The real meaning of daydreaming || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Questioner: What is daydreaming?

Speaker: The ones who coined this word ‘daydreaming’ used it as a kind of a pejorative, as a condemnation. Their assumption was that, dreaming befits only the sleeping state of consciousness and in the waking state, dreaming must not happen; that dreaming must not be applicable to the waking state of consciousness.

It is obvious that they assumed that there are three states of consciousness:

One in which you are asleep. And in this state, all kinds of dreams, fantasies, and hallucinations naturally do occur. Two:  the waking state. In which it is proper that one must not dream and one must live in reality. And they looked down upon those who were not living in the so-called reality even in the waking state.


These are the people who take the waking state of consciousness as the highest possibility of mind. They are the materialist. They say when your eyes are open and when you’re looking at the world then you should be looking at facts and facts are much higher than dreams and imaginations. And so if you are wasting your waking time in dreaming then you are a daydreamer and you deserve condemnation.

The wise men have said something totally different. They have said that not only are your mental activities, while sleeping, to be called as dreams but even that which you see, perceive, think of and analyse while being awake, that too is to be called a dream.

So the materialists have made two classifications. They have said, “Dreams” and “Reality”.  And reality for them is facts; facts that you come across when you are awake.

The real knowers have said that there are dreams that you dream when you are asleep, and that there are dreams that you dream when you are awake. The so-called facts are also dreams, so they have clubbed imaginations and facts together. And contrasted to imaginations and facts, they have said is the Truth.

So, where does reality lie? Have they said that the Truth is the reality, and imaginations and dreams are not the reality?

It becomes very interesting at this point. While we have said that facts are similar to imaginations and this world that appears in front of the eyes when you are awake is very similar to the dreams that you have at night; they have not called all of this unreal.  They have not said that the world is a total illusion.

What have they said then?

They have said that all of this is reality. They have not actually said that dreams and facts are the opposites of Truth. They have said that the Truth is Real and everything that you can touch, feel, or even imagine is equally real, because nothing can exist without its base being the Truth.

So the materialists assume dreams to be unreal and facts to be real and they draw a line between these two. They say that there are the dreamers and then there are the awakened ones.

The line taken by the spiritual mind has to be carefully understood. Whether you are living in dreams, or you believe in facts, you actually belong to the same category of consciousness.

What is that category? That category is of duality.

In dreams there is a dreamer. So there is a subject and an object and when you are in the waking state, then too there is something that you are watching and there is somebody, ‘the watcher’. So that too is a dualistic state, hence these two are to be taken as one.

At the same time, these two are not to be denounced as false. These are all real; these are all real in the sense that their base is Reality, that their base is the Truth. So while none of them are real in their own right, yet they are very-very real because they cannot exist without the Real. That is why I had recently said, that even to see shadows you require light. Light makes the shadows ‘real’. The ‘realness’ of shadows is but virtue of light.

So, who are daydreamers?

Daydreamers are no better off than those who dream in the night and daydreamers are no worse off than those who are not dreaming and living in facts! Because anyway, even if you are living in facts, it is a kind of dream. It is just a kind of dream. If you must give up daydreaming, then the only way is to be awake in middle of dreams. Everything else will just be an ideal. And when you take on ideals, you just end up becoming a hypocrite.

Who are you? You are somebody who is playing a role, you are somebody who is asking this question, you are somebody who is sitting here as a body, you are somebody who is curious, you are somebody who feels hungry and thirsty, you are somebody who is in the middle of the world, you are somebody who will be affected by destiny, you are somebody on whom all the forces of nature will surely have their effect. You are limited, you exist in space-time, and you as you, are mortal with a definite lifespan. With all these characteristics, it is but likely and quite natural that you will dream and you cannot force yourself to not to dream. Dreams will come to you. That is not a justification of dreams; you’ll have to be very careful in reading this. This is neither a justification nor a defence, nor an alibi for dreams. It is just you; as you are, you will dream, you will laugh, you will cry, you will have ambitions, you will have regrets, you will have hopes. Somebody may have lots of hopes; somebody may have a more refined mind and may hope less. Somebody may feel attracted towards something all the time; somebody may not be so susceptible to influences. But the degree can vary; you can never be absolutely free of nature, because you are the body. As you are, you are the body. If you are not the body, then there is no point from where this question could have come. Then there is no way this discussion could have happened, so those things will be there. And remember, I’m not advocating them, I’m not advancing them.

asur2While I’m not advancing them, at the same time, I understand that there is no point condemning them. Condemning them will only create ideal in front of you. And ideals won’t help. You’ll have to look at yourself as you are. You’ll dream in the night and you’ll also dream in the day. And these things will happen despite your best intentions. Remain watchful, remain alert. And even if you can’t remain alert there is no need to declare yourself an offender. That which fails is not of your making, that in you which daydreams, did not come to you because of your will. So there is no point holding yourself as the culprit. And remember: Daydreaming is all-pervasive; there is nobody who is not daydreaming.

This entire world is a dream, and it is a deep fallacy to believe that when the state of consciousness changes, that when you wake up from sleep in the morning, the dream ends. The dream does not end, the dream changes. From one dream you move to another dream. And if your entire life is just a sequence of dreams then what I am saying is that there is no point feeling guilty about dreaming. Because life is nothing but one dream sequence after the other.

So the wise sapient men did something wonderful, so that there is no question of guilt or offence. They said that all of this is real! (Laughingly)

All of this is real. Why is all of this real? Because all of this is not possible without a base of Truth of Reality, so all of this is real.

But all of this is real only if the entire sphere of dreaming has an untouched point at its Center. This untouched One at the center, is not a judge, is not a part of the dream, and is not eager to label the dream. He is just there. Just there, not doing anything. Like a faint remembrance. He’s there.

And if He’s there, at the center of the dream, then His presence sanctifies the dream. The same actions might be happening, the same desires, the same hopes, but they are made sacred by His touch, by His presence. The scriptures like to say that the Witness remains untouched by the happenings. I like to say that the touch of the Witness sanctifies the happenings. It is not enough to say that the Witness is untouched; actually the Witness touches everything that is witnessed. And that is everything because the Witness is not choosy; the Witness does not exclude anything. With the Witness at the center, everything becomes holy.

With beyondness at the center, the mundane life, with its daily chores, daily engagements, and its daily trivia becomes something of the beyond.

And it is very unbelievable, quite magical that how a different quality comes to the same actions. How the presence of the Sacred One at the center transforms very, very ordinary acts into events of Joy. Just looking at someone can be such a Joyful activity. And looking is looking. You have always been looking. Eating is eating, you’ve always been eating. Walking is walking and you’ve always been walking. But walking changes, dreaming changes, hoping changes, talking changes, and the difference is so subtle that you cannot explain it but you know that some vital change has happened. It is not the same looking, eating, walking, talking, sleeping anymore. Some great transformation has come and that transformations cannot be captured in a video camera. You cannot display it to anybody. It is a thing of the inside. If the other too is awakened, in the Real sense of an awakening, then he might know, then he will know without your explanations. Otherwise, you cannot really communicate it. You still hope but your hopes have a different colour now. You still dream but your dreams have a different quality now. You do everything that your structure is configured to do, both physically and mentally. Physically you’re configured to do a lot of things, mentally you are configured to memorise, to analyse, to comprehend and you’ll be doing all those things. But all of that will have a different taste.

I am repeating: That taste is not something that can come from an ideal. You cannot predict or pre-empt it. You cannot say, “This is the kind of fellow I want to be. This is the way that I want to walk. This is the way that I want to think, because that is what happens in the presence of the witness so I want to emulate all these things”. It would not be possible.

In one sense, because you accept that dreaming never ends, so you have accepted your total defeat. Now you won’t even try to wake up. Once you have accepted that all is dream, that all states of consciousness are merely dream states: whether it is dreamless sleep or whether it is sleeping with dreams or whether it is the walking state. All states are actually dreams then you have accepted the inevitability, the finality of your defeat. You have said “If this is it, then what am I striving for? Where ever I reach, whatever I perceive, whatever I do I would be actually just dreaming, so why then make efforts to wake up, there is no waking up!” “As far as I am concerned, whatever I do is just another dream”. Yes, dreams can change, but as we had said “Changing of dreams is not the same as waking up from dreams and there is no walking up possible.”

You can look at it this way and accept the totality of your defeat. “I will be dreaming, all the time, always, everywhere. Till the time ‘I am’, dreams will be there.” This ‘I am’ itself is the mother dream. So there is no point challenging it, because the challenger himself is a dream! What he is challenging is a dream, the one who is challenging is himself a dream. What is the point? It is like having a dream in which one of the characters is out to disrupt the dream.

Can a character in the dream disrupt the dream? No, not really. So, “I accept. All of this is just a dream and in the middle of this sit ‘I’, knowing fully well that all of this is a dream from which there is no walking up possible because the One who must wake up, anyway never went to sleep.”

I’m repeating this: “I would always, always be dreaming. All my efforts, all my striving to wake up is useless, futile, and foolish because the one who is attempted to be awakened has anyway never gone to sleep. He cannot go to sleep. He’s always awake”. So what are you attempting? Nothing!

Celebrate the dreams. Celebrate the duality. Whatever you call as ‘existing’ is just duality. So when we say celebrate existence, it means nothing more than celebrating duality and celebrating dreaming. Celebrate it! In the full knowledge that it is just mind stuff, it is just another dualistic state of consciousness. Knowing fully well that all of this is not really Real. It might be a shadow of the real it might be a fruit of the Real but knowing fully well that all of this is not quite the Absolute. Celebrate it, because it cannot ‘be’ without the Absolute. And there is no other way of celebrating the Absolute. You, the way that you are, how else will you get a hang of the Absolute?  For you reality is only this: this world, these eyes, and this mind. Celebrate it, but in the complete and constant awareness that it is just dream. A dream from which no waking up is ever going to happen. You will never wake up; never, never wake up. Because You never went to sleep. You will never wake up. Because You are already wide awake. You can call this your total and final defeat or you may call it your complete and absolute victory. Both are the same. That is why you hear saints sometimes calling themselves complete losers, complete losers! And sometimes you hear them calling themselves the kings of kings, both of these mean the same thing. Same thing!

Is it clear?

Listener 1: Sir, so what do you mean, when you say ‘live in facts’?

Speaker: (Laughingly) The fact that all of this is a dream, and facts too are a dream. All that I am narrating to you right now is a ‘factual’ story. I am telling you the fact of facts. And the fact of facts is that all facts are imaginations.

To know imagination as imagination is to live in facts.

Imaginations are not to be disparaged; there is nothing sinful about them or they are only as sinful as are facts.

(Laughingly) But this is a fact.

So live in the fact of imaginations. Do you know what this means? It means that when you are imagining, know that you are imagining. That is the fact of imagining: “I am imagining”. And I’m not feeling bad about it because anyway I can’t do any better or any different.

What else can I do? Given the system, the apparatus that I am, what else will I do? Do that and then you’ll see that your imaginations will be imbued with a different colour.

(Laughingly, to one of the listeners) You are already imagining that colour.

The materialist has an escape route, he says, “I can know about the world, the universe and that way I will be better off. He has science. He says, “The ignorant people are daydreamers and I have a scientific, logical, rational mind.”

The spiritual mind has no escape. He knows that whether it is the superstitious mind or the mind that lives in facts, they essentially belong to the same category. Yes, of course, in between them there could be minor differences, there could be minor gradations, but those gradations are just like the different stories of the same building. Somebody is living on the 7th floor of a building, somebody is living in the basement of a building but compared to the infinite sky, they are all living at the same level.

So the spiritual man knows that whether you are living in dreams or you are living in facts, you are living in the same building! Yes, you are improving; you are graduating, from one story to the other. You were earlier very-very superstitious, so you were living in the basement, now you are more logical, now you verify the things, now you live in facts, so you are living in the 5th or the 6th floor. But whether you are living here or there, the fact is:  You’re not flying. Not flying.

So that escape is closed to the spiritual mind, he cannot console himself by saying, “By being scientific I will improve, by being scientific, I will come closer to the Truth.” He says, “It’s alright, you can improve your research methods, your technology can become sharper, but you’ll still be in the same building.” At the same time does he say that there is no need for science? No, because except that there is nothing else that you can do! What else can you do? You have been given a mind, an intellect, what else will it do? So, it will do what it is doing; it will search for material facts. But even as it searches for material facts, it knows that all this is just dream. Sounds difficult, right? That if I know that all this is just dream why will I make any efforts? Its okay, all of it is a dream, so you can play around as much as you want to.

Listener 2: Sir, is this what we call Leela or is Leela is different from this?

Speaker: Usually we are pushed to call the game a Leela, when we are defeated in the game. As long as you feel that you are winning the game, the game is very important, something quite serious. But when you are beaten around in the game, you say, “What’s in the game? It is not serious at all. Yes, the score line reads 15 – 0, but it is just Leela, it is just Leela.” If I win it then it is a fact! If I lose it, it is Leela.

If I win it is a proof of my diligence, if I lose it – “Oh, I wasn’t quite serious about the whole thing. I didn’t even try fully. After all, it is just a game and a Leela. I was kidding.”

leela3It is not Leela because you call it Leela. It is Leela, when in the middle of it all, you can call the entire world, including your own existence as well, as nothing important. It is not Leela, when you do not make efforts. It is Leela when after having made the deepest efforts you could, after having tried your hardest, you lose and you still smile. Then it is Leela. Leela is not a word for the escapists! “I did not even play the game manfully.” Why? “All of this is just Leela, so what is the point in trying? I sleep 16 hours a day, if I am to do something I botch it up, can’t do anything properly.” Why? “It is all Leela. Why be serious about it?”

No, that is not the point of Leela. Leela is to put your heart, soul, complete energy and complete attention into it despite knowing that it is a game that you can never-never win. That is Leela. “I know that I can never win it. I know that I will be beaten and defeated at every step, at every point. I know that I will be betrayed, I know that I will be let down and yet every single drop of blood that I have, my flesh, my bones, my body, my discretion, my heart all are devoted to what I am doing”. Then you know that you have known it to be Leela.

~ Excerpts from a Clarity session. Edited for clarity.

View the Session at: Prashant Tripathi: The real meaning of daydreaming

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