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Philosophy of Dreams – Swami Sivananda – Part 2

Swami Sivananda

Philosophy of Dreams

13. Waking Experience Has Relative Reality

Waking experience is like dream experience
When judged from the absolute standpoint.
But it has Vyavaharika-Satta
Or relative reality.
Dream is Pratibhasika-Satta
Or apparent reality.
Turiya or Brahman is Paramarthika-Satta
Or Absolute Reality.
Waking is reality more real than dreaming.
Turiya is more real than waking.
From the point of view of Turiya,
Both waking and dreaming are unreal.
But waking, taken by itself,
In relation to dream experience,
Has greater reality than dream.
To a certain extent,
As Turiya is to waking,
Waking is to dream.
Waking is the reality behind dream;
Turiya is the reality behind waking.
Dream is not dream to the dreamer.
Only by one who is awake
Dream is known to be a dream.
Similarly, waking appears to be real
To one who is still in the waking state.
Only to one who is in Turiya
Waking is devoid of reality.
Waking is Deergha-Svapna,
A long dream, as contrasted with
The ordinary dream which is short.

Waking is a part of Virat-Consciousness,
Though, in waking, due to ignorance,
The Virat is not directly realised.
Waking is the connecting link
Between Visva and Virat.
Man reflects over the world and the Reality
When he is awake
And when his consciousness is active.
In dream, the intellect and the will
Are incapacitated due to Avidya
And deliberate contemplation becomes impossible.
The Visva or the Jiva in the waking state
Is possessed of intelligence and free will.
The Taijasa or the Jiva in the dreaming state

Is destitute of such powers of free thinking.
Dream experience is the result of
Impressions of waking experience;
Whereas, waking experience is independent of
Dream experience and its effects.
There is a kind of order or system
In the waking experiences,
At least, more than in dream.
Every day the same persons and things
Become the objects of waking experience.
There is a definite remembrance of
Previous days’ experiences and of
Survival and continuity of personality
In waking experience.
The consciousness of this continuity,
Regularity and unity
Is absent in dream,
Dream is not well ordered,
While waking is comparatively systematic.

There are degrees of reality
In the experiences of the individual.
The three main degrees are
Subjective, Objective and Absolute.
Dream experience is subjective.
Waking experience is objective.
The realisation of Atman or Brahman
Is experience of the absolute Reality.
The individual is the subjective being
In comparison with the objective world.
The subject and the object have equal reality,
Though both these are negated in the Absolute.
The objective world is the field of waking experience
And, therefore, waking is relatively real.
But, dream is less real than waking
In as much as the direct contact
With the external world of waking experience
Is absent in dream.
Though there is an external world in dream also,
Its value is less than that of the world in waking.
Though the form of the dream world agrees with
That of the waking world,
In quality the dream world
Is lower than the waking world.
Space, time, motion and objects,
With the distinction of subject and object,
Are common to both waking and dreaming.
Even the reality they present
At the time of their being experienced
Is of a similar nature.
But, the difference lies in
The degree of reality manifested by them.
The Jiva feels that it is in a higher order of truth
In waking than in dreaming.

The argument that is advanced
To prove the unreality of waking
Is that waking also is merely mind’s play
Even as dream is mind’s imagination.
But, the objects seen in dream
Are not imaginations of the dream subject
Which itself is one of the imaginary forms
That are projected in dream,
The dream subject is not in any way
More real than the dream objects.
They both have equal reality
And are equally unreal.
The dream subject and the dream object
Are both imaginations of the mind of Visva
Which synthesises the subject and objects in dream.
In like manner, the waking individual
Is not the cause of the objects seen by it,
For both these belong to the same order of reality.
Neither of them is more real than the other.
The virtues and the defects that characterise things
Are present in all subjects and objects
That are experienced in the waking state.
The subject and the objects in waking
Are both effects of the Cosmic Mind
Which integrates all the contents of the universe.
The Cosmic Mind has greater reality
Than the individual mind.
Thus the waking state is relatively
More real than the dreaming state.

It cannot be said that
Taijasa is related to Hiranyagarbha
In the same way as
Visva is related to Virat.
Taijasa has a negative experience
Characterised by fickleness, absence of clearness,
Lack of will power and cloudedness of intelligence.
To express with certain reservations,
The relation of Taijasa to Hiranyagarbha
Is something like that of minus two to plus two:
Whereas, Visva is to Virat
As minus one is to plus one.
As minus one has greater positive value
Than minus two,
And the distance between minus two and plus two
Is greater than that between
Minus one and plus one,
Visva has greater relative value than Taijasa,
And is more intimately connected with Virat
Than Taijasa with Hiranyagarbha.
Taijasa and Prajna are respectively
The parts of Hiranyagarbha and Isvara
Only as limited reflections with negative values
And not positively and qualitatively.
Otherwise Isvara would have been only
A huge mass of ignorance,
As he is depicted as the collective totality
Of all Prajnas whose native experience is a state of sleep
Where ignorance covers the existing consciousness.
Prajna and Isvara are like minus three and plus three,
And their relation is quite obvious.
As when a man stands on a river bank
And looks at his own reflection below,
That which is highest appears as lowest—
The original head is farthest from the reflected head,—
That which is lowest appears as highest—
The original feet are nearest to the reflected feet,—
In the same manner, Isvara,
Who is the highest among the manifestations of reality
And is omniscient and omnipotent
Is the positive counterpart
Of the negative sleeping experience
Of complete ignorance and absence of power.
Virat corresponds to the foot of the man
Standing on the bank of the river
And Visva to the reflected foot.
Visva is more consciously related to Virat
Than Taijasa to Hiranyagarbha
Or Prajna to Isvara,
As the foot is nearer to the reflected foot
Than the waist to the reflected waist
Or the head to the reflected head.
These illustrations show that
Waking is relatively more real
Than dream which has only a negative value.
The illustrations used here
Are to be taken in their spirit and not literally,
For, Visva, Taijasa and Prajna
Are not merely reflections
Of Virat, Hiranyagarbha and Isvara respectively,
But also their limitations
With qualities distorted
And experiences wrested from truth.

As far as the manner of
Subjective experience is concerned,
It is true that what is within the mind
Is experienced as present in external objects.
But the objects themselves are not
Creations of the subjective mind.
There is a great difference between
Isvara-Srishti and Jiva-Srishti.
The existence of the objects
Belongs to Isvara-Srishti.
But the relation that exists between
The objects and the experiencing subject
Is Jiva-Srishti.
The Jiva is one of the contents of the Jagat
Which is Isvara-Srishti.
Hence, the Jiva cannot claim to be
The creator of the world,
Though it is the creator of
Its own subjective modes of
Psychological experience.
Waking experience is a perception.
Dream experience is a memory.
As perception precedes memory,
Waking precedes dream;
That is, dream is a remembrance
Of waking experiences
In the form of impressions.
To Brahman, the waking world is unreal.
But, to the individual or the Jiva
It is a relative fact
Lasting as long as
Individuality or Jivahood lasts.

That the waking world has relative reality
Or Vyavaharika-Satta
Does not prove that it is real
In the absolute sense.
Comparatively waking is on a higher order
Than dream experiences,
For reasons already mentioned.
But, from the standpoint of the highest Reality,
Waking experience also is unreal.
As dream is transcended in the state of waking,
The world of waking too is transcended
In the state of Self-Realisation.
14. Waking Experience is as False as Dream Experience
Both in waking and in dream
Objects are “perceived” or “seen”
As different from the subject.
The character of “being seen”
Is common to both kinds of experience.
There is subject-object-relationship
In waking as well as in dream.
This is the similarity between the two.
“Something is seen as an object” means
“Something is other than the Self”.
The experience of the not-self is illusory,
For, if the not-self were real,
The Self would be limited and unreal.
The illusory experience of the not-self
Is common to both waking and dream.
In waking, the mind experiences through the senses;
In dream, the mind alone experiences.
In both the states, the mind alone experiences
Whether externally or internally.
Dream is transcended by waking.
Waking is transcended by TURIYA.
Hence, both dream and waking are contradicted.
Waking contradicts dream,
And dream contradicts waking.
When the one is, the other is not.
Neither of the two is continuously existent,
This proves the unreality of both.

Duality is not real,
Because duality is the opposite of eternity.
Without duality there is no perception.
Hence, anything that is perceived is unreal
Whether in dream or in waking.
Dream is real when there is no waking.
Waking is real when there is no dream.
Hence, both are unreal experiences.
They depend on one another for their existence.
One cannot say whether he is dreaming or waking
Without referring one state to another state.
Desires are the rulers of all experiences

In waking and also in dream.
Waking is physical functioning of desires,
Dream is mental functioning of desires.
The senses are moved by desires in waking.
The mind is moved by desires in dreaming.
Both the states are like flowing streams.
They do not persist forever in one state.
That which persists forever is real.
Dream and waking have a beginning and an end.
Change is the character of all perceived objects.
Change implies non-existence at the beginning
And also at the end.
That which does not exist at the beginning
And does not exist at the end
Does not exist in the middle also.
Therefore waking is unreal like dream.

It may be objected by some that
Waking is real, because it is the cause of dream,
And dream is not the cause of waking.
But this objection is without support.
If waking is a cause,
It must be real.
If it is real,
It must exist forever.
Waking itself is without reality,
For it does not exist always.
If the cause itself is unreal,
How can it produce a real effect?
Both these are unreal states.
One who eats bellyful in waking state
May feel hungry in the dream state
And vice versa.
Things appear to be real only
In a particular condition.
They are not real always,
That which is not always real
Is an appearance and so unreal.

Anything that has got a form
Is unreal.
Forms are special modes of cognition and perception.
They are not ultimate.
In waking there are physical forms.
In dreaming there are mental forms.
Anyhow all are forms only
Limited in space and time.
A form lasts only so long
As that particular mental condition lasts;
When there is a different mental condition
The forms of experience also change.
This is why the form of the world vanishes
When Self-Realisation is attained.

Both in dreaming and waking
External perceptions are considered as real
And internal functions as unreal (i.e., they are ignored).
If in waking we make a distinction
Between real and unreal,
In dream also we do the same thing.
Dream is real as long as it lasts,
Waking also is real as long as it lasts.
Dream is unreal from the standpoint of waking,
And equally so is waking to the dreamer.
From the standpoint of the highest Truth,
Waking is as false as dream.

It may be said that objects in waking state
Serve some definite purpose
And those of dream do not serve a purpose.
This argument is incorrect
Because, the nature of serving a purpose
Which is seen in objects of waking
Is contradicted by dream and vice versa.
The utility and objective worth
Of Things, states, etc. in waking
Are cancelled in the dream state,
Even as the conditions and experiences in dream
Are invalidated in waking.
Objects act as means to ends
Only in a particular condition
And not in all conditions.
The causal relationship of waking
Is rendered nugatory in dream, and vice versa.
The logical sequence of waking
Is valid to itself alone and not to dreaming.
So is dream valid to its own state.
Waking and dreaming have their own notions of propriety,
And each is stultified by the other,
Though each appears to be real to itself.
Thus, the validity of both the states
Is rejected.

It may be contended that
Objects of dream are queer, fantastic and unnatural,
And, hence, waking cannot be like dream.
But the experiences in dream
However grotesque or abnormal,
Are not abnormal to the dreamer.
They appear fantastic only in
A different state, viz. waking.
One cannot say what is really fantastic
And what is normal and real.
The mind gives values to objects
And its conception of normality and abnormality
Changes according to the state in which it is.
There is no permanent standard
Of normality, beauty or decorum,
Either in waking or in dreaming,
Which may hold good for all times.
The dreamer has his own conception
Of space, time and causation,
Even as the waking one has his own notions.
One state is absurd when compared to the other.
This shows that both states are illogical
And, therefore, absurd from the highest standpoint.

The world of waking experience is unreal,
Because it is the imagination of the cosmic mind.
The fact that in Self-Realisation
There is absolute cessation of phenomenal experience
Shows that all phenomena are unreal.
External forms are the expressions
Of the internal Sankalpas or willing.
Therefore, external objects have no real value.
They appear to exist only
As long as the Sankalpas exist.
The senses externalise the internal ideas
And present them in the forms of objects.
When the Sankalpas are drawn within
The world of objective experience vanishes in toto.
The Infinite Subject, viz., the Self alone remains.
There is no such thing as
Externality and internality in reality.
The ego and the non-ego,
The subject as well as the object,
All are imaginations of the mind alone.

It may be said that
Objects seen in waking are not
Mere mental imaginations,
Because the objects of waking experience
Are seen by other people also,
Whether or not one’s mind cognises them.
But it is seen that
In the dream state also
Objects of experience are open to
The perception of other people,
Though the people as well as the objects
Are all subjective imaginations.
It may be said that in waking
We perceive through the sense-organs
And not merely through ideas.
But it is seen that in dream also
We perceive through the sense-organs
Belonging to the dream-state,
Which are not less real than those of waking state.
As dream is unreal,
Waking also must be unreal.

The objective world of waking experience
Cannot have independent existence,
Because it is relative to the subject
Which cognises or perceives it.
The object is called an object
Just because there is a perceiving subject.
Similarly, a subject is called a subject
Just because there is a perceived object.
Neither of the two is self-existent,
And, therefore, both prove themselves to be unreal.
Subject and object appear
In the form of cause and effect.
Without a cause there is no effect,
Without an effect nothing can be a cause;
The conception of causation itself is illogical.
The mind perceives and recognises objects
Only by relating one thing to another.
The whole world of perception
Is a bundle of unintelligible relationships
Which the mind tries to organise into cause and effects.
Further, there is no causation at all,
Because, cause and effect are continuous.
There cannot be a lapse of time
In which the cause remains unchanged.
If the cause can exist unchanged for some time,
There is no reason why it should change at any time at all.
Either there is continuous causation,
Or no causation at all.
If causation is continuous,
Cause and effect become identical,
Being inseparable from one another.
If they are identical,
It means there is no causation at all.
If there is no causation,
There is no world of experience also.
The whole causal scheme is illogical,
Because it either requires the existence
Of a first uncaused cause,
Or it itself is meaningless.
There is no meaning in saying that
There is a first uncaused cause,
For, thereby, we create a beginning for time.
If causation were real,
It would never be possible to get rid of it.
But Self-Realisation breaks the chain of causation.
Hence, causation is false,
And, consequently, the world of experience
Also is false.
As in dream also there is experience
Of the causal series,
The waking world is false like the dream world.