Chapter 42 — Philosophy of Dreaming (Swapnam); Creation Is a Dream; Viduratha Asks a Boon to Be Reunited with His (Second) Queen Leela

Vasishta speaking:—

The man who is devoid of understanding, ignorant and unacquainted with the all-pervading principle, thinks the unreal world as real, dense and concrete. Just like a child is not freed from his fear of ghosts until his death, so the ignorant man never gets rid of his fallacy of the reality of the unreal world as long as he lives. Just like solar heat causes the error of water in the mirage to both deer and unwary people, so the unreal world appears as real to the ignorant part of mankind. As the false dream of one’s death appears to be true within the dreaming state, so the false world seems to be a field of action and gain to the deluded man. Just like one, not knowing what is gold, sees a golden bracelet to be a mere bracelet and not gold, so the ignorant, without a knowledge of the causal substance, are ever misled by the appearances of form.

The ignorant see a city, a house, a hill and an elephant as they are presented before them, so appearances are all taken only as they are seen, and not what they really are. As strings of pearls are seen in the sunny sky, and various paints and taints in the plumage of the peacock, so the phenomenal world presents its false appearances as sober realities. Know life to be a long sleep, and the world with myself and yourself are the visions of its dream. We see many other persons in this sleepy dream. None is real, as you will now learn from me.

There is only one all-pervading, quiet, and spiritually substantial reality. It is of the form of unintelligible consciousness and an immense outspreading emptiness. 10 It is omnipotent, and all in all by itself. It is of the form manifesting itself everywhere. 11 Hence the citizens that you see in this visionary city are only transient forms of men presented in your dream by that Omnipotent Being.

12 The mind of the viewer remains the same in the sphere of his dreams and represents images thought of by itself in that visionary sphere of mankind. 13 The knowing mind has the same knowledge of things, both in its waking and dreaming states, and it is by an act of the perceiving mind that this knowledge is imprinted as true in the conscious souls of men.

14 Rama said, “If persons seen in the dream are unreal, then tell me sage, what is the fault in the embodied soul that makes them appear as realities?”

15 Vasishta replied:—

The cities and houses seen in dreams are nothing in reality. The illusion (maya) of the embodied soul makes them appear as true like those seen in the waking state in this ordinary world. 16 I will give you proof of this. In the beginning of creation and by the will of the creator, the self-born Brahma himself had notions of all created things in the form of visionary appearances, like in a dream, and their subsequent development. Therefore, their creator is as unreal as the notions and appearances in the dream.

17 Learn this truth from me, that this world is a dream and that you and all other men have your sleeping dreams contained in your waking dreams of this ordinary world. 18 If the scenes in your sleeping dream have no reality in them, how can you expect those in your daydreams to be real at all?

19 As you take me for a reality, so do I also take you and all other things for realities likewise, and such is the case with everybody in this world of dreams. 20 As I appear an entity to you in this ordinary world of lengthened dreams, so you too appear an actual entity to me. So it is with all in their protracted dreaming.

21 Rama asked, “If both these states of dreaming are alike, then tell me. When the dreamer awakens, why doesn’t he think the visions in his dream were as real as those of his daydreaming state?”

22 Vasishta replied:—

Yes, night dreaming is of the same nature as daydreams in that dream objects appear to be real in both. Upon a man’s awakening from sleep, the night dreams vanish in empty air. Upon a man’s death, his daydreams vanish in empty air. 23 As the objects of your night dreams do not exist in time or place upon your waking, so also those of your daydream can have no existence upon death. 24 Thus everything that appears real for the present is unreal, and though it might appear as charming as a fairy form in a dream, at last it all disappears into an airy nothing.

25 There is one Consciousness that fills all space. It appears as everything both within and without everybody. It is only by our illusive conception of it that we take it in different lights. 26 As one picks up a jewel he happens to see in a treasure house, so according to our own liking, we lay hold on anything with which the vast Consciousness is filled.

27 The goddess of intelligence, having caused the germ of true knowledge to sprout forth in the mind of the king by sprinkling the ambrosial drops of her wisdom over it, spoke to the king in this way at the end, 28 “I have told you all this for the sake of Leela, and now, good king, we shall take leave of you and these illusory scenes of the world.”

29 Vasishta said:—

The intelligent king, being gently addressed by the goddess of wisdom, asked her in a humble tone. 30 Viduratha said, “Your visit, O most bounteous goddess, cannot go for nothing, if when we poor mortals cannot withhold our bounty from those who petition us for help. 31 I will quit this body to go to another world, as one passes from one chain of dreams into another. 32 Look upon me, your petitioner, with kindness and grant me the favor I ask of you, because the great never refuse to grant the prayers of their suppliants. 33 Grant that this virgin daughter of my minister may accompany me to the region where I shall be led so that we may have spiritual joy in each other’s company hereafter.”

34 Saraswati said, “Go now, king, to the former palace of your past life and there reign without fear in the enjoyment of true pleasure. Know king that our visits never fail to fulfill the best wishes of our supplicants.”