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waking/dream/deep-sleep

From: Kasturi Varadarajan (kvaradar_at_cs.uiowa.edu)
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 10:16:03 PDT

Sri Chandrasekaran wrote:

< I am not clear how objects that appear in the dream are "real" 
  ....>

This is my response. Please pardon errors and more importantly
correct them.

It appears to me that a conclusive understanding of this from
the visistadvaita standpoint will inevitably require a correct
understanding of the visistadvaita theory of knowledge and the theory
of truth and error.

But even from a non-technical standpoint, we can easily accept that the 
experience of a dream is very real. The question is only about the
objects in the dream. 

Ramanuja's sribhasya on the vedanta sutras 3.2.1 - 3.2.6 deal with the
topic of dreams. I am just quoting Thibaut's translation of
Ramanuja's bhasya on 3.2.3. This takes a clear stand on the dream
objects. (The term `illusory' as we use it is rather broad and we
have to understand its sense in the context.)

[ Ramanuja on 3.2.3: 

The things appearing in dreams -- chariots, lotus tanks, and so on --
are absolute mAyA, i.e., things created by the supreme person. For
the term `mAyA' denotes wonderful things, as appears from passages
such as `She was born in the race of Janaka, appearing like the
wonderful power of the divine being in bodily shape' (devamAyA).
The sense of the passage `there are no chariots,' &c. ** then is --
there are no chariots and horses to be perceived by any other
person but the dreaming one; and then `he creates chariots,' &c.
-- i.e. the supreme person creates things to be perceived by
the dreamer and persisting for a certain time only. Those things are 
of a wonderful nature (but not illusions). And the creation of such
wonderful things is possible for the supreme person who can immediately
realise all his wishes; but not for the individual soul. The latter
also, indeed, fundamentally possesses that power; but as in the samsAra
state the true nature of the soul is not fully manifested, it is then
incapable of accomplishing such wonderful creations. ....

end of quote from Ramanuja]


** The passage quoted is from brihad. upanishad and is translated as
`There are no chariots in that state, no horses, no roads. There are
no blessings, no happiness, no joys; then he creates blessings,
happiness, joys, and so on. For he is the creator.' 

1. Please note that in the commentary to 3.2.1 -- 3.2.6, 
   Ramanuja gives very good reasons for why the dream objects are only 
   created by the supreme person and not the individual soul.

2. I also feel that `things to be perceived by the dreamer and persisting
   for a certain time only' is a satisfactory description of the
   objects in a dream. 

3. I think there is a minor grammatical glitch in the translation.

-Kasturi

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