[Advaita-l] waking, dreaming, sleeping, as mutually supportive

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Fri Oct 23 05:16:42 CDT 2009


Thank you for that thoughtful answer.

I would like to think that you and I are in complete agreement !

The prime instruction has to be, stay with saakshi, stay with atman, stay
with the self as witness..

So the witness moves through these states or worlds with detachment.

But the shastra themselves discuss -- in the waking state -- sleep, and
dreams. And they do this with the aid of that mental activity which we call

So we too are entitled to ask questions of the shastra, and the gurus, and
our own experience ?

As commentators mention, very little is said about the 'dreaming' state. And
very little is said about 'envisioning' -- as indeed, the Veda themselves do
in 'poetic' imagery. The Veda present a 'poetic' view of the world where the
Vedanta tends more to the philosophic ?

So I questioned myself about my experience. And it seemed to me, first, that
there was more to be investigated about the so-called 'dreaming' state and
the use of the mind; and secondly, that for instance, a new day can bring
quite 'new' spiritual feelings and images (I write poetry now) which involve
the mental activity of the 'creative dream'. So I put the question in the
public domain.

I hope that this finds some accord with your own understanding.

But the Advaitic stance remains : 'Be the witness of your life'.  And yes,
the four states are complete in themselves.
To what degree we question our life in the light of shastra, mahapurusha and
swagraha is a personal matter ?


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of
savithri devaraj
Sent: 23 October 2009 05:08
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] waking, dreaming, sleeping, as mutually

A lot has been said in this thread. I just wanted to share my understanding
of the advaitic interpretation of the 3 avasthas in avasthAtraya prakriya
(based on mAnDUkya) and it is completely contrary to the title of this
thread and perhaps to the discussion there in.  So, please ignore if you
like.  As I understand it, the three avasthAs are completely mutually
exclusive and independent of one another. The gist of the tenet is this. 
The states are all-encompassing, including the subject, objects, time and
space. In other words, the subject, objects, perception of time and space
including all concepts such as physical, spiritual, etc..,  belonging to one
state, belongs exclusively to that state only, and cannot be conjured up in
any other state.
Not only that, the paraphernalia constituting the state, say for example the
waking state, are to be found no where else when the subject is in a
different state. That means, the seer of the waking state and the objects of
that state have no existence when the subject is in deep sleep or in a dream
state. States are defined by the subject time and space. The subject of the
waking state is called VaishvAnara, the subject of the dream state is
referred to as Taijasa, and the subject of the deep sleep state is referred
to as prAjna.
It is a totally different view - it is a shift from the world-based view to
a state-based subject-centric view where it is as though the states are
thrust upon the person in succession, and the states are the window
to reality. In this case, we have to discount the general world view that we
live in this world transacting with others, sharing the waking state (and
sometimes the dream state) and an common understanding of time across
states with others.  This vedantic view can be somewhat reconciled when we
understand that we go thru' dream as though it were "as real as" the waking
state. There is no concept of any other state in the dream state or deep
sleep state. The concepts of time are totally elastic in dream as compared
to the waking, the units of time in the different states have no comparison
or commonality. Problems of the waking state cannot be solved in the dream
state or vice versa. So this vedantic view is against the general
 (and perhaps the scientific) view that dreams can be explained or
reasoned from the waking experiences, etc.  
Here the means of knowledge, or the logic of reasoning cannot be applied to
the states. The means and logic of the waking state may be appropriate for
the transactions of the waking state, but are indequate or may be deemed
biased for discussions or judgements on the collection of states. Even the
determination that we go thru' the 3 states is a biased view of the waking
state only! But our atma, the witness of the states, is ever changeless and
absolute. In this way we can say that he who is the witness of the states
is the real of the real and hence absolute, while all that is witnessed is
changing and relative, as in the sruti statements -"svapnAntam jAgarItAntam
ca ubhau yennanupashyati. mahAntam vibhumAtmAnam matvA dhIro na sochati."
In fact, by this tenet, we can't even say that we experience 3 states, that
implies we are taking our stand in a space/time beyond the 3 states and
witnessing them. The definition of a state behooves that - there is no
common time/space/subject between states, each state is defined by its own
space, time and subject. Similarly, the states are neither in time, space,
nor are they an object to a subject. The underlying reality of all this
elusive transience (mitya) is the ever-resplendent sentient being.

--- On Thu, 10/22/09, Praveen R. Bhat <bhatpraveen at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Praveen R. Bhat <bhatpraveen at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] waking, dreaming, sleeping, as mutually supportive
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta"
<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 6:33 AM

Hari Om, Michaelji,

On Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 3:56 PM, Michael Shepherd <
michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:

> Thank you. I know that 'sleep cycles' are calculated to last 90-120
> minutes,
> which may be significant; as dreaming occurs then.

If you meant all three by sleep cycles (waking, dream and deep sleep), then
yes, it was something like that in the artlcle. However, I remember it to be
lesser steps of minutes before the state changes in a cycle. And this
happens even during the day as the author claimed.

> Also it's said that the mind returns to atman between each thought and
> desire.

Well, its not so much so that the mind returns to Atman, but mind being a
bunch of thoughts, what exists between thoughts for whatever small fraction
of time is the Atman without the add-ons. At least thats how Tripura Rahasya
brings it out.

--Praveen R. Bhat
/* Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known!
[Br.Up. 4.5.15] */
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