DREAMS INVOLVING SATHYA SAI BABA
By: Robert Priddy
To focus and fix one’s mind on Sathya Sai Baba, which he insists is the best way to achieve spiritual goals, is also a powerful stimulus to dreams of him. The emphasis that SSB has publicly put on dreams about himself as being possible only if he wills them has increased this focus and mystified the matter all the more. Many devotees constantly hope for dreams of him. I have heard many people relate their dreams involving SSB, and not a few of them have involved very incongruous dream-events. This apparent 'distant contact' experience with SSB - through dreams - is very common and also much desired among Sai followers. 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. This is what SSB 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.” (Sanathana Sarathi, April 1999, p. 98)
With his typical systemic inconsistency, he later in that discourse contradicted his definitive claim (as italicised by his translator/editor) about ‘only’ if he wishes can one dream about him! He has made the same claim very definitively many frequently before, so suddenly he changed it…
“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.”
This means that that it becomes easier to rationalise the incongruous, absurd and distorted kinds of dreams in which the figure or other aspects of SSB occur most frequently. The validity of any dream a devotee has becomes generally uncertain. However, blaming indigestion or improper food is quite laughable in view of his saying that dreams reflect etc. the subconscious mind. He has said many other conflicting things through the years about 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!)
That a psychically-gifted person – such as a guru - can influence or ‘enter’ another person’s dreams is rejected by most scientists, and the phenomenon still belongs to the massive and wholly uninvestigated 'grey areas' of paranormal human experience. It is known that, when we study Freud we tend to get Freudian dreams, and with Jung, the dreams begin to take on all the characteristics of the dreams Jung considers important. The same applies to gurus, when you are much concentrated on the person of the guru and his teachings etc., the guru begins to feature in one’s dreams. This I have experienced quote intensively with another Indian guru prior to my coming under the influence of SSB. It is a common experience to dream of admired idols of stage, screen, royalty and politics… to have long and detailed conversations and other interactions with them. This is doubtless because they occupy some place in the minds of those who dream about them, more usually a prominent role.
Dream 'interventions' or 'invasions'?: Dreams or 'visitations' attributed to SSB can be benign and positive. There are hundreds of such accounts in the large Sai Baba hagiographical literature. My experience of over 300 SSB dreams, many clear and vivid from which I would awake around dawn (then unusual for me), also bears out the positive feelings and interpretations of most such dreams. I have written up some of my dreams of SSB, a few of them undeniably precognitive too, 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.
The phenomenon of ‘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. One can however, be certain that phenomena exist and are widespread, but how the originate and how far they are the result of external forces or persons who are using 'powers' remains very controversial and largely not researchable by scientific methods thus far.
A friend of mine who was a SSB follower began to have most unpleasant dreams in which SSB engaged in homosexual acts with him. This troubled him, naturally, as he is married and has no homosexual desires, nor 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 police authorities and the Indian High Court, my friend eventually realised that this was a psychic invasion by SSB. He left the movement and naturally wishes no further contact whatever with it.
However, two persons I know well for many years have had extremely disturbing and strong 'psychic invasions' over long periods of time (and which involved ostensive interference) from SSB. One case was very serious. Besides, I have been contacted by others seeking help anywhere they can find it who report extreme experiences of this kind with SSB. Incidentally, I also know others who have suffered the same in connection with other supposed ‘enlightened gurus’ such as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and, and have heard inside accounts independently from two of his former close associates about many in that movement so affected. Others I know tell me how this has occurred with other lesser-known gurus too. The parallels to the widely-reported UFO 'invasion' and abduction phenomena also seem relevant.
It may not be possible for the victims of long-standing or unwanted dream invasions or visions to disbelieve their origin. 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. The same technique has apparently also helped at least one sufferer of severe and debilitating 'invasions' who contacted me for help.
One example is illustrative: An ex-devotee (whose name is not to be disclosed) wrote (6-8-2001) of Sathya Sai Baba (born with the surname Raju), posted the following on the web: "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, SSB could appear to be a bit unpleasant, and most frequently quite vague or enigmatic in what he said in those dreams. An early exception to the positive nature in 1987, where I dreamt that he was totally consumed by evil and he appeared as completely black inside and out, and was crippled and leaned on my shoulder for support. In that dream – at some very large international conference hall - I was beside him and physically helping him to walk about in that debilitating condition. 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 SSB follower) who was of the opinion that SSB 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 may well be far worse than I have so fondly believed and imagined for so long. I have been helping him internationally, too, 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. I mentally projected at him the 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 my dreams and in these I either ignored his presence or told him off and in one dream he admitted to me that he is a 'bad man'. I replied 'You said it yourself!'