Dreams and Revelations
Although dreams are something which is known to everybody, the study of them leads to the deeper side of life; for it is from the meaning of the dream that one begins to realize two things: that something is active when the body is asleep, and to the deep thinker this gives faith in the life hereafter. For the dream is the proof that when the body is not active, a person is active all the same, and seems to be no less active than in the physical body. If one detects any difference, it is a difference of time, for in dreams a man may pass from one land to another in a flash instead of taking a month. In no way is he hindered as on the physical plane. In dreams he flies.
The facility of the plane of dreams is much greater. There is no difficulty in changing one's condition from illness to health, from failure to success, in one moment. People say it is only imagination, a working of the mind. But what is mind? Mind is that in which the world is reflected. Heaven and earth are accommodated in it. Is that a small thing? What is the physical body compared with the mind which is a world in itself? The physical body is only like a drop in the ocean.
It is only because of ignorance that a man does not know the kingdom in himself. Why is he not conscious of it? Because he wishes to be able to hold something; only then does it exist for him. He does not wish to admit to himself the existence of sentiment: he says that it is of no account, there is nothing to it; and so of the dream, it is only imagination, it is nothing. But science and art spring from imagination, from the mind, not from a rock, not from the physical body. The source from which all knowledge comes is the mind, not an object. Mind means I. It is the mind which identifies; the body is an illusion. When the mind is depressed, we say, 'I am sad.' Not the body, but the mind was depressed; so the real identification is with the mind, not the body.
When in a dream man is able to see himself, what does that show? That after what is called death, man is still not formless; that nothing is lost, but only that freedom is gained which was lost. The absence of this knowledge makes man afraid of losing this physical body, makes him have a horror of death. But what is death? Nothing but a sleep; a sleep of the body which was a cloak. One can take it away and yet be living. Man will realize after all talk about death that he is alive, that he has not lost but gained. Man is in the physical world to learn, and the dream teaches that a law is working; that all that seems surprising, accidental, a sudden happening, was not sudden, not an accident. It seemed accidental because it was not connected with the conditions.
Nothing happens which does not go through the mind. Man has turned his back to it; he is open only to manifestation. Did they not say in every country when the war came: we did not know? Yes, it was so for those who slept, but the awakened ones had seen the preparation. In all things we see this. Every accident, pleasant or unpleasant, is preceded by a long preparation. First it exists in the mind, then on the physical plane.
A dream shows the depths of life; through a dream we see things. Has every dream a meaning? Yes; only there are always people in a country who do not know its language, and so it is with minds. Some minds are not yet capable of expressing themselves, so the dreams are upside-down, a chaos. One sees a goat with the ears of an elephant. The mind wants to express itself. There is a meaning in what the child says, but it has not yet learned to speak, it has no words; it can only cry or make a sound; yet this has a meaning. So it is with dreams which are not expressed correctly. There is nothing without meaning; it is our lack of understanding of its meaning that keeps us in darkness.
But what about the quite meaningless dreams one sometimes has? They are due to the condition of the mind. If the condition of the mind is not harmonious, if its rhythm is not regular, then the dream is so mixed up that one cannot read it. It is just like a letter written in the dark; when a person could not see what he was writing. But all the same it is a written letter, it has an idea behind it. Even if the very person who wrote it in the dark room is not able to read it, it still remains a letter. When man cannot understand the meaning of his dream it is not that his dream has no significance; it only means that his own letter has become so confused that he cannot read it himself.
One may say, how can the mind learn to express itself? It has to become itself. Often the mind is disturbed, inharmonious, restless. When a person is drunk he wants to say yes, and he says no. So is the expression of the mind in a dream. It is a marvelous thing to study the science of dreams. How wonderful that the dream of a poet should be poetical, of a musician harmonious. Why is this? Because their mind is trained; their mind has become individual. Their mind expresses itself in their own realm. Sometimes one marvels at the dreams one hears experienced by poetic souls; one sees the sequence from the first act till the last, and that every little action has a certain meaning.
More interesting still is the symbolical dream: to see the meaning behind it. It is wonderful to think that a simple dream comes to a simple person, but when the person is confused then the dream is confused. And in the straight dream, in the dream with fear, with joy, with grief, one can see what a person is. Then the dream does not seem a dream;it is as real as life on the physical plane. But is this life not a dream? Are the eyes not closed? The king has forgotten his palace. We say, 'Oh, it is only a dream, it is nothing.' But this dream can show our whole past life; this dream can be tomorrow. It is only on the physical plane that it is a dream;it is made a dream by the condition in which the mind is.
We say, 'Yes, but when we awake we find a house; that, therefore, is reality. If we dream of a palace, we find no palace.' This is true and not true. The palaces which are built in that world are as much our own, are really much more our own. When the body dies, these remain; they will always be there. If it was a dream of pleasure, the pleasure will come. If it was a dream of light, of love, then all is there. It is a treasure you can depend upon; death cannot take it away. It gives a glimpse of that idea of which the Bible says, 'Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.' We can find glimpses of it too when we compare dreams with the wakeful state. Whatever we hold, the longer we have held it the more firmly it is established; then we create a world to live in. This is the secret of the whole of life. But how can words explain this?
Another form of dream is the vision. Therein a person sees clearly what will happen, or what has happened perhaps many years ago. It is like a flash. When does one get this? When the heart is focused to the divine mind, for all is there like a moving picture. There was a poet of Persia, Firdausi, who was asked by the king to write the history of the country. The king promised him a gold coin for every verse. Firdausi went into the solitude and wrote down the traditions of centuries; characters, lives, deeds, he saw it all as a play, and he wrote of it in verse. When he returned to the court, the king was most impressed;he thought it wonderful. But there are always many in the world who will reject such things. The truth is only accepted by the few. At the court he was much criticized and many showed skepticism. It went so far that they told the king that it was all Firdausi's imagination. It hurt him terribly. He took the one who had spoken most against him and held his hand upon his head, and said to him, 'Now, close your eyes and look.' And what this man saw was like a moving picture and he exclaimed, 'I have seen! ' But the poet's heart was wounded and he would not accept the gold coins.
What was the message given by the great ones, by the prophets and masters, by Rama, by Krishna? It was not imagination. It was that record which can be found by diving deep, that prophecy given to the world as a lesson, living in the world, like a scripture. It is direct communion given by all masters.
A vision is more clear in the sleeping state than in the wakeful state. The reason is that when a person is asleep he lives in a world of his own, but when a person is awake he is only partly in that world and mostly in the outer world. Every phenomenon needs accommodation. It is not only the sound which is audible, but also the ears make it possible to hear the sound. The mind is the accommodation to receive the impressions, just as the ears are the accommodation to receive the sound. That is why a natural state of sleep is like a profound concentration, like a deep meditation; and that is why everything that comes as a dream has a significance.
Lastly there is another step forward, and that is revelation. It needs a certain amount of spiritual progress to believe that there is such a thing as revelation. Life is revealing, nature is revealing, and so is God; that is why God is called Khuda in Persian, which means self-revealing. All science and art, and all culture known to man have come originally, and still come, by revelation. In other words a person does not only learn by studying, but he also draws knowledge from humanity. A child not only inherits his father's or his ancestors' qualities but also the qualities of his nation, of his race, so that one can say that man inherits the qualities of the entire human race. If one realized profoundly that storehouse of knowledge which exists behind the veil which covers it, one would find that one has a right to this heritage; and this gives one a key, a key to understand the secret of life: that knowledge is not only gained from outside but also from within. Thus one may call knowledge that one learns from outer life learning, but knowledge that one draws from within may be called revelation.
Revelation comes from within. It makes the heart self-revealing; it is just like a new birth of the soul. When one has come to this state, then everything and every being is living; a rock, a tree, the air, the sky, the stars, all are living. Then a person begins to communicate with all things and all beings. Wherever his glance falls, on nature, on characters, he reads their history, he sees their future. Every person he meets, before he has spoken one word with him he begins to communicate with his soul. Before he has asked any question, the soul begins to tell its own history. Every person and every object stand before him as an open book. Then there no longer exists in him that continual 'why' one finds so often in people. 'Why' no longer exists, for he finds the answer to every question in himself. And as long as that answer is not created, in spite of all the learning of this world that is taught to man, that continual 'why' will exist.
Again one may ask, how does one arrive at this revelation? And the answer is that there is nothing in the whole of the universe which is not to be found in man if he only cares to discover it. But if he will not find it out no one will give it to him, for truth is not learned; truth is discovered.
It is with this belief that sages of the East went into the solitude and sat meditating in order to give that revelation an opportunity to arise. No doubt as life is at present there is hardly time for a man to go into the solitude. But that does not mean that man should remain ignorant of the best that is within himself; for compared with this great bliss which is revelation, all other treasures of the earth are nothing; they cannot be compared. Revelation is the magic lamp of Aladdin; once discovered it throws its light to the right and to the left, and all things become clear.