Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

The Dream Problem
Part 8

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


flower picture


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

Read Part 7

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

33. DREAMER: Suggestion is a powerful force in the dream no doubt, because when you brought me to this place, there was no river to be seen nor any burning ghats, but the moment you made mention of them, they came into existence at once. In the waking world, such a thing never occurs. No one can create rivers or mountains by mere suggestion as you have done here.

SAGE: The suggestibility (kalpana) or hypnotic influence is a mental power and it is by virtue of this power that both the dream and the waking worlds are created. It is very much stronger here than in your waking state. The rule is that suggestibility increases in proportion to the depth of avidya or ignorance. A child may be made to believe in anything suggested to him more easily than a grown-up man. And a person in an hypnotized state, which is an induced sleep, is more readily influenced by suggestion than is a man in the waking state, while a person in full possession of his intellect can hardly be brought under the influence of suggestion. Thus, wherever ignorance is predominant, suggestion plays an important role. Hysteria a diseased state of mind, intoxication, love, fear, anger, and other conditions where intellect is subjugated and vasna (desire) is increased, are examples where suggestibility is very great. In fact, all creation is mental (kalpit), the result of suggestion. In your waking state also, all things are created by suggestion. When a child is born, he perceives quite a different world from the one perceived by an adult. A newly born babe sees no distinction between his own self who knows and the external objects known by him. How does he come to know that the moon that he daily tried to catch in his hands was thousands of miles away from him, and that the nurse whom he loved so dearly was not his mother? It is by virtue of the great power of suggestion that the child is made to distinguish between his subjective and objective natures. The first important suggestions come from the mother who communicates to the child knowledge regarding their separate existence, their mutual relationship, and her fondness for him. The next step is the suggestion of his name to him that helps him in distinguishing himself from others and creates for him a separate personality. The child not yet influenced by suggestion, speaks of himself in the 3rd person, and if asked, whose spoon he held in his hand, he will say, Rama’s or Vishnu’s (whatever his suggested name might be) and not ‘mine’. It is therefore clear that a child is brought up by suggestions, and when he grows up, he is nothing better than his parents and elders who were in their own turn nothing but mere bundles of suggestions. Such is the frail humanity ever moving round and round in the same vicious circle of suggestibility. The simple truth is that you are all in a hypnotized state, so to speak, and it requires a strong power of vichar (discrimination) and counter-suggestion in order to de-hypnotize you and bring you back to your original state. There is no limit to the power of suggestion. It is indeed the keystone or basis to the whole edifice of creation (rachna) of this and the waking world as well as of all other worlds (lokas).

The suggestions are either hetero, received from others, or auto, suggested by one’s own mind. This dream world, as it first appeared to you, was the result of autosuggestions of your own thoughts of the waking state. Now, the hetero-suggestions from me have changed it to some extent and the river and mountains that you see now have appeared at my suggestions. Suggestion is a powerful force in both creating a new world and altering the existing one.

Now in order that the suggestion be effectual, it is necessary that the suggesting personality or the personwho suggests must be superior in knowledge to the subject or the recipient. Your waking state creation also is based on the same principle. New creations are being enforced or added by superior and powerful minds and blindly accepted by inferior ones. The suggestibility in the inferior or ignorant minds is further strengthened by vasna (desire). The so-called new discoveries in science are nothing but kalpanas or mental creations brought to material points or what they call indisputable facts by the power of suggestions. For instance, the older physicians did not think of finding out specific germs for every disease, and as a matter of fact, in spite of their powerful microscopes, they could not actually see them. With the increase of bacteriomania, which implies a strong desire to find out germs for every conceivable disease, they are now on the road to create new germs by simple suggestion. One investigator does the experiment with a determined idea to see the germs and eventually does discover them under his microscope. The suggestion of this new discovery is then announced in the papers and if the first investigator be an accepted authority, others in the same line of work readily catch the suggestion and in turn see the germs under their microscopes also. Gradually, the suggestion gets such a strong hold on the people’s mind that the whole scientific world is, as it were, hypnotized and call the thing thus created as established truth.

34. DREAMER: I am quite convinced that creation, both of dream and of the waking world, is the result of kalpana or mental suggestion and that the latter is determined by vasna (desire), but to become nirvasnic or desireless is almost impossible. How can anyone be nirvasnic?

SAGE: It is indeed very difficult to be nirvasnic (desireless). Only a sannyasi that has renounced the world can reach such a state,and even among the sannyasis, one in a thousand succeeds in sarva tyaga (complete renunciation). But you must know that the only support of vasna is avidya (ignorance), and if you succeed in removing the latter by means of its opposite, vidya (knowledge), vasnas will die out themselves, having nothing to support them. When the avidya is gone and you have fully realized that it is a dream, you will no longer desire to enjoy the pleasures of the dream world. A man having no vasna is never influenced by suggestion and you will have no more dreaming and will ultimately awaken into the Supreme Reality.

35. DREAMER: I quite realize that the nature of the Ultimate Reality cannot be described in words and that it will only be known when I am actually awakened into it, but you can at least give me an idea or a mental conception of Reality by some familiar illustration or analogy.

SAGE: Yes, you can form an adequate idea by analogy but never take it as exactly representing the Reality. I relate to you an old illustration that had been the means of convincing the ancient sage Yagyavalka. Don’t take it as literally true in every respect. Still, it will help you just to form an idea of the nature of Satchitananda and the way in which creation emanates from it.

Conceive an infinite ocean of consciousness or anubhava as if it were a substance all-pervading like sunlight or ether (akasha). Call this ocean by the name of satchitananda, having the 3-fold qualities, sat (existence or being), chit (knowledge or consciousness), and ananda (bliss or happiness) in one, in the manner as sunlight has heat, light, and color. Now the Universal consciousness is as invisible as light yet as illuminating. You cannot see light unless it manifests itself by falling upon another substance. Sunlight you know, is diffused everywhere in the sky but you see it only when it falls upon and illuminates a solid, liquid, or gaseous substance. At night, when the sun does not shine on the part of the earth where you are standing, you cannot see sunlight anywhere except in its reflection upon the moon and planets while you know it is diffused throughout the firmament. During the day, you see the sun shining on objects on the earth. What are these objects, then, upon which you see the light? They are the productions of sunlight itself. The moon, the planets, and the earth, forming the solar system as well as every other object, animate and inanimate on them, are all the products of the sun. Even physical science has proved that had there been no sun, there would have been no living object on earth. All heat, light, and color that you see in the world have their origin from the sun. Now, keeping the analogy of sunlight in your mind, you can form an idea of what universal consciousness with threefold qualities of satchitananda is capable of doing. All existence or being, all knowledge, and all happiness that you find in the world have their source in satchitananda. Although the universal consciousness is all pervading, yet you find its manifestation only in conscious beings. The conscious beings in their turn are nothing but products of consciousness just as the things in the universe are the products of the sun. Thus the 3 seemingly separate things, the seer or knower, the seen or known, and the sight or knowledge, the well known triputy, have one source, the all-pervading consciousness.

In this infinite ocean of consciousness, innumerable waves or eddies rise and fall, appear and disappear. Thus, at an innumerable number of points, it assumes alternately the 2 states of activity and inactivity, phur and aphur, creation and dissolution. Take one of these innumerable waves as Brahma, the creator of our Universe. During his state of activity, the world comes into existence and during inactivity it disappears. The process is parallel to the working of the human mind. When it is in action, the dream world appears and when it is inactive (in sushupti), everything disappears. There are countless Brahmas in the infinite ocean of consciousness and countless universes that exist for eons of years from the viewpoint of a created being (jiva), and yet for a Brahma, the creation, development, decline and death of a universe is as instantaneous as if all had happened in the twinkling of an eye.

What is the Ultimate Reality? It is the sun, the source of all light and is called Kutasth Brahman, the eternal source of all consciousness in which the countless universes appear and disappear. Like the sun, this Kutasth Brahman is present in the minutest ray of consciousness as a whole, and is unaffected by any change in the consciousness just in the same way as the entire sun is present in each ray of sunlight and yet remains unaffected by any changes in the light. Thus you see that Kutasth Brahman, like the sun, neither creates nor destroys, is neither active nor inactive, and neither does it appear nor disappear. It is the consciousness that creates the worlds of dream and waking state. In sushupti, this consciousness becomes inactive and assumes a latent or potential state (samana) as does the sunlight in a piece of wood.

The Kutasth, the source of all consciousness, like the sun, the source of all light, only appears sometimes latent and sometimes manifest, but in reality, Kutasth never disappears nor changes, but the Maya or avidya, its own Shakti, conceals it in the same way as clouds, the product of the sun itself, overshadows the sun and prevents it from shining.

Now, if you analyze yourselves intellectually, you will see that your body, like that of the other dream creatures, is a product, a result, a mental creation of the same consciousness in you. Note that consciousness in action is called mind, and when not in action, it is called anubhava (intuition), but in reality, there is no difference between the two. Water is water whether it is flowing or is still. The consciousness in you, like the light of the sun in a lamp, is a ray of universal consciousness and represents the Brahma, the creating power that has created this dream world. The Kutasth in you remains ever sakshi (unchanged) and an undivided whole. Just as you can see the entire sun in a single ray of his light by means of a lens, in the same way you can have sakshatkara [Note 1] of Kutasth atman by means of concentration that consists in stopping your ray of consciousness from activity. Kutasth in you is ever shining in your real ‘I’ (atman or individuality) and the moment everything else, your body, mind, and your personality, the illusionary products of Maya, disappear, the Kutasth shines in His own glory (mahima). In sushupti, the Kutasth always shines and as there is no creation to shine upon, nor is there another personality to see the glory, it appears as if non-existent. Consciousness without any object to be conscious of is identical with unconsciousness. If you put two persons together, one with everything to see but without eyes (blind) and the other with full sight but nothing to see, they are in the same position. Kutasth is ever conscious and shining. Previously, too, it shone like the sun but to your false (kalpit) personality, it was obscured. All creatures are one and the same Kutasth. It is called atman or soul as long as you see it separate from other ‘I’s, and when you realize that all ‘I’s are one, it is Kutasth Brahman everywhere. Ponder ever this analogy day and night and gradually you will be convinced of the Ultimate Reality.

Note 1. There is no English equivalent to represent sakshatkara. It means knowing self by self.

Read Part 9

Page last updated: 01-Jan-2013