Patanjali Yoga Sutra Knowledge Sheet 36
swapna = dream; nidra = sleep; jnana = knowledge of; alambanam = meditating on, by knowing; va = or
“The knowledge of dream or sleep can also awaken you.”
- Patanjali Yoga Sūtra 38
It means the knowledge of sleep and dreams. This is very interesting. You sleep all your life, but you have never met your sleep. This is the irony. This is like a person who has lived all his life with millions in his hands but did not know how to spend it and lived very poorly. It is like a person who is sitting on the dining table with a very delicious, elaborate meal, but he does not know that it was a meal and does not know how to eat it and is starving to death.It is the same with our life too. Sleep is there but we do not know what sleep is! We dream everyday and we do not know what a dream is! You have not understood what a dream is. When you are asleep, what happens? You are letting go of everything. That is what sleep is. If you hold on to any one thing, can you sleep? All your identity disappears. In sleep, you are not a male or female. There is nothing called as a male sleep or a female sleep. There is nothing called as a rich man’s sleep and a poor man’s sleep. There is nothing called as an intelligent man’s sleep and a stupid man’s sleep. Sleep is sleep.
In sleep what do you do?
You let go of all your identities, of who you are, you let go of all your likes and dislikes. Thank God. It is the one time when you do not hold on to any likes or dislikes. You cannot carry anybody into your sleep. However dear a person is, they cannot go into your sleep. In your sleep, you are devoid of all your identity, of who you are, your cravings, your aversions, your likes and dislikes. Isn’t it? You let go of all of them and what do you do? You simply rest. You do not do anything.
This is exactly what meditation is - when you do not do anything. For God’s sake, in meditation do not do anything. Or for your own sake, do not do anything. Do nothing and let go of everything, as you do during sleep. The knowledge of sleep. That leads you to samadhi.
Knowledge of dreams
Ignorant people make dream a reality and enlightened people see this reality as a dream. Utter ignorance is trying to interpret dreams. Enlightenment is to realize that this reality itself is a dream. Do you see the difference? If you go to any enlightened person and say this is my dream, he will say, “Forget about it. Wake up”. When you go to a dream interpreter, they say, “Oh! This means that, that means this.” They put more ideas in your head, trying to interpret all your dreams. Such ignorance!
Next week: Know more about dreams and the five types of dreams.
(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)