This Chapter taken from The book ‘Crumbs from His Table’ by Ramanananda Swarnagiri
Dream, Sleep and Samadi
D: How can one control dreams?
B: One who can control them during jagrat (waking state) can also control them while asleep. Dreams are only impressions which have been received in the waking state and are recalled to mind in the dream state (i.e., semi- sleeping state as distinct from deep sleep — sushupti).
Referring to what he saw in dreams, the enquirer remarked, “I could not understand what they were. There were huge figures with monkey faces in my dream.”
B: The Self is not limited; it is the mind which produces a form that is limited; that which has got dimensions is the mind and it gives rise to dimensions in others. The real limitation is in the mind. The mind is not different from the Supreme Being. A gold ornament is not gold itself, but is also not different from gold. The mind is a wonderful power, a mysterious power (shakti) of the Supreme Being. It is after the rise of the mind that God, world and jivas (individuals) appear, whereas in sleep we are not aware of any of these three. That is the mysterious power of God. but although we are not aware of these in sleep, yet we know that we existed in sleep also. On the rising of the mind we awaken from sleep. Consciousness and unconsciousness are with reference to the mind only. In the wakeful state we identify ourselves with the mind. If now we find the real Self behind the mind, then we shall not have these limitations. In the deep sleep state, what limitations were there?
D: None that I am aware of.
B: That which says I was not aware then is also the mind. In deep sleep you are one with the real Self. That which appears in the interval also disappears. The Self always remains, whether in sleep, dream or waking state. It is the substratum both of the waking state and the sleep state. The different states of dream, sleep and wakefulness are only for the mind. Trance and unconsciousness also are only for the mind; they do not affect the Self.
D: Will the Master say that there is no difference between the poet, the artist, the clerk and the engineer, etc.?
B: The difference is only in the mind: according to the predisposition of each, the differences exist. No two individuals are alike, due to vasanas. The ignorant mind is like the sensitive plate taking images of things as they appear, whereas the wise man’s mind is like a clean mirror.
D: Is the Master here?
B: Who is the Master? You think there is the Master here. You see the body of the Master, but how does the Master conceive of himself? He is the Self or Atma. He sees everybody as himself. Only if there is a world apart from him could he see a world. If the Self is identified with the world then where would be the world? There has been no creation, no destruction, no preservation. That which is, is ever the Self, the Atma. These appear according to each one’s standpoint, according to the maturity of the mind, and as you progress further and further these doubts will not arise.
That which exists is consciousness. Consciousness and existence are not different. Existence is the same as Consciousness, pure Consciousness, Absolute Consciousness. You say I am conscious of the body and so on, but pure Consciousness is beyond all this. It is Absolute Consciousness. There is no question of transition from unconsciousness to supreme pure Consciousness. Giving up these two, self- consciousness and unconsciousness, you inhere in the natural consciousness, that is pure Consciousness.
D: It is stated that the existence of the world is false, an illusion, Maya, but we see the world day after day. How can it be false?
B: By false it is meant that the conception of the world is a superimposition on reality, as the idea of a snake is superimposed on the reality of a rope, in darkness (in ignorance). That is Maya, illusion.
D: What is Maya? Illusion?
B: Seeing ice without seeing that it is water is illusion, Maya. Therefore saying things like killing the mind or anything like that also has no meaning, for after all mind also is part and parcel of the Self. Resting in the Self or inhering in the Self is mukti, getting rid of Maya. Maya is not a separate entity. Absence of light is called darkness, so also absence of Knowledge, Illumination etc., is called ignorance, illusion or Maya.
D: What is samadhi?
B: When the mind is in communion with the Self in darkness, it is called nidra (sleep), i.e., the involution of the mind in ignorance. Involution in a conscious or wakeful state is called samadhi. Samadhi is continuous inherence in the Self in a waking state. Nidra or sleep is also inherence in the Self but in an unconscious state. In sahaja samadhi the communion is continuous.
D: What are kevala nirvikalpa samadhi and sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi?
B: The involution of the mind in the Self, but without its destruction, is kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. There are four obstacles in this, namely, vacillation of:
ii. life breath or prana,
iii. body, and iv. drishti.
In kevala nirvikalpa samadhi one is not free from vasanas and does not, therefore, attain mukti. Only after the samskaras have been destroyed can one attain salvation.
D: When can one practise sahaja samadhi?
B: Even from the beginning. Even though one practises kevala nirvikalpa samadhi for years together, if one has not rooted out the vasanas, he will not attain salvation.
D: People say that even a Jnani is not free from the effects of prarabdha (the matured past karma).
B: Yes; he does appear to others as if undergoing the results of his karma, eating the same as they do, sleeping and suffering from the ailments of the body. These aftereffects are just like the running of the flywheel by its momentum after the engine has stopped. But the Jnani is neither affected by this nor does he think that he is experiencing the pleasures and pains thereof because he has no thought of being the doer.