We have our own definition of the word dream. Whatsoever changes, we call it a dream, and what never changes, we call it the truth. So the childhood passes off like a dream; youth passes off like a dream; happiness comes and goes, unhappiness comes and goes; just as dreams disappear, everything goes on disappearing. Therefore, the seers of India say, it is a vast dream spread all around you.
There are two types of dreams. One type is your personal dreams, the ones you see in your sleep during the night. The other type is the common dream which you see while awake during the day. But there is no difference between the two, because they both are changing. The dreams of the night are falsified by the morning, and the dreams of life are falsified by death. A moment comes when all that was seen becomes useless. Is there any truth then? But even for the existence of dreams there has to be the base of truth. Even for change there has to be some base which does not change; otherwise change is not possible. Where is that base? It is within us. The sutra of the sage says: witnessing is the base.
You saw your childhood; the childhood has changed but the seer within you is unchanged. Then came youth and you saw it; then the youth also went away but the one who saw it is unchanged. It is the same seer who saw the childhood, who saw the youth, who saw the old age; who saw the birth, who saw the death; who saw the happiness, who saw the unhappiness; who saw the success and failure. Everything changes, only the one who goes on seeing, who goes on experiencing everything, does not change. It is this seer whom we know as the soul; it is the truth. To know this one, the unchanging, is kaivalya.
Kaivalya is experienced the day a person, separating himself from all the dreams, separating himself from all the beads, comes to know himself as the string running through them all. The day he comes to know that, “This uninterrupted consciousness, this witnessing spirit, this is what I am; I am only this consciousness”…when such a realization becomes a crystallized experience – not a thought but an experience, not a word but a realization – we call such a person the one who has attained to kaivalya. He has known the one that is worth knowing, he has achieved the one that is worth achieving. And in achieving that one alone one achieves everything; and in losing that one alone one loses everything.
We try to catch dreams, but even before we have any grip on them they are lost and our fist remains empty. In the night we saw that we were emperors; in the morning our hands are empty. In life we see we have become this, we have become that; at the time of death our hands are empty. Whosoever we had held as our own – on whosoever we had closed our fist – they disappeared like the air from one’s fist. The fist closes and the air disappears from it. Everything proves to be a dream.