The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'The yogin who wishes to always practise sinless Brahmacharya and who is impressed with the faults attaching to dreams should, with his whole heart, seek to abandon sleep. In dreams, the embodied soul, affected by the attributes of Passion and Darkness, seems to become possessed of another body and move and act influenced by desire. 2 In consequence of application for the acquisition of knowledge and of continued reflection and recapitulation, the yogin remains always awake. Indeed, the yogin can keep himself continually awake by devoting himself to knowledge. On this topic it has been asked what is this state in which the embodied creature thinks himself surrounded by and engaged in objects and acts? True it is that the embodied being, with its senses really suspended, still thinks itself to be possessed of body with all the senses of knowledge and of action. As regards the question started, it is said that that master of yoga, named Hari, comprehends truly how it happens. The great Rishis say that the explanation offered by Hari is correct and consistent with reason. The learned say that it is in consequence of the senses being worn out with fatigue, dreams are experienced by all creatures. (Though the senses are suspended) the mind, however, never disappears (or becomes inactive) and hence arise dreams. This is said by all to be their noted cause. As the imaginings of a person that is awake and
engaged in acts, are due only to the creative power of the mind, after the same manner the impressions in a dream appertain only to the mind. A person with desire and attachment obtains those imaginings (in dreams) based upon the impressions of countless lives in the past. Nothing that impresses the mind once is ever lost, and the Soul being cognisant of all those impressions causes them to come forth from obscurity. 1 Whichever among the three attributes of Goodness, Passion, and Darkness is brought about by the influence of past acts and by whichever amongst them the mind is affected for the time being in whatever way, the elements (in their subtile forms) display or indicate accordingly (in the way of images). 2 After images have thus been produced, the particular attribute of Goodness or Passion or Darkness that may have been brought by past act rises in the mind and conduces to its last result, viz., happiness or misery. Those images having wind, bile, and phlegm for their chief causes, which men apprehend through ignorance and in consequence of propensities fraught with Passion and Darkness, cannot, it has been said, be easily discarded. 3 Whatever objects again a person perceives in the mind (while wakeful) through the senses in a state of perspicuity are apprehended by the mind in dreams while the senses are obscured in respect of their functions. 4 The Mind exists unobstructedly in all things. This is due to the nature of the Soul. The Soul should be comprehended. All the elements and the objects they compose exist in the Soul. 5 In the state called dreamless slumber (sushupti), the manifest human body which, of course, is the door of dreams, disappears in the mind. Occupying the body the mind enters the soul which is manifest and upon which all existent and non-existent things depend, and becomes transformed into a wakeful witness with certainty of apprehension. Thus dwelling in pure Consciousness which is the soul of all things; it is regarded by the learned as
transcending both Consciousness and all things in the universe. 1 That yogin who in consequence of desire covets any of the divine attributes (of Knowledge or Renunciation, etc.) should regard a pure mind to be identical with the object of his desire. All things rest in a pure mind or soul. 2 This is the result attained to by one who is engaged in penances. That yogin, however, who has crossed Darkness or ignorance, becomes possessed of transcending effulgence. When darkness or ignorance has been transcended, the embodied Soul becomes Supreme Brahma, the cause of the universe. 3 The deities have penances and Vedic rites. Darkness (or pride and cruelty), which is destructive of the former, has been adopted by the Asuras. This, viz., Brahma, which has been said to have Knowledge only for its attribute, is difficult of attainment by either the deities or the Asuras. It should be known that the qualities of Goodness, Passion and Darkness belong to the deities and the Asuras. Goodness is the attribute of the deities; while the two others belong to the Asuras. Brahma transcends all those attributes. It is pure Knowledge. It is Deathlessness. It is pure effulgence. It is undeteriorating. Those persons of cleansed souls who know Brahma attain to the highest end. One having knowledge for one's eye can say this much with the aid of reason and analogy. Brahma which is indestructible can be comprehended by only withdrawing the senses and the mind (from external objects into the soul itself).'" 4
105:2 The correct reading, I apprehend, is upagatasprihah and not apagatasprihah. Nilakantha is silent. All that he says is that the first verse has reference to 'yogins,' the second to yogins and 'non-yogins' alike. Both the vernacular translators adhere to apagatasprihah.
106:1 I expand verse 8 a little for giving its meaning more clearly than a literal version would yield. All the impressions, it is said here, in dreams, are due either to the impressions of this life or those received by, the mind in the countless lives through which it has passed. All those impressions, again, are well-known to the Soul though memory may not retain them. Their reappearance in dreams is due to the action of the Soul which calls them up from the obscurity in which they are concealed. Avisena's theory of nothing being ever lost that is once acquired by the mind and the recollection of a past impression being, due to a sudden irradiation of the divine light, was, it seems, borrowed from Hindu philosophy.
106:2 The sense is this: a particular attribute among the three, viz., Goodness or Passion or Darkness, is brought to the mind by the influence of past acts of either this or any previous life. That attribute immediately affects the mind in a definite way. The result of this is that the elements in their subtile forms actually produce the images that correspond with or appertain to the affecting attribute and the manner in which it affects the mind.
106:3 Nothing less than yoga can discard or destroy them, for they really spring from desires generated by past acts.
106:4 The Bombay reading Manohrishyan is better.
106:5 Both the external and the internal worlds are due to Consciousness, which, in its turn, arises from delusion affecting the Soul. That which is called the Mind is only a product of the Soul. The world both external and internal, is only the result of Mind as explained in previous sections. Hence the Mind exists in all things. What is meant by all things existing in the Soul is that the Soul is omniscient and he who succeeds in knowing the Soul wins omniscience.
107:1 The body is called the door of dreams because the body is the result of past acts, and dreams cannot take place till the Soul, through past acts, becomes encased in a body. What is meant by the body disappearing in the mind is that in dreamless slumber the mind Mo longer retains any apprehension of the body. The body being thus lost in the mind, the mind (with the body lost in it) enters the Soul, or becomes withdrawn into it. Nidarsanam is explained as Nischitadarsanam Sakshirupam. The sense of the verse is that in dreamless slumber the senses are withdrawn into the mind; the mind becomes withdrawn into the Soul. It is the Soul alone that then lives in its state of original purity, consciousness and all things which proceed from it disappearing at the time.
107:2 i.e., the mind becoming pure, he gains omniscience and omnipotence.
107:3 The Burdwan translator, using the very words of Nilakantha, jumbles them wrongly together and makes utter nonsense of both the original and the gloss.
107:4 Brahma cannot, as the commentator properly explains, be seized like a creature by the horns. All that one can do is to explain its nature by reason and analogy. It can be comprehended only in the way indicated, i.e., by Pratyahara.
Next: Section CCXVII