DREAMS INVOLVING SATHYA SAI BABA
Does Sai Baba come into person's dreams?
Sathya Sai Baba says the panacea to all ills is to concentrate on God and on doing his will. At the same time he has constantly insisted that the best way for his followers to advance spiritually is to focus and fix one's mind on himself, pray to him, sing his name, seek his darshan and do his will. His will is God's will, since he ha announced that he is the Deity to whom all deities pray and at whose feet every prayer to any of them eventually arrives. To fixate on him in these ways is a powerful stimulus to have dreams of him, which is not surprising. However, he adds that to dream of him is only possible if he wills it.
This increases the importance devotees attach to dreams and mystifies things, creating a further means of entrapment of those who have such dreams. This is what Sai Baba has said about it:
"Dreams are nothing but the reflection of the subconscious mind. Swami appearing in dreams is very auspicious Dreams are the reflection, reaction and resound of that which is within you. The same does not apply to dreams in which Swami appears. Swami appears in dreams only when He will it and not when you want." (from Sathya Sai Baba's discourse of 24 November 199. See Sanathana Sarathi, April 1999, p. 98).
Further, he replied to Eruch Fanibunda's question:
"Q: Is it true that Swamiji comes into the mind of a person during the dream state, only if Swamiji desires it?
Sai Baba: O yes, No person can dream of Swami unless Swami Himself desires it to be so." (Eruch Fanibunda, 'Vision of the Divine' 1976)
So he claims to enter the dreams of anybody at will. if you dream of him, it's because he decides you can and not because of your subconscious mind or personal wish.
With his typical inconsistency, and after decades of insisting that all dreams of him were his products, Sathya Sai Baba contradicted himself in the very same discourse from which the above quotation was taken. On 24th Nov 1998, Sai Baba had said in an address to a convention of overseas organization leaders:-
"There are certain confusing dreams in which your feelings play an active role. You may be seeing Swami but at the same time your feelings get mixed up and cause confusion. You may see yourself in Puttaparthi at one point in time and in America at the very next, and so on and so forth. These dreams are not willed by Swami. These result from indigestion and improper food. Dreams which are willed by me are very clear and give no room for confusion or doubt."
His former public claims in discourses and interviews made clear that only if he wishes can anyone dream about him. He has also asserted that,
"Gurus come in dreams by his will, not your own wish" (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 5, p. 31). Then he suddenly he changed it. Perhaps he realised that this would make it easier for confused followers to rationalise the incongruous, absurd and distorted kinds of dreams in which he often appears. The validity of any dream a devotee thereby also becomes generally uncertain. If all this were not enough, Sai Baba said in March 1963: "...dreams you see are shaped by the experiences, cravings and disappointments of the waking stage..." (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 3, p.49)
However, blaming indigestion or improper food is not quite the same as holding, s he does, that dreams reflect etc. the subconscious mind. He has through the years given other conflicting accounts as to how different kinds of dream arise. He quoted the sage Pippalada (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 24, p. 144), who held that indigestion does NOT cause dreams, but sleep does. (Very illumining wisdom!
For decades, many devotees had constantly hoped for dreams of him. I have heard many people tell their dreams involving Sai Baba (and not a few of them have involved very incongruous dream events). This apparent 'distant contact' experience with Sai Baba - through dreams - is reportedly very common and I too considered the 300 or more dreams I had (and wrote down immediately) important enough to cause me to entitle my pro-Sai book 'Source of the Dream'. The so-called 'dream darshan' is perhaps more common to persons for whom dreams have been and are a constant feature of their lives, esp. those who have concentrated much on remembering dreams, writing them down, analysing them etc., as I have always done.
The International Chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization, Dr. Michael Goldstein said in a public address at Sai Baba's 79'th birthday celebrations in 2004 "Swamy spoke to my wife in her dream one day when we were passing through a difficult phase and I had fallen in love with him immediately." This goes to exemplify how commonly accepted the 'dream darshan' was among followers.
The phenomenon of apparent 'psychic invasion' is widely reported in many connections, often with so-called 'spiritual masters' or gurus. Apparent invasive experience in dreams or waking 'visions' - both positive and negative - are usually considered to be symptoms of some form of mental 'illness' in many countries, and quite extreme malignant sorts of dream and vision are experienced as completely real by such persons as once regarded as having become 'possessed' by incarnate entities. There are of course many who embrace the idea of being taken over by a supposed incarnate entity - mediums and channelers of what they regard as eternal wisdom or messages from the afterlife. One can however, be certain that such phenomena exist for those involved and are widespread, but how they originate and how far they are the result of external forces or persons (or 'entities' including some God or another) who are using 'powers' remains very controversial and largely not much researched by scientific methods thus far.
Guru can be psychically-gifted [but not always by any means], but that they can influence or 'enter' another person's dreams is rejected by most scientists by virtue of general skepticism derived from knowing how science has dispelled countless superstitions already. Common sense would reject the idea, for a dream of, say, the Queen of England, or the President of the US (as many person have) would never be thought to have been dreamt at their active instigation! Yet guru phenomena in dreams remains one beyond the sphere of scientific investigation so far. How dreams are generated and related questions have only been researched by modern scientific methods using hi-tech instrumentation for a few decades at most. Meanwhile, it is known that, when we study Freud we tend to get Freudian dreams (including with peculiar sexual content), and with Jung the dreams begin to take on all the characteristics of the dreams Jung considers important (symbols of the unconscious, of archetypes and especially the self mandala symbol). It is most reasonable to assume that the same would apply to all kinds of idols and gurus. When much concentrated on a person or a guru and his teaching etc., these often eventually feature in subsequent dreams. This I have experienced intensively with various systems and with an Indian guru many years prior to my coming under the influence of Sai Baba. It is a common experience to dream of admired idols of stage, screen, royalty and politics as well as one's family and friends etc. One can have long and detailed conversations and other surprising interactions with them. This is doubtless because they occupy places in the minds of those who dream about them, more usually some prominent role.
Dreams or 'visitations' attributed to Sai Baba are usually reported as benign and positive. There are hundreds of such accounts in the large Sai Baba hagiographic literature. My experience of over 300 Sai Baba dreams, many extremely clear and vivid from which I would awake around dawn (then unusual for me), also brought positive feelings. I have written up most of my very vivid and stimulating dreams of Sai Baba, a few of them undeniably precognitive too,and have detailed a few in my book about how I came to Sai Baba ('Source of the Dream' publ. Samuel Weiser, USA 1998). Here, however, I am concerned to look much more critically at what can be involved.
However, several persons I know well for many years have told me how they had extremely disturbing and strong 'psychic invasions' over long periods of time (and which was supposed by those concerned to involve malign interference by Sathya Sai Baba. One case was very serious, and it soon became apparent that a high degree of mental illness was involved. A friend of mine who was a Sai Baba follower began to have most unpleasant dreams in which Sai Baba engaged in homosexual acts with him. This troubled him, naturally, as he is married and has no homosexual desires, nor ever wished to pursue any. When the allegations of homosexual seduction of young men and underage boys began to surface from around the world and numerous affidavits to this effect were deposited with the Indian High Court, my friend eventually decided that this was a psychic invasion by Sai Baba and he told me about it for the first time. He left the movement as I had and naturally wishes no further contact whatever with it. On the other hand, I have been contacted by persons seeking help anywhere they can find it to rid themselves of extreme experiences of this kind with Sai Baba, and - though it is tempting to put this down to psychosis and other mental derangements, the similarity in the independent reports - also from many other followers of gurus - suggest caution in regarding this as limited entirely to the person involved. Incidentally, I know someone who suffered the same kind of apparent psychic interference from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and have heard inside accounts independently from two of his former close associates about many in that movement so affected. At the same time, the parallels to the widely-reported UFO 'invasion' and abduction phenomena also seem relevant. These would appear to have less fantastic explanations than those given and believed fully by the victims.
It may not be possible for the victims of long-standing or unwanted dream invasions or visions to disbelieve their origin, especially when they have been subjected to the same experiences for a very long time. In that case, one means to combat this is to formulate very strong mental rejection of the person involved and to 'project' this through thoughts and even reinforce them through words whenever it is felt to be a threat. This has worked for me and has apparently also helped at least one other sufferer of severe and debilitating 'invasions' who contacted me for help.
Some examples illustrate the issue: An ex-devotee (whose name is not to be disclosed) wrote (6-8-2001) of Sathya Sai Baba (who was born with the surname Raju) :
"Why did I start believing in raju? More than anything else, because he frequently appeared in my dreams. Some of the dreams seemed wonderful at the time. He would be friendly or affectionate toward me, and of course that's what I wanted. Sometimes he would be talking to me, but I couldn't remember what he had said after I awakened, so I was sure it was very helpful spiritual advice which I was storing it in my subconscious and it would come burbling up when the time was right. I also had horrible dreams where he looked monstrous or was trying to stab me (of course I reasoned that he was merely killing my ego). So where would intuition fit in here? Was my intuition telling me that he was a fabulous being, or that he was a malefic murderer?"
Now and again in my dreams, Sai Baba could appear to be unpleasant, and most frequently quite vague or enigmatic in what he said in those dreams, so that they could be taken in numerous ways... even more so than he actually is in interviews (i.e. he has well-tried routines of seeming to answer questions while not really doing so, of confusing the questioner or using the eager group to divert attention, make them laugh etc.- and he gets away with it because they are convinced in advance that he knows everything and is 'just playing or testing' them).
An early exception to the often positive atmosphere in dreams happened in 1987, where I dreamt of Sathya Sai Baba as completely black inside and out, and was crippled at some very large international conference hall - I was beside him and physically helping him to walk about in that debilitating condition... he leaned on my shoulder for support. (He did later become crippled for life) He appeared as if totally consumed by evil, which I had never before associated with him even remotely. Being a strong believer in him then, I rationalised it into a positive interpretation, of course, with the aid of some words of Dr. Jumsai (a fanatical Sai Baba follower) who was of the opinion that Sai Baba takes into himself all the evil influences that are brought to him and gradually converts them! The rationalisation was helpful then, but is much less so since I have discovered that his nature is definitely not all good and seems to be far worse than I had previously been able to imagine of him. While I was a follower, I did all I could to help him, too,both in donations and very much service work for his organization - and not least by writing many articles for his journal to interpret his frequently confused and contradictory teachings in a form and at a level more acceptable to Westerners and educated or spiritually well-informed people!
Just after I had begun to publicise what I knew about the murders in his bedroom episode, I had a dream in which he came by me at the back of a large 'darshan hall' and glowered, saying 'Very bad. I'll deal with you later!' If this were a genuine 'psychic invasion' then it would only show that he is not the compassionate being he claims to be, but showed the other side of his nature and only confirmed my view that he was guilty. It is more likely that the subconscious operations of my mind produced the dream content. At the time, I mentally projected at him the oppositional thought, 'Well, I'm dealing with you now!'. From then on his appearances in my dreams faded off, only now and again did he figure in them fragmentarily. Through long experience I have learned that this is an effective psychic principle for helping to redirect subconscious tendencies and so influence the tenor and 'direction' of what one dreams. It is a sensible and moderate kind of 'positive thinking'. For example, in two subsequent dreams in which his form appeared (occurring at very long intervals), I either ignored his presence or told him off. In one of these dreams 'he' admitted to me that he is a "bad man". In the dream I replied, 'You said it yourself!'
My standpoint on dreams has altered in various key respects since I wrote the book 'Source of the Dream' in 1994 (Bangalore Sun-Sky Publications, sold at Prashanthi Nilayam bookshop). Now I have just published a new book in India, 650-plus pages, entitled "End of the Dream". Dreams are, in my opinion, self-generated... even those which have precognitive elements. My views on dreams were formed after a long life of deep interest in this and related subjects, and a brief summary has been on-line for some years now as part of my work of human psychology, 'The Human Whole' (online). After having been involved in teaching at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Oslo, and formerly as staff in group therapy at two treatment homes in Scandinavia, and having recorded dreams and studied virtually the entire serious literature on them in psychology, psychoanalysis both Freudian, Jungian, existential and many other theories and therapies etc., I have at least learned finally that what Sathya Sai Baba has said about dreams contains so much unempirical nonsense as to be misleading and worthless.
SATHYA SAI BABA ON DREAMS