Chapter 19 — Differences between Waking & Dreaming States

Vasishta continued:—

Brahma is the seed of life and remains as empty air everywhere. Hence there are many kinds of living beings situated in the world within the womb of universal Life.

All living beings composed of dense consciousness and soul contain other living animals underneath, like the manifold layers of the plantain tree, and insects contained in the womb of earth. Worms and insects that grow out of the dirt and scum of earth and water in the hot season and appear filthy to our sight nevertheless are living beings full of particles of consciousness. However living beings strive for their progress, so they prosper in their lives according to the different scopes of their thoughts and actions.

Those who worship gods go to the region of gods. Those who worship yaksha nature spirits meet in the world of yakshas. Those who adore Brahma ascend to the world of Brahma, Brahmaloka. Therefore resort to what is the best and greatest refuge.

Shukra the son of Bhrigu obtained his liberation at last by the purity of his conscience, even though he was enslaved of his own nature to phenomena at his first sight of them (the apsara fairy). A child born on earth first has purity of its soul, then it becomes of the same nature as the education he gets, and not otherwise.

Rama said, “Please sage, tell me the difference between the states of waking and dreaming. What are the states of waking watchfulness, waking dream and waking delusion?”

Vasishta answered:—

The waking state is that in which we have a sure reliance. Dreaming is the state in which we place no certain reliance and we believe it to be untrue.

10 Dream is something that seems like the waking state but lasts only for a moment. If an object is seen over a length of time and distance, it is said to be a waking dream or dreaming wakefulness. 11 The state of waking dream can be of longer or shorter duration during which what we see appears the same at all places and times. 12 Dreaming, as long as it lasts, is also like waking, but waking seems like a dream when the objects of its vision are not lasting. 13 A dream that is understood as an occurrence of the waking state is believed to be waking, but the inner consciousness of dreaming makes it a dream. 14 As long as one knows anything to be lasting before him, he believes himself to be waking. But no sooner is it lost to him, than he thinks himself to have been dreaming it.

15 Now hear how it is. There is a principle of life in the body that causes it to live. This vital element is an electric force called life (jiva chetana). 16 When the body is active with the powers of the mind, speech and the other members of action, its vital element is put into motion by the vital breath that it breathes. 17 This breath circulating throughout the body gives it the powers of sense and consciousness which have their seats in the heart and mind where the false conception of the world is hidden. 18 The mind circulates about the outer world, through the passages of sight and other organs, and sees within itself the forms of many changing shapes and figures. 19 As long as these forms remain permanent in the mind, it is called the waking state.

So far have I told you about the cause of waking, now hear me expound on the laws of sleep and dreaming.

20 When the body is weary with action of its limbs, mind or speech, the living element becomes still and remains at rest with the calm and quiet soul residing within the body. 21 The internal actions of the body and mind being quieted and the motion of the heart being at rest, the living principle becomes as still as the flame of a lamp unshaken by wind. 22 The vital power ceases to exert itself in the members of the body and ceases to keep consciousness awake. The senses of sight and others do not act upon their organs, nor do they receive sensations from without.

23 Life lies latent in the inner heart, like liquid oil residing in a sesame seed. It lies as dormant in the interior part as cold within frost and fluidity in clarified butter. 24 The particle of consciousness that has taken the form of life, after being purified from its earthly impurity, mixes with the internal soul and attains the state of sound sleep, as if lulled to unconsciousness by a cooling breeze.

25 One who feels that his mind to be incapable of passion, who deals unconcernedly with every one, and who has reached the fourth stage of consciousness beyond the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping, is said to be deadened in life (turiya).

26 When the vital principle again comes to action after the enjoyment of its sound sleep, either in this or the other world, it takes the name of living element or mind or self-consciousness. 27 This principle of life and though, sees within itself the ebbs and flows of many worlds, just like a large tree and all its parts and productions are observed to be contained within the seed.

28 When the breeze of the vital breath puts a slight motion to the element of life, it becomes conscious of its self-existence as “I am.” The motion being accelerated, life finds itself flying in the air. 29 When the vital breath is immersed in the fluids (phlegm) of the body, life gets the feeling of humidity in itself, as a flower perceives its own fragrance. 30 When it is assailed by internal bile, then it has the feeling of its inner heat and sees all outward objects with its melancholy temperament. 31 When it is full of blood, it perceives a fiery redness in itself, like that of a red rock, or like the crimson red of the setting sun in the sky. 32 Whatever one desires to have, he sees the same in himself in his sleep, and this is by the force of his inner vital breath acting upon his mind as it does upon his outward organs.

33 When the organs are not besieged by external objects that disturb the inner senses of the mind, the mind indulges itself reflecting upon many things. This is called its dreaming state. 34 But when the organs are besieged by outward objects and the mind is moved by motion of vital breath (vayu) to their sight and perception, it is called the state of waking.

35 Now, O great-minded Rama,! you have learned the inner process of your mind. But there is no reality in it or in this existent world which is subject to the evils of death, desire and destruction.