[INDOLOGY] Lucid dreaming in Sanskrit?

Dean Michael Anderson eastwestcultural at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 9 03:35:50 UTC 2017

Psychologist Charles Alexander was a leading researcher in this area and he made a distinction between lucid dreaming as it is commonly studied in that community and what Patanjali and other Yoga texts refer to. The difference seems to be whether the "witnesser" of the dreams is what the later Indian tradition might call the jiva versus the atman (my apologies for mixing terminologies, I'm in a rush and don't remember off-hand the proper Yoga terms.)
These links refer to Alexander's work:
 1) Is lucid dreaming related to higher states of consciousness? 


      From: Nagaraj Paturi via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
 To: Martin Gansten <martingansten at gmail.com> 
Cc: "indology at list.indology.info" <indology at list.indology.info>
 Sent: Saturday, September 9, 2017 8:47 AM
 Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Lucid dreaming in Sanskrit?

THE HISTORY OF LUCID DREAMING For most of us such lucid dreamsare rare and beyond ourabilityto induce. Is there any way of cultivatingour abilityto awaken in ourdreams at will? A variety of contemplative traditions and dream explorerssayyes. In the fourth century,the classicalyoga sutrasof Patanjali recommended "witnessing the process of dreaming ordreamless sleep" (Shearer, 1989). Four centuries later TibetanBuddhistsdevised a sophisticateddream yoga. In the 12thcentury the Sufi mysticIbn El-Arabi, a religious and philosophicalgenius known to the Arab world as"the greatest master," claimed that "aperson must control histhoughts in a dream. The training of this alertness ... will produce greatbenefits for the individual, Everyone should apply himself to the attainment ofthis ability of such great value" (Shah, 1971). More recently a number ofexplorers and spiritual masters such as Sri Aurobindo (1970) and Rudolf Steiner(1947) also reported success with lucid dreaming. For decades  Westernresearchers dismissed such reports as impossible. However, in the 1970s, in abreakthrough in the history of dream research, two investigators providedexperimental proof of lucid dreaming. Working independently and quite unknownto each other, Alan Worsley in Britain and Stephen LaBerge in California bothlearned to dream lucidly (Laberge, 1985). Then, while being monitoredelectrophysiologically in a sleep laboratory, they signaled by means of eyemovements that they were dreaming, and knew it. Their electroencephalogramsshowed the characteristic patterns of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, duringwhich dreaming typically occurs, validating their reports. For the first timein history someone had brought back a message from the world of dreams whilestill dreaming. Dream research has never been the same since. Interestingly,for some time LaBerge was unable to get his reports published because reviewerssimply refused to believe that lucid dreaming was possible. Since then, with the aid of eye movement signaling andelectrophysiological measures, much progress has been made, such as in studiesof the frequency and duration of lucid dreams, their physiological effects onbrain and body, the psychological characteristics of those who have them, the meansfor inducing them more reliably, and their potential for healing andtranspersonal exploration.
SHEARER, P. (transl.) (1989). Effortless being: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,London: Unwin.

On Sat, Sep 9, 2017 at 12:37 AM, Martin Gansten via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

In recent years there has been a surge of popular books on the topic of cultivating one's ability to experience lucid dreams -- that is, dreams in which the dreamer is aware that he/she is dreaming and is able to a greater or lesser extent to influence the unfolding of dream events; extreme clarity and wealth of detail are other commonly reported features. Some of these books expound (with varying degrees of knowledge, or so it seems to a non-Tibetologist like myself) on the connection between lucid dreaming and Tibetan 'dream yoga'. But what about Sanskrit sources? Are there any works in Sanskrit -- Buddhist or otherwise -- dealing with such states of mind and/or practices? I know of works on svapnaśāstra in the sense of oneiromancy, but that is all.

Martin Gansten

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Nagaraj Paturi Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.

BoS, MIT School of Vedic Sciences, Pune, Maharashtra
BoS, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, Veliyanad, Kerala
Former Senior Professor of Cultural Studies
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