Reading and writing books in a dream

One of the themes on which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother differ from early Vedantins is “conscious dream exploration”.  While Sri Aurobindo claimed that the occult worlds that we enter in our dreams are as “real” as the physical world, the earliest Advaita Vedantins, Gaudapada and Adi Shankaracharya (8th century C.E.) saw all the worlds as illusory.  For Gaudapada and Shankara, the highest state was sushupti (deep sleep) because the Atman became united with the Brahman in that state.

Shankara believed that dreams are mental creations largely, but not completely, derived from waking activity and that dreams are less real than waking.  He believed that some dreams are indicators (sucaka) of good and evil (dharm-adharma) in the future.  In this “otherworldly” state (para- lokasthana), one can see future things (like sorrow or bliss) unexperienceable in this life.   According to Shankara, direct activity (saksatkriya) is impossible in dream, for there are no external means like hands or feet.  Dreams are evanescent (atyantacala) because they occur in a different time (cittakala) while waking activity is durable (sthira) because it occurs in dvayakala (time according to the world of external objects).  Dream objects are confined within the intellect, which is actor, action, and thing acted on in dream [1].

Shankara’s views on dreams may resemble ideas popular in modern Western psychology but they differ greatly from that of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.   While Shankara believed dreams are evanescent, Sri Aurobindo once told to a disciple “The place where you were (in your dreams) is as much a world of fact and reality as is the material world and its happenings have sometimes a great effect on this world. What an ignorant lot of disciples you all are! Too much modernisation and Europeanisation by half”[2].  While Shankara believed that direct activity was impossible in a dream because we don’t have hands and feet, Sri Aurobindo averred that one could become conscious of the subtle body in a dream, and use it to walk about and engage in diverse activities.  The discrepancy between Shankara and Sri Aurobindo’s views may arise because dreams in the mental worlds are dissimilar from dreams in the vital and subtle-physical worlds.  While dreams in the mental world are confined to visions which float before the eye, dreams which take place in the vital worlds are much more active.  In the vital world, you may find yourself in a subtle body flying or walking about while interacting with other people.  It is possible that Shankara only had dreams of the mental world and never gained full awareness of the vital worlds, causing him to conclude that the other occult worlds are illusory and only the highest Sachchidananda state is worth attaining.

(For more on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s observations on occult worlds, see the passages under Cosmology)

Sunrise over dunes.  Photo by David.  Flick (Creative Commons).  Click image for source

Sunrise over dunes. Photo by David. Flick (Creative Commons). Click image for source

We shall now turn to an interesting coincidence between Sri Aurobindo and the Mother where they both found themselves reading and writing books in their dreams.

The “Record of Yoga” which is published as volume 10-11 of the “Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo by SABDA is a diary of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga between 1909 and 1927.  On June 25, 1914, Sri Aurobindo recorded in this diary a dream wherein he was turning the pages of a book:

The consecutive event in rupa (handling & turning the pages of a book) became much more stable & persistent in continuity than before, but was divided between jagrat & swapna & broken by one or two intervals of non-sight. The book was opened & the general nature of the contents perceived; one or two separate words even were read & retained (stores . . provided) [3].

On Feb 10, 1917, he noted another instance where he was reading a book in his dream:

Samadhi reaffirmed most of its gains against massed and violent obstruction; but with an inferior force of vividness and largeness. Obstruction successful against lipi and tejomaya drisya.  Dream-reading of printed book began. Afterward lipi reaffirmed  in jagrat antardarshi [4].

A few days later, on Feb 17, 1917, he found himself writing with his hands in a dream:

Power of physical action even in the deep sushupti. The particular action was writing with the hand what occurs in the thought. At first the consciousness dwelt on the thought and the action was mechanical; afterwards it dwelt on both the thought and the action united, continuous, unbroken [5].

About fifty years later, we find the Mother discussing a similar dream experience during a conversation with a disciple, Satprem:

The last few nights, I have spent almost the whole night, several hours of it, in a place which must certainly belong to the subtle physical and where material life is being reorganized. It’s immense – immense – and the crowd innumerable; but they are individualities, not a crowd, which means that I deal with each of them. And there are also kinds of documents and writing tables, but there are no walls! It’s a strange place. A very strange place.


Take writing, for instance: I haven’t noticed in detail, but when you write there(in your dreams), you seem to write much more easily…. I don’t know how to explain it … it takes much less time. And things are noted down on paper, but is it paper? It looks like paper, but things are noted down much more directly…. It’s perhaps only a similarity, like when, for example, you use a fountain pen or a pencil: it’s not exactly a fountain pen or a pencil, it’s something that looks like it and is … (what should I say?) the prototype or principle of that object. But what I mean is that if we were still at the time of the goose quill or the twig that you dip into ink, I would probably see it like that! … It’s the ESSENCE or principle of the thing, which, in the memory, is translated as a similarity[6].

It is based on such personal experiences that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother spoke of the possibility of becoming conscious in one’s dreams.  In their works, we find detailed explanations of the  possibilities and pitfalls of conscious dream exploration, out-of-body experiences and other abnormal states of consciousness.  There are instances where they interacted with and guided their own disciples through the medium of dreams.

This article is another example of the unusual cases where both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother seemed to have independently experienced the same occult phenomena.  Similar cases were covered in a couple of previous posts:

  1. Hands can become independently conscious (where they both discovered that their hands were becoming more conscious) and
  2. Does Nature revolt against machinery? (where they both observed that occult spirits could cause disruptions in machinery).


  1. Fort, Andrew.  “Dreaming in Advaita vedanta”.  Philosophy East and West, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 377-386
  2. Sri Aurobindo.  Letters on Yoga, SABCL vol. 23, p 1031.
  3. Sri Aurobindo.  Record of Yoga, CWSA vol. 10-11, p. 515.
  4. Ibid., p. 946.
  5. Ibid., p 963.
  6. Mother’s Agenda.  August 30, 1967 (online)

Related Posts

  1. Towards more conscious sleep and dreams
  2. Physical marks appearing after injuries sustained in dreams
  3. How can we “see” in our dreams when our eyes are closed?
  4. Explaining out-of-body and near-death experiences
  5. Mental awareness in comatose patients and sleeping newborn infants
  6. Sleep and Dreams
  7. Perception of Time changes with the concentration of consciousness
  8. Why do we forget our vivid dreams?
  9. A contemplation exercise before going to sleep
  10. Sleep disorders : somnambulism and somniloquy
  11. Spacetime in occult worlds
  12. Twelve occult dimensions
  13. Somnambulists who do creative work in their sleep
  14. Predictions of Sri Aurobindo
  15. Epistemology of perception
  16. On Multitasking, Avadhana-Kala and Multiple Samyama
  17. Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 69 – Inversion of day and night
  18. Karma can be changed

21 thoughts on “Reading and writing books in a dream

  1. Aaron Asphar

    First point to make is that the whole dichotomy of illusory/real is a questionable one, because we make things real for us by identifying with them: so actually I really wish Yogis and others would not try and pitch one viewpoint against the other, but rather to reconcile them within reality. You are trying to reconcile them intellectually, but tell me how both are right according to the reality you know, unless you think either party are stupid or lying. They obviously have a coherent and judicious insight, so what are they referring to?

    Obviously there are different worlds accessible through sleep, but moreover, one can legitimately argue that mental things are real matter or that they are illusory. It depends on your precepts – what you could to be real or illusory. My understanding is that Sri Aurobindo took nothing to be illusory: for him (well, if I may be permitted to put words in his mouth) everything was real and true, but it was up to us to find the way in which, and the extent to which, they were real or true. I doubt he’d have disagreed with the rival view – he’d have explained its truth content and then proceeded to offer his understanding, explaining why he feels it to be more judicious.

    I do have to say, the whole project of comparing two or more thinkers ought not to be comparing arguments off against one another but to be finding how each have a truth-content in relation to reality, and reconciling them through this reality. I hope you appreciate the difference, because it is a crucial one. You re-perpetuate conflicts and divisions otherwise, when you could be sewing them up (i.e. Yoga style!)

    Anyway, I noted previously that you didn’t remove that previous message I asked you to. It would have been gracious to do so, but never mind. Kind regards

      1. donsalmon

        I don’t understand. When Sri Aurobindo spends more than 100 pages of The Life Divine refuting Shankara’s view, I don’t see how that’s any different from what Sandeep is doing here.

      2. donsalmon

        actually, a better example would be Sri Aurobindo’s comments on materialism (opening of Letters on Yoga, book 1). While making a minor case that there is something useful about it, he goes on to say, quite emphatically, that it has had a disastrous effect on humanity and is the result of hostile forces seeking to oppose the evolution. That seems like a pretty straightforward statement of the essentially ignorant nature of the materialist view.

      3. Aaron Asphar

        I agree, but equally he went just as far in defending the value of the scientific and materialist enterprise in clarifying and refining form essentially – conceptual order, vast empirical data, factual knowledge etc. That book was quite marked in always offering a balanced criticism of things so I recall. That said I do agree with the above.

      4. donsalmon

        All the phases of human history may be regarded as a working out of the earth-consciousness in which each phase has its place and significance, so this materialistic intellectual phase had to come and has had, no doubt, its purpose and significance. One may also hold that one of its issues was as an experiment to see how far and whither the human consciousness would go through an intellectual and external control of Nature with physical and intellectual means only and without the intervention of any higher consciousness and knowledge − or that it may help by resistance to draw the spiritual consciousness that is growing behind all vicissitudes to attempt the control of Matter and turn it towards the Divine, as the Tantriks and Vaishnavas tried to do with the emotional and lower vital nature, not contenting themselves with the Vedantic turning of the mind towards the Supreme. But it is difficult to go farther than that or to hold that this materialism is itself a spiritual thing or that the dark, confused and violent state of contemporary Europe was an indispensable preparation for the descent of the Spirit. This darkness and violence which seems bent on destroying such light of mental idealism and desire of harmony as had succeeded in establishing itself in the mind of humanity, is obviously due to a descent of fierce and dark vital Powers which seek to possess the human world for their own, not for a spiritual purpose. It is true that such a precipitation of Asuric forces from the darker vital worlds has been predicted by some occultists as the one first result of the pressure of the Divine descent on their vital domain, but it was regarded as a circumstance of the battle, not as something helping towards the Divine Victory. The churning of Matter by the attempt of human intellect to conquer material Nature and use it for its purpose may break something of the passivity and inertia, but it is done for material ends, in a rajasic spirit, with a denial of spirituality as its mental basis. Such an attempt may end, seems to be ending indeed, in chaos and disintegration, while the new attempts at creation and reintegration seem to combine the obscure rigidity of material Nature with a resurgence of the barbaric brutality and violence of a half-animal vital Nature. How are the spiritual forces to deal with all that or make use of such a churning of the energies of the material universe? The way of the Spirit is the way of peace and light and harmony; if it has to battle, it is precisely because of the presence of such forces which seek either to extinguish or to prevent the spiritual light. In the spiritual change inertia has to be replaced by the divine peace and calm, the rajasic troubled energy by a tranquil and potent, pure and liberated dynamis, while the mind must be kept plastic for the workings of a higher Light of knowledge. How will the activity of Materialism lend itself to that change?

        Materialism can hardly be spiritual in its basis, because its basic method is just the opposite of the spiritual way of doing things. The spiritual works from within outward, the way of materialism is to work from out inwards. It makes the inner a result of the outer, fundamentally a phenomenon of Matter and it works upon that view of things. It seeks to “perfect” humanity by outward means and one of its main efforts is to construct a perfect social machine which will train and oblige men to be what they ought to be. The loss of the ego in the Divine is the spiritual ideal; here it is replaced by the immolation of the individual to the military and industrial State. Where is there any spirituality in all that? Spirituality can only come by opening of the mind, vital and physical to the inmost soul, to the higher Self, to the Divine, and their subordination to the spiritual forces and instrumentation as channels of the inner Light, the higher Knowledge and Power. Other things, mental, aesthetic, vital, are often misnamed `spirituality’, but they lack the essential character without which the word loses its true significance.

        (Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga, section on “Supramental Evolution”, SABCL vol 22, pp 4-6)

    1. Sandeep Post author

      Aaron: whole dichotomy of illusory/real is a questionable one, because we make things real for us by identifying with them:

      I wanted to take some time to understand the drift of your thought before I responded.

      I believe you are suggesting that both could be right in this case because Sri Aurobindo might “assume” dreams are real while Shankara “assumes” they are illusory. We are not debating an assumption here but the differences which arise because people do not have the same spiritual experiences. Many people may attain Self-realization but their experiences may diverge after that. In this vast universe, you might penetrate into zones of consciousness that no one has reached before. Take for instance the ascent-descent of consciousness : Ramana Maharshi consistently denied Sri Aurobindo’s claims on the topic, and yet other people do have such experiences indicating that they are possible.

      I think Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had richer experiences which enabled them to decipher the interconnection between the different worlds. Shankara probably only had previsions of the future (mental dreams) which made him conclude that the occult worlds are illusory. He may also have been influenced by the nihilistic Buddhist sects which were popular in his time. Had Shankara walked about in his dreams, he might have reconsidered his views on their illusory nature.

      The “real” nature of the occult worlds can be derived from several (subjective but repeatable) experiences:

      1) The Mother spoke of the possibility of countermanding Karma by acting in the higher worlds. One can anticipate the future and act on it before it descends on the material plane. Satprem expatiates on this activity in the “Adventures of Consciousness“.

      2) One of the major reasons people think dreams are illusory is because we do not return to the same occult zone every night. The Mother indicated that this may not be an absolute truth. It may be possible to return to the same zone the next night.

      3) People have received initiation from a Guru (diksha) in a dream. It is not just disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother but also those of Anandamayi Ma and others who mention such incidents. Surely, these dreams are not illusory. The higher worlds are populated by beings who can influence the physical world.

      4) Man is a microcosm of the macrocosm. We have sheaths in our consciousness which correspond to the occult worlds. It is through these subtle sheaths that we interact with each other in the higher worlds. There is the case of a mathematician Don Newman who was given the answer to a problem by John Nash in his dream.

      1. Aaron Asphar

        Well, one advantage of regarding the mental world as illusory (or the astral world) is because in many cases and approaches of self-realization these worlds are of no use and constitute nothing but an unhelpful destraction! (Not for me, so I’m not advocating this point!)

        “We are not debating an assumption here but the differences which arise because people do not have the same spiritual experiences. Many people may attain Self-realization but their experiences may diverge after that.” Even more reason to reconcile the two legitimate but different experiences with the one true reality! Neither author is lying: they refer to one and the same wordless totality, which you and I have access to, so my feeling is that we ought to seek to reconcile such experiences with that one reality rather than focus on what are, essentially conceptual incongriguities, not disputes about the fundamental nature of reality.
        You mention the ascent/discent and referred to Ramana: imagine if we were saying ‘Oh, Ramana is wrong and Sri Aurobindo is right’ – ludicrous! Neither of them lies – both give a reasonable account of their experience of the primordial force(s) and the means to attainment, in a language that differed but in each case was suited to its purpose.

        With regards the authors you compared, they may appear to differ on the surface, and you certainly exaserbate this appearance by comparing and distinguishing them intellectually, but we are in a vast process of healing the whole, healing the rifts not just between science and spirituality but also manifold worldviews and perspectives. Everything is true, therefore to negate anything as false or wrong has to be taken as an act of violence at this historical juncture if you as me.

        However, I did say more than once that it is essentially a matter of evaluative preference – what you hope to acheive. You may hope to distance the two authors which may be legitimate – I’m just stating my differences and the reasons for it. I think Sri Aurobindo might have agreed with my point personally but that’s just my opinion.

        “I think Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had richer experiences which enabled them to decipher the interconnection between the different worlds. Shankara probably only had previsions of the future (mental dreams) which made him conclude that the occult worlds are illusory.”

        Well, I’d have said this was the astral world not the mental world, but in either case, one could definine ‘illusion’ in terms that would support either writer. It is therefore a choice whether to pitch them against each other or explain how they both have legitimate points and to explain and reconcile them. Sure, the former approach is the easier, but surely the latter is more helpful and more called for today (if you ask me). Yr a clever chap and I value your work – otherwise I wouldn’t have felt it worthy of mention, but it is only an opinion.


      2. donsalmon

        Hi Aaron:

        I’m actually not concerned with whether you agree with me in my estimation of SrI Aurobindo vs Ramana or Shankara or the tooth fairy. But I think, as you wrote before, it’s a simple matter of fact that Sri Aurobindo does not agree with you, and has no hesitation saying someone is wrong. Isn’t that what you were writing earlier – that in simple matters of fact, it is permissable in your scheme of things to assess one as correct and the other as incorrect?

        You didn’t respond to the quote from Sri Aurobindo about materialism – I think it is a simple fact that he was saying that materialism is an inferior view to a spiritual one. Here, in this passage, I think it is a simple fact that he is leveling a particularly harsh judgment against Shankara. I’ll be curious to hear what you think:

        Dear Friends,

        Sometime ago, I recall someone, mentioning to Ramji, that
        Shankara’s advaita-vedanta teachings is clearly different
        from the other shades of vedanta (dwaita, dwaita-advaita etc.),
        No one, I believed, ventured to comment.

        In light of this apparently unresolved ancient debate, I include for
        your review and comments, Sri Aurobindo’s (purna-vedanta) views.

        Volume: 22-23-24 [SABCL] (Letters On Yoga), Page: 42

        1. Shankara’s Explanation of the Universe

        It is rather difficult to say nowadays what really was Shankara’s
        philosophy: there are numberless exponents and none of them agrees
        with any of the others. I have read accounts given by some scores of
        his exegetes and each followed his own line. We are even told by some
        that he was no Mayavadin at all, although he has always been famed as
        the greatest exponent of the theory of Maya, but rather, the greatest
        Realist in philosophical history.

        One eminent follower of Shankara even declared that my philosophy
        and Shankara’s were identical, a statement which rather took my breath
        away. One used to think that Shankara’s philosophy was this that the
        Supreme Reality is a spaceless and timeless Absolute (Parabrahman)
        which is beyond all feature or quality, beyond all action or creation,
        and that the world is a creation of Maya, not absolutely unreal, but
        real only in time and while one lives in time; once we get into a
        knowledge of the Reality, we perceive that Maya and the world and all
        in it have no abiding or true existence. It is, if not non-existent, yet false,
        -jaganmithya-; it is a mistake of the consciousness, it is and it is not;
        it is an irrational and inexplicable mystery in its origin, though we can
        see its process or at least how it keeps itself imposed on the
        consciousness. Brahman is seen in Maya as Ishwara upholding the
        works of Maya and the apparently individual soul is really nothing but
        Brahman itself. In the end,however, all this seems to be a myth of Maya,
        mithya, and not anything really true. If that is Shankara’s philosophy, it
        is to me unacceptable and incredible, however brilliantly ingenious it
        may be and however boldly and incisively reasoned; it does not satisfy
        my reason and it does not agree with my experience. I don’t know exactly
        what is meant by this yuktivada. If it is meant that it is merely for the sake
        of arguing down opponents, then this part of the philosophy has no
        fundamental validity; Shankara’s theory destroys itself. Either he meant
        it as a sufficient explanation of the universe or he did not. If he did, it is
        no use dismissing it as Yuktivada.
        I can understand that thorough-going Mayavadin’s declaration that the
        whole question is illegitimate, because Maya and the world do not really
        exist; in fact, the problem how the world came to existence is only a part
        of Maya, is like Maya unreal and does not truly arise; but if an explanation
        is to be given, it must be a real, valid and satisfying explanation. If there
        are two planes and in putting the question we are confusing the two planes,
        that argument can only be of value if both planes have some kind of
        existence and the reasoning and explanation are true in the lower plane but
        cease to have any meaning for a consciousness which has passed out of it.


        Volume: 22-23-24 [SABCL] (Letters On Yoga), Page: 54

        I believe according to the Adwaitins, God is only the reflection of
        Brahman in Maya just as Brahman is seen outwardly as the world which
        has only a practical not a real reality, so subjectively Brahman is
        seen as God, Bhagavan, Ishwara, and that also would be a practical not
        a real reality which is and can be only the relationless Brahman all
        by itself in a worldless eternity. At least that is what I have read I
        don’t know whether Shankara himself says that. One is always being
        told by modern Adwaitins that Shankara did not mean what people say
        he meant so one has to be careful in attributing any opinion to him.

        * * *
        They want to show that Shankara was not so savagely illusionist as he
        is represented that he gave a certain temporary reality to the world,
        admitted Shakti etc. But these (supposing he made them) are
        concessions inconsistent with the logic of his own philosophy which is
        that only the Brahman exists and the rest is ignorance and illusion.
        The rest has only a temporary and therefore an illusory reality in
        Maya. He further maintained that Brahman could not be reached by
        works. If that was not his philosophy, I should like to know what was
        his philosophy. At any rate that was how his philosophy has been
        understood by people. Now that the general turn is away from the
        rigorous Illusionism, many of the Adwaitins seem to want to hedge and
        make Shankara hedge with them. Vivekananda accepted Shankara’s
        philosophy with modifications, the chief of them being
        Daridra-Narayan-Seva which is a mixture of Buddhist compassion and
        modern philanthropy.

        * * *

        Volume: 22-23-24 [SABCL] (Letters On Yoga), Page: 39

        The Shankara knowledge is, as your Guru pointed out, only one side of
        the Truth; it is the knowledge of the Supreme as realised by the
        spiritual Mind through the static silence of the pure Existence. It
        was because he went by this side only that Shankara was unable to
        accept or explain the origin of the universe except as illusion, a
        creation of Maya. Unless one realises the Supreme on the dynamic as
        well as the static side, one cannot experience the true origin of
        things and the equal reality of the active Brahman. The Shakti or
        Power of the Eternal becomes then a power of illusion only and the
        world becomes incomprehensible, a mystery of cosmic madness, an
        eternal delirium of the Eternal. Whatever verbal or ideative logic one
        may bring to support it, this way of seeing the universe explains
        nothing; it only erects a mental formula of the inexplicable. It is
        only if you approach the Supreme through his double aspect of Sat and
        Chit-Shakti, double but inseparable, that the total truth of things
        can become manifest to the inner experience. This other
        side was developed by the Shakta Tantriks. The two together, the
        Vedantic and the Tantric truth unified, can arrive at the integral

        * * *
        ~dave (Posted from another forum)

      3. Aaron Asphar

        I didn’t reply – what I said was that he always recognized the positive contribution of materialism, and without wanting to re-read the entirety of what you pasted, I would hope the section includes words to this effect, otherwise it’s a bit maliciously selective if you ask me!

        And with regard Sri Aurobindo’s reading of Shankara, yes he didn’t know his philosophy well enough to conclude absolutely, but even here, was able at least to mention: “If that is Shankara’s philosophy, it
        is to me unacceptable and incredible, however brilliantly ingenious it
        may be and however boldly and incisively reasoned; it does not satisfy
        my reason and it does not agree with my experience.” So even here he gives mention to a good aspect, but I agree, on the whole its a total negation really but this is an exception rather than the rule. Anyway, you are being a bit malicious here because you ought to be able to see my point even if you don’t agree with it!

      4. Sandeep Post author

        I am not calling any sage a liar – just indicating that they do not bring the same capabilities or have the same openings in the spiritual journey. Shankara had a short 32-year lifespan and most of it must have been spent in traveling all over India (on foot!), debating other sects, writing commentaries and organizing the monasteries which still exist under his name. During his time, he debated the Buddhists who dominated India at the time, as well as other sects like the Lokayatas, Samkhya, Jains.

        If we adopt your recommendation, a whole lot of academic scholars in comparative religion and philosophy would be out of work because they would have to reach the Supermind before they can write in this integral healing approach 🙂

      5. Aaron Asphar

        Yes, well a whole lot of academic scholars in comparative religion haven’t done much to keep religious sects from feuding: perhaps they should lose their jobs! And besides, I obviously touched a nerve with you as yr very eager to defend yourself here! 😀

      6. Sandeep Post author

        “feuding religious sects???”…Did you object to this article because you thought I was boasting of Sri Aurobindo’s greatness? That was certainly not the intent. The study of mystical experiences yields insights which need to be discussed.

        No, I am certainly not eager to defend myself. We should close the thread here if there is nothing more to add.

  2. donsalmon

    Aaron, it sounds like you’re offering the viewpoint of Ken Wilber – that we should find the aspect of what is true in each thinker or yogi – that ‘everyone is right’ as Wilber put it. Is Wilber your inspiration for this point of view?

    1. Aaron Asphar

      Not at all – I would say I developed this propensity years ago when studying Western critical theory. I didn’t know these guys advocated the same position, but I’m actually saying we should do this not just between Yogi’s but between all human discourses – philosophy, science, religion etc. Don’t say it’s not possible because I already know it is. It’ll make all human discourses tumble into each other as the one living truth, described variously, which was never actually untrue in essence, only in presentation (see above).

      1. donsalmon

        HI Aaron, thanks for answering. I guess I still don’t understand. It seems to me that Sandeep is not being overly critical – he’s just pointing out differences. As far as I’m aware, almost all adherents to the Advaitin (followers of Shankara) and Tantric (particularly Kashmir Shavism, the Tantric school I’m most familiar with) would agree that they have different views regarding the reality of the world. The Advaitin considers the forms to be essentially illusory, while the Tantric considers the forms to be “real” by virtue of being a ‘real” manifestation of Shiva.

        Up to this point, I’ve said nothing about one or the other being wrong or right. The members of those schools certainly don’t hesitate to call each other wrong, but I’m not going there, and I don’t see that Sandeep went there. All he’s saying is that Sri Aurobindo and Shankara have different views.

        In fact, I’m willing to say that the excerpt from Sri Aurobindo on reading in dreams quite emphatically proves that Stephen LaBerge (the leading lucid dream researcher) is wrong, and I am fairly confident that if LaBerge accepted Sri Aurobindo’s account as accurate, LaBerge would agree he was wrong.

        But we don’t even have to go that far. I remember reading LaBerge claiming he had “scientific proof” that one cannot read in a lucid dream. Several days later, I had a lucid dream and I remembered what LaBerge wrote. So I conjured up LaBerge’s book for fun, opened it, and proceeded to read several pages, thus proving him wrong.

        I’m not sure why there’s any problem with me saying that LaBerge was wrong in his assertion and I don’t see Sandeep doing anything different.

      2. Aaron Asphar

        “I’m not sure why there’s any problem with me saying that LaBerge was wrong in his assertion” – that’s nice – I disagree, because you overlook the inevitable truth-content of the assertion, inevitable because the man is a sane adult with good intentions. To entirely negate his point indicates that you don’t fully understand it. Moreover, while there’s nothing wrong with pointing out differences between writers, this is more of an approach suitable to Maya than the true consciousness, because it fragments and divides reality, setting reality against itself, rather than follow fundamental lines more conducive to the eternal and to harmony. In any case, let’s remember there is no absolute right or wrong here – it’s an evaluative issue really to my mind, depending on what you want to achieve. Regards, Aaron

      3. donsalmon

        Hi Asphar: I really would like to understand what you’re saying. Let me just ask you in regard to LaBerge. Let’s say he makes a statement that someone can’t read in a dream. Then he does an experiment and finds someone who can. And he writes in a research paper, “It was a mistake for me to say that someone can’t read in a dream, and this new experiment proves it.” Do you have a problem with that statement? Is that any different from me saying, “45 – 23 = 21” and then saying, “oh, that was a mistake, it’s 22”? Again, I don’t see that Sandeep is doing anything different.

      4. Aaron Asphar

        That is a claim of fact; that’s a rather specialized case – this one hinges on a definition of worlds etc as real or illusory, and as I said in my original comment here, I think their claims are true to their varying tendencies: Sri Aurobindo to see the truth-content in all things (rather than points of fact), and LaBerge to regard half of reality as illusory. I side with Sri Aurbindo on that one.

  3. donsalmon

    besides which, you’re contradicting yourself (which maybe you think is just presenting many sides of an infinite Truth??) in the 2 approaches you have offered in regard to Laberge’s mistake.


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