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Who Is Viswa? – and Lucid Dreaming
Seeker: I have a question about something Ram said in Panchadasi. He talks about vishwa (not sure I have that word right) and jiva, and I’m not clear about the difference. Also, during the Mandukya (spelling?) prakriya, he says that the vishwa can’t be present in the waking, sleeping or dreaming state simultaneously. When one has a lucid dream, where one realizes that one is dreaming and can control the events in the dream, who is the lucid dreamer? Is it the vishwa, jiva or awarness? If it’s the vishwa then it can be present simultaneously because it is awake enough to know it’s sleeping; same for the jiva. And awareness is present throughout the entire leapfrogging from one state to another. I’m trying to reconcile that. Quite the mind-bender. The Mandukya is my most favorite prakriya.
Sundari: Your confusion relates to not understanding what the jiva is, so we must first define the jiva. The definition of jiva is “awareness with a subtle body,” which also means an individual, or apparent person. There are apparently two types of jivas: awareness with a subtle body free of identification with objects and awareness with a subtle body under the spell of ignorance, the doer, or person identified with objects. Both have a common identity as awareness, and enlightened or not, the jiva manifests in three apparent states:
1. Viswa, or waking state entity, which is the self under the spell of ignorance, or jiva with the mind totally extroverted towards objects; this is your typical samsari, the doer hynotised by duality.
2. Taijasa, the “shining one,” or awareness with a subtle body, shining in the dream state. In the dream state the subtle body is present but not functional as it is for the viswa, or waking state entity. The viswa is not present in the dream state, although the jiva as taijasa can experience everything that the viswa experiences, but there is no actual doer or ego. The doer/ego is a dream doer/ego; the vasanas condition the subtle body as they are outpicturing in the dream state for the dream doer/dream ego. If the jiva was not actually awareness, how else would it know that it is dreaming – unless the dream and dreamer are objects known to it? There would be no dreamer and no dream without awareness.
3. Then there is awareness as a jiva in the deep sleep state, or prajna, which means “almost enlightened.” Prajna is awareness operating as the jiva experiencing the macrocosmic causal body, i.e. the deep sleep state, or the bliss of awareness minus the knowledge, which is ignorance. The subtle body disappears in deep sleep state; so does the microcosmic causal body (personal subconscious), which belongs to the jiva. The deep sleep state (defined as no mental activity) is the same for everyone because everyone’s personal subconscious or microcosmic causal body is subsumed into Isvara, the macrocosmic causal body, during deep sleep. The gunas are still there in the macrocosmic causal body but they have no effect because the subtle body of the individual is not there to be conditioned, because the person or doer is not present. Although the gross body is not experienced by prajna, it is still present and can be experienced by other viswas because the gross body belongs to Isvara, or the dharma field.
The macrocosmic causal body remains in deep sleep because it is the deep sleep state, which is another name for Isvara. Although the nature of both the jiva and the causal body (or Isvara) is awareness, both the jiva and Isvara are inconstant factors. Jiva is inconstant because self-knowledge removes the notion that it is a limited person, revealing its true nature to be pure unlimited awareness. The causal body, or Isvara (in the role of Creator), wields ignorance (maya) but is not conditioned by ignorance because Isvara is not a person. Isvara in the role of Creator is a function of awareness when maya is manifest and controls the dharma field. Isvara is inconstant because (so the scripture tells us) its role as Creator is only relatively eternal in that the creation is withdrawn at the end of the kalpa, when the macrocosmic causal body goes back to seed form within awareness. Thus Isvara in the role of Creator is eternal with reference to the jiva but not with reference to pure awareness, paramatman.
Your question about lucid dreaming with reference to the Mandukya Upanishad is called the pratibasika state, the dream or subjective state or reality, i.e. jiva srsti. This is not created directly by Isvara in that it is the interpreted reality of the jiva. In the dream state (whether awake or asleep) the vasanas are influencing how reality is interpreted by the jiva, and Isvara is providing the raw material for the interpretation, but not the interpretation itself. Of course, ultimately it is all Isvara but to get to that understanding the jiva has to understand what its true nature is as awareness and what it is responsible for with reference to itself as a jiva living in the apparent reality subject to Isvara so that it can be free of both the jiva and Isvara. As the vasanas are out-picturing in the dream state, dream interpretation is thus useful because it provides a clear insight into shadow content in the jiva’s personal subconscious.
~ Much love, Sundari