The urge to search for salvation is present in every Jivatma, but whether it is dormant or active depends on the individual's Karma, nature, tendencies (vasanas) etc. At times this urge raises itself in some but is not sustained and hence remains latent; while in some others, it becomes strong and leads the Jivatma to a successful pursuit of the goal.

In the Yoga Vasishta, Lord Rama seeking guidance from Sage Vasishta is in a state when this search is dominant and hence he becomes an ardent student who is keen to clarify his doubts, said Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal in a lecture. The sage relates to Rama many stories of his personal search for truth by which he was able to understand the ephemeral quality of life.

One of the stories illustrates the infinite and incomprehensible nature of Samsara and the impossibility of seeing its end. Another story of an individual taking many births — an asura, a mosquito, a bear, hunter, etc. — reinforces the cycle of birth that is in store for the Jivatma. The sage also explains that dream, wakefulness, deep sleep and Turiya are states the Jivatma experiences, an analysis of which can throw light on the nature of the immortal Self against the changing world.

The dream state is a fascinating aspect for the Jivatma. Dreams appear realistic and the experiences during the dream period seem convincing. Once a Rishi who wanted to explore the dream state through yogic power (by controlling his mind and breath), entered the body of another person. There he saw the dreams of the other person. In the dream he saw a flood and all the possessions being wiped away. Then he realised that all this is a mere dream. Through yoga he came out of the body that he had entered and re-entered his body. What he understood was that there is no cause for creation or destruction. All these happen because of ignorance. All these live in the mind of the Jivatma.

This is an instance where a lie illustrates a fundamental truth. The dream analogy helps us to understand the fleeting nature of worldly existence. Awareness of the Self is the greatest knowledge.

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