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Thoughts on Dream and Spiritual Progress – Swami Vireswarananda Maharaj

  • What is the significance of dreams, especially those of gods and goddesses?
Swami Vireswarananda Maharaj: Dreams do not always indicate anything except that your mind is changing for the better. Generally, dreams are but mental impressions of the waking state seen, as it were, in sleep. So, dreams of gods and goddesses show that your mind is now thinking of higher things and is being impressed by such thoughts instead of worldly thoughts.

  • Question: Sometimes, we dream of Sri Ramakrishna; is it a measure of our spiritual progress?
Swami Vireswarananda Maharaj: To dream of Sri Ramakrishna is good, but do not give too much importance to such things. What is important is how do you feel about the change in your mindset, whether dispassion, love for God, sympathy for others and so on are on the rise or not. These are surer milestones in your spiritual progress.
  • Question: But Maharaj, on being asked by a disciple whether dreams of enlightened souls or Divine Incarnations are real or not, Revered Swami Brahmanandaji says in the Eternal Companion: ‘Yes. They are real. Dreams on enlightened souls, gods and goddesses and Divine Incarnations are all real experiences. They are real visions. Many spiritual truths are revealed to one in dreams.’ So, don’t you think there is a contradiction in what you have just said and what Revered Brahmanandaji had said?
Swami Vireswarananda Maharaj: Dreams of enlightened souls, gods and goddesses etc. are always good, but you should not attach too much importance to them because unless your life is changed for the better, they are not of much value. So, there is no contradiction in what I have said earlier and what Revered Brahmanandaji says in the Eternal Companion. True visions in dreams are rare and they transform the life of the person who sees them. Has it happened in your case? Then they are real and important. Otherwise, they are not of much importance. But, all the same, it is good to see these dreams rather than worldly dreams.
  • Question: How should we face all the problems that arise in our day- to-day life and often lead to distraction in our spiritual pursuits?
Try to do the household duties in a spirit of worship. Try to see Sri Sri Thakur (Bhagavan) in every member of your family and serve them by performing your duties to them. This will not distract your mind and when you sit for meditation, you will find it easy. But then, you must know that the mind is by nature restless and you can control it by constant practice and vairagya. So, you must keep to your daily upasana morning and evening. Vairagya means discrimination. You have to analyse your mind and find out the desires lurking in it and then try to renounce them through discrimination.

Swami Vireswarananda Maharaj (1892 to 1985), 10th President of the Ramakrishna Order.