Dreams are immensely personal but the problem is that dreamer, unless he is skilled in dream interpretation, cannot understand his own dreams. The dreaming experience is his own but normally it is a challenge for his understanding. The dream emerges as enigmatic, a puzzle a problem that demands INTERPRETATIONS of various sorts to UNDERSTAND what it MEANS. The high lighted words indicate that dealing with dreams is rather different and that a rational approach to it constitutes a from of science that is different from the quantitative i.e. what is now called interpretive social sciences or simply Hermeneutic Sciences.
For us Asians this distinction is of fundamental importance for it would appear that sciences developed not only in the West but also the East but only that the East developed the hermeneutic sciences more than the positive sciences. Dravidian culture , represents a high water-mark of this for about the time of ancient Greeks itself they have already to their credit a clear articulation of the methodology which is available to this day in Marapiyal, which is interestingly enough a text that comes appended to Tholkaappiyam , a text in Linguistics that also includes an existential analysis of ordinary life also using the living language for accessing the deeper layers of the human mind.
Dream studies, now largely conducted in USA, is emerging as a form of Hermeneutic Science and through that introducing the hermeneutic sciences along with the positive as valid forms rational inquiry. A survey of such studies indicate numerous interesting developments that can be taken as challenges to the largely psychometric ways of studying psychology.
First of all we see that a dream is taken as something very similar to poetry, a story i.e a TEXT of a kind and not simply an assemblage of cognitive material stored in memory connected together in random manner so that a kind of pattern emerges. A dream as a TEXT also means that it is NOT simply a brute FACT that can be statistically dissected and measured. Dream as a TEXT is also means a FORMATION, something that crystallizes as if on its own beyond the regulative controls and ego interventions of the person. This is more apparent in dreaming than elsewhere: the dream is a production while our ego is put to sleep and self is made actionless, the agentivity arrested thorough sleep and sleep-like processes. The self is made simply a WITNESS of something that works withoin and over which he has no control. It is for this reason that dreams, myths and so forth are called AGAMAM, the word coming from the Ta. aak-: to make , produce etc. and because of which the psychology that studies them is called Agamic Psychology. For this reason too they becomes a distinct pirmaaNa, a RELIABLE way of coming to know TRUTHS, something that was denied and refused by the ancient Buddhist logicians of South India but who lost the battle in the end and something similar that is done currently by the positivistic West.
The Agama piramaaNa is accepting hermeneutic sciences along with the positive as RELIABLE methods for apprehending truths the chief elements of which are NOT experimental replication and verification but rather interpretive dialogues in which AGREEMENT is reached.
When a person has a dream he already interpretes in his own way . This is self-interpretation called thanporuttu anumaanam. However when uncertainties prevail he consults another who may be more experienced in such matters. He relates the dream to him and gets possibly another interoperation and in this way both enter into an INTERPRETIVE DIALOGUE. And as it proceeds there comes a point where the dreamer feels that's it! That's the meaning! At this point the purpose of the dialogue is accomplished and it comes to a natural close. In between there is providing a Ethu, reasons for the interpretation and eduththukAddu, illustrative examples to JUSTIFY the interpretations. Attaining AGREEMENT is both having the same understanding (oththak kaatchi) and at that what was initially only a possibility(uththeesam) becomes a nikamanam, an established conclusion. In the further studies by the ancient Tamils of this phenomena they discovered the presence of anmaciRsakthi, the flow of LUMENS that drives away doubts and uncertainties through providing a CLARITY that induces subjective certainty and agreement. This clarity also makes them feel that UNDERSTANDING reached is OBJECTIVELY TRUE for at least TWO different individuals SEE the SAME WAY .
Just one more thing: attainments of such clarifying LUMENS is not just cognitively important, it is also very essential for mental and physical HEALTH, a notion central to Siddha Medical System which is emerging now as a powerful alternative to modern medicine.
Those who are interested for deeper presentations of these views can
get them in Dravidian Philosophy Campus(http://members.tripod.com/loga/tindex.htm)
under " Hermeneutical Studies"