Question 93-94: The Dream and waking states:

Dreamland There is the waking life and the dream state. In the dream state, we can experience objects as absolutely real, and have emotions, our bodies respond and hearts beat fast during this REM stage of sleep. Yet, it all seems real, just as in the waking state, everything is real. We can feel softness, hardness, things that bend and things that do not bend. Our senses tell us this. What then, is the Atma, and are things real and distinct in the Atma?

Atma the Self, the soul, the life principle, the divine core of personality, man’s individual indwelling reality (jivatma)
jñan, Hin. m. jñana San. n. (from jña – to know) true intuited understanding; spiritual wisdom; higher knowledge. gyani, one with wisdom
tattva San. n. ‘thatness’ – real nature, essence, principle; truth, reality, the Absolute (brahman); one of the five elements; the chemical elements.
sankalp Hin. sankalpa San. m. a vow; will, a definite intention, resolve, plan.
sankalpa: ideation; modification of chitta or consciousness; idea, resolve, volition (will);


Question 93: Sir, after a dream all its objects appear unreal, but the objects of the waking state are experienced as they are. How can these two be equated?

Answer: Ramji, there is no distinction between a dream and a waking world, except that the former lasts for a short while and the latter continues for a longer duration. During a dream, all its objects are cognised as real, and the falsity of the dream is realised on waking only. Similarly, unless a jiva awakens in the Atmic state, the world is experienced as real. When after a prolonged discipline he awakens in Atma, he experiences all objects as unreal. Atma is all-pervasive and omnipresent, and as are the ideations aroused (on its support) so are the objects experienced with names and forms.

The trio of seer-seeing-sight, or the world, is illusory. Seer assumes the sight or the world, and sight assumes the seer. Therefore, the trio of agent-cause-effect is illusory and the state bereft of the trio is the supreme state, which is non-dual, pure, self-independent and free from creation and dissolution. When this state is rightly realised, the illusion of the universe vanishes. Nothing is difficult or impossible for those who have realised this state. Others have to strive very hard to achieve many things.

Question 94: Sir, why is it that everything on the three planes is within the reach of a wise one (jnani), and for others the things are so difficult and distant?

Answer: Ramji, there is the barrier of elements (tattva). It is a hard barrier like lightning through which a jiva has to cross. Once the barrier is crossed, everything becomes easy. Thereafter the jiva has pure sankalpa and he can instantly reach anywhere or acquire anything. A jiva with pure sankalpa can assume bodies of any number and types; because all is ideational or of the nature of sankalpa. One experiences realisation of one’s sankalpa only when it is absolutely firm.

Attachments and the Dream State

Every one has to make his exit some day; that moment should not be a moment of anguish; one should depart gracefully, with a smile and a bow. In order to do that, a lot of preparation is necessary. To depart, leaving all that has been accumulated during a long lifetime, is a hard task; so prepare for it by discarding attachment to one thing after another from now on. You see many things in dreams and many things are acquired by you during dreams: power, pelf, status, reputation. But when you awake. you do not weep over the loss, even though for the duration of the dream all that was very real and gave you real satisfaction and joy. That was a ‘dream’, you tell yourself; what prevents you from treating with similar nonchalance the possessions gathered during the waking stage of your life? Cultivate that attitude and you can depart with a smile whenever the curtain falls on this dreamland stage.

You are all caskets of Divine Love; share it, spread it. Express that Love in acts of service, words of sympathy, thoughts of compassion. Just as when you awake from sleep, you know that the dream which you had was a matter of minutes, though the chain of events dreamed spanned many years, this life will appear a transient affair when you awake into Jnana after this brief ‘dream of life.’ Be always full of joy so that when death calls, you can quit with a light laugh, and not whimper in grief.


What is real, the waking state or the the self-effulgent light of the Atma?