Mandukya Upanishad, Class 22


Karikas 7:

सप्रयोजनता तेषां स्वप्ने विप्रतिपद्यते  
तस्मादाद्यन्तवत्वेन मिथ्यैव खलु ते स्मृताः

That the objects of the waking state can serve our purpose in life is contradicted in dream state experiences. Therefore, they are undoubtedly illusory on account of their-both waking and dream-having a beginning and an end.

Karika # 8:

अपूर्वं स्थानिधर्मो हि यथा स्वर्गनिवासिनाम्
तानयं प्रेक्षते गत्वा यथैवेह सुशिक्षितः

The objects (perceived by the dreamer), not usually met with {in the waking state) undoubtedly, owe their existence to the (peculiar) condition in which the cognizer, that is, his mind, works for the time being, as in the case of those residing in heaven. The dreamer associating himself (with the dream conditions) experiences those (objects), even as the one, well-instructed here (goes from one place to another and sees objects belonging to those places).

After establishing unreality of Swapna Prapancha in first three karikas then in karikas 4, 5 and 6 it is established that Jagrat prapancha is also mithya. Gaudapada gave reasons as to why Jagrat prapancha is Mithya, as did Shankaracharya, separately, in his commentaries.

In karika # 6, Gaudapada said, whatever is impermanent is unreal while whatever is permanent is real. Swapna prapancha and jagrat prapancha both are finite as such unreal.

Shnakaracharya said object of experience is always mithya. Whatever is an object of experience depends on subject. Without subject, object cannot be proved to exist hence it is mithya.

In Karika # 8, we did make a change in sequence of Karikas to better address continuity of theme; here a questioner was asking as to why we can’t take swapna prapancha as reality. Gaudapada refutes it by saying that whether dream is unique or not, dream depends upon the observer for its existence. Since the unique dream object depends on the dream observer, it does not have independent existence of its own and therefore it must be understood as mithya. There is no objective world existing. Ordinary and extraordinary all are dependent on subject.

In Karika # 7 another questioner says he agrees that swapna parapancha is unreal; but he says, I cannot accept Jagrat parapancha is unreal. His contention is as follows:

He disagrees with the definition that, “Whatever is impermanent or an object, is mithya.”

He wants to give a changed definition wherein Swapna parapancha is shown as unreal while Jagrat prapancha is shown as real. He now suggests four definitions, in each of which, Swapna parapancha is shown as unreal while Jagrat prapancha shown as real.

Gaudapada refutes each definition. He says, you have to accept both as unreal or both as real; the idea that one is real while other is unreal will not work. We are working to define absolute reality, while you are defining relative reality or mithya, says Gaudapada.

In karika # 7, the first definition says that utility is a criterion; thus, whatever is useful is real. Therefore, since swapna is useless, it is unreal. Questioner says, I can’t use the earning from dream state, but earnings from Jagrat avastha I can use.

Guadapada, refuting the definition says, utility of jagrat prapancha is only a relative utility. It is useful only in jagrat avastha, only useful from point of view of jagrat shariram; it is useless in swapna. No food from waking state will be useful to satiate hunger in a dream.

Furthermore, Gaudapada says, it is wrong to state that Swapna prapancha is useless; it is relatively useful in swapna avastha while it maybe useless in jagrat avatha.

Guadapada says both are real in a relative manner.

So utility is for jagrat shariram in jagrat avastha only. Similarly, Utility is for Swapna shariram in Swapna avastha. But when I shift identification it is contradicted. Thus, when I shift from swapna to jagrat the earnings are of no use. Similarly when I shift from Jagrat avastha to Turiya, (consciousness), the earnings are also useless in Turiyam state. He says impermanence is only criterion for unreality.

Karika # 9 and 10:

स्वप्नवृत्तावपि त्वन्तश्चेतसा कल्पितं त्वसत्
बहिश्चेतोगृहीतं सद्दृष्टं वैतथ्यमेतयोः
जाग्रद्वृत्तावपि त्वन्तश्चेतसा कल्पितं त्वसत्
बहिश्चेतो गृहीतं सद्युक्तं वैतथ्यमेतयोः १०

In dream, also, what is imagined within by the mind is illusory and what is cognized outside (by the mind) appears to be real. But (in truth) both these are known to be unreal. Similarly, in the waking state, also, what is imagined within by the mind is illusory; and what is experienced outside (by the mind) appears to be real. But in fact, both should be rationally held to be unreal.

Karika # 9:

Here the questioner suggests a second, definition that proves that Swapna prapancha is unreal while Jagrat prapancha is real. He says Swapna parapancha is unreal because it is a mental projection. Dream world is within my mind as a projection, hence unreal, while Jagrat parapancha is outside me. I experience everything outside me; the desk, the people, the hall, etc; it is not a mental projection. What is within is unreal while whatever is external in reality. Whatever is external is real and whatever is internal is mithya. Externality is the criterion for reality and internality is the criterion for unreality. He suggests dream world is unreal while this world is real.

Gaudapada says: you say swapna prapancha is inside; word inside is a relative one. If asked the question, are all of you inside or outside, what will be your answer? You will probably never answer; rather you will ask, inside of what? If I say it is about this stage where I am sitting, the answer will be it is outside. So one needs to know inside or outside of what? From which stand point? From waker’s stand point it is outside. But in dream, you are performing all transactions with dream body, while waker’s body is lying on bed. From dream body point of view, the dream world is outside of it; I don’t even know I am dreaming; dream itself is only from waker’s point of view.

Now suppose you wake up and your reference point changes. From waker’s point of view Swapna parapancha is within. The same is story of Jagrat prapancha as well. Once you look at Jagrat prapancha from Jagrat body point of view it is outside hence real. But if you wake up from Jagrat prapancha to Chaitanyam, from point of view of Chaitanyam, Jagrat prapancha is also within. So, when you the change point of reference it becomes unreal; so it is a relative truth or mithya.

Karika # 10:

Suppose a person is in dream state, how to prove it is not dream until you wake up? In swapna prapancha also you talk of a world external to dream body, that you take it as real; thus you see a dream book, train, tiger etc; and they are all real. Say, in your dream (dream # 1) you go to bed and you see another dream (dream # 2). Here, per your definition, dream # 2 is unreal while dream # 1 is real. Then you wake up and both dreams # 1 and # 2 are falsified.

Gaudapada says in dream # 1 you have a dream (dream # 2), when you wake up you are in dream #1. When you wake up you are in Jagrat parapancha. He says Jagrat prapancha is also a dream, the dream # 3. Each dream was real at that time, but once you woke up it was proved as unreal.

If so, when will you have final waking up? As long as you are shifting from one object to another, as all objects are only relatively real, for that particular subject, there is no final waking up. Ultimate reality is only when you arrive at “object less- subject” or Turiyam state.

In jagrat prapancha also whatever is seen externally is real and mental projection is unreal. But in Turiyam state, jagrat prapancha becomes dream # 3; so jagrat prapancha is also mithya. So externality as criterion of reality is incorrect. Hence second definition is ruled out. First definition of utility was also shown as unreal.

Karika # 14:

चित्तकाला हि येऽन्तस्तु द्वयकालाश्च ये बहिः
कल्पिता एव ते सर्वे विशेषो नान्यहेतुकः १४

Those that are cognized within only as long as the thought of them lasts, as well as those that are the senses and that conform to two points of time, are all mere imaginations. There is no other ground for differentiating the one from the other.

Swamiji jumped to karika # 14 from karika # 10 for the third definition. He said he is rearranging karikas for purpose of continuity.

In karika # 14, the questioner suggests a third definition of reality that says Jagrat prapancha is real while Swapna parapancha is unreal; he says whatever has an objective existence is real while whatever has subjective existence is unreal.

Elaboration of questioner’s position:

Subjective existence means dependent on Me as long as I see it.

Objective existence means, it exists, whether I see it or not.

My house, my car, all I know exist. So, does my car exist outside? Car exists even when I don’t see it. Whether I experience it or not, it exists. Object exists independent of me.

In dream, I see, I am saving a drowning person; just as I am about to bring him out, I wake up. Did he fall back in the well? But now, in the waking state, I am not worried about it anymore. You know he existed only in dream. So Swapna prapancha was subjective existence; it did not have a continued existence. Hence dream is unreal, as it has no objective existence Thus, objectivity is criterion for reality. Subjective existence is criterion for unreality.

Gaudapada’s rebuttal:

Gaudapada says this definition will not work. In dream you attend a class and you have parked the car. This swapna world, the dream, it is not just a projection of mind; it is a real world for the dreamer. Only on waking, Swapna Prapancha becomes unreal. Similarly, Jagrat prapancha is also unreal from Chaitanyam state’s point of view.

So, object within you, in dream, have only a subjective existence, hence unreal. Whatever is outside is from dreamer’s stand point of view. Upon waking, internal world and external world, both in dream state, are proven as unreal. So, these internal external distinctions have nothing to do with reality. Both are falsified upon waking. In a similar manner Jagrat parapancha is also unreal once you wake up in Chaitanyam.

Hence the hypothesis that states objective existence is real and subjective existence is unreal does not have any merit.

Karika  15:

अव्यक्ता एव येऽन्तस्तु स्फुटा एव ये बहिः  
कल्पिता एव ते सर्वे विशेषस्त्विन्द्रियान्तरे १५

(Things) which are (experienced) within are not clear. (Things) which are (experienced) outside are clear. All of them are projected only. The distinction is due to a different sense organ.

The questioner poses his fourth definition. He says whatever is clearly experienced is real. Thus clarity of experience is real. Vagueness of experience indicates it is unreal. Everybody dreams. Some remember the dream and some do not. Even when you remember, it is vague; hence it is unreal.

Jagrat prapancha meanwhile is clear; hence it is real.

Gaudapada says this is a relative definition only. He says clarity depends on instrument used. The way you see depends on your organ of sight. With different set of organs, you will see differently. Some animals are color blind. If I have the sense organs of a dog, I will see everything vastly differently. If I have sense organs that can see at atomic level, I will see everything as atoms.

Dream world is very clear with dream sense organs; it becomes vague only with waker’s sense organs.

If I should only have four sense organs, say like a blind person, the world of color will not exist for me. Imagine a person with a sixth sense organ; he will see world very differently as it depends on all sense organs. Hence world is only a relative reality.

So, he says, that which is within us, in Swapna Prapancha, is vague, where as external world for dreamer is very clear, hence real, as long as dream continues. On waking up, the outside world becomes unreal.

Clarity and non-clarity depend on organs one uses. World of human beings is different from that of animals. Even world of man is different from that of a woman.

Take Away:

If so, when will you have final waking up? Ultimate reality is only when you arrive at “object less- subject” or Turiyam state.

Dream itself is only from waker’s point of view.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy