All about dreams!


All about dreams

We have always been fascinated by the mysterious and the unknown. There is an element of curiosity within each one of us, wanting to know answers to many things for which we may never get one straight answer. Like the seven blind men describing the elephant, people have an opinion on every matter, sometimes it may be right, sometimes may not be. It is a point of view. You are wondering what I am getting at.

Have you gone to bed and woken up after a terrible nightmare where you feel you have lost the power to scream for help or yell, cannot move your legs and hands, you are paralyzed with fear with some devilish creature about to pounce and devour you. Suddenly you break into a sweat, your breathing becomes so hard and then of course you wake up with a start and a jolt. For a moment you are still unsure where you are. And slowly reality dawns, you come back to your senses and feel the reassuring presence of familiar objects around you. Sounds all too familiar, is it not? All of us go through such experiences sometime or the other. I too became so fascinated with the subject of dreams and started looking up for information on the subject. This is what I found.

There are so many desires that we have each day. To fulfill each one is really impossible or maybe even one life time may not even be enough for this. So maybe we try to fulfill these desires in our dreams where we feel we are actually leading a parallel life. Another interesting explanation I came across was that every day we see so many things, meet so many people and go through so many experiences. All these get recorded in the sub conscious. They are stored in a folder somewhere in the corner of the brain. But the strange thing is that the ones that manifest in our dreams are the ones that stand out, maybe out of fear, anxiety, something we desire so much etc. Another point is that the human brain cannot create original images. The strangers we see in the dreams are likely to be people whom we have bumped into at some point of time in our life. These must have been stored in our sub conscious memory. So all those we see in our dreams should be people we have seen somewhere at sometime may be even in the distant past. What a fascinating thing our brain is to bring out these in the form of images.

What about color, have you checked that out. Do you dream in black and white or in color. Scientists say it can be in both, I hope to remember to check this one next time I get a dream.

So many studies have been carried out on dreams, so I guess it is a universal fascination. One study says we forget 95% of our dreams. We dream during REM periods (which is when we have Rapid Eye Movement in our sleep) which can range anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour long. In the course of one night this happens multiple times. This means we can even have 5 to 7 dreams in one night itself. A very recent study conducted by a group of scientists from Harvard Medical School made quite a stunning revelation. They say that dreams are not any random series of abstract images or sights but they are real events that take place in an alternate universe. These they say can be accessed during dream like states. Now that’s one whale of an idea!

But the most unique kinds of dreams are those that carry a message or give a peek into the future, these border on the para normal. They may hold a key to the future as has been reported. Two weeks before Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, he dreamt of a funeral at the White House. American novelist Mark Twain dreamt of his brother’s body in a metal coffin, shortly before he was killed in a boating mishap. After the Titanic sank, many people reported that they saw visions of an impending disaster at sea. These are like premonitions.

Yet another kind of dream is where many writers have seen storylines unraveled and sometimes whole content given. The famous poem Kublakhan was written by the poet Coleridge after a dream vision. Mary Shelley also wrote her novel Frankenstein after seeing it in dream. Closer home in India, Buddhakaushika Rishi wrote his great work Rama Raksha Stotra after Lord Shiva commanded him to write the verse in a dream. The sage saw the Lord rendering the entire 38 stanzas in the dream and he wrote it at dawn as soon as he woke up. He says it in the stotra itself, Aadhishtavan yathaa swapne—he says. What a great piece of divinely commanded work.

Indian Scriptures is full of amazing and unbelievable tales. An entire temple in South India was built and consecrated in a dream sequence. A unique temple was built by a great devotee of Lord Siva called Pusala Nayanar. He never believed in idol worship or rituals, but loved the lord dearly. Hence he would worship the lord in his mind performing manasa puja. He desired to create a grand temple for Siva but was too poor to build one. He did not get disheartened as he was used to performing mind puja, so he decided to build a temple also in his mind. Step by step the temple grew in his mind and soon a beautiful structure was ready to be inaugurated all of course in his mind. He chose a holy day for the consecration ceremony and installed the deity with all pomp and splendor.

Coincidentally, the Pallava King Kadavarkon had just completed the construction of a grand Siva temple in the capital city of Kancheepuram in South India and had chosen that very day for consecrating the temple he had built. The lord appeared in his dream and instructed him to postpone the date of consecration as he said that he had to be present at his devotee Pusalar’s newly built temple at the town of Thiruninravur on that particular day. The king had to obey the divine decree but decided to visit the temple that the lord had favored over his own. On reaching the place he could not find any new temple nor did anyone have any idea about its construction. The king went straight to Pusalar’s house and was astonished to learn about the temple the saint had built within his mind. He narrated the lord’s appearance in his dream and his preference for the saint’s labor of love over his grand construction.

Isn’t that an amazing story and should you visit Thiruninravur even today there stands a temple that later Pallava kings built in honor of that great devotee. The lord is worshipped as Hrudayaleeswarar meaning the ‘lord in the devotee’s heart’. Now that is what is called a dream temple!!!!!

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