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Yoga Sutras
Sutra 1.38

svapna-nidrā-jñānālambanaṁ vā

or the support of knowledge during dream and deep sleep

Svapna (Dream): "Svapna" refers to the state of dreaming during sleep. In this state, the mind generates a series of experiences, often surreal and disconnected from the waking reality. Dreams can be vivid, emotional, and complex, as the mind processes subconscious thoughts, desires, and impressions. Nidrā (Deep Sleep): "Nidrā" is the state of deep sleep, where the mind experiences a temporary suspension of all mental activities, including dreams. In this state, the individual is unaware of the external world and is devoid of any conscious thoughts. Despite the absence of mental activity, there is still a sense of rest and rejuvenation during deep sleep. Jñānālambanaṁ (Support of Knowledge): "Jñānālambanaṁ" refers to the support or foundation of knowledge. It indicates the underlying awareness that exists throughout the different states of consciousness, including waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. The phrase "svapna-nidrā-jñānālambanaṁ vā" implies that this support of knowledge remains constant and present, regardless of the changing states of consciousness (waking, dreaming, or deep sleep). It points to a fundamental awareness that underlies and connects all these states. This continuity of awareness can lead to insights about the true nature of the self. It points to the idea that the essence of who we are is not limited to the mind or the body but is rooted in an unchanging, witnessing consciousness that transcends the fluctuations of the mind. By recognising this unchanging aspect of ourselves, we can begin to disentangle from the ever-changing and often turbulent nature of the mind. It provides a glimpse into the possibility of experiencing a deeper state of inner peace and stability, even amidst the fluctuations of waking life, dreams, and deep sleep. Moreover, this sutra also serves as a reminder that the mind is not the sole determinant of our identity. By observing the mind and its activities, including dreams and deep sleep, we can start to distance ourselves from the identification with transient mental states. This can lead to a greater sense of freedom and self-awareness.
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