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Yoga Sutra

Samadhi Pada

Sutra 1.38

स्वप्ननिद्राज्ञानालम्बनं वा॥३८॥
svapna-nidrā jñāna-ālambanam vā ॥38॥

Also by the basis of the wisdom gained during the dream and sleep.

svapna= dream
nidrā = sleep
jñāna= wisdom, knowledge, experience
ālambanam= basis
= also

Tranquility of the mind is also attained by the meditation upon the experience gained during the dream and sleep.

Commentary by Maharishi Vyasha

Depending on the knowledge that results in dream and sleep.

Steadiness is attained when the mind becomes the form that resulted in a dream or sleep. 


Commentary by Swami Vivekananda

Or by meditating on the knowledge that comes in sleep.

Sometimes a man dreams that he has seen angels coming to him and talking to him, that he is in an ecstatic condition, that he has heard music floating through the air. He is in a blissful condition in that dream, and when he awakes it makes a deep impression on him. Think of that dream as real, and meditate upon it. If you cannot do that, meditate on any holy thing that pleases you.

Commentary by Sri Osho


You simply fall into sleep as if it is a sort of absence. It is not – it has its own presence. Sleep is not the only negation of waking. If it was, then there was nothing to meditate. Sleep is not like darkness, the absence of light, no. Sleep has its own positivity. It exists, and it exists as much as your waking time. And when you will meditate and the mysteries of sleep will be revealed to you, then you will see that there is no distinction between waking and sleeping. They both exist in their own right. Sleep is not just resting from waking, it is a different kind of activity, hence dreams.


The dream is a tremendous activity, more powerful than your thinking, more meaningful also because it belongs to the deeper part of your being than your thinking. When you fall into sleep, the mind that was functioning the whole day is tired, exhausted. It is a very tiny mind, one-tenth compared to the unconscious, which is nine times bigger and greater and powerful. And if you compare it with the superconscious, the comparison is not possible, because superconscious is infinite, superconscious is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. Superconscious is what God is. Even compared to the unconscious, the conscious is very small. It gets tired, it needs rest to be recharged. The conscious goes off; tremendous activity starts in sleep, which is dreaming.


And why it has been neglected? – because the mind has been trained to be identified with the conscious, so you think that you are no more in sleep. That’s why sleep looks just like a small death. You simply never think about what is going on. Patanjali says, ”Meditate on it and many things will be uncovered within your being.” It will take a little time to move into sleep with awareness because you are not even aware when you are awake. You move, in fact, in your waking also as if you are deep asleep, a somnambulist, a sleepwalker not very awake really. Just because the eyes are open don’t think that you are awake. Awakening means that whatsoever you are doing or whatsoever is happening moment to moment, you are doing it in full mindfulness. Even if I raise my hand to make a gesture to you, I am making it in full consciousness. It can be made in a robot-like way, mechanical; you are not aware of what is happening in the hand. In fact, you have not moved it at all; it has moved on its own, it is unconscious. That’s why it is so difficult to penetrate your own sleep. But if one tries... The first effort to be made is: while you are awake be more awake, because from there the effort has to be started. Walking on the street, walk mindfully, as if you are doing something very important. It is very significant. Each step should be taken in full awareness. If you can do that, only then you can enter into sleep. Right now you have a very faint awareness. The moment your conscious mind goes off, that faint awareness disappears like a small ripple. It has no energy; it is very, very faint, just a flicker, just a zero-voltage phenomenon. You have to bring more energy to it, so much energy that when the conscious mind goes off, awareness continues on its own – and you fall asleep with awareness. This can happen if you do other activities with awareness – walking, eating, sleeping, taking your bath. The whole day, whatsoever you are doing, it becomes just an excuse for the inner training of mindfulness. So the activity becomes secondary; awareness through that activity becomes primary. When by the night you drop all activity and you go to sleep, that awareness continues. Even while you are falling asleep the awareness becomes a watcher that, yes, the body is falling asleep. By and by, the body is relaxing. Not that you verbalize, you simply watch. By and by, thoughts are disappearing. You watch the gaps. By and by, the world is very, very distant. You are moving into the basement of your being, the unconscious. If you can fall down asleep with awareness, only then the continuity will be there in the night. That is what Patanjali means, ”Meditate on the knowledge that sleep brings.”


And much knowledge sleep can bring because it is your treasure-house, your basement of many, many lives. And you have been treasuring many things there. First try to be aware while waking, while you are in the waking state, and then, by itself, the awareness becomes so powerful that it doesn’t matter what activity you are doing – really walking, or walking in a dream makes no difference. And when for the first time you will fall asleep with awareness, you will see how gears change. You will even feel the click that the wakefulness disappears, the mind is off, another realm starts. The gears of the being have changed. And between these two gears, there is a small gap of neutral gear. Because whenever the gear changes, it has to pass from the neutral passage. By and by, you will become aware not only of the change of gear, but the gap between the two, and in that gap, you will have your first glimpse of the superconscious.


When the conscious mind changes into the unconscious, just for a very minute part of a moment, you will be able to see the superconscious. But that is a later chapter in the story; I mention just by the way. First, you will become conscious of the unconscious, and that will bring tremendous change in your life.


When you start watching your dreams, you will find five types of dreams happening. The first type of dream is just rubbish. And many thousands of psychoanalysts are just working on that rubbish. It is simply useless. It happens because in the whole day, working the whole day, you gather much rubbish. Just like the body gathers dust and you need a bath, you need a cleaning, in the same way, the mind gathers dust. And there is no way how to give a bath to the mind, so the mind has an automatic mechanism to throw all dust, rubbish. The dream is nothing but the raising of the dust that mind is throwing – the first type of dream – and this is the biggest portion of dreams, almost ninety per cent Almost ninety percent dreams are simply dust being thrown; don’t pay much attention to them. And by and by, as your awareness will grow, you will be able to see what is dust.


The second type of dream is a sort of wish-fulfilment. There are many needs, natural needs, but the priests and the so-called religious teachers have poisoned your mind. They won’t allow you even to fulfil your basic needs. They have condemned them completely and the condemnation has entered in you, so your hunger for many of your needs. Those hungry needs demand fulfilment. And the second type of dreaming is nothing but wish-fulfilment. Whatsoever – because of the priests and the poisoners – you have denied to your being in dreams the mind tries to fulfil it in some way or other.


Just the other day a young man came – very sensible very sensitive – and he asked me that ”I have come to ask a very significant question – because my whole life depends on it. My parents are forcing me to get married, and I don’t see any meaning in it so I have come to ask you: Is marriage meaningful or not? Should I move into marriage or not?” I told him that ”When you feel thirsty, do you ask whether drinking is meaningful or not? Should I drink water or not? The question of meaning doesn’t arise. It is a question of whether you are thirsty or not. Maybe there is no meaning in water and no meaning in drinking, but that is irrelevant. The relevant thing is whether you are thirsty or not. And I know that even if you drink, again and again, you will become thirsty. So the mind can say: What is the meaning in it, what is the purpose of it – drinking again and again, and again becoming thirsty? – it seems to be just a rut. There seems to be no meaning in it.’ ”


This is how the conscious mind has been trying to dominate your whole being because meaning belongs to the conscious mind. The unconscious knows no meaning. It knows hunger, it knows thirst, it knows needs; it knows no meaning. In fact, life has no meaning. If you ask, you are asking for suicide. Life has no meaning; it simply exists and exists so beautifully without meaning that there is no need. What is the meaning of a tree existing, or the sun rising every day in the morning, or the moon in the night? What is the meaning when a tree comes to bloom? And what is the meaning when the birds sing in the morning, and the stream goes on flowing, and the waves, tremendous waves of the ocean go on shattering on the rocks again and again and again? What is the meaning?


Meaning is not of the whole. The whole exists so beautifully without meaning. In fact, if there was any meaning the whole would not have been so beautiful. Because with meaning comes calculation, with meaning, comes cunningness, with meaning comes to reason, with meaning comes division: this is meaningful, that is meaningless, this is more meaningful, that is less meaningful. The whole exists without any distinctions. Everything is absolutely beautiful not because of any meaning, but just by being there. There is no purpose.


So I told to the young man that ”If you ask about meaning, you are asking a wrong question, and you will be led in a wrong way.” That’s how priests became so powerful: you asked wrong questions, they supplied wrong answers. I told him, ”You just watch your own being. Do you need a woman to fulfil you? Does your whole being hanker for love? Because love is a hunger, a thirst. When you see a beautiful woman passing by, does something suddenly happen in you? – a wave, something invisible, a change? Or happens nothing?you go on moving the same way as you were moving as if the woman had not passed. If you move on a road and a beautiful woman passes, and you go on moving the same way as you were moving before she came, nothing has happened, no wave in your being, not even a ripple, then there is no need for marriage. But don’t ask about the meaning. If something happens, you start walking a little faster, or you start humming a tune, or you start looking at the beautiful woman, or you start avoiding her... if something happens this way or that – I am not concerned whether you start moving in the same direction the woman is going, or you start running in the opposite direction, it is not relevant – if something happens then you have a need, and that need is to be fulfilled. Because a need exists to be fulfilled. There may come someday when you will pass on the road and a woman makes no difference. That too is good, but this too is good. Everything is holy and sacred. There is a time to be in love and there is a time to move beyond it. There is a time to be relaxed and enjoy the relationship, and there is a time to be alone and to enjoy the beauty of being alone. And everything is beautiful.”


But one should look to the need, not to the meaning. Meaning is of the conscious mind, need is of the unconscious, and that’s how the second type of dream comes into existence: you go on cutting your needs, then the mind fulfils them in a dream. You may not get married because you have read great books and you are poisoned by thinkers, and they have moulded your mind in certain patterns. And you are no more open to existence itself; philosophies have blinded you. Then you will start cutting your needs. Then those needs will bubble up, surface in the dream because the unconscious knows no philosophies; the unconscious knows no meaning, no purpose. The unconscious knows only one thing: what is needed for your being to become fulfilled.


Then the unconscious forces its own dreaming. This is the second type of dream; very meaningful to understand it and meditate on it. Because the unconscious is trying to communicate to you that ”Don’t be a fool! You will suffer for it. And don’t starve your being. Don’t be suicidal, and don’t go on committing a slow suicide by killing your needs.”


Remember: desires are of the conscious mind, need of the unconscious. And the distinction is very very meaningful, very significant to be understood.


Desires are of the conscious mind. The unconscious knows no desires, the unconscious is not worried about desires. What is a desire? A desire comes out of your thinking, training, conditioning. You would like to be the president of the country; the unconscious does not bother about it. The unconscious is not interested in being the president of the country, the unconscious is interested only how to be a fulfilled organic unity. But the conscious mind says, ”Become a president, and if in becoming the president you have to sacrifice your woman, then sacrifice. If you have to sacrifice your body – sacrifice. If you have to sacrifice rest – sacrifice. First become the president of the country.” Or gather too much wealth; that is of the conscious mind. The unconscious knows no wealth. The unconscious knows only the natural. It is untouched by society. It is like animals or birds, or like the trees. The unconscious has not been conditioned by the society, by the politicians. It remains yet pure.


Listen to the second type of the dream and meditate on it, and it will communicate you what is your need. Fulfil the needs and don’t bother about the desires. If you really want to be blissful, fulfil the needs and don’t bother about desires. If you want to be miserable, cut the needs and follow the desires.


That’s how you have become miserable. Simple is the phenomenon, whether you are miserable or blissful; very simple is the phenomenon. A man who listens to his needs and follows them, just like a river flows to the ocean... The river doesn’t say whether to flow to the east or to the west, it simply seeks the way. East or west makes no difference. The river flowing to the ocean knows no desires; it knows only its needs. That’s why animals look so happy – having nothing, and so happy? – and you have so many things and so miserable? Even animals surpass you in their beauty, in their bliss. What is happening? The animals don’t have a conscious mind to control and manipulate the unconscious; they remain undivided.


The second type of dream has much to reveal to you. With the second type you start changing your consciousness, you start changing your behaviour, you start changing your life pattern. Listen to your needs, whatsoever unconscious is saying. Always remember: unconscious is right, because it has the wisdom of the ages. Millions of lives you have existed. The conscious belongs to this life; it has been trained in the schools and the universities, and the family and this society in which you are born, coincidentally born. But the unconscious carries all the experiences of all your lives. It carries the experience when you were a rock, it carries the experience when you were a tree, it carries the experience when you were animals – it carries all, the whole past. Unconscious is tremendously wise and conscious is tremendously foolish – has to be so because conscious is just of this life, very small, with no experience; it is very childish. Unconscious is eternal wisdom. Listen to it.


Now the whole psychoanalysis in the West is doing only this and nothing else: listening to the second type of dreaming and changing your life pattern accordingly. And psychoanalysis has helped many people. It has its own limitations, but it has helped because at least this part, listening to the second type of dreaming, makes your life more relaxed, less tense.


Then there is a third type of dream. This third type of dream is a communication from the superconscious. The second type of dream is a communication from the unconscious. The third type of dream is very rare because we have lost all contact with the superconscious. But still, it comes because the superconscious is yours. Maybe it has become a cloud and moved into the sky, evaporated, maybe the distance is very far, but it is anchored still in you.


The communication from the superconscious is very rare. When you become very, very alert, only then you will start feeling it. Otherwise, it will be lost in the dust that the mind throws in dreams, and the wish-fulfilment that the mind goes on dreaming about – things incomplete, suppressed. It will be lost. But when you become aware, it is just like a diamond shining – absolutely different from all the stones around.


When you can feel and find a dream which is coming from the superconscious, watch it, meditate on it, because that will become your guidance, that will lead to your Master, that will lead you to the way of life that can suit you, that will lead you to the right discipline. That dream will become a deep guide inside. With the conscious, you can find a Master, but the Master will be nothing more than a teacher. With the unconscious, you can find a Master, but the Master will not be more than a lover – you will fall in love with a certain personality, with a certain type. But only the superconscious can lead you to the right Master. Then he is not a teacher; you are not infatuated with what he says, you are not infatuated with what he is. Rather, on the contrary, you are guided by your superconscious that this man will suit you, that this man will be the right possibility for you to grow with, that this man can become your soil.


Then there is a fourth type of dream which comes from the past lives. Not very rare – many times it comes, but everything is a mess inside you; you cannot make any distinctions. You are not there to make distinctions. In the East we have worked very hard on this fourth type of dream. Because of this dream we stumbled upon the phenomenon of reincarnation. From this dream, you become by and by aware of your past lives. You move backwards, backwards in time. Then many things start changing in you, because if you can remember, even in a dream, who you were in your past life, many things will become meaningless, and many new things will become meaningful. The whole pattern will change, your gestalt will change.


Because you accumulated too much wealth in a past life, you died the richest man in the country and deep down a beggar, and again you are doing the same in this life... Suddenly the gestalt will change. If you can remember what you did and how it all came to nothing, if you can remember many lives, many times you have been doing the same again and again – you are like a stuck gramophone record, a vicious circle: again you start the same and you end the same – if you can remember a few of your lives you will be suddenly surprised that you have never done a single thing new. Again and again you accumulated wealth; again and again you tried to be powerful politically; again and again you became too much knowledgeable; again and again you fell in love, and again and again the same misery that love brings. When you see this repetition, how can you remain the same? Then this life suddenly is transfigured. You cannot remain in the same rut anymore.


That’s why in the East people, again and again, have been asking, for millennia, ”How to get out of this wheel of life and death?” It seems the same wheel. It seems to be the same story, again and again, a repetition. If you don’t know it, then you think you are doing new things, and you are so much excited. And I can see you have been doing these same things again and again.


Nothing is new in life; it is a wheel; it moves on the same route. Because you go on forgetting about the past, that’s why you feel so much excitement. Once you remember, the whole excitement drops. In that remembrance happens Sannyas.


Sannyas is an effort to get out of the rut of Sansar. It is an effort to jump out of the wheel. It is to say to yourself that ”Enough is enough! Now I am not going to participate anymore in the same old nonsense. I am getting out of it.” Sannyas is a perfect dropping out of the wheel – not out of society, but out of your own inner wheel of life and death. This is the fourth type of dream.


And then there is a fifth type of dream and the last type. The fourth type is going back into your past, the fifth type is going forwards into the future. Rare, very rare – it happens only sometimes; when you are very very vulnerable, open, flexible, the past gives a shadow and the future gives a shadow, reflects in you. If you can become aware of your dreams, someday you will become aware of this possibility also: that future looks into you. Just suddenly a door opens and the future has a communication with you.


These are the five types of dreams. The modern psychology understands only the second type. Russian psychology understands only the first type. The three types, the other three types are almost unknown, but yoga understands them all. 


If you meditate and become aware of your inner being in dreams, many more things will happen. The first: by and by, the more you become aware of your dreams, you will be less and less convinced of the reality of your waking hours. Hence, Hindus say that the world is like a dream. Right now just the opposite is the case: because you are so much convinced of the reality of the world in your waking hours, you think while you dream that those dreams are also real. Nobody feels while dreaming that the dream is unreal. While dreaming it looks perfect, it looks absolutely real. In the morning, of course, you may say it was just a dream, but that is not the point because now another mind is functioning. This mind was not a witness at all; this mind has only heard the rumour. This conscious mind that wakes in the morning and says it was all dream, this mind was not a witness at all. So how this mind can say anything? – he has simply heard a rumour. As if you are asleep and two persons are talking, and you just – in your sleep, because they are talking so loudly – hear some words from here and there and just a hodge-podge impression is left.


This is happening: while the unconscious creates dreams and tremendous activity goes in, the conscious is asleep and just hears the rumour, and in the morning says, ”It is all false. It was just a dream.” Right now, whenever you dream you feel it is absolutely real. Even absurd things look real, illogical things look real, because the unconscious knows no logic. You are walking on a road in a dream, a horse you see coming, and suddenly the horse is no more horse, the horse has become your wife. And nothing happens to your mind, that ”How it can be possible? The horse has so suddenly become my wife?” No problem arises, no doubt arises. The unconscious knows no doubt. Even such an absurd phenomenon is believed; you are convinced of the reality.


Just the opposite happens when you become aware of the dreams and you feel they are really dreams – nothing is real, just mind-drama, a psycho-drama. You are the stage, and you are the actors, and you are the story writer, and you are the director, and you are the producer, and you are the spectator – nobody else there, just a mental creation. When you become aware of this, then this whole world while you will be waking will change its quality. Then you will see here also, same is the case on a wider stage, but the dream is the same.


Hindus call this world also Maya, illusory, dreamlike, mind-stuff. What do they mean? Do they mean that it is unreal? No, it is not unreal. But when your mind gets mixed into it, you create an unreal world of your own. We don’t live in the same world; everybody lives in his own world. There are as many worlds as there are minds. When Hindus say that these worlds are Maya, they mean the reality plus mind is Maya. The reality, that which is, we don’t know. Reality plus mind is an illusion, Maya. When somebody becomes totally awakened, a Buddha, then he knows reality minus mind. Then it is the truth, the Brahman, the ultimate. Plus mind and everything becomes a dream because the mind is the stuff that creates dreams. Minus mind, nothing can be a dream; only reality remains in its crystal purity. The mind is just like a mirror. In the mirror, the world reflects. That reflection cannot be real, that reflection is just a reflection. When the mirror is no more there, the reflection disappears. Now you can see the real.


A full-moon night and the lake is silent and the moon is reflected in the lake and you try to catch the moon. This is all that everybody has been doing for many lives – trying to catch the moon in the mirror of the lake. And of course you never succeed – you cannot succeed – it is not possible. One has to forget about the lake and look exactly in the opposite direction. There is the moon.


Mind is the lake in which the world becomes illusory. Whether you dream with closed eyes or you dream with open eyes makes no difference. If the mind is there, all that happens is dream. This will be the first realization if you meditate on dreams.


And the second realization will be that you are a witness: dream is there but you are not part of it. You are not part of your mind, you are a transcendence. You are in the mind but you are not the mind. You look through the mind but you are not the mind. You use the mind but you are not the mind. Suddenly you are a witness – no more a mind. And this witnessing is the final, the ultimate realization. Then, whether dream while asleep or whether dream while awake makes no difference, you remain a witness. You remain in the world, but the world cannot enter in you anymore. Things are there but the mind is not in the things, and the things are not in the mind. Suddenly the witness comes in and everything changes.


It is very, very simple once you know the knack of it. Otherwise, it looks very very difficult, almost impossible – how to awake while dreaming? Looks impossible but it is not: three to nine months it will take if you every night go to sleep – while falling into sleep, trying to be alert and watching it. But remember, don’t try to be alert in an active sense, otherwise you will not be able to fall asleep. Passive alertness: loose, natural relaxed, just looking by the corner, not too much active about it, just passive awareness, not too much concerned. Sitting by the side and the river flows by and you are just watching.


Three to nine months this takes. Then someday, suddenly the sleep is falling on you like a dark screen, like a dark curtain, as if the sun has set and the night is descending. It settles all around you, but deep inside a flame goes on burning. You are watching – silent, passive. Then the world of dream starts. Then many plays happen, many psychodramas, and you go on watching. By and by, the distinction comes into existence – now you can see what type of dream. Then suddenly, one day you realize that this is the same as while waking. There is no difference of quality. The whole world has become illusory. And when the world is illusory, only the witness is real.


This is what Patanjali means when he says, ALSO MEDITATE ON KNOWLEDGE THAT COMES DURING SLEEP – and that will make you a realized man.


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