Chapter 13: Mental States of Wakefulness and Dreaming


1-2. The sage's son made the king sleep, united his subtle body with the gross one left in the hole, and then woke him up.

3. On regaining his senses, Mahasena found the whole world changed. The people, the river courses, the trees, the tanks, etc., were all different.

4-30. He was bewildered and asked the saint:

"O great one! How long have we spent seeing your world? This world looks different from the one I was accustomed to! "Thus asked, the sage's son said to Mahasena: 'Listen King, this is the world which we were in and left to see that within the hill. The same has undergone enormous changes owing to the long interval of time. We spent only one day looking round the hill region; the same interval counts for twelve thousand years in this land; and it has accordingly changed enormously. Look at the difference in the manners of the people and their languages. Such changes are natural. I have often noticed similar changes before. Look here! This is the Lord, my father in Samadhi. Here you stood before, praising my father and praying to him. There you see the hill in front of you.

"By this time, your brother's progeny has increased to thousands. What was Vanga, your country, with Sundara, your capital, is now a jungle infested with jackals and wild animals. There is now one Virabahu in your brother's line who has his capital Visala on the banks of the Kshipra in the country of Malwa; in your line, there is Susarma whose capital is Vardhana in the country of the Dravidas, on the banks of the Tambrabharani. Such is the course of the world which cannot remain the same even for a short time. For in this period, the hills, rivers, lakes, and the contour of the earth have altered. Mountains subside; plains heave high; deserts become fertile; plateaus change to sandy tracts; rocks decompose and become silt; clay hardens sometimes; cultivated farms become barren and barren lands are brought under tillage; precious stones become valueless and trinkets become invaluable; salt water becomes sweet and potable waters become brackish; some lands contain more people than cattle, others are infested with wild beasts; and yet others are invaded by venomous reptiles, insects and vermin. Such are some of the changes that happen on the earth in course of time. But there is no doubt that this is the same earth as we were in before."

Mahasena heard all that the sage's son said and fainted from the shock. Then being brought round by his companion, he was overcome by grief and mourned the loss of his royal brother and brother's son and of his own wife and children. After a short time, the sage's son assuaged his grief with wise words: "Being a sensible man, why do you mourn and at whose loss? A sensible man never does anything without a purpose, to act without discernment is childish. Think now, and tell me what loss grieves you and what purpose your grief will serve."

Asked thus, Mahasena, who was still inconsolable retorted: "Great sage that you are, can you not understand the cause of my sorrow? How is it that you seek the reason of my grief when I have lost my all? A man is generally sad when only one of his family dies. I have lost all my friends and relatives and you still ask me why I am sad."

31-48. The sage's son continued derisively. "King! tell me now. Is this lapse into sorrow a hereditary virtue? will it result in sin if you do not indulge in it on this occasion? Or do you hope to recover your loss by such grief? King! Think well and tell me what you gain by your sorrow. If you consider it irresistible, listen to what I say.

"Such loss is not fresh. Your forefathers have died before. Have you ever mourned their loss? If you say that it is because of blood relationship that it now causes your grief, were there not worms in the bodies of your parents, living on their nourishment? Why are they not your relatives and why does not their loss cause you sorrow? King, think! Who are you? Whose deaths are the cause of your present grief?

"Are you the body, or other than that? The body is simply a conglomerate of different substances. Harm to any one of the constituents is harm to the whole. There is no moment in which each of the components is not changing. But the excretions do not constitute a loss to the body.

"Those whom you called your brother and so on are mere bodies; the bodies are composed of earth; when lost, they return to earth; and earth resolves ultimately into energy. Where then is the loss?

"In fact you are not the body. You own the body and call it your own, just as you do a garment you happen to possess. Where lies the difference between your body and your garment? Have you any doubt regarding this conclusion? Being other than your own body, what relation is there between you and another body? Did you ever claim similar relationship, say with your brother's clothes? Why then mourn over the loss of bodies, which are in no way different from garments?

"You speak of 'my' body, 'my' eyes, 'my' life, 'my' mind and so on, I ask you now to tell me what precisely you are."

Being confronted thus, Mahasena began to think over the matter, and unable to solve the problem he asked leave to consider it carefully. Then he returned and said with all humility "Lord, I do not see who I am. I have considered the matter, and still I do not understand. My grief is only natural; I cannot account for it.

"Master, I seek your protection. Kindly tell me what it is. Every one is overpowered by grief when his relative dies. No one seems to know his own self; nor does one mourn all losses.

"I submit to you as your disciple. Please elucidate this matter to me."

Being thus requested, the sage's son spoke to Mahasena:

49. "King, listen! People are deluded by the illusion cast by Her Divine Majesty. They partake of misery that is due to the ignorance of their selves. Their misery is meaningless.

50. "As long as the ignorance of the self lasts, so long will there be misery.

51-52. "Just as a dreamer is foolishly alarmed at his own dreams or as a fool is deluded by the serpents created in a magic performance, so also the man ignorant of the Self is terrified.

53-55. "Just as the dreamer awakened from his fearful dream or the man attending the magic performance informed of the unreal nature of the magic creations, no longer fears them but ridicules another who does, so also one aware of the Self not only does not grieve but also laughs at another's grief. Therefore, O valiant hero, batter down this impregnable fortress of illusion and conquer your misery by realisation of the Self. In the meantime be discriminating and not so foolish."

56-58. After hearing the sage's son, Mahasena said, 'Master, your illustration is not to the point. Dream or magic is later realised to be illusory whereas this hard concrete universe is always real and purposeful. This is unassailed and persistent. How can it be compared to the evanescent dream?' Then the sage's son answered:

59. "Listen to what I say. Your opinion that the illustration is not to the point is a double delusion like a dream in a dream.

Note. - The commentary says that the first delusion is the idea of separateness of the universe from oneself and that the second is the idea that dream objects are an illusion in contradistinction to those seen while awake. This is compared to the illusion that a dreamer mistakes the dream-rope for a dream-serpent. (The dream is itself an illusion and the mistake is an illusion in the illusion).

60-70. "Consider the dream as a dreamer would and tell me whether the trees do not afford shade to the pedestrians, and bear fruits for the use of others. Is the dream realised to be untrue and evanescent in the dream itself?

"Do you mean to say that the dream is rendered false after waking from it? Is not the waking world similarly rendered false in your dream or deep sleep?

"Do you contend that the waking state is not so because there is continuity in it after you wake up? Is there no continuity in your dreams from day to day?

"If you say that it is not evident, tell me whether the continuity in the wakeful world is not broken up every moment of your life.

"Do you suggest that the hills, the seas and the earth itself are really permanent phenomena, in spite of the fact that their appearance is constantly changing? Is not the dream-world also similarly continuous with its earth, mountains, rivers, friends and relatives?

"Do you still doubt its abiding nature? Then extend the same reasoning to the nature of the wakeful world and know it to be equally evanescent.

"The ever-changing objects like the body, trees, rivers, and islands are easily found to be transitory. Even mountains are not immutable, for their contours change owing to the erosion of waterfalls and mountain torrents; ravages by men, boars and wild animals, insects; thunder; lightning and storms; and so on. You will observe similar change in the seas and on earth.

"Therefore I tell you that you should investigate the matter closely. (You will probably argue as follows:)

71-76. "Dream and wakefulness resemble each other in their discontinuous harmony (like a chain made up of links). There is no unbroken continuity in any object because every new appearance implies a later disappearance. But continuity cannot be denied in the fundamentals underlying the objects!

"Because a dream creation is obliterated and rendered false by present experience - what distinction will you draw between the fundamentals underlying the dream objects and the present objects?

"If you say that the dream is an illusion and its fundamentals are equally so, whereas the present creation is not so obliterated and its fundamentals must therefore be true, I ask you what illusion is. It is determined by the transitory nature, which is nothing but appearance to, and disappearance from, our senses.

"Is not everything obliterated in deep sleep? If you maintain however, that mutual contradiction is unreliable as evidence and so proves nothing, it amounts to saying that self-evident sight alone furnishes the best proof. Quite so, people like you do not have a true insight into the nature of things.

77-79. "Therefore, take my word for it, the present world is only similar to the dream world. Long periods pass in dreams also. Therefore, purposefulness and enduring nature are in every way similar to both states. Just as you are obviously aware in your waking state, so also you are in your dream state.

80. "These two states being so similar, why do you not mourn the loss of your dream relations?

81. "The wakeful universe appears so real to all only by force of habit. If the same be imagined vacuous it will melt away into the void.

82-83. "One starts imagining something; then contemplates it; and by continuous or repeated association resolves that it is true unless contradicted. In that way, the world appears real in the manner one is used to it. My world that you visited furnishes the proof thereof; come now, let us go round the hill and see."

85. Saying so, the sage's son took the king, and went round the hill and returned to the former spot.

86-87. Then he continued: "Look, O King! the circuit of the hill is hardly two miles and a half and yet you have seen a universe within it. Is it real or false? Is it a dream or otherwise? What has passed as a day in that land, has counted for twelve thousand years here, which is correct? Think, and tell me. Obviously you cannot distinguish this from a dream and cannot help concluding that the world is nothing but imagination. My world will disappear instantly if I cease contemplating it.

"Therefore convince yourself of the dream-like nature of the world and do not indulge in grief at your brother's death.

90. "Just as the dream creations are pictures moving on the mind screens, so also this world including yourself is the obverse of the picture depicted by pure intelligence and it is nothing more than an image in a mirror. See how you will feel after this conviction. Will you be elated by the accession of a dominion or depressed by the death of a relative in your dream?

91. "Realise that the Self is the self-contained mirror projecting and manifesting this world. The Self is pure unblemished consciousness. Be quick! Realise it quickly and gain transcendental happiness!"

Thus ends the Chapter on the Vision of the Hill City in Tripura Rahasya.