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All varieties of devotional topics that don't fit under the other sections of the forums. However, devotionally relevant topics, please - there are other boards for other topics.

Devotional Dreams - Windows to the Spiritual Sky?

Keshava - Tue, 17 Aug 2004 10:41:59 +0530
I thought that this might be an interesting topic if anyone cares to share experiences.

I'll go first seeing as I started the topic and am not as shy as Madhava.

In 1983 on Radhastami, I took chakrabja mandala diksa (a pancaratric diksa only for temple priests) in Bangalore, India. During that three day ceremony at one point the sisya (me) is physically bound by a rope made of three different colored threads which represent the three (gunas) modes of nature. It is called the Maya sutra and is wrapped around the body 25 times to indicate the 25 elements (jnanendiryas, karmendriyas, 5 gross, 3 subtle, etc). Later the acarya will cut off the maya sutra from the sisyas body. (There's a lot more to it but the point here is about the dream section)

Here is an exerpt from a book that describes the ceremony to give you a little more idea about it.

Then the sishya or the candidate to be initiated into the dikshai is to bathe and
decorate himself with new cloths. He is seated on the right side close to his Acharya
with his eyes blindfolded facing east. By placing darbha grass- between the twoŚ
Acharya and the initiateŚcommunication is made between the two individuals. The
Acharya makes twelve ahutis (pourings) of ghee repeating Pundarlkaksha mantrams.
After this twelve offerings of cooked rice are made, then twelve of samits, twelve of
flowers and twelve of sesamum seeds. Then the Acharya passes round the body of the
initiate in a clockwise direction " Prasuti mudra " with his hands beginning with the
head and passing to the foot, and also back to head. Taking a small quantity of ashes
of the samit the Acharya mixes it with the " Tiruman " usually used for marking the
forehead by the Vaishnavas. The initiate opens his eyes at this stage. With this
mixture of ashes and nAmam the Acharya makes a mark of Urdhvapundram on the fore-
head of the Sishya. After this the wrist thread is tied with the usual ceremonies that
have to be gone through in this connexion. (This is " pratisara" or " Rakshaban-

Panchagavyam, prepared as usual, is next given to him to purify him. Then he is
asked to take a little food offered as sacrifice.

The initiate is then made to clean his teeth with a stick brush. This brush is thrown
on the ground after cleaning his teeth. The direction in which the apex of the stick falls
is noted. The directions yAmyam, nairuti, and vAyavyam are considered bad and the
other directions are considered to be good. If the apex or the unused part of the stick
falls towards the bad directions already mentioned a santi homam is performed. For
this homam sesamum is offered in the fire 108 times repeating the Narasimha mantram.

The sishya then does Achamanam and afterwards is led to near God and is asked
to prostrate. After prostrating to God the Acharya on behalf of the Sishya repeats a prayer which is somewhat as follows:Ś

"We who are bound by family ties completely like so many cows, can hope
to be liberated from these bonds only by you; we have no other means except you. For
the removal of these bonds your grace is necessary and the only way to secure your
grace is by worshipping you. So I pray to you to help this ignorant person depending
only upon your mercy on his behalf to get him out of the bonds of Samsara. To enable
him to do so let him hereafter be permitted by you to worship you."

After this prayer the initiate is brought back to the dais and his eyes are tied over
with a blindfolding cloth. The Acharya ties round the body of the sishya the maya
thread. This thread must consist of red, biack and white coloured threads twisted into
one. Then three such tri-coloured threads are spun into a thicker thread. In other words,
the maya thread should consist of three black, three red and three white threads. The
maya thread is taken round the body so as to make twenty-five turns. While taking the
thread round his body mUla mantra is repeated. After winding the maya thread round
the body, the disciple is seated next to the Acharya and by placing the darbha grass
between the Acharya and the sishya communication between the two is established.
Then the Acharya does the homam. He takes the "Sruvam" and with it makes 108
oblations of ghee repeating the mUla mantra with each offering. After this offering of
ghee cooked rice offerings are given. This is called " Purnahuti." Then taking another
spoon called "Sruk" a small quantity of cooked rice is placed alongwith ghee and it
is covered by another wooden ladle called " Sruvam " and the food is offered by pouring
the food and ghee into the fire. Samit, darbha grass and flowers covered by sruvam are
then offered in the fire. God is contemplated, svapnadi mantra is repeated and 108 ghee
offerings are made by the Acharya by repeating the mantram " AmRtadhArAm," etc.

To the devatas present in the doorways rice and black gram cooked is offered. The
cloth tied across the eyes of the initiate to blindfold him and the maya thread wound
round his body are removed. The maya thread is placed in a sarAvam which is placed
near the kumbham. The sarAvam is covered over by another sarAvam after placing on
it the maya thread. The disciple sleeps for the night on the darbha grass spread on
in a place with their tips to the east.

Third Day or the Diksha Day.

On this day the sishya comes to the mandapam after snAnam and sandhya ceremony.
If the sishya (initiate) had a bad dream during sleep, a santi homam is usually done
to remove the evil effects.

OK, this is the part I wanted to tell you about. When it came to this part all the persons present enquired from me whether I had had any dreams that night. You are supposed to be wrapped up in the maya sutra for the night while you sleep. At the time I did nt know that there was any dream part to the ceremony. I told them that I did in fact have a dream. The dream was very, very, strange. I have never had one like it either before or after this time. It was as though I had no body but just existed in a fog. I was unable to hear or see anything but this foggy atmosphere everywhere. Then slowly I began to percieve sounds and images appearing before me and all around me in the fog. Voices and the sounds of many different creatures, and then the forms (mostly just heads or faces) of many different people and all sorts of living entities. All these were appearing before and all around me. After they appeared they would also disappear and new different visions would appear and then they would also disappear. That's all I remembered.

Anyway I told this to the persons present. The only comment I got back was "Good!". So I enquired from my teacher why everyone was happy and said that it was a good dream. (It sure didn't seem all that good to me, it was almost like a nightmare although I felt strangely calm and aloof (detached) while it was going on. My teacher simply said "purva-janma" and began to perform the rest of the ceremonies.

So any way that was one dream that I will never forget. And I just wondered if anyone else had any interesting dream experiences.