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Archive for March 4th, 2013

To: AM-GLOBAL
Subject: How to Cure Oneself of Nightmares
Date: Sun 03 Mar 2013 21:34:08 +0500 (IST)
From: Ram Sahay Kulshresth

Baba

This email is composed of 2 parts:
(1) Posting: How to Cure Oneself of Nightmares
(2) Trailer Quote: Misunderstanding about Non-Aryans

== HOW TO CURE ONESELF OF NIGHTMARES ==

Note: This is an important letter and the title itself is significant. All too often people think that nightmares come from outside themselves. So they say, “I need to get rid of these nightmares.” But in Ananda Marga we know that nightmares are a product of our own mind – they stem from inside the mind. So just as one does not get rid of heart disease but rather cures oneself of it – since the problem lies within, similarly, we do not get rid of nightmares, we cure ourselves of them. Because nightmares result from a defect within our own mind – from within our own being. And this is something which one can cure.

Namaskar,
Getting proper rest at night is an important part of the life cycle. Unfortunately, many people suffer from nightmares, bad dreams, and other psychic difficulties while “sleeping”. Actually what they are experiencing is not sleep per se, rather they are in a dream state. And this dream state disturbs both their physical and mental well-being.

As Ananda Margiis, we are working with all segments of the population as we implement Baba’s divine teachings. In this endeavour, we come across innumerable people who suffer from nightmares and bad dreams. This is especially so in this materialistic era when many are plagued by psychic problems.

So we should understand well the science behind their difficulties as well as the practical solution.

POOR PARENTING CAN CAUSE LIFELONG NIGHTMARES

As we begin this topic, here is a real-life scenario that is deeply related with this entire issue.

Whether it be in the remote village or an ultra-modern urban center, poor parenting techniques goad mothers and fathers to use fear tactics to discipline their child. They say things like, “If you do not eat your vegetables, then an ugly monster will bite you when you are not looking”, or they say, “If you do not behave, then so-called goblins will invade your bed when you are sleeping”. Most often parents are well-intentioned, but their approach proves disastrous. Their ploys have a deep-seated effect. This can often result in nightmares and fear complexes for the duration of one’s life. So every Ananda Margii should be aware about this as we address this issue of nightmares.

AN IMAGINED IMAGE DURING WAKING HOURS

In a step by step process, we should investigate how the mind works: Specifically why do nightmares have a much more dramatic effect on the mind than one’s imagination during waking hours.

Let’s say during waking hours you are thinking about a so-called ghost, or reading or watching a scary tale. At that time with the immediate support of one’s motor and sensory organs, that person will realise that their fear is unfounded. Because they will look, listen, touch and even smell all around, and rationally come to the conclusion that it was an imagined image. It is not real. So in a flash that problem fades from the mind and one will feel normal, as if nothing ever happened. So it really is not a big deal at all.

WHAT IS TRUE SLEEP

When one is truly sleeping, then the unconscious mind, kárańa mana or causal mind, is awake – and the conscious mind sleeps. In addition the subconscious layers (i.e. the mind which memorises the day to day events and has the power of recollection) of mind cease functioning. That is true sleep. In that case, both body and mind are getting perfect rest. Then one is in a dreamless state. This happens primarily during the first 2 or 3 hours of lying down.

Unfortunately, in this hyper-busy digital era, most spend very little time actually sleeping.

Suppose you are sleeping six hours and the first three you are in deep sleep. That time dreams do not come. After that when sleep is not very deep, the subconscious mind starts functioning. So many ideas and stories are stored in the subconscious mind. And they start streaming across your mental plate. At that time you feel that those stories are real. And you say, after awakening, that you have seen it in a dream.

AN IMAGINED IMAGE FEELS REAL

WHEN THE CONSCIOUS MIND CEASES TO FUNCTION

For most people, during the majority of their “sleep”, the subconscious mind is busy at work. Only the conscious mind ceases functioning. In that case, various images stream across one’s mental plate. And those images seem real because the conscious mind is not functioning. This is known as dreaming.

In other words during the daytime when you are thinking about so-called ghosts, it feels as though you are just imagining the scene. However during the night when in the dream state, that very imagined image seems completely real and one views that image or so-called ghost as reality. Hence you become terrified by the so-called ghost.

So that which you know to be nothing more than your imagination during daytime becomes very real and terrifying at night in a dream state. Why does this happen? Because during daytime, the conscious mind is working and one can verify with their motor and sensory organs what is real and what is not. Whereas during the nighttime the conscious mind is not working. And when the conscious mind is not working there is no verification process with the eyes and ears etc, so the imagined objects become our reality. Such is the power of those nightmares.

As a quick review, when we imagine the so-called ghost and so-called goblins during the daytime in wakeful state, we do not get terrified by them. The reason is very simple. The conscious mind is also at work, interacting with the physical world via the 10 motor and sensory organs. As noted above, this conscious mind can check anything going on all around to determine if it is real or imagined.

However, in the latter part of “sleep”, the subconscious mind projects an image onto the citta (one of the layers of mind) and one starts dreaming, then that dream becomes our living reality. Why? Because the conscious mind is not functioning. The mind is not interacting with the mundane world via the brain and 10 motor and sensory organs. In that case whatever one thinks, i.e. dreams, one experiences as reality.

One might dream that they are in a business meeting; or one might dream of playing a sport; or one might dream of falling from the sky, or one might dream of so many things. And those dreams that a really scary such as when one is confronted by so-called ghosts or robbers, then that is a nightmare. And one accepts that frightening experience as being real.

BABA’S EXAMPLE:

HOW OUR THOUGHTS DURING SLEEP BECOME REALITY

Indeed, in one discourse, Baba describes how one of his cousins would imagine football matches in his sleep and accept those games as being real.

“During sleep when his subconscious mind was functioning and not the conscious mind, the memory of the football match came alive on his mental plate. As the conscious mind was inactive, the subconscious mind could activate the nerve cells directly, so as soon as his vocal chord shouted “goal” his legs, in adjustment with rhythm of the nerve cells and fibre, kicked the ball into the goal. ” (1)

Here the whole point is that when the conscious mind (wakeful state) is not functioning, then the imagined image projected by the subconscious mind becomes so real such that even the physical body gets involved in that scene. That is why dreams can have such a dramatic effect.

MORE ABOUT HOW NIGHTMARES OCCUR

During sleep one might think of so many things: Visiting a certain place, talking to a particular friend, eating a favorite food – so many images might flash in the mental plate that one accepts as being real.

And when those images are of something scary then we call that dream a nightmare. It might be a monster, a serial killer, a so-called ghost, a so-called goblin, a robber, or a ravenous tiger. When we are faced with such horrifying images during our “sleep” due to the activity of the subconscious mind, then we are tortured by those dreams. Even though they are imagined, they are extremely frightening for us because the conscious mind is not active. Because this is not active that is why imagined objects look real i.e. a so-called ghost, a so-called goblin, a robber, or a ravenous tiger.

This happens to so many people and they become terrified. Not only are they scared while dreaming, but the whole next day as well – even for months or even years after. And it can happen for many reasons. A nightmare might be based on something they saw during the day or it might result from an experience as a child. In any case, the mind has been negatively affected and it projects that image during the time of sleep.

“You may have encountered yet another type of demoniacal possession, which does not weaken the conscious mind very much in the wakeful state; but during sleep such strength of mind does not exist, and as a result during sleep, while lying on his back, the person sees a nightmare of an imaginary so-called ghost sitting on his chest. Dreaming is an act of the sub-conscious mind. In the dream state the imaginary so-called ghost of the sub-conscious mind takes form beautifully and repeats verbatim to him the language of his imagination. In the dreamful state he feels stupefied with fear, due to this excessive stupefaction he starts groaning, and people take it to be demoniacal possession. Thus what is generally called a “nightmare”, is usually the vision of a person whom the dreamer had oppressed in the past and whom the weak-minded oppressor now “sees” after that person’s death.” (2)

Such nightmares are so scary that anyone can get affected. For instance, even an Olympic champion boxer may lie down at night and face all kinds of fears and demons while “sleeping” as those dreams become a reality, irrespective of one’s age or worldly status. That nightmare might occur simply because of what one was told as a child, or because of a horror movie, or for some other reason. And these nightmares might plague and disturb a person for their entire life.

FINDING THE CURE

Now that we have investigated what dreams are and how they occur, it is critical that we understand how Baba says we can cure this problem. After all, dreams, nay nightmares, can really plague a person. They can deprive one of sleep and leave one feeling frightened.

Here following then are some of Baba prescribed remedies for curing oneself of nightmares.

PHYSICAL REMEDIES

In the physical sphere there are a few things that can be done:

1. Don’t eat food late at night or sleep on a full belly: When undigested food remains in the stomach at night, then gas forms and that air rises and creates pressure. In result, the mind is affected and scary dreams, or nightmares, often result. Best then is to finish one’s evening meal 2 – 3 hrs before sleep. Going for a short walk after the evening meal is also advisable. Then the food will be properly digested when one goes to bed. That is one way to help combat nightmares on the physical plane.

2. Be sure to sleep on the left side: The best way to sleep is on the left side as that ensures proper digestion. As Baba says the right nostril must be open for proper digestion and that is what happens when one lies on the left side. In contrast, the worst position for sleeping is on the right side as that effectively blocks the right nostril. Sleeping on the back and stomach are also to be avoided. One way to keep from sleeping on the back is to tie something uncomfortable object there – such as an apple-sized rock covered with a cloth – that prevents one from rolling onto their back. In a short while one will get habituated and one will naturally keep off the back and sleep on the left side. In addition during sleep do not keep your hand on your chest as you might think that is one so-called ghost sitting on your chest.

All of the above are Baba’s guidelines from His discourses and reportings.

PSYCHIC REMEDIES

In the psychic plane, there are a few things one can do that will cure one from having nightmares.

First, in the hours just prior to going to bed, do not watch or see negative movies or films and thereby pollute your subconscious mind. In that case those horrifying scenes will bring nightmares. So the best thing is to engage in quiet, peaceful and sentient pursuits – like kiirtana, sadhana, and Prabhat Samgiita – in the hours leading up to bed.

Secondly, one should avoid any arguments or heated discussions just prior to going to bed. Those thoughts and feelings will then create disturbances in the mind during sleep.

The main thing to be aware of is that the conscious mind should not knowingly be involved in degrading or distrubing activities (movies, scary stories etc) directly before bed. And best is to avoid those things entirely. Then the subconscious mind will not be plagued by such thoughts or images during the night.

SPIRITUAL REMEDIES

In the spiritual field also there are practices to be done that will cure oneself from nightmares.

Singing kiirtan directly before going to bed will purify the mind and create a sentient vibration. In that case one will not be disturbed by foul or frightening thoughts during the night.

Secondly, doing mantra japa with one’s ista mantra will certainly elevate the mind above all such lowly thoughts that might create nightmares. The mantras in Ananda Marga are siddha mantras – they have been charged by Sadguru – so repeating one’s ista mantra will certainly cure the mind of all troubles like nightmares etc.

Thirdly, regular sadhana practice of all six lessons will further bring the mind into a positive track. During sadhana, the entire mind is cleansed and bathed. In that case, the subconscious mind is bound to be spiritually vibrated during the night.

The absolute final solution is to do sadhana in a dark cemetery during the night – alone. This type of sadhana will cure one of all such fears. That is the final solution and can be learned from an acarya.

ONE FINAL NOTE

One last thought on this topic is that one should firmly understand that there is no such thing as ghosts and goblins. They do not exist. Therefore any nightmare about ghosts, goblins or any such monster or supernatural being is baseless and irrational. If a person can understand this in the depth of their mind, then that will go a long way in curing oneself of nightmares.

GHOSTS DO NOT EXIST

In the preface to His book, “Strange Experiences”, Baba clearly tells that He does not believe in ghosts and refutes their existence entirely.

“Let me state at the very outset that I am not a believer in ghosts and spirits, demons and devils, or heaven and hell, because I have found no logic behind their existence. I know that whether ghosts and spirits or demons and devils, everything which bears the imprint of the supernatural is only the play of the mind. The appearance and disappearance of such things takes place in the various kos’as [layers] of the mind due to variations or possible variations in physical or mental circumstances.” (3)

In His above teaching, Baba further explains that the entire “ghost” phenomenon occurs within one’s own psyche. As Baba says, it is just a “play of [one’s own] mind”.

Then in the Q & A discourse, “Some Questions and Answers on Ananda Marga Philosophy – Section B”, Baba directly asks and answers this question about ghosts.

“Q. 56 Do ghosts really exist?”

“Ans.: – Those strange figures which we call ghosts are mainly figments of the imagination. When the mind is in a weak or vulnerable state, what was previously created in the imagination now appears to be real.” (4)

So in the above query, Baba tells that not only are ghosts imagined by one’s own mind but that such so-called apparitions tend to occur with unit minds that are “weak” and “vulnerable”.

And finally, Baba issues this most conclusive statement.

Baba says, “Ghosts do not exist.” (5)

Thus under no circumstances should anyone be led to believe or think that Baba or His philosophy supports the existence of ghosts.

“THIS TYPE OF DREAM WE MAY CALL A SUPRAMENTAL VISION”

Baba says, “There is still another type of dream. Even when people are in a deep slumber, there may arise in their sub-conscious minds through their dreams, the prognosis of some good news or bad news, or even a huge calamity. The all-knowing causal or unconscious mind usually cannot express its all-knowingness due to the unsteadiness of the conscious and sub-conscious minds as well as due to its own expressional inability, but sometimes it can awaken in the calm conscious and sub-conscious minds of people in deep slumber visions of past, present or future and those visions overwhelm the sleepers minds. A surging vibrational flow emanating from the fountain head of the unconscious mind and vibrating the sub-conscious mind, is also a sort of dream; and that dream is not insignificant for its cause is the all-knowing causal mind. This type of dream we may call a supramental vision. Sometimes even in the wakeful state the cognitive flow of the unconscious mind penetrates into the subtle mind, as the result of which people even in the wakeful state, with a little concentration, can know events concerning their distant near and dear ones, this is called telepathic vision. Through the concentrated state of this telepathic vision, when conscious mind is more calm and sedate, people can visualize events concerning their distant beloved ones, enacted before their eyes in the external world or feel as if they are seeing them; this is called telepathic clairvoyance. Mistaking such acts as those of spirits many people come to believe in spiritism or spiritology. Truly speaking such incidents have no connection at all with spirits or ghosts. Telepathic vision and telepathic clairvoyance are intrinsically the same as supramental vision. They are born of the inspiration of the unconscious mind, the knower of the universe. To believe in ghosts and spirits is merely to perpetuate the cowardly mentality of the pre-historic people. But compared to supramental vision, the incidence of telepathic vision is very much less frequent, and still less is the occurrence of telepathic clairvoyance due to the activeness of the Kámamaya Kośa or the conscious mind. Nevertheless the supramental vision itself does not occur more than 8 to 10 times in the life of a person. The greater or lesser frequencies of such experiences wholly depends on ones sádhaná (intuitional practices) or saḿskáras (reactive requitals). (One, however, must bear I mind that self-acquired telepathy or self-acquired clairvoyance is something different.) (6)

If you want to read more details on this subject please read Ananda Marga Philosophy, Intuitional Science of Vedas-5 and Faculty of Knowledge-3. If you do not have either one of these discourses than kindly let us know.

MORE ABOUT THE SUBCONSCIOUS MIND

What is the subconscious mind? It is that part of the mind which memorises the day to day events. This aspect of mind is our power of recollection. With this subconscious mind you can remember your friends, what you ate yesterday, what you did 10 days back or 10 minutes back. Everything is stored in the subconscious mind. This subconscious mind does not need help from the indriyas, i.e. sensory and motor organs, to re-create stored images in the mind. For instance, even if your grandmother lives 100 miles away, with your subconscious mind you will be able to visualise your grandmother in your mind. The motor and sensory organs are not needed.

Without the help of the the subconscious mind we cannot do anything substantial because one will not have the required memory or knowledge. One will not even remember one second into the past. One will forget.

The conscious mind only works with the help of motor and sensory organs. When those organs are not functioning the conscious mind cannot do anything. It does not store any information. When you saw the monkey at the store then it is the subconscious mind that memorises that image. Later on when you tell your story about the monkey with the help of the subconscious mind then you will be able to clearly visualise that monkey in your mind.

“TO DREAM IS TO THINK WHILE SLEEPING”

“It has been said, “When a person creates a kingdom in his dream…” What is a dream? To dream is to think while sleeping….”

“During sleep these thoughts, in the absence of contact with the hard realities of the external world, appear to be real. Thus people who are not at all affected in the waking state by propensities of fear, anger, etc., may be deeply affected by them during dreams; because, as I said earlier, in the waking state, people know that they are imagining; but during sleep, they do not realize that the play of their imagination is going on. So during that period their dream-thoughts become hard reality for them.”

“During the time of waking, because there is much resistance from the external reality, there is not much speed of imagination; but during sleep, in the absence of this resistance, there is great acceleration. Within one second people can imagine a vast epic like the Mahábhárata. Sometimes during dreams the dreamers, propelled by such propensities as anger or greed, restlessly move their limbs about. If those moving limbs come in contact with any hard object, the imaginary dream is broken, the dreamer’s sleep is disrupted and the dreamy fantasy woven in nets of imagination comes abruptly to an end.” (7)

“WHY PEOPLE DO NOT ALWAYS DREAM IN THEIR SLEEP”

“Dreaming means thinking or recollecting during sleep. Now the first question that arises is this: Why do people not always think or recollect during sleep? During the wakeful state, people are always thinking or recollecting. Even when people meditate in the wakeful state, they are thinking of, or recollecting, Supreme Consciousness. In the waking state, the mind never remains inactive. Then why does it not always dream during sleep?”

“The answer is, the sleeping state means a state of rest for the mind. But if, before or at the time of sleep, one is tormented with deep sorrow, or becomes overjoyed with extreme happiness, or is afflicted with a serious disease, or is brooding over imaginary pains and pleasures – then during sleep if the gases in the body rise and create vibrations in the nerve cells, one starts thinking and recollecting. That is why people do not always dream during every sleep.” (8)

MEETING BABA IN DREAM

“In the lives of many people, a time may come when their days are full of the thorns of miseries, but at night, during dream, they transcend their pains and pleasures. Then, meeting their Iśt́a in dream, they beam with joy and laughter in the ocean of bliss. All the sufferings and sorrows of their lives, great or small, merge into that indescribable ocean of bliss. Those who experience this type of dream are truly fortunate.”

“Even in the waking state their lives are drenched in the drowsy sweetness of that dreamy atmosphere, and then in their lives, that dream becomes a reality. As a result, the waking state for them becomes meaningless.”

“Then cannot those dreamy persons do any good to the society? Yes, certainly they can, and in a better way. This state of drowsiness is not dullness or crudeness; rather it is the golden opportunity to fully utilize one’s existence by touching the feet of Táraka Brahma, as long as there is life.” (9)

“MAINTAINING A BALANCED MIND”

By Baba’s grace, we have all the tools and teachings to lead a balanced life – free from all complexes and fears, including nightmares. We should help others in this regard as well.

“Maintaining a balanced mind is one of the greatest virtues. There are no complexes in a balanced mind. One neither feels inferior nor superior to others; one never fears anybody nor ever gets perturbed. One maintains a mental balance.” (10)

Namaskar,
Sastaunga Pranam To Baba
Ram Sahay

REFERENCES:
1. Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell, Part 6
2. Ananda Marga Ideology and Way of Life – 5
3. Strange Experiences, ‘Preface’
4. Tattva Kaomudii – 3
5. Subhasita Samgraha – 4
6. Subhasita Samgraha, part 2
7. Namah Shivaya Shantaya, Disc: 16
8. Namah Shivaya Shantaya, Disc: 16
9. Namah Shivaya Shantaya, Disc: 16
10. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 5

The section below demarcated by asterisks is an entirely different topic,
completely unrelated to the above letter. It stands on its own as a point of interest.

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Misunderstanding about Non-Aryans

“In the Vedic era, the Aryans used to steal food grains and animals from the non-Aryans to perform their sacrifices and rituals (yajinas). In retaliation, groups of non-Aryans used to attack the Aryans to recover their possessions while they were performing their rituals. These attacks were grossly distorted in the Vedas, which gives the impression that the Aryans were good while the non-Aryans were evil. In fact, the non-Aryans were forced to attack the Aryans to recover their food to ensure their survival. Did the non-Aryans do anything bad? No, they did the right thing.” (PNS-16, p.56)

In India, even today the common public thinks in dogmatic way. That Asuras were destroying the yajina of Aryans. Because of their evil nature. And they believe that Asuras are some type of special creature who has very long teeth and dangerous claws like lions, and horns on their head. And very terrible face. This type of mythological story is propagated. But actually, Asuras were none else than indigenous Indians, people of those days. They were the original inhabitants of India, living there prior to the invasion of Aryans. And nowadays, even today they are condemned as so-called low-caste creatures, by so-called upper-caste people. These Asuras are the unjustly treated community known as harijans which are regarded by upper caste people as so despicable and low. But actually, these are the indigenous people of India.
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