Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

A Different Land

Hari OM

'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

[You are reminded that reviewing the previous week's posts will become essential as the meanings of the Sanskrit terms may not be repeated. There may come additional or alternative meanings, but all should be noted. As study progresses, the technical terms must necessarily become 'second nature' to the student. When the Sanskrit is used, the translation will fall easily into place - or likewise, if the English is used, the Sanskrit term must easily come forwards.]

Please revisit THIS post and chant the mangala-charana. Please use the TattvabodaH label to access all posts relevant to this text.

त्रि -अवस्ताः /tri-avasthaaH - THE THREE STATES
स्वप्नावस्था /svapnaavasthaa - the dream state.
Having taken some understanding of the waking state (vishva), given the flow of the text, we might expect that the sishya would again ask 'what then is…?' However, to keep an element of interest and surprise, the Guru gets in first, 'ah now, in case you should ask me what is…'! In this way, the Guru is at once acknowledging the logical questioning of his eager apprentice and encouraging further questioning of this kind.

स्वप्नावस्था केति चेत् जाग्रदवस्तायां यद्
दृष्टं यत् श्रुतं तज्जनित वासनया निद्रासमये यः
प्रपञ्चः प्रतीयते सा स्वफावस्ता।
सूक्ष्मशरीराभिमानी आत्मा तैजस इत्युच्यते।

svapnaavasthaa keti chet jaagradavastaayaaM yad
dR^iSTaM yat shrutaM tajjanita vaasanayaa nidraasamaye yaH
prapa~ncaH pratiiyate saa svaphaavastaa.
suuxmashariiraabhimaanii aatmaa taijasa ityucyate.

"For the question, 'what is the dream state', the explanation is; the world that is projected while in sleep from the impressions born of what was seen and heard in the waking state is called the dream state. The Self identified with the subtle body is called 'taijasa'."

There must be a basis for the dream experience; how can you compare what you 'see' in the dream if it were not against some baseline. That baseline is obtained from the daily transactional existence which we have been told is called the waking state - jaagradavasthaa. It doesn't have to have been a visual experience for the waker, or from hearing, but it could be from our response to such stimuli. Fear, or anger, or hatred, for example. These are strong emotions which can leave an impression at a level which is retained and reviewed through the dream state. Whilst the Guru's statement itself simply says 'yat drishtam, yat shrutam', it is a convention of Sanskrit that by these mechanisms, the seeing and the hearing, we must understand that there is use of further senses and reactions as a result of them. This teaching technique is referred to as उपलक्षण /upalakshana (implication). 'Upa-' means 'being close to', or 'associated with'; 'lakshana' has several meanings but in this case 'indication' or 'expressing indirectly' would be the most appropriate. Thus, the shishya implies from the Guru's response that not just the eyes and ears alone leave impressions on the mind which it resurrects in the dream state.

It is in the dream state that we can 'see' what disturbs our mind. It is our safety processor, permitting us to run through various scenarios to clear out the debris of the previous experience. Whilst in vishva, we can control a lot of what happens in our mind, through morality checks, time and place checks etc, in svapna, we have no conscious restraints. The intellect which has played monitor in vishva has no role to play in svapna.

The mind creates, sustains and ends the dream world. Not only the dream world, but also the 'enjoyer' of that world (the dreamer) is created by that mind. The dreamer can have an entirely different identity to that of the waker. During dream we see our vaasanas playing out. Impressions from previous lives, from our current history, or those freshly made in the previous day; all these can be allowed to play out and exhaust themselves during the dream state. This relieves the intellect of having to deal with them. If an impression (vaasana) is particularly deep, we may find that we are having a recurring dream to burn it out. It is a safe place for this to happen. Equally, all action and enjoyment (karma-bhoga) encountered within the dream state cannot add to our karma debt. As the opportunity of choice (an intellectual function) is not available to us in svapna, we cannot be 'charged'. There is argument that svapna can lead to formation of new vaasana but actually it is not within the dream itself that this occurs. If something with the dream is recalled upon waking and considered to be something that the waker wishes then to experience in full waking state (for example, a non-drinker decides that drinking alcohol was attractive when dreaming), then subsequently carries that out, then potentially vaasana is developed… and the dream can be blamed as the source. This is a rare occurrence however and is an extension of the process.

Dreams may also contain unfulfilled wishes of the vishva, or certainly appear to have no bearing on the daily state. One may dream of winning lottery or of a horse flying. As strange or illogical as this seems to the waking mind, the dreamer does not question it. The Self, at this point, is identifying only with the subtle body - the thoughts created - and in this condition the Self is referred to as 'taijasa'. In Sanskrit, 'तेजोमय अन्तःकरणवृत्ति रूपत्वात् तैजसः इति उच्यते/tejomaya antaHkaranavRtti ruupatvaat taijasaH iti uchyate.' - the animated mindstuff takes thought forms and is called 'of the light'.


  1. I think dreams may be the upshot of desire, previous experience or unfulfilled deeds and so many other reasons.At this juncture I feel that our previous birth also has influence And that may be the reason why incidents with no bearing on our present life as you said come to the dream.Meaningful post.

    1. Hari OM
      Thank you Sarala - you have caught the essence of the teaching!
      YAM xx


Hari OM
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