THE DREAM PERSONALITY - REALITY AND ILLUSION
One who understands his spiritual nature, although living within the physical
body, sees himself as transcendental to the body; just as one who has arisen from
a dream gives up identification with the dream body. A foolish person, however,
although not identical with his material body but transcendental to it, thinks
himself to be situated in the body, just as one who is dreaming sees himself to
be situated in an imaginary dream body.
Because of this misidentification the conditioned soul is subjected to the miseries
of material life. A man may see a tiger swallowing him in a dream, and he may
even cry from the experience of this nightmare. But actually there is no tiger
and there is no suffering; it is simply a case of misidentification with the dream-personality.
Another man who is awake by the side of his sleeping friend sees no tiger there.
The tiger is a myth for both of them, namely the person dreaming and the person
awake, because in reality there is no tiger; but the man forgetful of his awakened
life is fearful, whereas the man who has not forgotten his position is not at
all disturbed by nightmares.
Similarly, a person who is awake to his spiritual nature is not disturbed by the
temporary appearance of material happiness and distress.
One who is sleeping may also see many objects of pleasure in a dream, but such
pleasurable things are merely creations of the mind and are thus ultimately useless.
Similarly, the living entity who is asleep to his spiritual identity also sees
many sense objects, but these innumerable objects of temporary gratification are
creations of the Lord's illusory potency and have no permanent existence. The
dualities of happiness and distress experienced in this so-called awakened life
are said to be dream-like for a person who has awakened to his spiritual nature.
All miseries experienced in the hard struggle for material existence are, therefore,
only due to the ignorance of our spiritual nature. The subtle and gross material
bodies are created by the material modes of nature, which expand from the potency
of the Supreme Lord. Material existence occurs when the living entity falsely
accepts the qualities of the gross and subtle bodies
as being his own factual nature. The illusory state,
however, can be destroyed by real knowledge.
REALITY AND ILLUSION
In our ordinary lives we live mainly in ignorance of our spiritual nature and
can be compared to dreaming people who are in illusion. To understand spiritual
reality it is necessary to wake up to the process of self-realization. Briefly,
it is our desire and attachment for worldly enjoyment, based on the conviction
of the reality of this world, that supports the illusion in our waking life just
as it is our conviction of its reality that supports the dream. In the dream our
hopes of happiness and fears of destruction will never be realised because they
are unreal. Through the process of yoga-meditation and self-realisation we should
understand that this is true of the waking world also.
The temporary appearance of this world is not absolutely unreal. It has some reality
behind it but we cannot know its true reality while we are desperately clinging
to the false appearances of things. The material creations are manifested for
some time as perverted reflections of the spiritual world and can be likened to
cinemas which display a false reality of shadows and light. They attract people
of less intelligent calibre who are attracted by such false appearances. Such
foolish men have no information of the reality of spiritual life, and they take
it for granted that the temporary material manifestation is the all in all.
But more intelligent men with knowledge of self-realisation
understand the material manifestation to be nothing but the shadow of the Lord's
spiritual abode. The Lord's external manifested energy in the form of material
existence is only temporary and illusory like the mirage in the desert. In the
desert mirage there is no actual water. There is only the appearance of water.
Real water is somewhere else.
Similarly, the manifested cosmic creation appears as reality. But reality, of
which this is but a shadow, is in the spiritual world. The Absolute Truth is in
the spiritual sky, not the material world. In the material world everything is
temporary and relative truth. That is to say, one truth depends on something else.
This cosmic creation results from interaction of the three
modes of nature, and the temporary manifestations are so created as to
present an illusion of reality to the bewildered mind of the conditioned soul,
who appears in so many species of life. In actuality, there is no reality in the
manifested world. There appears to be reality, however, because of the true reality
which exists in the spiritual world, where the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna personally
resides with all the eternally liberated souls.
DREAM AND SLEEP
A dream, although temporary in its occurrence, is a factual experience of the
dreamer and cannot be considered as false. We all have dreams and this fact cannot
be denied, because dreams are a by-product of the sleeping process. But the visions
that we see in dreams have nothing to do with the reality of an awakened person.
They are just our mind's imaginations. If a dreaming person identifies himself
with the dream body and considers the dream to be reality that is certainly an
Similarly a mirage in the desert is a factual occurrence of nature and cannot
be stated as false, but to consider the mirage as reality and seeing water in
a hallucination is certainly an illusion.
In the same way, this material world is also a temporary effect of nature and
cannot be stated as false. But, however, to consider the temporary appearance
of nature's manifestation to be the only reality and to misidentify oneself with
the by-products of matter is certainly an illusion.
A dream is only real in so far as it is part of the dreamer's consciousness. But
the dreamer is not only emanent in his dream creation but he also transcends it.
On awakening he can distinguish between reality and the illusion of the dream
Just as the dream personality and the dream objects lose their appearance of reality
when the dreamer wakes up, similarly this material existence, which is compared
to a dream, loses its apparent reality when the heavily obscured self wakes up
to his spiritual identity.
The spirit soul is actually transcendental
to the modes of nature and has nothing to do with the temporary appearances of
this material world.