one of the unexplored concepts in Ayurveda. Svapna literally means loss of
touch or ignorance. As in Svapna the most important requisite of Jnana or
knowledge i.e. the contact of sense organs with their objects is absent,
it is also described as one of the Avidhya or Ignorance. During the waking
phase that which is seen and heard created wishes and desires in the mind
of the person and are expressed as factual illusions in sleep. They are
called as Svapna or dreams.
Genesis of Svapna
In the genesis of Svapna, all the four components of life or Ayu (Atma,
Manas, Indriya and Sharira) play an equal part. Just like in a chariot,
the charioteer binds the horses, here the chariot is compared to the
Sharira (Physical body), Manas (Mind) to be the reins, which lie in the
hands of the charioteer, i.e. the Atma (Soul or Self), it binds the
horses, which are the Indriyas (Sense organs). So it can be understood
that though the soul controls the functions of the sense organs and the
body, it is only through the mind. Hence at times it is the mind, which is
seen to perceive knowledge through the sense organs. Similarly in case of
Svapna, though the initiator is the Atma or Soul, it is the mind that is
responsible for creating the dream images.
Types of Svapna
Svapna experienced either himself or by others also indicate the good or
bad. They are classified into seven types as below.
1. Drstam – Visual perception / matters that are seen
2. Srta – Auditory perception / matters that are heard
3. Anubhutam - Experienced
4. Parthivam – One’s own desire
5. Kalpitam – Imaginary
6. Bhavikam – Natural premonitions
7. Doshaja – Produced because of aggravation of doshas
The first five types of dreams, dreams due to one’s constitution depending
upon the influence of the doshas viz. Vata, Pitta and Kapha, those dreams
that are experienced during the day, which are either too short or too
long, which are forgotten and which have occurred when the person is not
fully asleep are not meaningful for a physician as they are ineffective
and cannot be regarded as having any premonitory value.
The imaginary dreams and dreams which occur as premonitions are
meaningful. The dreams that occur as natural premonitions may have
auspicious or inauspicious results depending upon the nature of the dream.
The doshaja type may be responsible for the causation of diseases as a
result of the aggravation of the same dosha.
Effects of Svapna
Effects of Svapna can be broadly classified into two types – those that do
not have any impact on a person’s health or life and those, which have an
impact on the person’s health or life. In Harita Samhita, the duration of
result after seeing a dream is mentioned. If a person sees a dream in the
first part of night, the result occurs in one year. If a person sees a
dream during the second part of night or during daytime or in rainy
season, the effect occurs in six months. Similarly the effect of dreams
seen in third part of night occurs in three months and the effect of
dream, which is seen in the fourth part of night or in early morning,
occurs in ten days.
Dusvapna Phala Nivarana (Getting rid of effects of bad dreams)
The person who has visualized by either dreadful or pleasant dreams,
should take bath on the following morning and if offers black gram, white
yellowish sesame seeds or mustard seeds with some ghee, iron and gold to
the Brahmanas, chanting auspicious hymns such as Tripada Gayatri Mantra,
will be relieved of sin and also from all the ailments.
Prasata Svapna (Auspicious dreams)
Seeing the following kinds of auspicious dreams can be interpreted as
having long life.
Dream Interpretation / Decoding
Interpretation / Decoding
Seeing Gods, Brahmanas, Cows and
bulls which are living, companions, king, priests, ascetics or burning
fire or water ponds which are pure
Bestows good health, happiness and
wards off diseases
Seeing articles such as mirror,
umbrella, poison, fresh meat, fish, garlands, white clean cloth and
Indicates acquiring of wealth and
warding off of diseases
As if climbing up hills, lofty
palaces, trees with fruits, an elephant or a mountain, moving in
forward direction, got away from troubles, touching the star, shining
objects, mountains, etc
Indicates prolonged life, health
Seeing of rivers, lakes, ocean or
as if swimming in turbulent rivers, seas with turbid water
Indicates acquiring of wealth and
cure of diseases.
As if bitten by a snake, leech or
Indicates health and acquisition of
Visualizes winning over enemy or
overcoming a disease
Indicates prolonged life, health
and wellness in excess.
Vata prakriti (Vata body type) people commonly experience dreams as if
flying or moving in the sky, climbing trees or mountains, wandering about
in land, riding camels or other animals, dried and crooked trees and
rivers, hearing rumbling voices, whirling of wheels of chariots, etc.
Pitta persons have adventurous dreams, often characterized by conflict
situations. Their dream is commonly seeing fire, flash, lightning, sun,
meteors, golden mountains, entering into fire, embracing flames, gold, red
flowers of Butea monosperma (flame of the forest) and trees which are red
in color, fire, lightning and falling meteors, red colored sky, sun,
bright flames or light in dreams. Dreams of Kapha persons include those
dreams that are pleasing to the mind, clouds, water reservoirs, ponds and
calm lakes with blooming lotus flowers, swans, ruddy Sheldrake and other
water birds, swimming in the sea water or sea of milk, sprinkling with
shower of rain, silver mountains, etc.
Dreams during pregnancy
Svapna heralding the sex of the foetus is explained in Susrutha Samhita.
The objects seen in the Svapna can be evaluated and classified as having
masculine and feminine gender on the basis of which dreams can be
classified as signifying a male gender and female gender. If a pregnant
lady sees in her dream as doing activities as that of male, taking food
and drinks as that of a male, sees flowers (Lotus, Water lily) or fruits
(Mango) denoting male gender, signifies the male gender. If a pregnant
lady sees in her dream as doing activities as that of female, taking food
and drinks as that of a female, sees flowers (Rose, Hibiscus) or fruits
(Banana) denoting female gender signifies the female gender.
Viphala Svapna (Ineffective dreams)
Dreams, which are usual to one’s constitution, those that are forgotten
quickly or forgotten after the next dream, those seen when the person is
worried, those seen during day sleep are ineffective.
It was rightly said by Carl Jung - “The art of interpreting dreams cannot
be learnt from books.” Each detail of the dream matters and is necessary
for decoding a dream.
Proper interpretation of dreams helps to learn more about the person’s
personality, mental attitudes, health status, disease predisposition and
fatal signs of his illness. It only requires attention for exploration,
decoding and application, sincerely with patience and devotion.
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