Patañjali and Knowledge Which Dreams Give

Book 1 Sutra 38

This from “The Yoga-sutra of Patañjali” by Chip Hartranft

38. Peace (steadiness of the chitta) can be reached through meditation on the knowledge which dreams give.

The significant words in Sutra 38 are the phrase “the knowledge which dreams give” and in this connection the commentary on Sutra 10 is of interest. The oriental occultist uses the word “dream” in a much more technical sense than does the westerner and this must be fully grasped by the aspirant. To the oriental, the deepest dream condition is that in which the real man is sunk when in physical incarnation. This corresponds to that dream state which we recognize as caused by the vibration of the cells of the physical brain. Chaos, lack of continuity and ill regulated eventualities are present, coupled with an inability to recollect truly and accurately when awake. This condition is physical plane dreaming. Then there is the dream condition in which the man participates when immersed in sensuous perception of one kind or another, either of pleasure or of pain. This is experienced in the astral or emotional body. The knowledge given by the physical plane condition is largely instinctual; that achieved through the astral dream condition is largely sensuous. One is racial and group realization, the other is relative to the not-self and to man’s relation to the not-self.

There comes in again a higher state of dream consciousness in which a faculty of another kind comes into play, and this might be called the imagination, bringing its own form of knowledge. Imagination involves certain mental states such as:

  • Memory of things as they have been known, as states of consciousness,
  • Anticipation of things as they may be known or of states of consciousness,
  • Visualization of the imaginary conditions and then the utilization of the invoked image as a form, through which a new realm of realization may be contacted, once the dreamer can identify himself with that which he has imagined.

In these three dream states we have the condition of the thinker in the three planes in the three worlds, from the state of ignorant savagery to that of the average enlightened man. It leads on then to a much higher state of dream consciousness.

The true use of the imagination necessitates a high degree of control and of mental power and where this is present leads eventually to what is called the “state of samadhi”. This is that condition wherein the adept can put the entire lower man to sleep, and himself pass into that realm wherein the “dreams of God” Himself are known, and in which knowledge of the “images” which the Deity has created can be contacted and seen. Thus the adept can intelligently participate in the great plan of evolution.

Beyond this state of samadhi lies the dream state of the Nirmanakayas and of the Buddhas, and so on up the scale of hierarchical life till that great Dreamer is known, who is the One, the only Narayana, the Lord of the World Himself, the Ancient of Days, our Planetary Logos. The student can only arrive at a very dim understanding of the nature of these dream states as he studies the idea conveyed in the earlier statement to the effect that, to the occultist, life on the physical plane is but a dream condition.


Excerpted from “The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali – Book 1 – The Problem of Union” by Alice Bailey and Djwhal Kuhl

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