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ED U CA T IO N AL IN SIGH T


Understanding four states of mind: waking, dreaming, deep sleep and samadhi By Acharya Vamadeva Shastri


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any of the greatest yoga secrets are part of our daily lives, hidden in our natural rhythms and actions—in how we see, think, speak and breathe, through the days, months, seasons and years. Our


ongoing state of awareness and its various levels hold perhaps the greatest of these secrets. Consciousness is the very basis of our existence, abiding as


the steady inner light behind the changes of outer life. We are by nature conscious beings working through the instrumentalities of body and mind. Our current incarnation is but one of many lives in our gathering of experience through the worlds of time and space. Consciousness endows us with our sense of self, feel- ing and knowing, the inner reality out of which body and mind function. It is the very core of our being. Yet, the essence of our consciousness is largely unknown to


us. We are so busy projecting our awareness upon the external world that we have forgotten its origins deep within us. Our de- manding lives keep us from knowing who we really are, what (if anything) survives death, and what our ultimate purpose is. We are trapped in a bodily image of ourselves that forgets our inner essence of light. Our transient lives veil our inner connection with the Eternal. The result of this distractedness is that we fall into ignorance,


desire and sorrow, driven by external forces rather than internal knowing. We remain at the turbulent surface of our being and ô U R 3


ô õô 3 S K .ô 3 ô ô ^ ô


in the dense, material world and neglect the subtle bliss that dwells inside us. Our lives are a great mystery of consciousness and its unfold-


ment. Exploring that should be our most important activity. We should be impelled to carefully examine our own minds, not just the external world. In pursuit of self knowledge, we should study the profound implications of the daily movements of our con- sciousness through waking and sleep. Such self examination has long existed in the Indian spiritual tradition, as the pages before us will reveal.


Dreams are often considered imaginary, unreal and irrelevant to daily life. In fact, there is far more to dreams, and to sleeping, than we are taught in the West. Indian spiritual knowledge brings an understanding of dreams that can help us live a richer, more aware life.


april/may/june, 2017 hinduism today 37


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a. manivel


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