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Reformatted: Re: Dream and Waking States

From: Chandrasekaran Venkatraman (
Date: Mon Apr 17 2000 - 05:32:40 PDT

Dear Sri Bharat,

   Sorry. The first mail had really long lines. So resending after reformatting.

   Thanks for the response. I have some doubts. Please clarify.

karma and dreams:
   I agree that every suffering and comfort that the Atman 
experiences in this life are due to its karma vinai. So in that 
sense, even the unreasonable experiences through one's dreams 
could also be dictated by karma. Afterall the dreams are 
dictated by one's waking state experiences.
   But how do we explain the haphazard dreams which don't seem 
to make any sense at all?) I am sure I am not the only person 
experiencing such dreams:) When I contemplate on the contents 
of these dreams it more appears to me to be some superfluous 
unconsequential mental images owing to weak or lack of 
inner-control. We can let this one pass if we don't have much 
to discuss about karma and dreams. 

God and dreams:
   Next one is regarding God being creator of the dreams. I 
wholly agree that God is behind everything in this world subtle 
and gross equally. But please clarify.
God commands the outcome of one's actions and inactions. But 
does He also command what and how one should think and act ? 
   If the answer to this is Yes, then doesn't it give a sense 
of non-ownership on the part of the jIva, of its actions ? This 
is what my problem is, I guess. I totally agree that God is the 
basis of everything in all states. This is clearly brought out 
in the divya nAmA viz., "thri kakubh dhAma" (vishnu 
sahasranama) which means "substratum in all three avasthas". 
But does He also command the way one should act etc., ? 
   If the answer is No, then same holds in the case of dreams 
too. In an ocean if a boat gets tossed upside down, then to 
describe more specifically the cause of the tossing, I tend to 
attribute it to the wave and not the ocean, while I completely 
agree that the wave is part of ocean and the ocean forms the 
basis for the wave. Similarly in the dreams and waking state 
thoughts, while the brahman remains as Supreme monitor and 
basis for all that happens, the immediate event that happens is 
owned by the jIva and hence it incurs the karma by that. But 
while it enacts this, if it realises that it's afterall a part 
of the brahman and sheds the sense of doership, it avoids 
effects of the karmas.

reality of dreams:
   I actually gave the example of the burning house in the 
context of reality of dreams and not for karmas. But I think 
you have quoted that for proving karma.

I request you to answer the following basic questions for me, 
so that I can fill the gap in my understanding of the basics of 
this discussion on reality.
   "what is unreal in this world if at all there is any such thing?"; 
   "Shouldn't an object, to be called "real", be real in the 
True sense to one and all and in all states?"
   "If I think of a tree and make a mental picture of it, can 
that tree be described as real?"

In this regard, I wish to draw similarities between dreams and 
thoughts. Sometimes we will notice at the verge of falling 
asleep that, dream slowly emerges and evolves and that dream 
happens to be centered around the thing that we were thinking 
about just before falling asleep. This means that thoughts and 
dreams are different manifestations of the same thing in the 
two states. So they are similar in their characteristics.

   I don't know if we are talking about the same thing. I agree 
that the images in the dream are "real" as part of the dream 
because we know we dreamt. But as objects they are unreal even 
during the dream. Similarly in the thoughts, "tree as a 
thought" is real and as a tree-object is unreal. Is this what 
you also mean? :) If yes, I think we have come to a conclusion.

   I sincerely apologise if the above discussion seems naive 
and insignificant and is wasting your time.

   Thanks and regards,


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