Dreams and MokshaThis is a featured page
Jyotisha has three skandhas : Siddhanta (Ganita incl. theory), Horaa, and Samhitaa. Shakuna-shaastra is a part of the third skandha Samhitaa.
Shakuna-shaastra includes, among other topics, the interesting topic 'Interpretation of Dreams'.
A large body of work by rishis was available in ancient ages on such topics, but only a small tip of this occult iceberg is now available, and a large number of available works are in unpublished form, mostly in Sanskrit.
Interpretation of Dreams is, therefore, a part of Vedic knowledge. Unfortunately, all available ancient works on this subject has not been even
listed so far, leave aside studied.
Ancient shaastras define dream as that state of Jeeva when Mana is awake and Indriyas sleep. Mana is a part of Mind, Mind is Chitta which includes 13 karanas.
Yoga Vaashishtha defines Mana as that faculty of Chitta which has the power to take Samkalpa.
When other external (ie, Indriyas) and internal (Buddhi, Ahamkaara) faculties of Mind either sleep or become dormant, Mana has a free hand. Then, it takes samkalpas according to its desires which are manifest in two types of dreams :
(1) simple seeing (with mind's eye) of imagined dreams which are false and mostly illogical, and
(2) actually taking the Chitta or Kaarana-shareera to other lokas either for fulfilling samkalpas or at the call of other Chittas.
Every night, Chitta of all creatures goes to Brahm loka but only in sushupti when Mana sleeps and soul is under a deception of sleep. Between Brahm-loka and this loka, there are many intermediate lokas which Chitta may visit. Other real Chittas may also visit us. These visits are not voluntary but are conditioned by our graha dashaas. Some such dreams are results of our intense actions and volitions, and some may come without any immediate reason.
Those dreams which are not directly related to day's activities can be explained on account of graha dashaas and are therefore related to horaa skandha of Jyotisha. Effects of dreams are part of samhitaa skandha and are dealt under Omens or Shakunas.
There is another class of dreams : answer of questions we fail to obtain in Jaagrata state. Some samhitaa texts illustrate the method of getting answers deliberately. Eg, Lomash samhitaa. Atharvaveda has mantras against bad dreams.
Hora texts mention that when good or bad effects of some planet are not strong, the results come only in dreams and not in real life. For the Ego (Ahamkaara), Jaagrata state is real and dreaming state is false. But Jaagrata state reveals only the sensory world to us, which is neither permanent nor ultimate reality. Both Jaagrata and Svapna states are for receiving phalas of past karmas, and the real receiver is Jeeva. In Jaagrata, all 13 faculties receive the phala and relish or detest it. But in svapna only Mana tastes the phalas. Hence, only weak phalas are reaped in dreams, except in some nightmares.
Yoga aims at controlling and ultimately getting rid of dreams. Interpretation of dreams is very important for spiritual progress of a would be yogi, and it is important for knowing the mundane results for the grihasthas.
Dr Girija Shankar Shastri of Allahabad is editing, commenting on and publishing many ancient Samhitaa texts, some of which are bringing to lighthitherto unknown aspects of dreams. Many other scholars also work, but no concerted effort has ever been made to collect and publish the vast ancient material on this topic.
============== MOKSHA :
What is Moksha ? To start with, it is deliverance from bondage. It is Mukti from bonds.
What bondage ? Bondage of ignorant Purusha or Atman to Prakriti.
What is Atman or Purusha ? It is the real self, hidden underneath ego or Ahamkaara, generally ignorant of its distinction from ego, which is the false
self. Most of us think this false self to be the real. Atman is neither masculine nor feminine, nor eunuch. Yet it is Purusha, not in this worldly sense, but in the sense that it DWELLS in the Pur made by Prakriti.
Prakriti is made up of three antah-karanas (Buddhi, Ahamkaara, Mana), and ten baahya-karanas of five karmendriyas and five gyaanendriyas, plus five tanmaatras (qualities perceived by sense organs, eg Roopa, Rasa, Gandha, Sparsha, Shabda), and five Mahaabhootas (physical forms of tanmaatras). All this make up our physical and astral (kaarana-shareera) bodies. Kaarana shareera is composed of 13 karanas enumerated above, and accompanies the Atman through all cycles of rebirths since time immemorial and will accompany us till we get rid of it through Moksha. In modern psychology this Kaarana-shareera is called Mind which is not Mana but Chitta in ancient terminology.
Desires make up the cement which creates the bond between Prakriti and Purusha / Atman. Kaama is the bedrock of all desires and is essential force behind Oedipus Complex ( I do not want to elaborate this topic here). On this bedrock flourish three broad types of desires : lust for offsprings, for money and for everlasting fame (Putraishanaa, Vittaishanaa, Lokaishanaa).
There are three normal states of Mana : Jaagrata, Svapna and Sushupta.
Jaagrata = when Atman, Mana and Indriyas are all awake.
Svapna = when Indriyas go to sleep but Mana is awake and wanders from one mental drama of wishfulfilment to another.
Sushupta = when Mana also sleeps, and the Atman falsely believes itself to be asleep too.
Atman is by nature super-conscious and is totally incapable of sleeping. But countless lives of hallucination has made the Jeevaatmaa a servant of Mind (Jeevaatmaa is real Atman plus Prakriti's tattvas mentioned above). Jeevaatmaa does not know itself and thinks whatever is thought by the mind. And the mind thinks or does what it likes, it is unconcerned with the Atman. Mana needs rest, like body and Indriyas. When it rests, there is no thought or scene in it, and then Jeevaatmaa thinks there is nothing. This false sense of self-negation is Nidraa (= looking down, ie, not looking at consciousness and light), which is a specific Klishta Vritti of Chitta and permanent deliverance from Nidraa leads to Moksha.
Nidraa normally takes 30% of 24 hours, and most of it is composed of dreams which tax the mind. Deep sleep or Sushupti occurs only for few interrupted moments, but it is enough for refreshing us for the coming day. Why ? Rishis said that during Sushupti the Jeeva lives in communion with Brahm and is therefore rejuvenated, but Jeevaatmaa is ignorant of this fact.
Nidraa is not a permanent trait of Jeeva, and can be overcome with constant practice of Yogic nidraa, in which the Jeevaatmaa remains fully awake while the Mana and Indriyas sleep. This yoganidraa is called fourth or Tureeya or fourth state of Mind. In it, the lives in Communion with Brahm for the whole period, and the benefic effect is far more profound than normal nidraa. Lifelong practice of Samaadhi plus Yoganidraa (no essential difference) takes the yogi to a stage when the Samskaara for Moksha overpower the Samskaara for Vyutthaana (inclination towards this world). Death in such a state results to Moksha, when Atman attains permanent communion with Brahm and does not need rebirth.
There are four subtle types of Moksha described in Vedanta (Brahmsutra). They can be classed into two broad varieties : Advaita and Vishishta-advaita. In advaita state of Moksha, the soul merges into the Brahma and becomes Brahm in effect. In other varieties, the Mukta Purusha lives in Communion with Brahm but retains its own identity. All other states of Jeeva are bonded states opposed to Moksha and fall under Dvaita type of existence : difference between Jeeva and Brahma in actual practice although not in essence. A Mukta Purusha retaining separate identity can do wonders.
Indriyas can see only its Vishayas and not the inner reality. Moreover, Indriyas can see Vishayas of our own Loka only, not of other Lokas.
These are traditional views about Moksha described in ancient rexts. Personally, I have no experience of Moksha like other mortals, but I personally know many sadhus who are in highly advanced stages of spiritual evolution. They do not want contacts with non-devouts, and they avoid TV, propaganda, chelaa-doms, Papal empires or Mahantha-seats in Mathas..
Transcendental Meditation is highly helpful in mental and physical relaxation, but it is not Yoga-nidraa. The latter contains Yoga which means Communion of Jeevaatmaa and Brahma. Alpha state is not samadhi, but merely a highly relaxed state of mind. Doctors can never be allowed to exoeriment with Samadhi.
If night-dreaming relaxes, then daydreaming should follow suit, and all of us should dream as much as possible, day and night.
Sushupti is only momentary, but ancient ideas about it may differ from modern definitions. Medical textbooks on sleep and dream are not unanimous about the ratio of dreaming phase versus deel sleep. Moreover, this ratio differs from person to person. Some dreams may relax, some do the opposite.
Medical experts can help in learning PHYSICAL characteristics of various levels of sleep, but no more. Physical characteistics constitute only the SURFACE of phenomena. NOUMENA cannot be apprehended through sensory organs or instruments, and is closed to positivist sciences. For it, we need to activate our dormant faculties through practical Yoga. Merely by reading books of Yoga cannot help in understanding it.
Deep sleep as defined by physical science is different from Sushupti as defined in ancient classics of India. Sushupti is complete switching-off of all levels of Mana, hence no dreaming is possible in that stage. Some nightmares are not viewed as visual dreams and therefore there is no eye movement and associated activities of brain. Some nightmares come as if from bolt from the blue. But some develop gradually. Some dreams start from normal scenes and then abruptly change into nightmares.
Shavaasana is not simply lying flat. But perfection ie, aasana-siddhi, in lying flat is first stage of Shavaasana which only some rare individuals achieve. Half an hour of transcendental meditation is not aasana-siddhi. Statue like shavaasana for at least 24 hours must be practised for quite some time before real shavaasana is achieved in which one has simply to lie flat and concentrate only on Japa, the rest is helped by God Who makes the body as if it were a corpse (shava) and the bond between Mind and Body is weakened.
For siddhi in siddhaasana, minimum time is 9 ghatis or 3.6 hours (3 hours 36 minutes).
Demons also performed japa and tapa to attain superhuman powers. Hence, the Moksha attained by saints is different from the moksha attained by Asuras like Kamsa &c. Vedants speaks of four types of Mokshas but these types are not adequately explained in any text. Only attainment of Tureeya avastha can help in understanding these things.
Gayatri is a mantra for samaadhi only, which is clear from its meaning (….inspire into us such an intellect, O Lord, which remains FIXED on thee). But many persons use it for achieving worldly things and end up often with unwanted results. The mantra for japa for attaining yoga must be received from a siddha guru.
Asuras like Hiranyakashyapa or Ravana attained such powers that they were relieved from this world permanently, not because they deserved the highest state ever attainable by holiest of saints, but because this world deserved to be relieved from them. These powerful asuras were put in permanent cold storage. There are four types of Moksha ! There are a lot of asuras and raakshasas even today who eulogise and try to follow Ravana, but lack the powers of Ravana. Ravana was a great tapasvi and a great bhakta of Lord Shiva. Yet, Lord Shiva did not help him against Lord Rama. Why Lord Shiva did not help one of His greatest bhaktas ? Because Ravana was not a real bhakta, he became a bhakta because he wanted superhuman powers in return. It is business, not bhakti.
Real Sanyaasa is essential for real Moksha. Sanyaasa ashrama is merely a tool, and not the only one, for achiving real Sanyaasa. Grihasthas like Janaka and Yajnavalkya attained Brahm in grihastha-ashrama, and Dhruva attained the supreme state even before entering into the first ashrama ! Dhruva did not study Vedas or anything else. Valmiki did not enrol in any gurukul. They performed japa and tapa, but mere japa-tapa does not ensure Moksha, japa-tapa helps in removing obstacles to Moksha IF the intentions are good. Hence, the grace of God is essential. Praayashchitta of even one grave sin is very difficult. Deliverance from all sins of all countless lives is impossible without the Grace of God. God may be anything : Rama or a statue or a symbol or a formless idea or Neti-Neti, and mantra for japa may be anything given by a gifted guru, the essential thing is purity of heart and sincerity plus perseverance of efforts.
Once, a learned sadhu had to take shelter in the hut of an illiterate villager. The sadhu sat in a corner under a Kambala (quilt) and started japa. The villager was earnestly trying to meet God but did not know how. He begged the sadhu to teach the mantra. The sadhu refused, because the villager did not belong to proper caste. The villager started a japa of following mantra in Hindi :
Jo kambala vaalaa bhajataa hai, vahee main bhajataa hoo ("I perform the same japa as this person in quilt does")
After many hours, the Lord appeared before him and taught him the 12-letter mantra of Lord Krishna being used by the sadhu, and then vanished.
The villager started japa of that mantra aloud, not knowing that mental japa was better. The sadhu was surprised and asked the villager who taught him that mantra. The villager said Lord Krishna had arrived in that humble hut to teach him the mantra. The sadhu could not believe that decades of japa of proper mantra failed to show the Lord even for a second, while a wrong "mantra" in vernacular tongue broughtl the Lord ! The sadhu asked him to show the Lord. The villager started japa and begged the Lord to appeared again, but when the Lord reappeared only the illiterate villager could see Him and the learned sadhu could not see the Lord and concluded that the villager was a liar. But the question remained unsolved for him : who taught the villager his mantra? The sadhu wasted time on logic, arguments, etc to solve this riddle, but could not realize the importance of innocence and purity of heart, without which Grace of God cannot be achieved.
Aagama is a pramaana (proof) only for those who have followed Vedic path in actual practice for adequate duration. For others, Aagama is not a proof because they do not travel the distance required to see its proof.
Sandhyaa-vandana's initial portion contains Agha-marshana Sukta taken from penultimate sukta of Rgveda. It says :
…Rta and Sat are born out of Tapa…
Rta is eternal (divine) moral order, and Sat is that which is it eternal Sattaa (ie, the non-material Atma-tattva).
Tapa has three varieties :
aasana-siddhi for shaareerika tapa,
mauna for vaachika tapa, and
praanaayama for maanasika tapa.
Aasana siddhi enables a person for Samaadhi which is the ultimate goal of Yoga. Aasanas like sheersaasanas are not for samaadhi, they help only in preparation for yoga. Shavaasana is most favoured of all four basic aasanas of samaadhi, the only danger in shavaasana is that it is most vulnerable to sleep. Mauna, according to Yajnavalkya in Brihadaaranyaka-upanishada, is that ultimate state of real Consciousness in which use of words (ie, process of thinking logically which needs words) stops and dormant power of Mana is activated which we can term as super-consciousness. For non-yogis, Mauna is abstinence from speaking. Yogic Mauna of Yajnavalkya is goal of yoga, while normal Mauna is vaachika tapa. Maanasika tapa is praanaayama. Most of moderners wrongly believe that praanaayama is breathing exercize which strengthens lungs. But Patanjali mentions only two benefits of praanaayama : it removes the veils of ignorance (ie, unconscious portion of mind is destroyed by praanaayaama), and it enables for internal yoga (dhaaranaa-dhyaana-samaadhi).
Without performing these austerities, it is impossible to see or feel the direct proofs of authenticity of scriptures. Jyotisha is the only Ptatyaksha pramaana of Veda.
(I am not a perfect yogi, but I have personal experience of all levels of it which I am not fortunate enough to practise as much I should. Without lifelong practice, there is little benefit from attaining Tureeya avastha for some brief periods of life. Whatever I have written under this thread is neither from any modern book of Yoga nor from my secret personal experience, but from ancient classics which I attested through my personal practice. These are not closely guarded secrets but are easily available in bookshops. Dream analysis is very important for becoming a Yogi and I had to study medical texts too, but they did not help me because my aim was different. Scientists merely analyse dreams, yogis control dreams. Without a complete check on all dreams and without complete wakefulness during Sushupti, yoga cannot be perfected. )
Now some personal comments for those who want to ACT :
Asana is defined by Patanjali as that posture in which one can sit in a fixed state for long duration, which is essential for samaadhi. There are only four asanas for samadhi : siddhaasana, shavaasana, padmaasana and vajraasana. The last two cannot be performed for long duration by most of us.
I practised both Shavaasana (for 7.2 hours in night) and Siddhaasana (for 3.6 hours thrice a day) for long periods. For 13 days, I performed continuous Shavaasana for 24 hours followed with 12 hours of siddhaasana, devoting only half an hour to nitya karma and never venturing out of my house where I lived alone. The pain I suffered was tremendous. But the results I received was much more than tremendous : the Jeeva which was under hallucination since Time Immemorial came out of its long stupor and started uninterrupted Japa-yajna which has never stopped to this day, even during sleep, talking, etc. Now-a-days I cannot devote all my time to asanas, but I still adhere to certain lifelong rules : whole night shavaasana, akhanda brahmacharya, abstinence from all spices or oils or salts in foods, practice of Yama and Niyama as much as I can, etc. I never aspired for worldly gains, but worldly gains are also tremendous in all fields : money, fame, etc, which come without my asking.
But interaction with worldly peoples has weakened my gains and I need to intensify my formewr yogic practices now. In the period of greatest austerities, I could see with closed eyes and could read minds of others, although faintly. Not now. But such powers MUST never be one's aim, otherwise one may become Ravana or Mahisaasura.
Real Praanaayaama can be performed ONLY in Siddhaasana, otherwise seminal ejaculation will occur if Praanaayaama is performed with utmost effort, esp the Baahya Kumbhaka which few persons do in Kaliyuga. But even if seminal ejaculation occurs during Praanaayaama, it is not an end of Brahmacharya because it is not caused by Kaama, and is a sign of remaining sins. Saatvika food, solitude, meditation, etc reduce such mishaps.
Blessed are those who experience even brief experience of Divine Bliss which is the normal state of real samaadhi. Till then, we must suffer, either through ignorance and consequent rebirths or through Tapasyaa to get rid of this ignorance. Tapasyaa is painful, but there is no alternative for destroying hard sins. Only soft sins can be destroyed by bhajanas &c, unless bhajana is no intense and prolonged that it leads to uninterrupted Japa-yajna which is the highest yajna according to Gita. Attainment of Divine Consciousness is what Veda aims at, and Jyotisha is the only tangible proof of this divinity hidden underneath Unconscious Mind in all of of us; hence Jyotisha is the Eye of Veda. Jyotisha gives us proofs of fruits of karmas following through rebirths and is therefore a proof of existence of Soul taking rebirths to experiecne fruits of Karmas described by Phalita Jyotisha.