This post is about another lucid dream I had recently. Technically, it might not have qualified for all the criteria of being lucid as listed on wikipedia, and the “lucid” part was not nearly as impressive as “vivid” part of it, which was awesome.
The location was my dream state of Nepal, though the connection appeared only very late. In the beginning I was part of some tour, like a cruise but in a land-locked country. I mean to say that people on cruises are well insulated from local reality like crime and poverty, or even local food, and they come in touch with natives only under strictly controlled conditions. That’s how it was for me as well.
My memory begins with being in some chain hotel, not Hilton but something similar, and our tour guide was preparing our travel arrangements into a mountainous area. The hotel was in Kathmandu, the destination was roughly in the direction of Everest, but it was in a different state which doesn’t exist in real life. The place was called “Vividya” or “Vividdi”, don’t remember, and to get there we had to obtain some passing permits in a border town translated into English as “Love” but I don’t remember the local pronunciation.
I screwed up with something and didn’t submit my papers on time so the tour guide went along and got the papers for the rest of the group and I had to go and get them myself together with another unfortunate fellow, who turned out to be my friend from my early days in the temple.
That devotee was nice a guy with solid understanding of the reality but he was young and wanted to test it, all of it. He tried various drugs and various forms of sex, last I heard he was touting a male partner. Some say he simply blooped but I see it as him trying to top his Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he always had this “Will it break if I do this?” attitude. Now, if he really had a solid understanding of reality he wouldn’t be doing all this crazy stuff but he knows that he can get away with it because Kṛṣṇa’s mercy is unlimited – that’s what he wants to prove and that’s what he counts on.
So, when I was told to go with him I was a bit apprehensive – he already knew the place but who knows what other “adventures” he could drag me in. We had to take a local bus to reach there, and I’m talking about a hundred kilometer ride in one of those buses you see in movies about Africa, a total immersion in local culture. The “Love” town had an airport and we had to go to the immigration office there. It was still a third world experience, everything looked like it was build in the seventies and the immigration officers were acutely aware of the impression they leave on presumably wealthy western tourists like me. This means that they used every opportunity to demonstrate their power and they waved their guns the moment I crossed an invisible line between one desk I was allowed to approach and the other I wasn’t. Their desks were swamped with papers, they didn’t have computers, and they didn’t have office chairs either.
When the paperwork was cleared we went into the town to catch a bus back to Kathmandu, and that’s where my friend disappeared to taste some local culture. I didn’t follow and I was afraid of walking into the dark alleys off the street the buses passed through. We had to be back by 4 PM so that we could get on a plane to fly to the mountains. My friend told me not to worry, he would be on time, he knew what he was doing, and so I had to take the bus by myself. I didn’t speak the language, only knew the number, and when I got on and told the driver my destination he seemed to agree.
That’s where things started going terribly wrong. People gradually got off the bus until I was the only one left, and after one particular stop even the driver, an energetic young man, disappeared, too. I had to get off and look for him, he wasn’t very happy to see me when I found him but agreed to take me to Kathmandu. There was only one problem, he said.
This town was weird, dingy and poor, and very 3D – there were always some stairs, inclines and declines, and you would dive into dark holes, turn left and right, and emerge one or two levels below. The driver showed me what happened to his bus while I was looking for him – it was parked under some staircase and it turned into a stone, into what looked like an abandoned statue of a cow with wheels. “What next?”, I asked him, and he communicated that we were not too far, already on the outskirts of Kathmandu, and you could even see the city from some vantage points like roads leading down. He promised to take me there on foot.
From then on he moved very fast and I had a hard time keeping up, with all the twists and turns and dives and winding stairs it was very difficult to keep him within eyesight and I mostly followed his voice.
This is where I realized the connection with my other, half year old dream. In that dream “Kathmandu” was squeezed between the shore and the mountain range and in this dream the town I was in now was that huge Hindu temple you could see half way up the mountains. And what a temple that was! Not just one building but an entire complex perched on a mountain slope with no spaces between various halls and shrines, they just merged one into another, absolutely packed with devotees and with pūjās and chanting going on everywhere.
What was even more amazing is that they had this wonderful overhead cable car system but there were no engines or grimy gears, it worked simply on gravity, like a roller-coaster, but our seats were suspended and everything was made from natural materials, not metal and plastic. We were passing over so many people, sometimes only a couple of meters above them, we flew through temple halls and past huge deities, moving directly at them and then swerving in the last moment.
Among the deities I remember were Lord Śiva, Lakṣmī and Durgā. As we were flying through the halls there was a PA system announcing which deity was where and what kind of pūjā was being performed at the moment. All these deities were very old and made of stone that darkened with age. They were placed very high above the worshipers so flying at them on their own level seemed disrespectful. Each hall had many other deities, too, but they were located well below and on the sides, we passed them as we moved from one hall to another.
Sometimes we moved along a fellow car filled with passengers just like us, mostly ladies in colorful saris. Sometimes we were dragged upward like they do on roller-coaster rides. Sometimes we passed prasādam halls but nothing in that temple was level, even prasādam was served on some sort of stairs so we flew not above but alongside, so close that it was possible to grab something off the plates. There were some pulleys to direct our path but I left it to the driver, being busy with staring at the sights, my mouth was probably agape.
Eventually the ride stopped, we got off, and continued a convoluted path down from one level to another, and eventually the driver lost me, which I suspect was his plan all along. I called and called, I tried going after him but the number of forks and dives and possible turns was overwhelming and eventually I gave up.
I tried to find some open space and hoped that I could see Kathmandu very close but it didn’t seem any nearer than before. I looked back at the temple, hoping that I was already far away, meaning I was closer to Kathmandu, but the view up the mountain was always obstructed by something.
Then I found a clearing, a bright spot in the sun, and there were white people there, too! I was totally exhausted and I was afraid to look at the watch because if it was past 4 then the tour group would leave without me and no one would be waiting for me at the hotel. Nor did I have any money or documents with me – all was left with my friend back in “Love”. I also had no idea where I was but at least the hope was there. Turned out it was a false hope, and I’ll continue with this dream in the next post.