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Who Knows the Lucid Dreamer?
Sundari: Yes, I know what you mean about the whirlpool of samsara dragging you back in, hence its very apt name. This is why we are so big on self-actualisation being the criteria for moksa; as we so often say, self-realisation is the easy part. What really counts is how self-knowledge translates into the daily life of the jiva. One simply cannot superimpose impose satya on mithya, meaning that knowing who you are does not give the jiva a pass. There is nowhere to hide the conditioning that runs in the background, it all has to dissolve in the light of self-knowledge or else moksa is not moksa. Your life, your environment (Isvara), must be faced squarely without all those cute rationalisations and justifications like “it’s all Isvara’s dream, it is just the play of maya.” To be free of Isvara one has to understand, negate and worship Isvara, along with the jiva, while as an apparent jiva one lives happily in the apparent reality, free of dependence on circumstances (objects).
There is no getting around the truth that your life must serve the truth, not the other way around. There is no fine print to moksa; if you want to be free then everything has to come under the uncompromising light of self-knowledge. If the life you are living is not congruent with the truth of who you are you are not free. It is that simple. With regards to your question re the jiva and lucid dreaming, your confusion is that you do not understand what the jiva is so we must first define the jiva.
The definition of jiva is “awareness with a subtle body.” Jiva is a principle, a tattva, not a specific person. It is actually pure awareness, paramatma.
Jiva manifests as three little jivas in three ways according to the state that it experiences:
1. As viswa, the waking state entity, its mind totally extroverted towards objects; this is your typical samsari, the doer hypnotised by duality. Viswa appears in two forms: free of identification with objects (a jivanmukta) or as the doer, or person, identified with objects (a samsari). Both a jivanmukta, a liberated person, and a samsari, a bound person, have a common identity as awareness.
2. As taijasa, the “shining one,” awareness with a subtle body, illumining the dream state. Its mind is turned inward facing the causal body, the vasanas.
Viswa is not present in the dream state in the same way that it is present in the waking state. In the waking state awareness identifies with the doer so the doer is not seen as an object. It is thought to be the subject. In the dream state there is also identification but the doer/ego can also appear as an object illumined by taijasa, awareness reflected on the subtle body. In the dream you can see the waker going about its business, walking, talking, eating, etc. The doer/ego is a dream doer/ego similar in some respects to viswa but with unique powers that are inherent in the dream state. The doer/ego and the events appearing in the dream are just waking state events outpicturing as dream events. If 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. As the sleeper, prajna, in the deep sleep state. Prajna means “almost enlightened.” It is almost enlightened because it experiences the limitlessness and bliss of awareness but lacks knowledge of what it is experiencing because the intellect is not present in deep sleep.
The subtle body disappears in deep sleep state; so does the microcosmic causal body (personal subconscious), which belongs to the jiva and produces the jiva’s karma. The deep sleep state is defined as “a state with no mental activity.” It is the same for everyone because the personal subconscious is subsumed into Isvara, the macrocosmic causal body during deep sleep. The gunas are still there but they have no effect because the subtle body of the individual is not there to be conditioned. (Although the gross body is not experienced by prajna it is still apparently present and can be experienced by other viswas because the gross body belongs to Isvara, or the dharma field.) The macrocosmic causal body, another name for Isvara, is the deep sleep state.
Although the nature of both the jiva and Isvara is awareness both the jiva and Isvara are inconstant factors with reference to awareness. Jiva is inconstant because it changes from state to state and because self-knowledge removes the notion that it is a limited entity, revealing its nature to be pure awareness. Isvara in the role of Creator is inconstant because (so the scripture tells us) it disappears at the end of the creation cycle. Isvara in the role of Creator is eternal with reference to the jiva but not with reference to pure awareness, paramatman, the constant factor.
The dream state has two aspects: waking dream and sleep dream. It is called the pratibasika state, the dream, or subjective, state of reality. It is jiva’s creation (sristi). It is not created directly by Isvara but is how an individual jiva interprets reality. In the dream state (whether the jiva is awake or asleep) the vasanas influence how reality is interpreted by the jiva. Isvara provides 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 it is responsible for and Isvara’s role in jiva’s creations, i.e. projections, so that it can be free of both itself and Isvara.
Lucid dreaming is a condition that sometimes happens in the dream state when jiva is one with paramatma and the individual jiva is either absent or appears in the dream as an object. Lucid dreaming also happens in the waking state when the mind is turned inwards, looking only at its thoughts and feelings. The light illumining the dream (awake or asleep) is awareness reflecting on the subtle body. It is known by paramatma, pure awareness, and is called taijasa, “the shining one.”
Dream interpretation can be a useful sadhana as it provides insight into jiva’s creation which is sometimes called “shadow content” because it is hidden from the waking state jiva (viswa). Analysis of the relationship between the dream and waking states and their two experiencing jivas can free the waking state jiva of the notion that it is real, paving the way for self-knowledge.
I am glad to hear that your car situation is behind you; that was a nasty little episode, which I am sure you are happy to have understood and be done with.
The dharma field is not under the jiva’s control but understanding it leads to self-knowledge because it clarifies the relative responsibilities of the jiva and Isvara. If one can face Isvara squarely without fear and with total transparency – this is freedom. You know that as paramatma you are beyond Isvara and free of Isvara but you worship Isvara because you know that it is you, awareness, taking care of the total, which is all you. Your environment as a jiva, awake or asleep, is known to be an extension of you and everything that happens in it is seen as such. At the same time, as a jiva you are subject to the laws that run the dharma field, enlightened or not. Non-dual vision means that you see everything as non-different from you even though you know that you are not what you see and you recognise and fully understand the three jivas and their respective states.
The three jivas and their respective states are appearances (mithya).
As awareness you observe what is going on with Carol and the coming and going of her life. Her life in and of itself as a waking state jiva is not that important but if the jiva is having a hard time then there is a lack of congruence between Carol’s life and the truth of who she is. Only you will know. There is no right or wrong for the jiva, especially once it knows its true identity. The point is that the little jiva seeks happiness in the first place because happiness is its true nature.
~ With much love to you, dear friend, Sundari