The Praśnopaniṣat – Part 9
In the previous part, at the end, the conclusion of the Mantra 4.4 was given. Now, in the sequel, the dream state which is the content of the Mantra 4.5 is stated:
The dream state is characterized by the cessation of the activity of the organs (sense and motor). However, the prāṇa and its modifications, the vital force, do not cease to act since that would mean the very death of the person. Hence, the prāṇa keeps awake to maintain the body. The dream is the state in between the waking and deep sleep. The jīva has as though withdrawn oneself from all worldly activity whereby the organs are not active. This is akin to the sun setting, withdrawing all its rays. The actual dream experience is one of expansiveness and greatness for the jīva in the sense that it assumes a variety of forms, modes, etc. consisting of subject-object duality. For example, the jīva experiences, rather sees, in the dream himself amidst a large gathering of viewers of a game played in a huge stadium. The very stadium, the players, the audience, the sun illumining the whole area, the play action, etc. are all not those of the outside but are all projected inside; it is a purely internal, exclusive, private, experience. Yet it appears, during the time, to be just like any other waking experience, happening ‘outside’ the body.
How such an experience takes place is what is stated by this mantra:
The fundamental point to be remembered here is that the mind is under the influence of a certain past experience that has remained in the subconscious, as an impression, vāsanā. It could be, for example, of a friend or a son that was seen earlier. In the dream the mind seems to think that that friend or son is being seen now. The impression of a past experience of hearing something, too, can be brought up during the dream and that very experience can be had in the dream under the impression that that experience is just now taking place. Experiences pertaining to visiting various places too come up in a dream, through the medium of the vāsanā and present themselves to the dreamer as though they are being experienced now. Not just that, even experiences of events not experienced in the present birth but belonging to past births too can come up in a person’s dream. The real and the unreal too can be projected by the mind in a dream. For instance both the water in a pitcher and water in a mirage can present itself in a dream. Whatever can be enumerated and not so listed, that is the entire gamut of experiences that can be had, comes up in the dream through those respective vāsanās. The jīva thereby sees all the dreams in unification with all the organs. The idea is: the jīva, though now lying on the bed and dreaming, while his organs are not active, is also endowed with another dream-body, mind and organs, with which, in the dream, he interacts with all the objects, persons, etc. that are also projected in the dream. In any case, the dream experience is a mysterious one, baffling the understanding of people. Yet the Śruti makes an excellent exposition of the experience so that one can appreciate the role of the mind, the Self and the circumstances related to the dream-experience.
स यदा तेजसाभिभूतो भवति । अत्रैष देवः स्वप्नान्न पश्यत्यथैतदस्मिञ्शरीरे एतत्सुखं भवति ॥ ६ ॥
स jīva यदा when तेजसा light अभिभूतः overcome भवति happens अत्र then एष this देवःjīva स्वप्नान् dreams न not पश्यति see अथ then एतत् this अस्मिन् in शरीरे body एतत् this सुखं happiness भवति arises
- When the jīva is overcome by light he sees no dreams; at that time, in this body, arises this happiness.
The state of dreamless sleep is being stated here. When the jīva who is predominantly the mind (in the state of dream the gross body is not active and only the mind is awake, letting the subconscious, vāsanā state, to remain active), becomes overwhelmed by the light of the sun that is, in the body, the tejas, light, called pitta, bile, present in the nāḍi-s, then it (the jīva) is said to be devoid of, bereft of, any connection with the mind characterized by vāsanā-s (subconscious thoughts) is now not present. The mind is the doorway for the jīva to have any objective experience. In this state the rays, that is, thoughts, of the mind, along with the sense organs, remains resolved in the heart. When the mind, akin to the fire latently pervading the entire wood, pervades the entire body with un-specific thought, then the jīva is said to be asleep, that is, in the state of sleep. In this state the mind-predominant jīva does not witness dreams since the connection with the doorway to the mind is shut by the tejas, light. At that time in the body an undisturbed bliss is experienced. The knowledge , experience, of the bliss is spread all over the body and is pleasant.
स यथा सोम्य वयांसि वासोवृक्षं संप्रतिष्ठन्त एवं ह वै तत्सर्वं पर आत्मनि संप्रतिष्ठते ॥ ७ ॥
स that is यथा like सोम्य O Somya वयांसि birds वासोवृक्षं tree संप्रतिष्ठन्ते attain to एवं so too ह verily वै indeed तत् that सर्वं all परे in the Supreme आत्मनि Ātman संप्रतिष्ठते attain to and rest
- As birds go to a tree to roost, even so, O friend, all this rests in the Supreme Atman.
At the time of deep sleep all the organs and the body-mind that are bound by avidyā-kāma-karma (ignorance-desire-action) remain in peace having ceased to function. This is a state when the Ātman that is thought to be quite different owing to the limiting adjuncts (upādhis) is in its native pure and pristine state. The Upaniṣad proceeds to teach that such a state is possible to attain by resolving each successive state into its prior state of causal sequence. Towards this end an analogy is given: Just as, O pleasant looking one, just as birds repair to their lodging tree after their day of activity, to rest, so too the entire lot of entities to be stated in the sequel will return to their abode, their very source, the Supreme Ātman that is Imperishable.
पृथिवी च पृथिवीमात्रा चापश्चापोमात्रा च तेजश्च तेजोमात्रा च वायुश्च वायुमात्रा चाकाशश्चाकाशमात्रा च चक्षुश्च द्रष्टव्यं च श्रोत्रं च श्रोतव्यं च घ्राणं च घ्रातव्यं च रसश्च रसयितव्यं च त्वक्च स्पर्शयितव्यं च वाक्च वक्तव्यं च हस्तौ चादातव्यं चोपस्थश्चानन्दयितव्यं च पायुश्च विसर्जयितव्यं च पादौ च गन्तव्यं च मनश्च मन्तव्यं च बुद्धिश्च बोद्धव्यं चाहंकारश्चाहंकर्तव्यं च चित्तं च चेतयितव्यं च तेजश्च विद्योतयितव्यं च प्राणश्च विधारयितव्यं च ॥ ८ ॥
पृथिवी Earth च and पृथिवीमात्रा its subtle state च and आपः water च and आपोमात्राः its subtle state च and तेजः light च and तेजोमात्रा subtle ligght च and वायुः air च and वायुमात्राः subtle air च and आकाशः ether च and आकाशमात्राः subtle ether च and चक्षुः eye च and द्रष्टव्यं form च and श्रोत्रं ear च and श्रोतव्यं sound च and घ्राणं nose च and घ्रातव्यं smell रसः tongue च and रसयितव्यं taste च and त्वक् skin च and स्पर्शयितव्यं touch च and वाक् speech (tongue) च amd वक्तव्यं speech च and हस्तौ hands च and आदातव्यं graspable च and उपस्थः genital च and आनन्दयितव्यं enjoyment च and पायुः excretory च and विसर्जयितव्यं excreta च and पादौ feet च and गन्तव्यं space to be trodden च and मनः mind च and मन्तव्यं thoghts च and बुद्धिः intellect च and बोद्धव्यं to be known च and अहंकारः ego-sence च and अहंकर्तव्यं the I thought च and चित्तं awareness च and चेतयितव्यं its content च and तेजः the shine of the skin च and विद्योतयितव्यं the object revealed च and प्राणः prāṇa च and विधारयितव्यं च and that is held in place
Earth and its subtle counterpart, water and its subtle counterpart, fire and its subtle counterpart, air and its subtle counterpart, akasa and its subtle counterpart, the eye and what can be seen, the ear and what can be heard, the nose and what can be smelt, the taste and what can be tasted, the skin and what can be touched, the organ of speech and what can be spoken, the hands and what can be grasped, the organ of generation and what can be enjoyed, the organ of excretion and what can be excreted, the feet and what is their destination, the mind (manas) and what can be thought, the intellect (buddhi) and what can be comprehended, the ego (ahamkara) and the object of egoism, the memory (chitta) and its object, knowledge (tejah) and its object, prana and what is to be supported.
All the elements that are experienced in the world have their true, native, states that are not available for sensory experience. That state is the causal state and the one that we experience is the effect. The effect attains to its cause. What are those effects and their causes and all the others that attain the Ātman?