Please Wait...

The Indian Night: Sleep and Dreams In Indian Culture (Conquering the Internal Nature)

The Indian Night: Sleep and Dreams In Indian Culture (Conquering the Internal Nature)
Item Code: IHE037
Author: Claudine Bautze Picron
Publisher: Rupa Publication Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 9788129113887
Pages: 676 (56 B/W Illustration)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5" X 5.5"
weight of the book: 670 gms
From the Book

The present volume collects twenty-two papers delivered all at a conference held in April 2004 in Paris on 'sleep and Dreams in the Indian World'. It shows that dreams have always been considered here to be major experiences deeply interwoven with life. Dreams are a tool allowing a reading of the mind, life and word. They hold a function in the literary discourse, be it classical or contemporary; they can also be prophetic in religious biographies or in the popular tradition. The disturbing nature of dreams could lead to the introduction of rules regulating the sleep. Further, the acts of sleeping and dreaming are a source of life as seen in various aspects of Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical art. The multiplicity of approaches illustrated by this book reflects the richness of the Indian in-depth perception of dreams and its readiness to incorporate dreams at any level of life and any system of thought.


The papers included in the present publication derive from a conference on "Le sommeil et les reves dans le monde indien. Eclairages comparatifs" (Sleep and dreams in the Indian world . Comparative Enlightenments) held at the University of pairs-3, Sorbonne Nouvelle, in April 2004, 5th to 7th under the patronage of the University of pairs-3 and the national centre for scientific research.

This meeting concluded a series of conferences initiated by the research team "Langues, Textes, Histoire et civilisation du monde Indien" (LACMI) which was a combined team of university of paris 3-sorbonne nouvelle and the national centre for scientific research or "centre national de la recherche scientique" (CNRS), until it recently merged with the team "Monde iranien" to form the new "Mondes iranien et indien".

Since 1989, the date of its creation, LACMI had organized thematic conferences bearing on classical Indian culture, which brought together team members and guests from other institutions and various countries. After an initial international conference in 1996 for the centenary of the sanskritist louis renou, more were to follow. "La norme et son application dans le monde Indien" (The norm and its applications in the Indian world) held in January 1999 at the Ecole francaise d, Extreme- orient in paris, was succeeded by "Les ages de la vie dans le Monde indien" (Ages of life in the Indian world) which took place at the university of Lyon-III in June 2000, and "Penser, dire et representer 1’ animal dans le monde indien” (To think, to say and to represent the Animal in the Indian World) held at the Ecole Normale superieure, Paris, in March 2002. As in the present case, each conference was followed by the publication of its proceedings.

Dreams are fascinating because they reflect a hidden part of ourselves. Whatever the culture or the period, men and women have always questioned themselves about the nature and significance of their dreams, and their daily occupations, cultural creations or intention paid by scholars to "dreams in India" reflects this multiplicity of views. While most of the scholars from France and abroad taking part in the conference had already researched the topic of dreams in relation to a specific aspect of Indian culture in their own work, it was felt desirable to broaden the scope towards the field of dream and sleep research laboratory of the University of Lyon-1, which is a leading institution in this field.

As Jurgen Hanneder's article shows, Indian philosophers defined the nature of the real world as being a long dream from which one awakes from once its nature is known, and analyzed the position of dreams in their study of the states of consciousness. Dreams are still "read", "narrated", "analyzed", "used" in daily practice in a contemporary Hindu ashram in order to reach higher states of consciousness as experienced by Madhu Tandan. They are likewise considered in a medicinal context, being at the threshold between life and death, and formulating a message from the unseen world which can be analyzed and lead to the application of remedies (Martin Mittwede).

Dreams are described in all aspects of Indian literature, where they hold a function in the literary discourse; they occur in classical narrative, dramatic or epic texts (Jean-Pierre Osier, Sylvain Brocquet, Eva De Clercq) as in contemporary Tamil literature (Chantal Delamourd). A certain ambivalence is also noted here, since texts simultaneously resort to psychology and the popular understanding of dreams as omens (Jean-Pierre Osier); they also offer a means to move between different levels of reality (Sylvain Brocquet). They play an overwhelmingly dominant role in religious and philosophical literature (Luce BaraZer-Billoret, Serinity Young, Daniele Masset, Pierre Lory). The vocabulary used to refer to dreams and sleep in the Indo-European languages proves to have been extremely diversified and rich (Georages-Jean Pinault).

Dreams are part of popular traditions, and as such, act as omens (Hartmut O.Rotermund, Joachim K.Bautze). The prophetic nature of dreams is clearly evidenced by the Svapnacintamani written in the twelfth century by Jagaddeva and published, with its German translation, by Julius von Negelein in 1912; this function remaind a major element in everyday life as attested by the existence of illustrated manuscripts, eventually known as "Svapna Darshan" or "svapna darpan", originating from Rajasthan and Chamba (Joachim K. Bautze). At a different level, prophetic dreams are commenly present in religious biographies: Buddhists, for instance, justified various events in the Buddha,s life with the existence of prophetic dreams which serve to relate the historical and "real" biography to its "spiritual"nature (Anna Maria quagliotti), or which appear as a rehearsal before a forthcoming event (Claudine Bautze-Picron). These dreams punctuate not only the mental life of the Buddha, but also of characters closely related to him, his mother being not the only one since his father and wife were also both visited by prophetic dreams, their comparative study obviously suggesting the existence of a system of dream interpretation in Buddhism (Serinity Young). The interest in dreams never ceased in Buddhism and did not remain limited to the Buddha’s life: Tibetan monks could also experience the power of dreams and perceived them as an inspirational source (Daniele Masset).

Dreams not only hold a particular position in Buddhist literature, but also serve a function in saiva initiatory rituals (Luce Barazer-Billoret), and dam interpretation is to be seen in jain literature, too . Moreover, Jains introduced strict rules to regulate their monks’ "way of sleeping" in order to prevent them from being controlled by dreams, since they can lead to unconscious sexual arousal (Nalini Balbir). Similar concerns are encountered in the traditional judicial literature (Jean Fezas). Present in literature, dreams were also illustrated in religious art, the most famous by far being the dream had by Maya, mother of the Buddha (Anna Maria quagliotti), a topic which found its way into all the countries of Asia; less known is the dream had by the future Buddha-a dream which relates him to Visnu sunk in his cosmic sleep (Claudine Bautze-Picron). Dreams are had while sleeping and sleeping gods lie down: from the depth of their sleep, life arises as shown by the iconographies of Visnu reclining on the snake Ananta/Sesa (Anne- Claire Juramie) and of a female deity who has given birth to a child (Anne Casile).

Dreams cross over intellectual boundaries, creeping into any and every aspect of artistic and literary material. The abundance of this material reveals how dreams have held and still hold a major position in religion, law and monastic rules, how they interfered in the daily life of the dreamer, how they were perceived as paving the way to higher spiritual or psychological levels. The present volume is but a modest attempt at showing their still under-estimated importance in Indian civilisation. I would like to thank Luciano perez and Joachim K. Bautze for the help which they offered at various stages in the preparation of this volume. Most of all, I express all my gratitude to Sanjana Roy Choudhury for her endless patience and keen interest in publishing this volume.

About the Author

After completing her M. Phil. In Indian History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Claudine Bautze-Picron became a research fellow at the National Centre of Scientific Research in Paris. As an art historian, her research has mainly focused on eastern India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.


The Physiology of Dreams
Dream Physiology: A Western View on Dreams 3
Jean-Louis Valatx
Dreaming and Dying in Indian Mythology and Ayurvedic Classical Texts 21
Martin Mittwede
The Meaning of Dream
A Song Against Bad Dreams: Magic, Superstition or Psychology? 37
J.E.M. Houben
Dreams and others states of Consciousness in the Moksopaya1 64
Jurgen Hanneder
Dreams and Sleep in Praxis
How to sleep? What to dream?103
Nalini Balbir
Dreams in the Saivite Practice159
Marie-Luce Barazer-Billoret
Dreams and Transgression in the Sanskrit Prescriptive Texts 173
Jean Fezas
The Role of Dreams in Accessing higher states of consciousness as practiced in a contemporary Indian Ashram192
Madhu Tandan
Dreams and sleep in language and literature
Sleep and Dream in the lexicon of the Indo-European languages 225
Georges-Jean pinault
Common Dream and its Interpretation according to Indian narrative material 260
Jean-Pierre Osier
Between dream and reality: Literary function of dreams 275
Sylvain Brocquet
Sleep and dreams in the Rama-kathas 303
Eva De Clercq
The nightmare in Tamil short stories 329
Chantal delamourd
Dreams in Buddhism
Maya’s dream from India to southeast Asia* 349
Anna maria quagliotti
The presence of the five dreams of the Bodhisatta in the murals of pagan 418
Claudine bautze-picron
Dreams about the Buddhist’s Departure from Home and the construction of a Buddhist system of dream Interpretation 452
Serinity Young
Riding the ass of the great vehicle Backwards: Dreams and revelations in the life and songs of Milarepa 468
Daniele masset
Dreams from Abroad
The role of dreams in Muslim mysticism 493
Pierre lorry
Good dreams, Bad dreams, in the history of Japanese civilisation* 506
Hartmut O. Rotermund
Images of Dreams and sleep
Representations of Visnu’s cosmic sleep in nepalese sculpture 539
Anne-claire juramie
Sayana forms of Devi in sculpture tradition from central India 566
Anne Casile
Two illustrated manuscripts on dreams and omens 615
Joachim K. Bautze
The Authors 653

Add a review

Your email address will not be published *

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Post a Query

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Related Items