A Spiritual Dream and the Disciple-Guru Relationship


I have a question about a spiritual dream that I had. I happened to be in a spiritual ceremony filled with people - all there to see a spiritual master (a guru). He would heal people by rotating his hand on the top of their head, whereby they would faint and the 'healing' would begin. He then approached me and I experienced the most profound spiritual sensation, my body felt like it was so alive. But I couldn't surrender the sensation so I woke myself up. What does this mean?

—MG, United Kingdom


Dear MG,

That is a most curious dream you have had. Dreams are, of course, “fluid” and all too often surreal rather than literal. In the case of your dream, the relationship to the guru is not fairly represented, at least not from a literal point of view. That relationship involves “waking up,” not being put to sleep (via fainting) nor yet being acted upon without self-effort. Your refusal (in the dream) or your inability to “pass out” would suggest to my mind a rejection of a false interpretation of the role and relationship to a true guru. Is there perhaps someone in your life who is infatuated with one of the modern spiritual teachers?

Dreams being dreams one could also interpret the dream less literally and say that your soul is showing you that you are not yet ready for a guru. Thus I would suggest that you take this dream into yourself — into meditation and reflection — to see which interpretation is being offered to you by your soul (via the mechanism of subconscious dreaming).

If, for example, the meaning is that you are not yet ready for a guru, I would ask if you’ve been reading spiritual books (like, e.g., Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda) which portray a disciple-guru relationship; if you have been contemplating such; or if you have recently attended a gathering of people to see a spiritual teacher. Do you feel an inward resistance to what would be your image or feeling of having a guru? Perhaps your image is false.

When you read a modern book like Swami Kriyananda’s autobiography the New Path you see that a personal relationship with a guru (Paramhansa Yogananda) is not at all what the general public probably imagines. Far from being subsumed by the guru’s consciousness or having to blindly obey, a true (“sat”) guru will help only those who seek his (her) help. The guru’s way of helping is not imposed but offered. The disciple must work to deepen his (her) intuitive awareness of the (often) silent lessons the guru is modeling.

Too many disciples see the guru as but a personality rather than an instrument through which divine consciousness is transmitted, appropriate to the time, place, culture and individual’s spiritual needs. The disciple-guru relationship is not a “threat, it’s a promise (of the soul’s awakening to its immortality). (This doesn’t mean that the ego and subconscious aren’t threatened and don’t, therefore, resist all too often!)

So whether the dream is a rejection of a false image of a guru or is showing you that you have work to do if you are to be ready (for when the guru comes), both are useful interpretations to contemplate. Okay?

May your path to Self-realization be guided by wisdom and unconditional love,

Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA