Sunday, August 15, 2010



Dreams usually are manifestations of repressed memories.  They are brought forward into our consciousness when our defenses are down during sleep.  Most religions locate the mystery of consciousness in the subtle energy that survives the body’s death.  Individual consciousness then melds into the Universal Consciousness through a process of spiritual enlightenment. Philosophers maintain that the problem of consciousness is beyond the reach of human intelligence.                          

Scientifically, consciousness does not reside in the ethereal soul but is a bye product of the activity of about one trillion cells in one’s brain. It is a maelstrom of events distributed across the brain.  Some 6,000 human genes out of a total of about 30,000 in human body participate in this evolutionary process of physiologic activity. When this physiological activity of the brain stops, consciousness does not exist any more. The biology of consciousness offers a sounder basis for morality than the un-provable dogma about an immortal soul. Ultimately it is the understanding of the physiology of consciousness which may reduce human suffering.  It should also explain the core ideas of morality. Then the purpose of life may come to be seen in terms of the purpose of every moment of consciousness.  We may then begin to regard life even more of a precious and fragile gift.

Every dream relates to our own "reality". Thus, in interpreting our dreams, it is important to draw conclusions from our own personal life and experiences. Let us remember that a dream unifies the body, mind, and spirit. A dream provides us with an insight into ourselves and a means for self-exploration.   Guru Amar Das ponders this self-exploration about anxiety in Siri Raag:

ਸਤਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਜੋ ਮੁਹ ਫੇਰਹਿ ਮਥੇ ਤਿਨ ਕਾਲੇ ॥
ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਦੁਖ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਨਿਤ ਜੋਹੇ ਜਮ ਜਾਲੇ
ਸੁਪਨੈ ਸੁਖੁ ਨ ਦੇਖਨੀ ਬਹੁ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਪਰਜਾਲੇ
Saṯgur ṯe jo muh ferėh mathe ṯin kāle. An­ḏin ḏukẖ kamāvḏė niṯ johė jam jālė. Supnai sukh na daykhnee baho chintaa parjaalay.
Those who turn their faces away from the True Guru shall have their faces blackened. Night and day, they suffer in pain; they see the noose of Death always hovering above them. Even in their dreams, they find no peace; they are consumed by the fires of intense anxiety.-----Guru Amar Das, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 30-4

Basis of all the content of our dreams is the desire to have our wishes fulfilled.  In the wakeful life, we may or may not be conscious of these wishes. However, the unconscious would like to see these wishes fulfilled wholesale.  But the preconscious cannot permit this.  So a wish in a dream may be disguised.   Only an understanding of the structure of our dream factory can reveal it.  Guru Arjun in Raag Asa alludes to this: 
ਬਾਵਰ ਸੋਇ ਰਹੇ
ਮੋਹ ਕੁਟੰਬ ਬਿਖੈ ਰਸ ਮਾਤੇ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਗਹਨ ਗਹੇ
ਮਿਥਨ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਸੁਪਨ ਆਨੰਦ ਉਲਾਸ ਮਨਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਸਤਿ ਕਹੇ
Bāvar so­ė rahė. Moh kutamb bikẖai ras māṯė mithi­ā gahan gahė. mithan manorath supan aanand ulaas man mukh sat kahay.

The crazy people are asleep. They are intoxicated with attachment to their families and sensory pleasures; they are held in the grip of falsehood. The false desires and the dream-like delights and pleasures, the self-willed call these true. -----Guru Arjun, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 406-16

Blindly ascribing meaning to dream symbols, without a clear understanding of the dreamer's personal situation is dangerous. A full medical and personal history is important in deciphering the meaning of a dream. Without such understanding dreams do not yield any valid information.  Hence, Guru Arjun in Raag Sorath and Raag Jaitsari advises not to attach much importance to dream objects:

ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਅਰੁ ਸੁਪਨ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਕਛੁ ਨ ਵਡਾਈ
ਰਾਮ ਭਜਨ ਬਿਨੁ ਕਾਮਿ ਨ ਆਵਸਿ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਕਾਹੂ ਜਾਈ
marig tarisnaa ar supan manorath taa kee kachh na vadaa-ee. Rām bẖajan bin kām na āvas sang na kāhū jā­ī.

Illusions and dream-objects possess nothing of greatness. Without meditating on God, nothing succeeds, and nothing will go along with you.-----Guru Arjun, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 615-2 

ਸੁਪਨੇ ਸੇਤੀ ਚਿਤੁ ਮੂਰਖਿ ਲਾਇਆ
ਬਿਸਰੇ ਰਾਜ ਰਸ ਭੋਗ ਜਾਗਤ ਭਖਲਾਇਆ
supnay saytee chit Moorakh laa-i-aa. Bisrė rāj ras bẖog jāgaṯ bẖakẖlā­i­ā.

The fool attaches his consciousness to the dream. When he awakes, he forgets the power, pleasures and enjoyments, and he is sad.-----Guru Arjun, Raag Jaitsari, AGGS, Page, 707-15

On the other hand Guru Arjun in his fantasy about God’s love wants to hold on to the robe of God and wants to sacrifice himself for the It in Raag Maru and Funhay in dreams:
ਸਜਣ ਮੁਖੁ ਅਨੂਪੁ ਅਠੇ ਪਹਰ ਨਿਹਾਲਸਾ
ਸੁਤੜੀ ਸੋ ਸਹੁ ਡਿਠੁ ਤੈ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਹਉ ਖੰਨੀਐ
Sajaṇ mukẖ anūp aṯẖė pahar nihālsā. sut-rhee so saho dith tai supnay ha-o khannee-ai.

The face of my friend, God, is incomparably beautiful; I would watch It, twenty-four hours a day. In sleep, I saw my Husband God in the dream and I am a sacrifice to It.-----Guru Arjun, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1100-7
ਸੁਪਨੈ ਊਭੀ ਭਈ ਗਹਿਓ ਕੀ ਨ ਅੰਚਲਾ
ਸੁੰਦਰ ਪੁਰਖ ਬਿਰਾਜਿਤ ਪੇਖਿ ਮਨੁ ਬੰਚਲਾ
supnai oobhee bha-ee gahi-o kee na anchlaa. Sunḏar purakẖ birājiṯ pėkẖ man bancẖlā.

In a dream, I was lifted up; why didn't I grasp the hem of God's Robe? Gazing upon the Beautiful God relaxing there, my mind was charmed and fascinated.-----Guru Arjun, Funhay, AGGS, Page, 1362-15

Thoughts are translated into visual images in a dream. A dream is simply an outcome of thought or sequence of thoughts that occurred during sleep. The images in our dreams are visual representations of these personal conceptions. These transformations help to disguise the latent content, transforming it into manifest content. That is what actually is seen by the dreamer. What would otherwise be a censored wish of the unconscious is given psychic energy and attached to innocent thoughts. Namdev in Raag Asa points to dreams as false doubts:

ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ ਅਰੁ ਸੁਪਨ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਸਤਿ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਜਾਨਿਆ
ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਮਨਸਾ ਗੁਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੀ ਜਾਗਤ ਹੀ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ
mithi-aa bharam ar supan manorath sat padaarath jaani-aa. Sukariṯ mansā gur upḏėsī jāgaṯ hī man māni­ā.

False doubts and dream objects, man believes them to be true. The Guru has instructed me to try to do good deeds, and my awakened mind has accepted this.-----Namdev, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 485-4 


One does not become better or more virtuous during sleep.  Conscience appears to be silent during one’s dreams with out any compassion.  He may thus commit the worst crimes -- theft, murder, and homicide in that dream-all with perfect indifference and without any subsequent remorse! 

It is left to the individual to attach whatever importance or meaning he/she deems appropriate to dreams. Dreams sometimes can be valuable to put a person on the right path.

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