by Swami Krishnananda
Q: In the dream state, do the will and the discrimination work as powerfully as in the waking state? What is the difference?
SWAMIJI: It works as powerfully in the dream state, only in a different order of space and time. Qualitatively, in terms of degree of reality, the experience in dream is a lesser level that in waking, yet it has all the characteristics of the waking state. The human being can be regarded as a higher level of reality than an animal, yet all the biological functions are similar both in the human being and in the animal. Whatever man feels, the animal also will feel; nevertheless, the animal is in a lower category of reality than the human. So by way of degree of reality, there is a distinction, but from the point of view of structure, they are identical – qualitatively different, structurally same.
Q: Is it because of this qualitative difference in the degree of experience that the dream state is lesser than the waking state and, therefore, all concepts and memory is less in the dream state than in the waking state?
SWAMIJI: Yes, you may say that. Correct.
Q: In the state of samadhi, do thoughts exist?
SWAMIJI: There are two kinds of thought. One is called in Sanskrit vishayakara vritti, and another is called brahmakara vritti. The meaning of these two terms is that while the mind thinks of an object external to it, it assumes the form of that object and it is cast in the mould of the object – even as molten lead cast in a crucible takes the form of that crucible. This operation of the mind in terms of the cognition of an object outside is what, in psychology, is usually called a psychosis. And this is what is meant by the Sanskrit word vishayakara vritti. Now comes the answer to your question of whether in samadhi there is a thought.
There is a thought, but it is called brahmakara vritti. The mind in samadhi does not think of anything outside it, but thinks that in which it itself is involved. Brahmakara vritti means cosmic psychosis; vishayakara vritti means objective psychosis. The samadhi vritti, samadhi psychosis, is cosmic in the sense that the perceiver – the cogniser or the one that is aware – gets merged in that of which one is aware. So you may say that mind functions in samadhi also, but in a cosmic fashion, not in a particularised, individual fashion. Virtually, we may not call it mind at all. It has ceased to be the tormenting type of mind which we people have. It is a liberated mind; nevertheless, you may call it a mind if you like because it is aware – not of an object outside, but of a total cosmos. So mind is there, or you may say it is not there – either way.
Q: What is the law of nature?
SWAMIJI: The law of nature is what nature thinks in its mind. Your law is what you are thinking in your mind. Nature cannot be said to be thinking of anything outside itself, because outside nature nothing exists. Everything is inside nature only, so if nature is thinking, what will it think? It will think itself only. So this total inclusive thought of nature thinking includes also space and time because they are also part of nature. It is something like God thinking, because they say nature as we see it manifest in the form of this universe is God's body. This is also one of the conclusions of acharyas, etc. The world is the body of God.
So if nature thinks, it will think itself only. It cannot think anything else. So when you have to follow the law of nature perfectly, you have to think as nature would think. That is total harmony with its entire structure. Then it is something like being friendly with God Himself. To be friendly with nature is virtually being friendly with God; and to think as nature thinks is something like thinking like God Himself. The total thought of the entire creation may be said to be the law of nature.
Q: Nature is said to be inside God.
SWAMIJI: God is a consciousness, without intervention of space-time and the causal relation of things. Nature, at least as we hear it said in the scriptures, is a visible form of the very same consciousness. The distinction between God and nature is something like soul and body. You have got a soul and a body. You cannot say that the soul and body are the same, and yet you cannot say that they are totally different. If they are totally different, the soul can be kept here and the body can be kept there. That you cannot do, so they are not two things; and yet you cannot say that the body is the soul, nor can you say that the soul is the body. So is the manifestation. If you want to make it more concrete in expression, you may even say the condensation of Universal consciousness appears as this nature. It is something like water becoming ice.
Q: What is the difference between God and God-realisation?
SWAMIJI: The person who has realised God is called a God-realised soul. There are seven stages of God-realisation. These seven stages are mentioned in one way in the sutras of Patanjali, and in another way in the Yoga Vasishtha – especially the Yoga Vasishtha.
When a person is free from all desires to which ordinary people are accustomed, and thinks in the mind, “I want God only. My desire is to have God. I don’t have a desire for anything else,” this thought itself can be regarded as the first state or step towards God. You need not call it God-realisation; but nevertheless, it is a great thing even to be convinced that you want only that. Easily one cannot think like that; most people have got all kinds of ideas. But if you are convinced that this is the only thing that you want, it is the first step that you have taken towards God-realisation. I am mentioning something in the language of the Yoga Vasishtha. It is called subhechcha in Sanskrit: the desire to do the good thing, and the only thing being love of God, is the first step.
The second stage is vicharana. You do not merely think, but you start analysing into the ways and means of moving still further: “How can I go? What steps am I taking? What are the sadhanas?” Going on thinking like this, going to Gurus and reading scriptures so that your mind becomes active in that direction is the second stage.
The third stage is that the mind is almost detaching itself from all objects. It is called tanumanasi. Tanu means thin, thread-like. The mind becomes thread-like in the third stage. It is as if it is breaking.
The fourth is the actual spiritual condition. The first three are the stages of a seeker, a sadhaka. The last four are the stages of an actual realised person. The fourth state is called sattvapatti which means the light of the cosmos will start flashing in your mind, like lightning. You see lightning flashes when there is a cloudy and rainy atmosphere. Like that you will feel lightning flashes, illuminations, etc., from inside. That is the fourth state, sattvapatti.
The fifth state is asamsakti. You will have no desire even to see a thing, let alone desire. Even the eyes do not have any interest in seeing things; the ears have no desire to hear anything; the nose has no desire to smell; the tongue has no desire to taste; the hands have no desire to touch. Even the desire to be conscious of the existence of something outside goes. This is called asamsakti, the fifth state.
The sixth is padartha-bhavana. You will begin to see matter itself shining like gold. Now it is all brick and mortar, iron and all kinds of things. It will all look like gold afterwards – shining. They will not look like material objects, but as if one thing only is pervading everywhere, as if the whole world is made up of gold – something like that. Now you see mountains, trees, people, things, but later everything will look like ornaments, like one gold. The True Reality will be seen at that time.
The last stage is that you will actually merge into it. You will also become that very gold, and there will be no distinction between the knower of it and that which is known. These are the stages of God-realisation. There are differences, but in the last state there is no difference. You will merge into it.
Q: Have you realised God?
SWAMIJI: Are you a realised person?
SWAMIJI: I am very glad. [To the class] You have got a Guru! Your Guru us here! I am very glad, sir. You are a confident boy. What is your name – Bhavagrai? Yes, he has caught the bhava of the whole teaching. Good boy. But be careful, very careful. God is the most kind mother. No mother can be so kind as God, but no judge in a court can be so severe as God. So how will you compare these two aspects? He is the most severe judiciary, incomparable with anyone in the world, and the kindest of mothers. These two qualities you cannot find in one person in the world. The mother thinks in one way, the father thinks in another way, generally. Isn't it? But there one person only is two things. This judicial impartiality is the same as the kindness of a mother. It is difficult to explain because such a thing is not seen in this world.
Q: Does rebirth take place immediately? And what will I be in the next birth?
SWAMIJI: Rebirth need not take place immediately. It can take place immediately if the karma is very intense; otherwise, it may take its own time. The decision will be taken by the desires which are left at the time of death. Even now you can know to some extent what you will be in your next birth by analysing your own thoughts.
Today at sunset time you sit quiet. Go on thinking from the morning onwards till this moment what you have been thinking predominantly. Of course, you might have been thinking of the academy, kitchen, bath, washing clothes; they are all secondary matters. But basically, in your subconscious, what have you been thinking all day? Yesterday what did you think? The day before yesterday, what did you think? This is why they say you must keep a spiritual diary – very important. You cannot remember what you thought ten days ago. You will not remember. If you keep a diary and make notes, you can know the balance sheet of thirty days of thinking. You can say that these are the basic thoughts that occurred to your mind. This you will become in the next birth, to fulfil that desire. You can know what you will become in the next birth. You need not consult any scripture; your thoughts are known to you very well. What do you want? Ask your own mind what it wants.
In a classroom of the academy, you will say you want God. It is not like that. Go to the road, go to the railway station, go to the marketplace and then see what you are thinking. Those thoughts are also important. The essence of all these will be taken out, like butter from milk, and that will condense itself into a body which is called rebirth. It is not decided by anybody else. You are deciding your own fate and you create your own rebirth. Nobody is punishing you. Your thoughts are your makers, and you can, if you are impartial in judging your own mind, know what you will become in the next birth. It is not very difficult.
Q: How can I know which path is best for me? Should I choose by myself?
SWAMIJI: If you can choose for yourself any good path among the many, very good; you can choose it. But if you are unable to choose it, you may ask your Guru. The Guru is supposed to know the mind of a disciple to some extent; and knowing you very well, they will tell what the path is for you at this moment. If you yourself can decide, fine. Otherwise, ask your Guru.
Q: Is consciousness static or dynamic?
SWAMIJI: When it is in itself, it is static, but when creation takes place, it is dynamic. Electricity is pervading here even now, but it is not dynamic. It can become active by certain technological appliances which generate this active part of it – like a dynamo, for instance. If a dynamo works, you will see the active part of the electricity; otherwise, it is pervading everywhere and you cannot see it in a general form. You call it static, if you like. Even when the wind does not blow, even if the leaf is not moving, air is there. You cannot say air is not there; it is static. Now it is dynamic; it is moving and all the trees are shaking. So you can say originally it is static, but it is potentially dynamic. You cannot say air is static or dynamic; it can become both. But anyway, to think totally free from creative activity, you may call it static.
Q: What is the qualitative difference between the dream state and the waking state?
SWAMIJI: In dream, you enter a different world altogether. Qualitative difference arises on account of a new space-time that you create. There is an objective, physical space-time here; there only psychological space-time is there. That is why qualitative difference takes place. And dreams occur due to various reasons. It is not due to one reason only. One of the reasons is that you have got some submerged desires which you cannot express in daily life, in the waking condition. Because the intellect, which puts a censorship in the waking condition, is not operating in dream, the subconscious mind comes up as thieves go everywhere when policemen are not there.
But there are other reasons also for dreams occurring. They can foretell something that is going to happen in the future; or you may be a good sadhaka and so all the karmas are getting exhausted. Sometimes very pleasant things, sometimes unpleasant things – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde may both come.
I heard in Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa's life there was an incident when he was intensely in a state of semi-samadhi. A black man started coming out of his body. From the left side, a dark man emerged. The Kala-purusha, that evil tendency in human nature, went out completely from him. You can read about many fantastic experiences, such as Buddha having an experience in his meditations. Sometimes temptations, sometimes threats, sometimes delusions – they are all your old accumulated karmas of previous lives manifesting themselves in concrete form.
These old karmas say that after having done enough service to you, they are going. And when they go, naturally you see them. You never knew that they are inside you because you were so friendly with them that you never knew that they are different from you. But when they take leave of you, you find them as pleasant things or unpleasant things.
Sometimes dreams occur due to the grace of God and the blessing of a Guru. Suppose there is some very bad karma, due to which a person is to fall from a tree and break his leg. If God is very kind and your love of God is intense and Guru also is giving his blessing, you will fall from a tree and break you leg in dream. You will feel the same pain there. You will also yell; you will cry. But actually it has got ameliorated into a dream experience, and when you wake up you are perfectly all right.
Various other reasons also are there. So many reasons are mentioned by psychoanalysts, into which we never enter. As far as we spiritual seekers are concerned, we may say that karmas are the causes – from past births or even this birth.