The Philosophy of Dreams

Men of knowledge have declared the unreality of everything that is seen in the dream,
because all these objects of the dream are located within the body and exist in a confined space.
All these entities like mountains, elephants etc., are seen in the dream only inside the body.
Therefore, they cannot be real.
And on account of the shortness of the time, it is impossible for the dreamer to go out of the
body and perceive the objects of dream. And when the dreamer wakes up, he does not find himself
in the place even in the dream. It is not a fact that all that is seen in the dream can be situated in a
limited space. And a man sleeping in the east, very often feels himself as it were, experiencing
dreams in the north. As soon as a man falls asleep he begins to dream objects, as it were, at a place
hundreds of miles away from his body, which he can reach only after a month or so in the waking
state. His going to such a long distance and coming back to his body within half a day (one night) is
not a fact. Hence this is unreal that he goes out of the body. He dreams of some place but he wakes
up in another place where he slept the previous day.
Though a man goes to sleep at night he feels as if he is seeing objects in the daytime and
meeting many persons in the broad daylight. But this meeting is found to be false. Therefore the
dream is a falsity.
The Sruti declares the illustration of the state of dream, by saying, “there are no chariots“
etc. This assertion is based on reason.
Moreover the different objects perceived in the dream are unreal even though they are
perceived to exist. For the same reason the objects of the waking state are illusory. The nature of the
objects is not different in the waking and the dreaming states. The only difference is in the limitation
of space connected with the object. The fact of being seen is commonly illusory in both states.
Further, the waking and dreaming states are same since the objects perceived in both states
are same. That which is non-existent at the beginning and also non-existent in the end, is necessarily
non-existent in the middle. The objects we see are thus only illusions, though we regard them as
real, due to our ignorance of the Reality of the Atman.
The objects used as means to some and or purpose in the waking state are contradicted in the
dream state. A man in the waking state, eats and drinks and appeases his hunger and is free from
thirst. But when he goes to sleep, he finds himself in dream again afflicted with hunger and thirst as
if he has not taken food and drink for days together. And the contrary also happens and is found to
be true. A person who has taken full meal and drink in the dream finds himself afflicted with hunger
and thirst as soon as he wakes up from sleep. Hence we establish the illusoriness of the objects of
both the waking and the dreaming states.
The objects perceived in dream are all usually, met with in the waking state, and those
which are not met with in the waking state own their existence to the peculiar conditions or
circumstances in which his mind is working for the time being. Just as Indra, etc., who reside in
heaven have thousand eyes, etc., on account of their existence in heaven, so also there are the
abnormal peculiar features of the dreamer due to the peculiar conditions of the state of dream. All
these objects are but the imaginations of his own mind. It is just like the case of a person in the
waking state, who, while going to another country sees on the way objects belonging to the place.
Just as snake in the rope and mirage in the desert are unreal and are mere mental imaginations, so
are the objects of dream and waking experience.
In the dream state also those which are mere modifications of the mind cognised within are
illusory. For, those internal objects vanish the moment they are perceived. Objects perceived
outside are considered as real. Similarly in the waking state objects known as real and mental
imaginations should be considered as unreal. Objects, both external and internal, are mere creations
of the mind whether it is in the dream or in the waking state.

~ 22. GOUDAPADACHARYA ON DREAMS – The Philosophy of Dreams


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