmas in the previous life accentuating in some degree the pleasures and sufferings of his new life. Thus the after-death state of all agyanis is not alike. If a dozen people sleep in one room, each one will have his own dream world. The same is the case with agyani jivas after their death. A sinner will see a scene of hell and a pious or good man, will find himself in heaven, very much like the one depicted in religious books that he has read and followed. An atheist or materialist, who believes in no existence after death, will see nothingness or darkness. He will transform himself into a being devoid of all senses and mind like the lowest forms of animal life. A devotee (bhakti) of any deity (devata) will find himself in the dream world (loka) of his god (Ishtdeva) and enjoy the beautiful scenery of that plane. Thus every agyani jiva will create his own world akin to a dream without knowing that it is his own creation and enjoy or suffer as long as the impulsive force (vaiga) of his good or bad karma lasts. In this way, the circle of birth and death or of transmigration from one existence to another will continue as long as the avidya (ignorance) will last.

When a vachik gnani, half-wise or partial knower of Truth dies, he too, finds himself in a plane determined by his karmas where he knows that his previous sate was a dream but he believes his new plane of existence to be as real as your waking state appears to you when you wake up from a dream. Gradually, however, as he advances along the path of knowledge to higher and higher states, this illusion disappears till he reaches the highest loka (world) of Brahma where he learns that all his previous states were mere dreams or mental creations and that similarly, the present one also is nothing but a dream.

The after-death state of a puran or knower of the Ultimate Truth, who has reached the highest stage or bhumika of knowledge, and has realized in this life, that all planes of existence from the lowest to the highest are mental (kalpit), ends in awakening into the Ultimate Reality that is beyond all planes of creation.

Read Part 5

Page last updated: 30-Sep-2012