|"Sai Dreams "
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Awakening during Dreams
Dreams are also part of the Sai strategy. He has appeared in the dreams of many who were unaware of Him and has drawn them to Himself. Karen Fromer Blanc dreamt that a person with a huge crown of hair came to her and said, "Stay with your Hilda." "Hilda who?" she wondered. Five years later she discovered Hilda Charlton, Baba's devotee. The discovery transformed her life. Now she has written a book entitled 'Dear Hilda'!
John Prendergast of the California Institute of Asian Studies has written an article 'Swami Dreams', focussing more on their instructional value and less on the paranormal processes. He says, "The overall aspect of these dream-experiences with Sai Baba is difficult to gauge, but my own relationship with Baba has deepened immeasurably. I would characterise the primary influence as being the opening of my spiritual heart, of beginning to balance the intellect with the values of love and compassion. Between the spring of 1977 and 1979, Sai Baba has appeared to me during the dream-state nearly forty times. These have profoundly affected my spiritual awakening and the quality of my relationship with Him. Sai Baba has said that it is impossible to see Him in dreams without His willing it. My own experience of active guidance, chastisement, healing and ecstatic states conferred by Him during the dream-state tends to confirm this. My relationship with Sai Baba is, in fact, more intimate in the dream than in the waking state... As the dream-state relationship grows and deepens, my own inner strength and confidence grows and manifests itself in the waking state. In addition to this effect of the dream-reality nurturing and supporting the waking reality, the distinction between the two realities has softened. Increasingly the two blend, so that dream-images rise in the waking mind like distant clouds."
Willie Kweku Ansah of Accra (Ghana), writes, "Soon after this (the Sathya Sai Centre's invitation to devotees to enrol for a trip to Puttaparthi) I started seeing Swami in my dreams. The first night I woke up with a rather vague feeling that I should think of going to Puttaparthi. I discarded the thought immediately. The next dream was more detailed and lengthy. I saw myself in front of a tall building which had protruding platforms on the first floor. Bhagavan was on the ground floor and I was doing Namaskara At this time I did not know that to dream of Bhagavan was a privilege and not an ordinary occurrence. I dismissed the dream as my silly imagination. In my third dream I saw only the face of Bhagavan for an instant or two. I was forced to wake up in a sweat and with a clear command to go to Puttaparthi.
"I gave my name to the Planning Committee without an inkling of where the money for the trip would come from. I need not have worried. Within the next few days I made, through a friend, three times my normal annual income for no compelling reason. So the matter was settled. All other arrangements went through without a hitch. Need I also mention that some of the persons I travelled with I had already seen in my dreams. We arrived at Puttaparthi on 21st November. The last thing on my mind were my dreams. A friend decided to take a round of the prayer hall, and as we made the turn, I stopped dead in my tracks. My friend asked what the matter was and I uttered something incomprehensible to him. But what had stopped me was the fact that my dream was staring me right in the face with all its details - the protruding platform, the architecture and the colours.
"One surprise followed another when private interviews were granted in a room on the ground floor, and I did my Namaskara exactly where I had dreamt it. However, all these surprises were nothing compared to what I experienced when I went to bid farewell to Bhagavan. 'When are you coming again?' He asked. I was not expecting the question, as the very thought of being so lucky as to come again was far from my mind. I was, therefore, flushed, and in delighted confusion blurted out that I did not know and that this time I came because I had had a dream... Bhagavan interrupted in a tone which seemed as if He was irritated; I was accounting something He already knew. 'I know I know,' He said, and patted my back. Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras (1,38) says that the aspirant gets guidance through dreams, but even he does not mention that the guru, if he is an avatar, can frame dreams for us and figure in them himself, furnishing timely guidance."
A Book and a Journey
Baba says, "No one can come to Prasanthi Nilayam unless I call him." The dream is one of the means He uses to draw people towards Himself. Lawrence Galante from New York writes, "I enrolled at Hoftra University to study more of my profession, Tai Chi, and the related philosophy. Then I awoke one morning from a vivid dream. In this dream the title of a book was clearly visible to me with the cover layout. It was entitled, 'Sai Baba: Contemporary Mystic, Master and God'. Then it dawned upon me, 'Why not? Why not write my thesis on contemporary mysticism and use Sai Baba as my subject?' I cleared it with the university... I decided that I could not write about Him unless I first saw Him and confirmed these miracles for myself. I also realised that I might just go to Him and find out that He was a fake. If so, I had reasoned, I could still write a thesis to expose a colossal fraud. That would also do. (Baba says, 'Come, see, experience, examine and then believe'). But how do I get to India? My bank account was nil. I turned to Sai Baba and addressed Him saying, 'If you want me to write this, then you must provide the money for me to get to India, because I am broke. ' Within 48 hours, I received a cheque in the mail for a thousand dollars from the city of New York, a sum that was owed me for several years and which I had been trying in vain for some time to collect... I remained with Sai Baba for two months. Daily I observed him attending to the multitudes that came to Him - healing the sick and materialising objects and giving them away as gifts to devotees. Everything that Baba taught me was good and all of His endeavours were beneficial. He also gave me permission to write about Him which is what I am doing now. Sai Baba does not work in secrecy. His activities are an open book for all to witness and draw their own conclusions from. Baba often says 'My Life is My Message.' I pray, that I may receive more and more His message."
Baba has declared very often that He wills the dream as a means of communication with the dreamer, in order to grant him courage, confidence and clarity of thought.
Miss Occah Seapaul of Trinidad has also been directed by Baba to publish in a book, her talks on His message to several groups of devotees on that West Indian island. Receiving His counsel in a dream is as mandatory as a personal command. According to Aurobindo, "The avatar, or divinity, acts according to another consciousness - the consciousness of the truth above and the Leela below." Baba told Dr. M.S. Ramakrishna Rao of Vishakhapatnam, when he enquired about the authenticity of a dream in which Baba had rendered him the clarification of a spiritual problem, "When I appear in a dream, it is to communicate something to the individual. It is not a mere dream as is generally known. Do not think that these incidents you experienced in your dream are stretches of your imagination. I was giving answers thereby to all your doubts."
H. Narayana Rao, while in bed in the intensive care cardiac unit at the K.E.M. Hospital in Bombay, awaiting implantation of an artificial pace-maker, dreamt that visitors were streaming into the ward. Among them was Baba, who stopped near his bed and spoke in His soft, reassuring voice, "My son! I know how much you are worried about the artificial pace-maker and the operation. Do not worry in the least. From now on your pulse will gradually improve. Count the days from today, and on the eleventh day, which will be Saturday the 17th, you can go home." And in spite of the doctors putting forward various other proposals, he was discharged exactly on the 17th, with his heart quite normal.
When I read a letter from Professor Kausal of Kurukshetra in which he had mentioned that he had resigned his job after being advised by Baba in a dream to do so, I was reminded of another devotee who withdrew a petition he had filed in a civil court. His claim to some property was so strong that he fought his rival through all the labyrinths of law, in spite of all the tension involved and the massive sums of money he had to spend. The suit had possessed him and he was refusing to reconsider. But Baba appeared in his dream and ordered him to give up his mislaid attachment. "Properties are not proper-ties," said Baba with a strange emphasis. Kausal writes, "The dreams are effective, vivid, personal and peace-giving. I cannot brush them aside, especially since Baba later confirms them and continues the advice He vouchsafes during the dream-session."
Baba urges people by means of dream-appearances to come to His presence. He smoothens the difficulties that deter them from undertaking the journey and encourages them to enter the spiritual path towards self-realisation We have already seen this stratagem of His love in the accounts given by Willie Ansah of Accra and Lawrence Galante of New York.
Dr. Sandweiss writes of another interesting instance of Baba's compassion: "Lila and I were discussing Sai Baba, and she became intrigued. She read a book about Him and began to consider the possibility of meeting Him herself. She was then deeply in debt and there seemed to be no feasible way for her to get the money to go to India. Her husband, Homer, an inventor, had no steady income at that time and had not been able to sell an invention in over five years. Yet, as highly unrealistic as the trip did seem, she made plans to go and obtained her vaccination certificate and passport. Then some strange things began to happen. One day, feeling particularly depressed, she had an unusual dream in which Baba appeared, His eyes twinkling with fun. Soon afterwards, Homer hit upon an invention. After a swift and improbable chain of events, some people became interested in it and his financial position suddenly and quite unexpectedly improved - the first time in years that this had happened. Lila now had enough money for the trip just a week before takeoff, and being completely prepared, she found herself jubilantly boarding the plane with us."
It is beyond doubt that Baba plans, designs and structures the dreams through which He initiates or deepens His impact on people. Ponder over another incident related by Dr. Sandweiss, involving Jeff from California.
Dr. Sandweiss writes, "In the interview room where we all sat, Baba was smiling and rocking back and forth blissfully. He turned to Jeff, the fellow next to me, and said casually, 'I've come to you twice in dreams.' Now, as a psychiatrist, I have certainly never heard of a colleague talking this way to a patient. Psychiatrists deal with dreams all the time; but to say, 'I've come to you twice in dream' would be somewhat disconcerting for the average patient... Baba began to describe and interpret one of Jeff's dreams and it became quite evident to me that He had in some way fashioned the psychic experience of this man, had actually created dreams for him and visited him in another dimension of reality. Everything that Baba said was confirmed by Jeff. Here was the greatest psychiatrist I had ever seen!"
Sri Jagathesan once asked Baba towards the end of an interview with Him, "Bhagavan! Why don't you ever come in my dreams?" "Baba", he writes, "bent down lovingly and replied, 'Okay from now on I will come in your dreams on Wednesdays.' I regard Tuesday as a holy day because a Vibhuti-materialisation from His picture in my house first occurred on Tuesday, 8th June 1976. Recognising this, Baba laughed, and without my asking amended His statement the next moment. 'No, No! Tuesdays, eh?'" And on Tuesdays the dream brings Baba into his view as an unfailing gift of grace.
Once, during a visit to Brindavan (Whitefield) along with Dr. Sandweiss, Elsie Cowan excitedly knocked at his room very early one morning saying, "I am feeling very close to Walter this morning." When Walter had cast off his mortal coil at Tustin, California, Baba had telegraphed to Elsie, "Walter arrived here in good shape." Elsie told Sandweiss, "I feel that Baba and Walter have paid me a special visit. I have been wide awake since six o'clock and full of energy." When both of them reached Prasanthi Nilayam that evening, Baba called them in along with a few others and, in the midst of the conversation, He suddenly said to Elsie, "Walter and I paid you a visit this morning." "Yes, Yes!" said Elsie, "At six o'clock I felt so filled." "No, five minutes to six!" He corrected her. And Sandweiss adds, "I began to see Baba less as an omnipresent controller of great forces than as a manifestation of pure love. Clearly, His love for His devotees motivates His actions."
Baba has often said that being in this body, as distinct from the 'Shirdi' body, He feels it is not enough if a few needy humans get spiritual guidance from Him: "It is necessary to draw all and sundry and provide them with succour and sustenance. I must give them what they want until they begin to want what the Avatar has come to give." Shirdi Baba appeared in dreams to give warnings and counsel; He spoke in symbols and veiled phrases; He helped solve mundane problems and personal tangles; He invited to Dwarakamai, through mysterious intimations, Sadhakas and service-oriented souls, suffering and suspicion-afflicted persons, and awakened their latent, inner urge towards self-realisation by a mere look, a touch, a smile or a pinch of sacred ash. This same strategy is unfolding on an even grander scale in the Sathya Sai era. Now the world has to be awakened and shaken out of its arrogance and schizophrenia by revelations of truth and declarations of love. While in 'Shirdi' form, the declaration of being an avatar was made in the comparative privacy of conversation. In the Sathya Sai manifestation, the declaration that He is all the names and forms through which mankind has adored God down the centuries, was made at a World Conference in Bombay before twenty-five thousand listeners, and many times subsequently, when hundreds of thousands were present. Through films, tapes, books and oral testimony, the uniqueness of this Divine Phenomenon and His wisdom, power, love and compassion are drawing increasing love and adoration, which has united millions into one ever-growing family of mankind.
Acknowledgement: Sourced from Book Published by Sri
Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust Sathyam Sivam Sundaram (N.