III-2 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 1


Topic 1 - The soul in the dream state

Sutra 3,2.1

संध्ये सृष्टिराह हि ॥ १ ॥

saṃdhye sṛṣṭirāha hi || 1 ||

saṃdhye—In the intermediate stage (between waking and deep sleep, i.e. in the dream state); sṛṣṭiḥ—(there is real) creation; āha—(Śruti) says so; hi—because;

1. In the intermediate stage (between waking and deep sleep, there is a real) creation, because (the Śruti) says so.

So far it has been shown that the soul in the waking state suffers affliction since, in accordance with its deeds, it goes, returns, is born, and so on. Next an enquiry is instituted into its condition in the state of dream. With reference to the state of dreaming Scripture says, 'There are no chariots in that state, no horses, no roads; then he creates chariots, horses and roads. There are no blessings, no happiness, no joys; then he himself creates blessings, happiness, joys, and so on. For he is the creator' (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 10). A doubt here arises whether this creation of chariots and the rest is accomplished by the individual soul, or by the Lord.--'The creation in the intermediate state' is due to the individual soul only. 'The intermediate state' means the sphere of dreams, in agreement with the passage 'There is a third intermediate state, the place of dreams' (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 1). And that creation is effected by the soul only; for what is referred to in the passages 'he creates,' 'For he is the maker,' is none other but the dreaming soul.

Sutra 3,2.2

निर्मातारं चैके, पुत्रादयश् च ॥ २ ॥

nirmātāraṃ caike, putrādayaś ca || 2 ||

nirmātāraṃ—Creator; ca—and; ike—some (the followers of particular Śākhās of the Vedas); putrādayaḥ—sons etc.; ca—and;

2. And some (Śākhās or recensions) (state the Self or the Supreme Lord to be) the creator (of objects of desires while we are asleep) and (objects of desires there stand for) sons etc.

And the followers of one Śākhā state in their text that the dreaming soul is the shaper of its desires: 'He, the person who is awake in those who sleep, shaping one desired thing (kāma) after the other.' The term 'kāma' there denotes not mere desires, but such things as sons and the like which are objects of desire. For sons and so on are introduced as 'kāmas' in previous passages: 'Ask for all kāmas according to thy wish'; 'Choose sons and grandsons living a hundred years' (Ka. Up. I, 1, 25; 23). The individual soul thus creates chariots, and so on, in its dreams. That the soul has the power of realising all its wishes is known from the declaration of Prajāpati. It is therefore able to create, even in the absence of special instruments.--This view is set aside by the next Sūtra.

Sutra 3,2.3

मायामात्रं तु, कार्त्स्न्येनानभिव्यक्तस्वरूपत्वात् ॥ ३ ॥

māyāmātraṃ tu, kārtsnyenānabhivyaktasvarūpatvāt || 3 ||

māyāmātraṃ—Mere illusion; tu—but;  kārtsnyenain toto; anabhivyaktasvarūpatvāt—on account of its nature not being manifest.

3. But (the dream world is) mere illusion, on account of its nature not being manifest with the totality (of attributes of the waking state).

The things appearing in dreams-chariots, lotus tanks, and so on--are absolute Māyā, i.e. things created by the Supreme Person. For the term 'Māyā' denotes wonderful things, as appears from passages such as 'She was born in the race of Janaka, appearing like the wonderful power of the divine being in bodily shape' (devamāyā). The sense of the passage 'there are no chariots,' etc. then is--there are no chariots and horses to be perceived by any other person but the dreaming one; and then 'he creates chariots,' etc.--i. e. the Supreme Person creates things to be perceived by the dreamer and persisting for a certain time only. Those things therefore are of a wonderful nature (but not illusions). And the creation of such wonderful things is possible for the Supreme Person who can immediately realise all his wishes; but not for the individual soul. The latter also, indeed, fundamentally possesses that power; but as in the Samsāra state the true nature of the soul is not fully manifested, it is then incapable of accomplishing such wonderful creations. The text 'the person shaping one desired thing after the other' declares the Supreme Person to be the creator, for the clauses immediately preceding and following that text (viz. 'He who is awake in those who sleep'; and 'that is the Bright, that is Brahman, that alone is called the Immortal; all worlds are contained in it and no one goes beyond'--Ka. Up. II, 5, 8) mention attributes distinctively characteristic of the Supreme Person. And the Bri. Up. text, 'For he is the maker,' must therefore, in agreement with the Katha-text, also be understood as declaring that it is the Supreme Person only that creates the things seen in a dream.--But if it is the true nature of the soul to be free from all imperfections, and so on, why then does this not manifest itself?--To this the next Sūtra replies.

Sutra 3,2.5

पराभिध्यानात्तु तिरोहितम्, ततो ह्यस्य बन्धविपर्ययौ ॥ ५ ॥

parābhidhyānāttu tirohitam, tato hyasya bandhaviparyayau || 5 ||

parābhidhyānāt—By meditation on the Supreme Lord; tu—but; tirohitam—that which is covered (by ignorance); tataḥ—from Him (the Lord); hi—for; asya—of the soul; bandhaviparyayau—bondage and its opposite, i.e. freedom.

5. But by meditation on the Supreme Lord, that which is covered (by ignorance, i.e. the similarity of the Lord and soul, becomes manifest); for from Him (the Lord) are its (the soul’s) bondage and freedom.

The but sets the objection aside. Owing to the wish of the highest, i.e. the Supreme Person, the essential nature of the individual soul is hidden. The Supreme Person hides the true, essentially blessed, nature of the soul which is in a state of sin owing to the endless chain of karman. For this reason we find it stated in Scripture that the bondage and release of the soul result from the wish of the Supreme Person only 'when he finds freedom from fear and rest in that invisible, incorporeal, undefined, unsupported; then he has gone to fearlessness '; 'for he alone causes blessedness'; 'from fear of it the wind blows' (Taitt. Up. II, 7, 8).

Sutra 3,2.6

देहयोगाद्वा सोऽपि ॥ ६ ॥

dehayogādvā so’pi || 6 ||

dehayogāt—From its connection with the body; —and; saḥ—that (the covering of its rulership); api—also.

6. And that (the covering of the soul’s rulership) also (results) from its connection with the body.

The obscuration of the soul's true nature results either from the soul's connexion with the body or from its connexion with the power of matter in a subtle state. As long as the creation lasts, the soul is obscured by its connexion with matter in the form of a body; at the time of a pralaya, on the other hand, by its connexion with matter of so exceedingly subtle a kind as not to admit of differentiation by means of name and form. As thus its true nature is not manifest, the soul is unable to create, in dreams, chariots, lotus tanks, and so on, by its mere wish. And what the texts say about a being that is awake in those who sleep and is the abode of all worlds ('in that all the worlds abide, and no one goes beyond it'--Ka. Up. II, 4, 9) can apply to the Supreme Person only. The things seen by an individual soul in its dreams therefore are specially created by the Supreme Person, and are meant by him to be a retribution--whether reward or punishment--for deeds of minor importance: they therefore last for the time of the dream only, and are perceived by that one soul only.

Sutra 3,2.4

सूचकश्च हि श्रुतेः, आचक्षते च तद्विदः ॥ ४ ॥

sūcakaśca hi śruteḥ, ācakṣate ca tadvidaḥ || 4 ||

sūcakaḥ—Omen; ca—but; hi—for; śruteḥ—from the Śruti; ācakṣate—say; ca—also; tadvidaḥ—experts in dream-reading.

4. But (though the dream-world is an illusion) yet it serves as an omen, for (so we find) in the Śruti, (and) expert dream-readers also say (thus).

The things seen in dreams are not created by the wish of the individual soul for this reason also, that according to Scripture dreams are prophetic of future good or ill fortune. 'When a man engaged in some work undertaken for some special wish sees a woman in his dream, he may infer success from his dream vision.' Those also who understand the science of dreams teach that dreams foreshadow good and evil fortune. But that which depends on one's own wish can have no prophetic quality; and as ill fortune is not desired the dreamer would create for himself only such visions as would indicate good fortune. Hence the creation which takes place in dreams can be the Lord's work only.

--Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'the intermediate state.'