We don’t usually care much about dreams but when either the deities or the guru makes an entrance we should notice. I’ve never heard of anyone seeing Kṛṣṇa Himself and I don’t know whether we can take such dreams seriously. I think not.
Deities and gurus are legitimate representatives of the Lord’s spiritual form, which is invisible to our senses, so if they appear in a dream or in person they don’t break any particular laws but if Kṛṣṇa Himself shows up we should be suspicious. He should not be visible in any of the material states of consciousness. Of course He can always reveal Himself but He won’t be part of a dream, it would be part of a fully transcendental experience.
Deities and gurus, OTOH, can always penetrate our subtle bodies because, like us, they have ones, too. With them the question is only whether their entrance is legitimate or is only a part of our imagination. We imagine all kinds of people in our dreams and we never assume we had an actual connection with them, I guess we can dismiss dreams with deities and gurus in the same way but, as I said, we should take notice on the off chance the communication is real.
This dream that I had the other day illustrated this point rather well.
I don’t remember how it started, it’s just that devotees mentioned that my guru was in town and he had a darśan. At a train station, of all places. I didn’t recognize anything in that dream, not the temple I heard the news in, not the city, not the train station itself.
Anyway, I went there with a friend but the station was empty, there was a guard walking inside and he said there were no trains scheduled, there were no people, and most of the lights were off. So my friend whipped up his phone and started making phone calls to our senior godbrothers to find what was going on.
A few texts later he had a content expression on his face and we went into a basement, the guard didn’t stop us. Down there was some sort of a VIP lounge, because it was rather well appointed, with carpets and couches instead of plastic chairs in the common areas. There were no more than a couple of dozen people there, our guru sat on the sofa in the far end, there was someone else sitting next to him, some devotees grouped in front of him on the floor, the rest was scattered on other sofas. It looked rather informal, the guru wore karmī clothes, and there was no sign that it was a Hare Kṛṣṇa gathering.
I was about to offer a full daṇḍavat but then remembered specific instructions on greetings in public places and decided not to hit the floor. The guru noticed our group and accepted us with a smile. I did the right thing, I thought.
For a minute or two I just silently drank his appearance, his eyes, his face, his lean body, glasses, signs of aging, wrinkles, etc. He lost weight, I thought, but mostly I was just wondering that if that’s what God’s representative looks like then this should be standard of spiritual appearance, not the other way around. He was perfect, just as I expected and just as I remembered.
Then I also remembered that guru is there to be listened to, not just watched, and tried to concentrate on what he was saying. At this time he invited questions and one of my friends moved up and asked one.
This is where I realized that my friends were actually my old schoolmates, not my godbrothers. The one who was talking on the phone was now a policeman, I heard, and the one asking the question was one of my old jock friends.
That’s when I realized that I was in a dream and when my mind took over. It wasn’t anymore about listening to what my guru had to say but about directing my dream in the best possible direction. I wasn’t after the answers anymore but tried to imagine the answers I would wanted to hear.
That’s when I woke up and lay in my bed, stunned and trying to remember each detail. My mind was still into it and I tried to formulate my own questions and see them answered but eventually I realized that it has become my own mental effort rather than a surprise entrance by my guru.
Now plenty of time has passed and some parts that were very vivid started to lose shape. I can’t remember the one word text that served as some sort of a password, for example. I saw it before, wondered what it meant, remembered, but now it’s gone.
All that is left is the feeling of awe and wonder I had when I saw my guru, even if I went to that train station knowing what to expect I was still completely overwhelmed. It felt nothing like when I imagine talking to my guru or to Kṛṣṇa, those are mostly one sided conversations without any feedback but in this dream the guru actually showed himself to me.
Shortly after that, however, I went mental and this vision was lost and replaced by my own desired images. That’s why I said in the beginning that we should take notice of impressive dreams like that but not trust them entirely. I could clearly see the difference between “revelation” and “imagination”, and I’m still not sure if even the “revelation” was real.
Luckily, I wasn’t given any specific orders to execute but if I had I would have had a hard time deciding whether they were real and whether I could justify following them by what I have been told in a dream. No orders, no dilemma.
OTOH, not getting any specific instructions is like a dream wasted, too. It hasn’t changed my life in any significant way, just added that amazing feeling of awe and reverence that I was starting to forget. I guess in the dream I was about 20m away, not close enough for any real communication, maybe there’s significance in that, too. Maybe that’s what I am good for now – just be there, take in the scene, don’t spoil it by opening my mouth.
I guess all I am trying to do now is to make the best out of my experience, strip it of any uncertainty and leave only what is completely safe to remember. Even in dreams our lives are full of garbage and I’m not going to sanctify it just because my guru was there, too.
I also realize that I don’t have any particular questions, that I know all I need to know already – the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, everything else irrelevant and I haven’t made enough progress with chanting to ask about anything else.
I’m sorry if this post appears selfish and boring, I needed to write it down mostly to settle my own mind and tie down my own memories before they disappear forever.