Dreams are powerful instruments to the knowledgeable sadhak. Once one has drilled mantra japa into the subconscious mind, dreams become visions.
In very general terms, there are three main types of spiritual dream:
- Blessings. The most common dreams are those where you see your ishta devata or any other divine beings, saints or your Guru blessing you. It may not be spoken and you may not have a chance to interact with them, but know this: the message is that you are on the right path. If your Guru appears, it is possible that they are saying: “I am ready to guide you; are you ready to be led?”. You may also see dreams where you sing bhajans, participate in yagnyas or sit in discourses; these are to encourage you to continue on these paths.
- The future. The second most frequent in my personal experience are visions of the future. This is especially the case if one has a particular yearning for siddhis; one fervently worships Ganesha; or one is desperate to attain something in their lives. One of the most confusing things is to try and discern whether you are experiencing a fantasy of what you wish to happen or whether this is indeed going to become a reality. It is genuinely hard to know, but inevitably, the events will likely come to pass if they are real within a few weeks, perhaps months.Interestingly, the dream may well end at the point at which you are offered a choice. This may become a key fork in the road of your life. It ends there because the future is yet unwritten and beyond that point, it is your choice as to how you proceed. In general, knowing the future is not particularly helpful, but knowing that a major choice is coming up will allow you to mentally prepare. Listen to the council of the wise and make a decision.
- Guidance. One of the most rare type of spiritual dream is when you are instructed. The dream is not passive, it is clearly active. A dialogue will be established with a spiritual guide that appears; you may or may not recognise them. They will instruct to you take a certain path, recommend a certain mantra or go on a certain pilgrimmage. Your specific disposition and preference will likely decide this. Take heed of these words and ask questions as to how this will help and the specifics. They will be as helpful as they can be.
A word of caution
When spiritual entities arrive in your dreams, they can be questioned. Take a proactive stance and do not be afraid to say what is on your mind; however, you generally receive what you ask for! This is both a blessing and a curse. As short sighted as we are, it is difficult to see the repercussions of what we ask for. You may regret your choice in due course!
Try to be humble, general and orient your questions around the most helpful guidance for your spiritual advancement and the peace of the realm.
Truly, the best prayer you can make is to give thanks; the best boon you could ask for is to become a channel of God’s peace.
Why learn a mantra direct from a Guru?
There are two types of reasons – philosophical and practical. This post deals with one of the philosophical reasons – Power Transfer. This is a powerful technology that allowed the ancient Rishis to transfer the fruit of their labours in gaining mantra siddhi and developing their own yogic powers over to their students.
The best way to describe the nature of the Power Transfer technology is through a simple metaphor:
Two men walk into a bank one day. One is a rich oil baron and the other, a blue collar factory worker. They both wish to open accounts for their sons to begin to put aside some cash for their respective college tuition fees for when the time comes.
The rich man, who spent years perfecting his business methods and grew his empire over time puts in one million dollars as the opening balance. In all likelihood, his son will not only be able to afford tuition but also live comfortably while away at college. He hopes that his son may also invest some of the money in the stock market and grow it, or perhaps give some away to charitable causes.
The worker starts his sons account with a starting balance of one hundred dollars. He hopes that he will be able to add more as time goes by and with a bit of luck, the interest may help eventually grow the balance to allow his son to at least pay part of his way through college. Perhaps his son may have to get a job and save some money himself to make ends meet.
Now whose son do you think will have a better chance? It is obvious it is the rich man’s son. The large initial balance will have give his boy a clear head start.
The process of sadhana – the path to achieving success with a mantra – is very similar. If you learn a mantra from a guru, they transfer some of their power to you to give you a head start in your sadhana. While learning a mantra without a guru is still likely to be effective, you are unnecessarily disadvantaging yourself by ignoring the fast track to reach your destination!
A king was once interested in acquiring knowledge of a secret mantra. It was said this mantra could cure one’s hunger and thirst instantly.
He instructed his ministers to seek out a priest or holyman who could teach him that particular mantra. A great search began and soldiers and ministers were dispatched across the kingdom to locate such a person.
Given its secret nature a great number of people had to be questioned by the kings men over the months that past. However the kings perseverance bore fruit and his ministers found a holyman who claimed siddhi of the mantra.
The holyman did not come willingly. After a display of force and threats the man gave in and was promptly escorted to the palace overnight to see the king at the earliest appointment the following day.
The king was informed that morning and in his excitment, cancelled his morning appointments to finally meet the man who could teach him the mantra. The man was adamant. The King was forceful then pleaded and eventually offered him vast amounts of wealth to impart the information but to no avail. The man refused, claiming he had no right to hear mantra imparted through his penance without adequate spiritual preparation and effort himself. He was summarily ejected from the palace once the king,s patience wore out.
In the meanwhile, the King.continued his search for a willing master and evetually was successful. To ensure the man was taught a lesson, he brought the first holyman before court to claim victory.
The holyman was bemused by the kings actions. He asked the king to prove it and recite the mantra. The king proudly did so and the holyman was satisified it was correct. However, he asserted the mantra was still powerless is his hands.
The king mocked the holyman and told him to prove it. The holyman looked around the court. The courtesans were laughing, even the guards were staring in disbelief at how foolish the holyman now looked. Suddenly the holyman pointed at the burliest guard in the Kings throne room and shouted “You there!” The guard looked left and right and pointed at himself in question. The holyman said “Yes, you! Go and slap the King!” The court fell hushed in surprise at such an audacious statement. He repeated the command and waited.
The King now enraged asked how dare he ordered one of his guards and told him only the King himself had such authority. To teach the holyman a lesson he went instructed the guard yo go and slap the man as he had attempted to order the man to do. The guard responded immediately. The Holyman then laughed. He had proven his point.
That when the King with sufficient authority ordered the man he obeyed immediately but not when the.holyman, a nobody in the Kings court attempted to do so. In a similar manner, the King had learned the mantra but had no authority to wield its power! A mantra acquired through such guile is unlikely to result in siddhi.