I SPEAK of ordinary men. The Adept, the Master, the
Yogi, the Mahatma, the Buddha, each lives in more than three states while
incarnated upon this world, and they are fully conscious of them all, while
the ordinary man is only conscious of the first - the waking-life, as the
word conscious is now understood.
Every theosophist who is in earnest ought to know the importance of these
three states, and especially how essential it is that one should not lose
in Swapna the memory of experiences in Sushupti, nor in Jagrata those of
Swapna, and vice versa.
Jagrata, our waking state, is the one in which we must be regenerated;
where we must come to a full consciousness of the Self within, for in no
other is salvation possible.
When a man dies he goes either to the Supreme Condition from which no
return against his will is possible, or to the other states - heaven, hell,
avitchi, devachan, what not - from which return to incarnation is inevitable.
But he cannot go to the Supreme State unless he has perfected and regenerated
himself; unless the wonderful and shining heights on which the Masters stand
have been reached while he is in a body. This consummation, so devoutly
desired, cannot be secured unless at some period in his evolution the being
takes the steps that lead to the final attainment. These steps can and must
be taken. In the very first is contained the possibility of the last, for
causes once put in motion eternally produce their natural results.
Among those steps are an acquaintance with and understanding of the three
states first spoken of.
Jagrata acts on Swapna, producing dreams and suggestions, and either disturbs
the instructions that come down from the higher state or aids the person
through waking calmness and concentration which tend to lessen the distortions
of the mental experiences of dream life. Swapna again in its turn acts on
the waking state (Jagrata) by the good or bad suggestions made to him in
dreams. All experience and all religions are full of proofs of this. In
the fabled Garden of Eden the wily serpent whispered in the ear of the sleeping
mortal to the end that when awake he should violate the command. In Job
it is said that God instructeth man in sleep, in dreams, and in visions
of the night. And the common introspective and dream life of the most ordinary
people needs no proof. Many cases are within my knowledge where the man
was led to commit acts against which his better nature rebelled, the suggestion
for the act coming to him in dream. It was because the unholy state of his
waking thoughts infected his dreams, and laid him open to evil influences.
By natural action and reaction he poisoned both Jagrata and Swapna.
It is therefore our duty to purify and keep clear these two planes.
The third state common to all is Sushupti, which has been translated
"dreamless sleep." The translation is inadequate, for,
while it is dreamless, it is also a state in which even criminals commune
through the higher nature with spiritual beings and enter into the spiritual
plane. It is the great spiritual reservoir by means of which the tremendous
momentum toward evil living is held in check. And because it is involuntary
with them, it is constantly salutary in its effect.
In order to understand the subject better, it is well to consider a little
in detail what happens when one falls asleep, has dreams, and then enters
Sushupti. As his outer senses are dulled the brain begins to throw up images,
the reproductions of waking acts and thoughts, and soon he is asleep. He
has then entered a plane of experience which is as real as that just quitted,
only that it is of a different sort. We may roughly divide this from the
waking life by an imaginary partition on the one side, and from Sushupti
by another partition on the other. In this region he wanders until he begins
to rise beyond it into the higher. There no disturbances come from the brain
action, and the being is a partaker to the extent his nature permits of
the "banquet of the gods." But he has to return to waking state,
and he can get back by no other road than the one he came upon, for, as
Sushupti extends in every direction and Swapna under it also in every direction,
there is no possibility of emerging at once from Sushupti into Jagrata.
And this is true even though on returning no memory of any dream is retained.
Now the ordinary non-concentrated man, by reason of the want of focus
due to multitudinous and confused thought, has put his Swapna field or state
into confusion, and in passing through it the useful and elevating experiences
of Sushupti become mixed up and distorted, not resulting in the benefit
to him as a waking person which is his right as well as his duty to have.
Here again is seen the lasting effect, either prejudicial or the opposite,
of the conduct and thoughts when awake.
So it appears, then, that what he should try to accomplish is such a clearing
up and vivification of Swapna state as shall result in removing the confusion
and distortion existing there, in order that upon emerging into waking life
he may retain a wider and brighter memory of what occurred in Sushupti.
This is done by an increase of concentration upon high thoughts, upon noble
purposes, upon all that is best and most spiritual in him while awake. The
best result cannot be accomplished in a week or a year, perhaps not in a
life, but, once begun, it will lead to the perfection of spiritual cultivation
in some incarnation hereafter.
By this course a centre of attraction is set up in him while awake, and
to that all his energies flow, so that it may be figured to ourselves as
a focus in the waking man. To this focal point-looking at it from that plane
- converge the rays from the whole waking man toward Swapna, carrying him
into dream - state with greater clearness. By reaction this creates another
focus in Swapna, through which he can emerge into Sushupti in a collected
condition. Returning he goes by means of these points through Swapna, and
there, the confusion being lessened, he enters into his usual waking state
the possessor, to some extent at least, of the benefits and knowledge of
Sushupti. The difference between the man who is not concentrated and the
one who is, consists in this, that the first passes from one state to the
other through the imaginary partitions postulated above, just as sand does
through a sieve, while the concentrated man passes from one to the other
similarly to water through a pipe or the rays of the sun through a lens.
In the first case each stream of sand is a different experience, a different
set of confused and irregular thoughts, whereas the collected man goes and
returns the owner of regular and clear experience.
These thoughts are not intended to be exhaustive, but so far as they go
it is believed they are correct. The subject is one of enormous extent as
well as great importance, and theosophists are urged to purify, elevate,
and concentrate the thoughts and acts of their waking hours so that they
shall not continually and aimlessly, night after night and day succeeding
day, go into and return from these natural and wisely appointed states,
no wiser, no better able to help their fellow men. For by this way, as by
the spider's small thread, we may gain the free space of spiritual life.
Path, August, 1888