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30 June 2008, 08:00 PM
Hari Om


Dreaming… We have talked about this on occasion. As as of late I have been thinking of dreams, perhaps due to some that have been most enjoyable and vivid lately.

Waking or jagrat chetana ( some spell caitanya)
Dreaming or swapn chetana
Dreamless Sleep or sushupti chetana

Yet I wonder why is there this Dream state… Physiologically I understand that it’s a time for the mind to throw off stress, replay things of the day , learn, etc. But I really look at this state of consciousness, I could have done just fine with wake and deep sleep. If I were designing the 'system' I would have said - Lets see, human beings... lets have on and off. Wake and Sleep - Activity and Rest. Yep that will work - Lets build one.

I cannot control my dreams or pre-program them even though people say I can. I remember many of my dreams, I dream in color, sometimes black & white, I have great fun watching them but is that it? Is there something I can do with these dreams to advance my spiritual pursuits?
I know I can access the 'gap' between wake and sleep or sleep and dream to access turiya. Yet is there more I can do with this state.

What more am I missing about this time that we use and not really in control of that time? Who is?

Any one have any ideas, POV's on this? Just wondered.

Dreams are illustrations, from the book your soul is writing about - you. Marsha Norman


01 July 2008, 06:24 PM
Hari Om

Not too many dreaming people then I guess?


01 July 2008, 09:16 PM
Not too many dreaming people then I guess?

Namaste yajvanji,

We had a very good discussion on this subject a little long back under the thread "Dream". I was hoping some other ideas to pour in & was waiting for people's reaction. However, I think either peole are busy in something else or they have just missed this call ! :)

"Tibten Book on Living & Dying" talks about different Bardos. Bardo means the "transition phase" or the "gap". The "gap" between the waking state & the "sleeping state" is one of the bardos. If we can learn not be agitated at the time of "transition" & learn to rest in the gap, looking into the mind, we can catch a glimpse of "deathless nature of enlightened mind" (what we know as Turiya).

Let me explain from the book :

1. The deeper our sensitivity & the more acute our alertness to the amzing opportunities for radical insight offered by gaps & transitions like these in life, the more inwardly prepared we will be for when they occur in an immensely more powerful & uncontrolled way at death.

2. Going to sleep is similar to bardo of dying, when the elements & thought processes dissolve, opening into the experience of Ground Luminousity.

Before we proceed further, let me explain what Ground Luminousity is :

This is a bardo at the time of death, when dawning of the nature of mind occurs. As the body dies, the senses & subtle elements dissolve, & this is followed by the death of the ordinary aspect of our mind , with all its negative emotions of anger, desire & ignorance. Finally, nothing remains to
obscure our True Nature, as everything that in life has clouded the "enlightened mind" (i.e. Turiya) has fallen away. And then what is revealed is the primordial ground of our absolute nature, which is like a pure & cloudless sky.

This bardo lasts for a time as little as "snapping our finger" for the unexperienced mind (i.e. who has not practised meditation & identified this during their life-time) to "as long as it takes to eat a meal". If this ground Luminousity is identified within the time it lasts & we rest in it, it leads ti
immediate liberation.

3. Dreaming is akin to the "bardo of becoming", the intermediate state where you have clairvoyant & highly mobile "mental body" that goes through all kinds of experiences. In the dream state too we have similar kind of body, the dream body, in which we undergo all the experiences of dream life.

Let's understand this bardo of becoming a little better :

When we fail to recognise the Ground Luminousity & also the bardo of Dharmata, the seeds of all our habitual tendencies are activated & reawakened. The bardo of becoming spans the time between their reawakening & our entering the womb of the next life. In the bardo of becoming, we have a mental body which has immense clarity & unlimited mobility & the mental body moves in a direction dictated by the past karmas.

I see it (bardo of becoming) equivalent to the Taijsa state mentioned in the Mandukya Upanishad .

I have not elaborated on the bardo of Dharmata & therefore :

Bardo of Dharmata : This bardo comes after bardo of Ground Luminousity. During this bardo, the being aquires the body of light. It has four phases : a) Luminousity i.e. when space dissolves into luminousity. b) Union - The Deities : In this phase peaceful & wrathful deities appear. c) Wisdom - Failing to recognise & gaining stability in above two phases, the third phase called Wisdom unfolds -- called Union dissolving into wisdom. d) Spontaneous Presence : This is the last phase of the Bardo of Dharmata & perhaps the last chance of getting liberation. In this phase, we instantaneously come to know our past & future lives, we can see in others' minds & have the knowledge of all the six realms of samsaric existence.

So, what is the message ? Dreams & the intermediate states ( called the bardos) give an insight into what happens when the body dies. By understanding the state of sleeping & the dream state we can learn to recognise varoius phases through what we go after our death & we may learn to make use of the opportunities coming on the way at that time for release from the bondage of cycles of life & death. The book emphasizes the importance of meditation through which we can get ability to recognize the state of Ground Luminousity & also the state of Dharmata which are the two opportunities after death for liberation given to all of us irrespective of our spiritual status & our karmas.



02 July 2008, 11:01 AM
Namaste Yajvan.

There are several issues we can contemplate about dreams and benefit from the knowledge obtained. For example

• What are the factors behind dreams?
• What is the nature of dreams? Are they physical, astral or mental?
• What is the role of karma in dreams?
• Can dreams be induced? For example, some people get dreams by sleeping under a heavy ceiling beam.
• Can dreams be controlled or 'pre-programmed'?
• What do dreams signify and how to interpret them?
• Why should there be a dreaming state (svapna) at all?

I have some ideas about these questions, gathered through reading and personal thinking, though I am not sure as to what extent these ideas could be correct.

It is all mano vega, vAyu vega (speed of mind, speed of wind) as the saying goes. The Samskrta term vegaH also indicates impulse, shock and agitation. And it is all mano ratha (joy and pleasure of mind) too; the term rathaH also indicates a chariot, cart or vehicle, the mind's desires in this case, that ride on the Jiva's vehicles or bodies.

Theosophy says that there are seven sub planes to each of the seven planes of our solar system. The three lower planes, physical (bhu-loka), astral (bhuvar-loka)and mental (suvar-loka) are the main centers of activity of a Jiva; the other four higher planes that are persistently accessible to Jiva only depending on its spiritual development are: causal or buddhic (mahar-loka), spiriual or Atmic (janar-loka), monodic or anupAdaka (tapar-loka) and divine or Adi (satya-loka).

The point is that the Jiva at all times ranges, traverses, and 'lives', for whatever little time, through all the seven planes, using its vehicles sthUla, sUkShma and kAraNa sharIras (physical, astro-mental and causal bodies). The normal, ordinary, undeveloped Jiva lives confining itself to the lower three planes, though it gets an occasional advice, intuition, revelation or vision from the other planes, transmitted by its AtmA (Self) through the faculties of its upper vehicles.

This means that we don't dream only when we are sleeping: we dream all the time, even when awake, though intensities and durations of the dreams differ. It's a common experience that when we are absorbed in an activity, pouring all our thoughts, emotions and actions, we scarcely notice anything else--even the boss standing right beside our desk, towering over us menacingly!

The three states of walking, dreaming and deep sleep permeate every moment of our life, though they have their 'peak hours' at their 'appointed' time. Even the fourth state turiya is found in the intervals between every breath and thought.

With this background, we might try to find answers to questions such as above.

What are the factors behind dreams?

That our dreams are subtle or gross depends on the development of our mind. Human mind is tetrad in nature. Vedanta speaks of the tetrad of the inner organ, antaH karaNa-chatushtaya--viz, manas, buddhi, ahamkAra, chitta. ahamkAra is the reflected, individual Self of the Jiva that simply witnesses; buddhi guides, chitta stores and manas thinks and acts.

Since dream is the manifestation of vAsanas (impressions), we may say that every thought is a dream that manifests in one or more of the three planes: mental, astral and physical. The sub planes of the mental planes are grouped into two levels: thought communication in the three higher sub planes are arUpa (formless); in the four lower rUpa (formed).

• When thought is at the buddhic level, where they are usually abstract and formless, they range the arUpa levels; philosophical, metaphysical and spiritual thoughts are usually formless.

• When they need to become concrete, they acquire form, clothed with the matter of the four lower sub planes and range these rUpa levels. Most of our thoughts manifest first in these four sub planes.

• When thoughts are colored by emotion, they take shapes, regular or irregular, brighter or darker, depending on the nature of the emotion, clothed with matter of the astral plane and range its sub planes. Thoughts tinged with desire usually manifest as emotions.

• When thoughts are required to be acted on by the physical senses, they are impressed on the physical brain which activates physical organs.

We should remember that only the Self or AtmA is inert, still and motionless; when it is reflected in an individual Jiva bonded with matter, the Jiva and its karaNas (instruments) acquire vibrations ranging from the subtlest to the grossest frequencies.

What vibrates, manifests. The vAsanas stored in the chitta 'evaporates' all the time into manifestations in matter of the three lower planes (mental, astral, physical--in that order). This might be the reason that our thoughts are always flowing, helter-skelter, in what is known in literary and psychological parlance as the 'stream of consciousness'.

Just as physical matter in magnetic patterns stored in the hard disk of a computer vibrates within its own ranges and also awaits manifestation into forms on the computer memory, screen and printer, the impressions in our chitta 'evaporate', sometimes 'explode' into subtle matter, thereby resolving as well as creating karma.

What is the nature of dreams? Are they physical, astral or mental?

Dreams are nothing but material manifestations of our vAsanas: they are the 'movie' that runs on the canvas of matter of the astral and mental planes. The 'story' they tell is gross or subtle depending on the quality of our vAsanas and our habitual thoughts and emotions. Though the vAsanas determine our habitual thoughts and emotions, we can--and do--always use our will power to create new patterns of them or modify the existing patterns.

It is not just our thoughts and emotions, but those of the people around us too influence the dream movie and story. Our gross and subtle bodies are constantly bombarded by the vAsanas of people around us and influence the vibrating particles of our bodies. This might be the reason behind what is generally termed 'mob psychology'. As human beings we are influenced by the thoughts, emotions and attitudes of the people we take to. While we may not be that much influenced physically by the thoughts and emotions of the general public around us, the influence of people around us--our neighbours for our instance--is much more on the subtler planes.

We can therefore say that our dreams originate in our stored impressions and mental thoughts, are acted out as incidents in the astral plane and can even influence our physical life.

Things, persons and events change in our dreams at the drop of a thought. We are instantaneously in the dreamed location, even if it is at the far end of the galaxy. When our dream is long and lucid, we travel instantaneously to places and homes as if we have materialized ourselves there. Such instantaneous movement is possible at the mental plane, which is why the mano vega is supposed to be the fastest mode of travel, even faster than light. The movement and travel in our dream is often a shift, focus and descent of our consciousness at the dreamed location and scene.

What is the role of karma in dreams?

Do we create and resolve karma in our dreams? Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami of Himlayan Academy Website of the Kauai Hindu Monastery, USA, says we do, so let us beware:

"When people begin to meditate and are on the spiritual path--and this means that they do accomplish making a difference in their behavior, their beliefs, attitudes and daily actions--their dream life will reflect these results as well. For them, the dream karmas can be worked out. Karma is often qualified as a force that is sent out from us and returns to us, generally through other people. We do experience in the inner worlds, while the physical body is asleep, forces going out from our thoughts, feelings and what we say and think, and these obviously are dream karmas, real karmas that will eventually manifest on the physical plane unless reexperienced and dissolved within the dream world."

('Understanding the World Of Sleep and Dreams'

Can dreams be induced? For example, some people get dreams by sleeping under a heavy ceiling beam.

It seems that the acute gravitational force of heavy beams in the ceiling, when we sleep directly under them, create ripples in the gray matter of our brain as well as the matter in our subtle bodies, that can create dreams, usually gross in nature. I have personally experienced such dreams and was relieved of them only when I changed my sleeping spot. With today's scientific apparatus, scientists can possibly simulate dreams, though this might be a bottom-up process as against our normal dreams which are top-down: they originate in our thoughts and culminate in physical movements (e.g. the REM, rapid eye movement) whereas scientific simulations of dreams might originate by manipulating the gray matter of the physical brain.

Can dreams be controlled or 'pre-programmed'?

Western philosophy and occultism has studied this subject extensively. The conclusion that through our will power we can induce 'lucid dreaming' without any break when our consciousness transits from the physical brain to the astral during sleep and thus remember every detail of our dream with clarity, and also acquire the ability to 'direct' our dreams. Some links to such findings are:

Lucid dreaming

Studies in human consciousness

What do dreams signify and how to interpret them?

Dreams are interpreted variously according to the school of pursuit: scientific or religious. The Hindu interpretation of dreams is given many of our sruti and smriti. The main book of reference for dream–interpretation is Charaka-samhita by Charaka, part of which is supposed to be based on Valmiki Ramayana.

The Hindu intepretation of dreams is discussed here:

What Hinduism says about dreams?

Why should there be a dreaming state (svapna) at all?

As Bhagavan Das says, all manifestations take place in trinity. The duality of manifestation is linked to its Advaitic source by the action of the Self negating the duality, and this is the third factor in the trinity. Just as the day and night is linked by the dusk and dawn, the two polar states of our living, namely waking and deep sleep are linked by the dream state through which the consciousness transits when we fall asleep and wake up.


Let me finish this post on a personal note. I sometimes experience travelling by train or see a plane (even a bomber plane) in my dreams. I sometimes meet with known faces, but the people I come across in dreams are mostly strangers. serpents appear rarely, and I am scared in the dream, but they don't bite me or any other person. In the nights when I 'sleep over' an idea about something I read recently and would like to respond to it--for example a HDF post or a piece of computer code I sometimes venture into--I often see me toying with the idea in my dreams too!

Any interpretations about the subjects of my dreams? Can dreams be interpreted astrologically too?

02 July 2008, 12:46 PM

A dream is only a Dream.


02 July 2008, 06:15 PM
Hari Om

Namaste saidevo, devotee,Jigar

Some excellent information. I will also take a look at the other posts you mentioned devotee. Nice picture Jigar. It looks like the work of Salvador Dali.
Saidevo writes,
Any interpretations about the subjects of my dreams? Can dreams be interpreted astrologically too?
I have no skills in this area, yet what little I know appears in the praśna mārga. There is a section on dreams ( chapter 31).
Praśna mārga: praśna= asking a question + mārga = the right path. The notion is, if one went to a Jyotish that was competent in this area ( leaves me out :) ) one could ask a question (praśna) and ask for the guidance or insight (mārga) from the Jyotish to descern the right path, or to seek an answer to a question deposed to the Jyotish. So why bring this up?

The praśna mārga ( written by a Brahmin ~ 1649 A.D.) calls out 7 different kinds of dreams. Of the 7, 5 are said not to be of a predictive manner, they do not portend future events, yet he does not mention if they are valuable or not.
This for me would make it a bit difficult to figure out what dreams are relevant and which ones are not, just background noise due to a tri-dośa influence, that is:
The author calls out what instigated a particular type of dream e.g. climbing up a hill, flying through the sky, etc. are instigated by vata; seeing radiance and splendorous things i.e. gold, bright sun, etc. are instigated by pita, etc. So he gives clues from the tri-dośa point of view.
Another offer he gives is when the dream occurs in the night ( day-dreams are not considered significant) - He divides the night into 4 sections ( yama-s). Those dreams that are significant and occur during the 1st yama will fructify within the 1st year. The 2nd yama, within 6 months, the 3rd yama within 3 months and the 4th yama within 1 month.

The 31st chapter then only has 68 śloka-s, which for me would not seem exhaustive for a complete study. So , other books are needed to get a complete view of this offer.

I find this knowledge interesting yet would look to one accomplished to learn and understrand it better.

I hope to hear more on this subject of dreams from you and others...



praśna प्रश्न a question , demand , interrogation , query , inquiry after; astrological inquiry into the future
mārga मार्ग seeking , search , tracing out , hunting ;the right way , proper course a walk , journey

02 July 2008, 07:36 PM

It always confused me, as a child, the differentiation between "dreaming" and "awake/reality" ... so I decided that it didn't really make any difference, anyways.

I stuck with that, never found a better paradigm.


02 July 2008, 08:07 PM
Namaste Saidevoji and friends,

The posts and the links are comprehensive. Saidevo ji has covered almost all aspects leaving not much scope for any additions. And ZN, in her typical way has stated that which is the bare truth. Below, I note a few points in manner of rephrasing etc. and to highlight a specific point that comes to my mind now.

I usually prefer to go by Mandukya Upanishad as the base, since it is just the pure irreducible substratum of the truth and speaks of everyday experience of everyone. Dream state of the self, known as Taijjassa is termed as intermediate one between the waking Agnivaisvaro (the waking Universe) and the Shushupti (the calm, blissful dark sleep). Most of these have been discussed by Shri Saidevo in a slightly different language.

It is accepted by most that spiritual efforts must take place in waking state. Upanishads and Gurus cite similarity and also difference between the dream and waking state. The similarity is on the account that the happenings and objects of both the dream and the waking are true only while the particular state lasts. The difference is on account that for most common people, the waking state a) appears to contain an ego which appears to control the events, and b) objects and events are composed of pancha bhutas.

It is needless to say that the appearance of Ego in the waking state is also a part of the drama.:D (ZN: It always confused me, as a child, the differentiation between "dreaming" and "awake/reality" ... so I decided that it didn't really make any difference, anyways).

The crux of the matter is:

In waking, it is Atma (as Seer, Seen and Seeing) who is the Universe of objects composed of panchabhutas, as if involved in events.

In dream, it is Atma (as Seer, Seen and Seeing) who is the Universe of objects and events made of light alone (thus Taijjassa). Upanishads say: He assumes a body of light.

In Deep sleep He is Himself, black dark, Krishna, adorable to all, blissful, whole. The wholeness does not see any other. Only beginning from Taijjassa He creates His own body and other bodies comprising a light Universe, which is said to be the face of Lord.

Atma Is. Atma is the common, ever awake, Sat-Chid-Ananda being, who cannot be described.

Regards to all


Dream seems to have no controlling ego in contrast to waking. The realised however, say that the EGO of the waking is also a Drama of the Param, just as a dream bread is.

02 July 2008, 08:55 PM
Hari Om

Thank you atanu and Z for your contributions...A most interesting subject.

As of late I have been remembering my dreams more vividly as mentioned. What has been most noteworthy is something that is relatively insignificant during the day will show up in my dreams for that day or week.

It could be as simple as a color and I will see that color again in a dream. The fun part has been effortlessly connecting the dots back to where that color was seen and what object. What again is noteworthy , but not so interesting is that object or color can take on a major role or minor role in the dream, but as of late it has been (consistently) a minor object of perception during waking state.

My hypothesis ( guess) is all the transient things we run across during the day become potential components for a dream. Since one does not focus on the background noise of objects during the day one may not notice why or how that blue vase turned-up in a dream. Yet if there was some attention given to it as you walked down the hall and 'spent awareness' on it, perhaps it would have registered ' ahhh! that vase was the one I seen while walking out of the store' .Yet on most occasions the mind is absorbed internally within its own dialog (chatter) and the vase was just consciously passed by; but on the level of the 'rods and cones' of the eye was picked-up and stored for later use a.k.a. Dream supplies!

just an idea... this has been fun for the last few months and thought to share it with you.


04 July 2008, 08:42 AM
Hari Om

Dreams digest the meals that are our days - Astrid Alauda, Dyspeptic Enlightenment