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Dr. Nikhil asked: Padanamaskarams Swamiji! I had a dream about You which was highly symbolic but am unable to understand its meaning. I feel that You were giving me some deep message through it.

In the dream, You visited our home in Coimbatore. It was a joyous occasion and surprisingly, You were in Your early fifties! Devi and Arsha took You to the balcony and were showing You something. You suggested that we could plant something in the open space to the northeast of the house and make arrangements for watering the plants. I was initially reluctant since it would take up too much time and I wanted to use all my spare time for Your work. But I agreed since it was Your wish.

Then You pointed to a stream flowing behind my house. There is actually a stream behind my house, except that it is always dry. The stream in the dream, however, had plenty of water. We all went to the stream and took a boat ride in it. We headed upstream and reached the origin of the stream which was a circular pool which had springs of water underneath. The plants around it had withered and dried. The spring-water was not very good either. You asked what had happened to all the good plants and I replied it was due to a recent policy of the university.

I got off on the left bank of the stream, near its origin, to explore a suitable place for all of us to spend some time. I realized that the place on the stream-bank where I had got off was part of a beautiful school campus. It was probably a holiday and so there was nobody around except a few essential personnel. But I soon realized that I was trespassing there. I wanted to get out of it but there were tall grilled fences and gates. I somehow managed to enter a building but could not find a way out. I also realized that by then You and the others had started moving downstream in the boat. I wanted to quickly come out of the campus, onto the road that ran parallel to the stream and then join You further downstream. But I was trapped.

Finally, I found a way to the main gate of the campus which had a security office. I did not want to create a disturbance for trespassing on the property unintentionally but I also needed to ask for directions to the road so that I could catch up with You. So, I decided to boldly approach the main gate as if I were a visitor who had come there for some official work and was now leaving the campus. Just then, I realized that I was barefoot. Probably, since I had got off from the boat, I was not wearing any footwear. I was hoping that the security officer at the gate would not notice it. Luckily, he did not notice it and he gave me directions to the road.

I walked hurriedly and reached a shopping area. I was tired and was looking around for something to eat. Just then someone told me that right next to where I was, there was something like a temple or an ISKON center, where I could get something. As I approached it, they dropped a packet of food and a packet containing the Gita from a window above. They said that it is their usual practice to support spiritual people with both food and spiritual knowledge.

I do not remember what happened next in the dream since I might have woken up. Although the dream began with Your visit to my home in Coimbatore, the school campus where I was trapped and the place where I got the food packet, seemed somewhat like the USA. During the dream, I was in a lot of emotional turmoil.

I feel the dream carried a lot of meaning and was related to my life. I would be grateful if You could kindly reveal its meaning.

Your servant, Nikhil

Swami replied: There are two types of dreams. The first is when strong feelings of this birth or previous births arising from the subconscious state appear in the form of dreams. Such dreams are worldly matters. The second type is when God sometimes, gives a message useful for a person’s spiritual life in the form of a dream. Such dreams are observed in the case of some devotees. Your dream belongs to the second type. In such dreams, symbolic representations are generally used. I represent God Datta in your dream. It is just a representation and nothing else. The age of about fifty years indicates the matured state of the preacher giving his message. The age of fifty also indicates the junction between the earlier phase of a person’s worldly life and the latter phase of spiritual life. It represents a balance between pravrutti and nivrutti.

The northeast direction or corner is called īśānya and it represents the abode of God Shiva, who is the source of spiritual knowledge (Jnaanam Maheshvaraat ichhet). As per Ancient Indian Science of Architecture (Vaastu Shastra), which is the ancient Indian science of architecture, this corner is where the source of water should be located. Hence, a well is always dug in the northeast corner of the property. Water represents knowledge, which washes away the dirt of ignorance. Drawing water from this corner indicates learning spiritual knowledge from the human form of God. The plants in your dream had grown to a certain stage after germinating from seed. They represent human beings who have progressed to a certain stage on the spiritual path. Their quest for true spiritual knowledge is represented by the plants’ requirement for water. The advice of watering the plants is essentially, the advice to propagate spiritual knowledge.

The dry stream behind your house indicates the absence of the water of true knowledge. It is located behind your house, which means it represents your past. It refers to the early part of your life, in this very birth, when you lacked true knowledge. Later, you saw the stream filled with bad water, which is wrong knowledge. Wrong knowledge is also the absence of true knowledge. A stream full of bad water lacks good water. Hence, it represents ignorance. It is equivalent to a dry stream, which has no good water and which represents the absence of true knowledge. The source of this stream was a pool having several springs underneath, which indicates a whirlpool of illusions. Several springs of bad water indicate several wrong preachers preaching wrong knowledge. The proof that the water was bad was that the plants around the pool were not flourishing at all. It indicates that the devotees spoiled by the wrong preachers can never flourish in the spiritual field. It represents the present state of the world.

You commented that such a situation arose due to the wrong policy of the university. The university here means the highest level of knowledge, which is thought to be the monism of a soul with God. This concept of monism, that the soul is already God, is misconstrued and is responsible for the pollution of the water of spiritual knowledge. Hence, you were asked by God to go and check-up the situation. You went to the basic level of the university, which is the school-level. The basic concept, which is the foundation of the spiritual path is that of the perfect dualism between the soul and God. It means that the soul is eternally and permanently separate from the unimaginable God. The school campus represents the basic level in spirituality where this concept should be firmly established.

Finding the world in this bad state, spoiled by the preachers, you went to the school of preaching spiritual knowledge to rectify the situation on the instruction of God Datta alone. The school without proper personnel represents the system of preaching without proper guides. This defective system is protected by grills and gates, which represent the blind traditions in line with the monism of Shankara, which lack correct analysis. They were so powerful that you were trapped in those traditions for some time. Finding you in the grip of that blind school of preaching, the Divine Guide left you for some time so that you could come out on your own in due course of time.

The school represents the unreal dualism that has descended from monism. The followers of the misconstrued monism or Advaita, believe that essentially, they are God already. They feel that at present, they are unable to realize their monism with God due to the effect of ignorance. So, in order to purify their mind of the effects of ignorance, they temporarily practice dualism. It means that such devotees basically believe only in monism. Their apparent belief in dualism their practice of it is just a tool to attain monism. The school in which you were trapped represents this unreal dualism. Since you were trapped in such monism, without your knowledge, you lost your chappals (footwear). Chappals protect you at every step on the spiritual path. The two chappals are the true belief in the dualism between God and the soul, and the total surrender to God with devotion. You were sent to rectify this defect of false monism and you yourself got caught in it. It is what made you lose your protection at every step, which is represented by the chappals.

Your original intention of selecting the school campus for a spiritual debate was good since the school campus represents the basic concept of true dualism between a soul and God. God left you since you were trapped in the false monism, which presents an unimaginable attraction for any soul. The philosophy is so attractive because, according to it, you become God just by knowing that you are already God! Fundamentally, you were a perfect dualist as long as you were with God like your family members. But you got trapped in the attraction to monism once you left God. You got trapped even though you had left only on the order of God to rectify the wrong philosophy of monism hidden behind a false dualism. The temple of Krishna indicates the concept that monism is true in the case of a specific devotee selected by God for His entry, and that such monism should not be generalized to every soul. You recognized the concept of the Human Incarnation of God and got rid of your worldly miseries as well as spiritual ignorance. This was represented by the food and the Gita that were offered to you.

The food packet given to you and the school campus represent your life in the USA. The temple of Krishna represents your transformation into a true dualistic devotee without even a trace of aspiration for monism. This present state makes you perfectly fit for perfect monism whenever God wishes to do some divine work through you. This entire dream represents your present life. It was shown to you by God Datta for your spiritual welfare and is an indication of the infinite grace of the kindest Lord, God Dattatreya, on you. Now, you have become perfectly fit to carry out the divine work of God Datta. This is the final essence of your dream, which is to be taken in positive sense alone.

True Devotion Is Impossible Without Dualism

These Advaitins speak about fundamental monism on one side and they also speak about true devotion to God on the other side. But their devotion and worship of God is simply unreal! They believe themselves to be God and their devotion is only a tool for attaining the purity of mind as advised by Shankara. How can true devotion to God ever result without the faith in the fundamental dualism between God and the soul? In fact, monism, which is thinking that you are already God, is the height of ego. In the lowest level of the spiritual path, which is like the school-level, this theory is used to attract ignorant atheists towards spirituality. It is like attracting ignorant children and encouraging them to attend school by offering them some chocolates. In this level, the effort is only to convert atheists into theists, which is taking the person from the lowest level to the immediate higher level. Since the ego of the atheists is at a hundred percent, they will never accept spirituality if it is told that they are not God. The teacher teaching in the school might actually be the greatest professor, but he can do nothing more at this stage. Shankara was undoubtedly the greatest spiritual preacher, but at that stage, nothing more can possibly be achieved than converting atheists to theists.

The next stage is the special monism of Ramanuja in which the soul’s ego has reduced from a hundred percent to an intermediate value. The soul with this partial ego can then accept a partial oneness with God. He can accept that he is not God but is a part of God. This intermediate stage is like the college-level in spirituality. The final stage is the dualism of Madhva in which the soul’s ego has reduced to almost zero. He can accept that he is completely different from God and is a devoted servant of God. To satisfy the remaining trace of ego in the devotee, a trace of similarity with God is maintained, in that both God and soul are said to be awareness. This stage represents the postgraduate level in a university. In the same university, a level higher than postgraduate studies, which is the level of research, has been invented by Datta Swami. At this level, the student must eliminate even the negligible traces of ego. As per this highest theory, there is absolutely no comparison and no commonality between the imaginable created soul and the unimaginable Creator God. The greatness lies, not in Datta Swami, but in this invented highest research level. God Datta only happened to reveal this highest level to Datta Swami.

I appreciate you for frankly expressing the hypocrisy that you felt in your dream regarding the chappals, when you pretended to be an official visitor to the school! Such frankness in exposing one’s own defects is the first step in real spiritual upliftment. Generally, ego prevents us from revealing our own defects. We tend to only reveal our merits. I know very well that you do not possess any hypocrisy or ego. You only appear to possess both for the sake of the welfare of spiritual devotees since you are standing as their representative like Arjuna. Arjuna asked questions in the Gita for the sake of all the devotees in this world and not for his own sake. You have been cast in such a role by the Director, God Datta, in this world-film produced for the welfare of spiritual devotees. You have acted well in your role and I have also acted well in My role in answering you. As an actor, you are far greater and more valuable than Me for God Datta.

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