BN-Basic Course Syllabus
The Ancient Wisdom Tradition
VII- Dreams and After Death States: The Invisible Worlds
1.)The Daily Journey- Three Planes of Human Life
(Wm. Q. Judge, Articles, "The Three Planes Of Human Life")
THE THREE PLANES OF HUMAN LIFE
JAGRATA, SWAPNA, SUSHUPTI: WAKING, DREAMING, DREAMLESS SLEEP
I SPEAK of ordinary men. The Adept, the Master, the Yogi, the Mahatma, the Buddha, each lives in more than three states while incarnated upon this world, and they are fully conscious of them all, while the ordinary man is only conscious of the first - the waking-life, as the word conscious is now understood.
Every theosophist who is in earnest ought to know the importance of these three states, and especially how essential it is that one should not lose in Swapna the memory of experiences in Sushupti, nor in Jagrata those of Swapna, and vice versa.
Jagrata, our waking state, is the one in which we must be regenerated; where we must come to a full consciousness of the Self within, for in no other is salvation possible.
When a man dies he goes either to the Supreme Condition from which no return against his will is possible, or to the other states - heaven, hell, avitchi, devachan, what not - from which return to incarnation is inevitable. But he cannot go to the Supreme State unless he has perfected and regenerated himself; unless the wonderful and shining heights on which the Masters stand have been reached while he is in a body. This consummation, so devoutly desired, cannot be secured unless at some period in his evolution the being takes the steps that lead to the final attainment. These steps can and must be taken. In the very first is contained the possibility of the last, for causes once put in motion eternally produce their natural results.
Among those steps are an acquaintance with and understanding of the three states first spoken of.
Jagrata acts on Swapna, producing dreams and suggestions, and either disturbs the instructions that come down from the higher state or aids the person through waking calmness and concentration which tend to lessen the distortions of the mental experiences of dream life. Swapna again in its turn acts on the waking state (Jagrata) by the good or bad suggestions made to him in dreams. All experience and all religions are full of proofs of this. In the fabled Garden of Eden the wily serpent whispered in the ear of the sleeping mortal to the end that when awake he should violate the command. In Job it is said that God instructeth man in sleep, in dreams, and in visions of the night. And the common introspective and dream life of the most ordinary people needs no proof.
The third state common to all is Sushupti, which has been translated "dreamless sleep." The translation is inadequate, for, while it is dreamless, it is also a state in which even criminals commune through the higher nature with spiritual beings and enter into the spiritual plane. It is the great spiritual reservoir by means of which the tremendous momentum toward evil living is held in check. And because it is involuntary with them, it is constantly salutary in its effect.
(HPB, "Transactions Of The Blavatsky Lodge", Appendix: Dreams )
Q. What, then, is the process of going to sleep?
A. This is partially explained by Physiology. It is said by Occultism to be the periodical and regulated exhaustion of the nervous centers, and especially of the sensory ganglia of the brain, which refuse to act any longer on this plane, and, if they would not become unfit for work, are compelled to recuperate their strength on another plane or Upadhi. First comes the Swapna, or dreaming state, and this leads to that of Shushupti. Now it must be remembered that our senses are all dual, and act according to the plane of consciousness on which the thinking entity energizes. Physical sleep affords the greatest facility for its action on the various planes; at the same time it is a necessity, in order that the senses may recuperate and obtain a new lease of life for the Jagrata, or waking state, from the Swapna and Shushupti. According to Raj Yoga, Turya is the highest state. As a man exhausted by one state of the life fluid seeks another; as, for example, when exhausted by the hot air he refreshes himself with cool water; so sleep is the shady nook in the sunlit valley of life.
Q. But what is a dream?
A. That depends on the meaning of the term. You may "dream," or, as we say, sleep visions, awake or asleep. If the Astral Light is collected in a cup or metal vessel by will-power, and the eyes fixed on some point in it with a strong will to see, a waking vision or "dream" is the result, if the person is at all sensitive. The reflections in the Astral Light are seen better with closed eyes, and, in sleep, still more distinctly. From a lucid state, vision becomes translucid; from normal organic consciousness it rises to a transcendental state of consciousness.
(Wm. Q. Judge, Articles, "Answers To Questioners.")
From M.J.G. - Whence come the visions seen just before dropping to sleep? They are uncontrollable - sometimes unpleasant, and have increased since childhood, and since beginning the study of Occultism.
Answer - When we enter that condition called sleep, we open wide the doors and windows of the body or this house we live in, and the soul goes forth as a bird freed from its cage. In partial unconsciousness or falling into sleep, the body has, to a great extent, ceased to act, but the brain is still sensitive or receptive to the pictures or impressions of the Astral. Of the lower principles the Astral is the last to cease action either in sleep or death. The brain is its instrument. In the partial somnolent condition, the pictures of the Astral are conveyed to the brain; through that the outer man realizes and beholds the visions. If he were fully asleep these visions would be dreams. Precisely, as dreams, they may be either pleasant or the reverse. Like dreams they are uncontrollable by the ordinary every day mortal. The Occultist being master of himself beholds only that which he desires, either in vision, or dream, or neither. As one makes himself more sensitive to impressions from the Astral when and after he begins the study of Occultism, visions and dreams will increase in frequency for a time.
(HPB, "Transactions Of The Blavatsky Lodge", Appendix: Dreams )
Q. How does sleep differ from death?
A. There is an analogy certainly, but a very great difference between the two. In sleep there is a connection, weak though it may be, between the lower and higher mind of man, and the latter is more or less reflected into the former, however much its rays may be distorted. But once the body is dead, the body of illusion, Mayavi Rupa, becomes Kama Rupa, or the animal soul, and is left to its own devices. Therefore, there is as much difference between the spook and man as there is between
a gross material, animal but sober mortal, and a man incapably drunk and unable to distinguish the most prominent surroundings; between a person shut up in a perfectly dark room and one in a room lighted, however imperfectly, by some light or other.
The lower principles are like wild beasts, and the higher Manas is the rational man who tames or subdues them more or less successfully. But once the animal gets free from the master who held it in subjection; no sooner has it ceased to hear his voice and see him than it starts off again to the jungle and its ancient den. It takes, however, some time for an animal to return to its original and natural state, but these lower principles or "spook" return instantly, and no sooner has the higher Triad entered the Devachanic state than the lower Duad rebecomes that which it was from the beginning, a principle endued with purely animal instinct, made happier still by the great change.
References for further reading
HPB, "Transactions Of The Blavatsky Lodge," :Appendix: - Dreams
Wm. Q. Judge Articles: "Three Planes Of Human Life"
Wm. Q. Judge Articles: "Proofs Of The Hidden Self"
Wm. Q. Judge Articles: "Remembering The Experiences Of The Ego"