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(The 12th house and its lord represent, sleep of all types, insomnia and what are known as veridical or prophetic dreams. In the Hindu scriptures, particularly the Puranas, dreams have been discussed as deeply as astrology but the 12th house connection has not been stressed. It will be useful to work in this area both for mental disturbances, sleep disorders and for an illuminating understanding of dream phenomena. KN RAO)

In Sanskrit there is a gold mine of literature relating to dreams which in their depth, vastness, range and interpretations, encompass all that world famous psychologists developed in the last about one hundred years. The difference of course is that in Sanskrit they are written pithily, even aphoristically and, yet has clarity of meaning flowing from it. It is not possible to make a survey of the entire literature in an article. The present paper is based on Agni and Brahma Vaivarta Puranas.

States of the Soul
Dream state (avastha chathushtaya) is one of the four states of the soul; the first is waking; the second dreaming the third, dreamlessness.

The fourth state is known as thureeya in which the atman in its purest form, detached from the earlier states, subsists alone and by itself. The first three states cover the totality of the experiences of the soul in the relative world.

Thus dreams are experiences of man in sleep where there is no feeling of his physical existence.

Causes of dreams
The causes of dreams are many and they need not spring as products always merely of physical and mental states, though these two states have their primacy of importance.

Physical and mental: Bad dreams are generally seen in fever or acute pain. Dreams are induced by external objects also. In an unfavourable or dirty atmosphere bad dreams occur. At the time of sleep sweet sounds give sweet dreams and hot words bad ones. Even an external sweet, hot or cool touch can show its reaction in dreams. An individual’s disturbed mind can also be the cause for dreaming of two types:

1. Due to experiences in the waking state.
2. Due to desires (unfulfilled) buried in the mind. When man sleeps pondering over the objects he has seen, they appear as dreams. Sometimes even an unfulfilled desire appears as a dream.

Yad Vaanchati divaa martyo Veekshathe vaa Karoti va,

Thath Svapne Thadhabhyaasaadh bhrute Vaatha Karoti va

Shubham va Yadhi Papam Yannrunaam hrdi Samasthithan,

Sugooddamapi Thageyam Svapna Vaakyadhatha madhath

Freud underlines and emphasizes lust as the main basis of all dreams. Hatred, desire, jealousy and other disturbed feelings can also trigger off dreams.

The phenomenon of dream is beautifully delineated in the commentary of Prasthaspada on Vaisheshika sutras. Tired physically or mentally, when man sleeps at night for rest or for the digestion of food, sense organs merge into the mind. The functions of prana and apana continue. Mental experiences without the sense objects constitute dreams.

Dreams as aid to medical diagnosis
According to the same Vaisheshika philosophy, dreams are caused by any one of the following.

1. Samskara Pata Svaat or previous experiences.
2. Dhatu doshat or the disorder of the elements.
3. Adhrishtat or the unknown (invisible after effects of past acts).

In the dreams of a lustful person, the sensual objects his mind dwells on appear in variegated patterns in his dreams. Generally dreams are related to the experiences of the dreamer. Whatever good things he sees in dreams, emanate from his good samskaras (dharma). All bad dreams are due to bad samskaras (adharma.)

Dreams occur owing to variance in what are known as vaatha (wind), pithhakapha (phlegm). A person afflicted by vaatha. A person tormented by pithha sees dreams relating to bright things like, fire, gold etc. A kapha (bile) and predominant person sees watery things like rivers, ocean, snowy mountains etc.

The detection of vaatha, pithha and kapha of the dreamer can be detected from the types of dreams he gets. It helps in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. The reference here is to ayurvedic treatment, obviously.

Mysterious, enigmatic and baffling dreams are attributed to Adhrishta.

C.G. Jung: Among psychologists of the west only C.G. Jung had taken a superior view and adopted a different line of interpretation. Dreams, according to him, are not mere embodiment of suppressed wishes and fears, but they convey much more.

To quote him: “Dreams may give expression to ineluctable truths, to philosophical pronouncements, illusions, wild fantasies, memories, plans, anticipation, irrational experiences, even telepathic visions, and heaven knows what besides.”

Ayurvedic classification of dreams
In ayurveda, there is a reference to seven types of dreams in the classic Charak Samhita :

Dhristam Shruthanubhutham cha Prarthitham

Kalpitham Thatha

Bhaavikam Doshajam chaiva Svapnam Sapthavidham Vidhuhu

1. Seen by the eyes.
2. Heard by the ears.
3. Experienced by other sense organs.
4. Desired ones.
5. Imagined by the mind.
6. Indicator of good or events that are to take place.
7. Arising out of humours or vaatha (wind), pithha (bile) and kapha (phlegm).

Puranas-based Dream Interpretations

Puranas, the undying sources of spiritual wisdom and such metaphysical truths which modern man under the spell of physical sciences finds it difficult to comprehend, have created in the Hindu mind and psyche a clear division into good and bad dreams of various types. In a nutshell, good dreams are harbingers of good tidings while bad ones can bring grief. In Agni Purana and Brahma Vaivarta Purana, there are many verses indicating different results in chapters on dreams.

There are references to meaning of dreams in also chapters not dealing specifically with dreams.

Auspicious dreams
Some of the auspicious dreams are:

1. Riding or mounting the peak of a mountain, of a palace, of an elephant or a bull or climbing the top of a tree having white flowers, or flying skyward.   

ShailaPraasaadanagashva Vrshabhaarohanam hitam
2. Having many heads.
3. Having hair turned white.
4. Holding the Sun, the Moon or the stars.
5. Holding the water of a stream spring from the earth.
6. Success in discussion, gambling or in a battle.
7. Getting coronated.
8. Breaking one’s head or seeing one’death.

9. Being burnt by fire.
10. Gain of royal insignia.
11. Seeing a clear sky.
12. Seeing a king, an elephant, a horse, a bull, a cow or gold.

Auspicious dreams of Jamadagni Parashurama

1. Seeing himself climbing a fruits-laden tree.
2. Boarding a tree.
3. Sandalwood paste sprinkled all over his body.
4. Eating betel leaf.
5. Seeing himself in the midst of a river with fully blown lotuses.
6. Receiving blessings from a Brahmin.
7. Seeing flowers, fruits and lamps.
8. Fleeing out of fear after being bitten by a scorpion or fish.
Sarvani Shuklani Prashamisthani Bhasmasthikarpasa Vivarijitani
Some Auspicious Dreams

1. Seeing one’s head being shaven completely.
2. Seeing one’s body being anointed with oil.
3. Seeing one’s body being smeared with mud.
4. Seeing oneself falling from a higher to a lower level.
5. Seeing oneself getting married.
6. Seeing oneself playing a musical instrument other than the lute.
7. Seeing oneself going towards the south.
8. Seeing the Sun and the Moon falling down.
9. Seeing oneself being overpowered by a disease.
10. Seeing oneself wearing the hermit’s coloured (saffron) cloth.

Bad dreams
Instances of bad dreams of Kamsa and Kartavirya Arjuna have been referred to in the Puranas.

Seeing all black things except the cow, elephant, horse, Brahmin and deity have been described as inauspicious.

    Sarvaani Krishnaanyati nindhithani go hasti Vaaji dvija deva varjyam

Remedial Measures
If bad dreams are seen, they should not be mentioned to anyone. After the bad dream, the person should either sleep again or take bath.

    Theshamakathanam Shubham Bhuyayascha Svapnam Thadhvathkaaryam snaanam dvijarchana

After the dream of Vishnu, Lord Shiva or Lord Surya or Lord Ganesha. One should recite Purusha Sukta or Gayatri mantra.

Prayers to the sacred river, the Ganga, is also mentioned as a remedy.

Dreams and their results

The indications of different kinds of dreams are specifically referred to in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana. For example:

Happy results

1. If one dreams of entering a red city or a sea or sees himself drinking nectar, he will hear good news and gain wealth.

    Nagarm Pravishethraktham Samudram Vaa Sudham Pibeth

    Shubha Vaartham Vaapnoti


2. Seeing a mare, hen, or a female heron, one gets a wife. If one sees oneself fettered it is a promise of gain of a respectable position and birth of male children.
3. Freedom from diseases are promised if a dream the Sun or the Moon is sighted.   
Sapne Surya Vidhum dhrshtwa muchyate Vyadhibandhanath

Different types of calamities are also indicated by various dreams. Thus,

1. Laughing in a dream, seeing a marriage ceremony, dancing or singing indicates calamity.
2. Breaking teeth, falling off hair indicates loss wealth or bodily pain.

    Yesham dhanthaashcha bhagnaascha

    Keshaashchaapi Pathanthi hi

    Dhanahaanir bhaveththasya Peedaa Vaa


3. Deities running and dancing, crying and yelling indicate death
4. When in a dream, one is harmed by horned animals or camel, children and men, fear from the king is indicated.

When to expect the results of Dreams ?
The Brahmavaivarta Purana mentions the time of the fruition of dreams. The basis of the timing is the time when a dream occurs.

1. Dreams seen in the first part of the night will come into effect within one year.

2. Dreams seen in the second part of the night will fructify within six months.
3. Dreams seen in the third part of the night will fructify within three months.
4. Dreams seen in the fourth part of the night will fructify within a fortnight.
5. Dreams seen at dawn will fructify within ten days.
6. Dreams seen during daytime will come out true.
Dine manasi Yad drshtam Tat sarva labhate dhruvam
7. If a bad and a good dream are seen in one night, the last one will take effect.               

 Ekasyaamatha ched raathrow shubham vaa

    Yadhi Vaashubham

    Pashchaad dhrishtasthu Yastatra Thasya

    Paakam Vinirdhisheth

    Thasmaaththu shobhane Svapne Pashchchatt

    Svaapo na shasyate

8. Having seen a good dream one sleeps again, it becomes fruitless.

Relationship between Dream and Reality
Dream is a means and reality is an achievement. Dreaming is easier than the reality. Dream is ephemeral. Events in dream appear to be real. There is a close relationship between the dream and reality. The analysis of a dream can be done better on the basis of happenings in waking state. And on the basis of dreams, the experiences in the waking state can be understood better. Dreams are not useless. Even modern psychologists admit this. Good dreams gladden the heart. Bad dreams also serve as an outlet for the suppressed feelings with the result that the poise of the mind and the body is maintained. Dreams are helpful as they aid good sleep. Dreams occur due to external stimulants. If dreams do no occur, the external stimulants may affect sleep and memory.

Even in ordinary life also, dreams aid achievement by enhancing the will-power. Man at first dreams of the goal. Constant dreaming over the goal provides will power and strength in overcoming the obstacles and transforms the dream into a reality. So dreams are a necessity in man’s life.

As long as the mind does not become pure, till then dreaming is natural and is needed for preservation of health

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