What is Vishnu’s Dream all about?


What is Vishnu’s Dream all about?

This material world is the dream of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Vishnu.

The Vedanta Sutra describes it. In the following excerpt from Govinda Bhasya, Srila Baldeva Vidyabhushana Acharya describes it along with refuting some wrong conceptions of Impersonalists:

Excerpt from the Govinda Bhashya (The commentary on the Vedanta Sutra by Srila Baldeva Vidyabhushana):

Adhikarana 1

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Creates Dreams

Introduction by Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana

In the Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad (4.3.10) it is said:

na tatra ratha na ratha-yoga na panthano bhavanty atha rathan ratha-yogan pathah shrijate. na tatrananda mudah pramudo bhavanty athanandan mudah pramudah shrijate. na tatra veshantah pushkarinyah sravantyah shrijate sa hi karta.

“In that place there are neither chariots nor animals yoked to chariots. He creates the chariots and animals yoked to chariots. In that place there are neither happiness, nor pleasures, nor bliss. He creates the pleasures there. In that place there are neither streams nor ponds nor lotus flowers. He creates them. He is the creator.”

Samshaya (doubt): Is the individual spirit soul or the Supersoul the creator of this dream world with chariots asnd other things?

Purvapaksha (the opponent speaks): The individual spirit soul is the creator. In Chandogya Upanishad (8.7.1) Prajapati declares that by willing the individual soul has the power to create.

Siddhanta (conclusion): In the following words the author of the sutras gives His conclusion.

Vedanta Sutra 2.2.1

sandhye shrishnir aha hi

sandhye – in the junction; shrishnir – creation; aha – says; hi – indeed.

Indeed, it says that in the junction there is creation.

Purport by Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana

The word “sandhya” (junction) here means dream”. In the Shruti-shastra it is said:

sandhyam tritiyam svapna-sthanam

“The third state is sandhya, or dreaming.”

Dreaming is called sandhya (junction) because it stands in the junction between wakefulness and dreamless sleep. The Supersoul creates the chariots and other things present in dreams. Why isthat? The Shruti-shastra explains:

sa hi karta

“He is the creator.”

Thus the Shruti-shastra affirms that the chariots and other things present in dreams are created by Him. The meaning is this. To give the results of very, very insignificant karmas, the Lord creates the chariots and other things present in dreams, things seen only by the dreaming person. The Lord, who has the inconceivable power to do anything by merely willing it be done, thus creates the things in dreams. In the Katha Upanishad (4.4) it is said:

“A wise man, aware that whatever he sees in dreams or awake is all the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His potencies, never laments.”

In the liberated state the individual spirit souls also have the power to do anything by merely willing it be done, but what they create with that power is not a dream.

Vedanta Sutra 2.2.2

nirmataram caike putradayash ca

nirmataram – the creator; ca – and; eke – some; putra – sons; adayas – beginning with; ca – also.

Others that He is the creator. Sons and others also.

Purport by Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana

The Katha Upanishad affirms that the Supersoul creates the objects of desire seen in dreams and other situations. It says (Katha Upanishad 5.8):

ya eshu supteshu jagarti kamam kamam purusho nirmimana

“Remaining awake, the Supreme Personality of Godhead creates the objects of desire seen in dreams.”

Here the word “kama” refers to good sons and other blessings that the individual soul may desire. The word kama” is used in this way in Katha Upanishad (1.1.25):

sarvan kaman chandatah prarthayasva

“You may ask for whatever you wish.”

In Katha Upanishad (1.1.23) it is said:

shatayushah putra-pautran vrinishva

“You may choose many sons and grandsons that live for a hundred years.”

In the Smriti-shastra it is said:

etasmad eva putro jayate. etasmad bhrata. etasmad bharya. yad enam svapnenabhihanti.

“From the Supreme Personality of Godhead a good son is born. From Him a brother appears. From Him a wife appears. From Him these things appear in a dream.”

In the next passage the author of the sutras describes the instrument the Supreme Personality of Godhead employs to create dreams.

Vedanta Sutra 2.2.3

maya-matram tu kartsnyenanabhivyakta-svarupatvat

maya – the maya potency; matram – only; tu – but; kartsnyena – completely; an – not; abhivyakta – manifested; svarupatvat – because of the condition of having a form.

But it is the maya potency only, because the forms are not completely manifested.

Purport by Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana

The Lord’s inconceivable maya potency is the creator of what is seen in dreams. What is seen in dreams is not made of the five gross material elements, neither is it created by the demigod Brahma. Why is that? The sutra explains: kartsnyenanabhivyakta-svarupatvat” (because the forms are not completely manifested). This means: “because they are not seen by everyone”. In this way it is proved that the Supersoul is the creator of what is seen in dreams.

Adhikarana 2

Not All Dreams Are Illusions

Introduction by Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana

Samshaya (doubt): Are dreams reality or illusion?

Purvapaksha (the opponent speaks): When a person wakes up he immediately knows that what he dreamed was an illusion. Therefore dreams are all illusions.

Siddhanta (conclusion): In the following words the author of the sutras gives His conclusion.

Vedanta Sutra 2.2.4

sucakash ca hi shruter acakshate ca tad-vidah

sucakas – an indicator; ca – and; hi – indeed; shruter – of the Shruti-shastra; acakshate – declare; ca – and; tad – that; vidah – they who know.

It gives omens. The Shruti-shastra and the experts affirm it.

Purport by Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana

Dreams show good and bad omens. They also reveal mantras and other things. Therefore dreams are reality. Why is it that dreams reveal these things? The sutra explains: “shruteh” (the Shruti-shastra affirms it). the Chandogya Upanishad (5.2.9) affirms:

yada karmasu kamyeshu

striyam svapne ‘bhipashyati

samriddhim tatra janiyat

tasmin svapna-nidarshane

“If, when the auspicious rites are completed, one sees a woman in a dream, he should know that the rites were successful.”

In the Kaushitaki-brahmana it is said:

atha svapne purusham krishnam krishna-dantam pashyati sa enam hanti

“If in a dream one sees a black man with black teeth, that man will kill him.”

The word “tad-vidah” here means “they who know how to interpret dreams”. These persons affirm that dreams reveal omens of good and evil. For example a dream of riding on an elephant is a good omen, and a dream of riding on a donkey is an omen of misfortune. In dreams one may also receive prayers. the Smriti-shastra affirms:

adishnavan yatha svapne

rama-raksham imam harah

tatha likhitavan pratah

prabuddho buddha-kaushikah

“Then Lord Shiva appeared in a dream and taught him the Rama-raksha prayer. Waking up in the morning, Buddha Kaushika at once wrote it down.”

Therefore, because in dreams one sometimes receives omens, prayers, medicines, and other things, and becauses sometimes a person will actually appear in a dream, therefore sometimes dreams are as real as what is seen in the waking state. That is the conclusion of Shruti-shastra.

Here someone may object: Is it not true that after waking up a person becomes convinced that what he saw in a dream was false. This proves that all dreams are unreal.

In the following words the author of the sutras answers this objection.

Vedanta Sutra 2.2.5

parabhidhyanat tu tirohitam tato hy asya bandha-viparyayau

para – of ther Supreme Personality of Godhead; abhidhyanat – by the will; tu – indeed; tirohitam – withdrawn; tato – from Him; hi – indeed; asya – of him; bandha – bondage; viparyayau – release.

By the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead it is withdrawn. Indeed, bondage and liberation also come from Him.

Purport by Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana

Because they are created by the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, chariots and other things seen in a dream are not unreal. They are not like the illusion of silver seen on a seashell. the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of bondage and liberation for the individual spirit soul. this is described in Shvetashvatara Upanishad (6.16):

samsara-moksha-sthiti-bandha-hetuh

“the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of this cosmic manifestation in regard to bondage to the conditional state of material existence and liberation from that bondage.”*

the Lord brings liberation from the bondage of repeated birth and death.Therefore it is not surprising that He has the power to bring dreams to their end. That is the meaning. Therefore it should be understood that dreams are manifested by Him and withdrawn by Him also. In the Kurma Purana it is said:

svapnadi-buddhi-karta ca

tiraskarta sa eva tu

tad-icchaya yato hy asya

bandha-mokshau pratishnhitau

“The Supreme Lord creates and ends dreams and other states of being. By His will both bondage and liberation are manifested.”

Therefore, because they are created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, dreams are real.

Hare Krishna!

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