Both Bad And Good Dreams Are Illusory

Srimad Bhagavatam 08.04.04-26 - Both Bad And Good Dreams Are Illusory (download mp3)
by Baladeva Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 8.4.3-4
yo 'sau grahah sa vai sadyah
mukto devala-sapena
huhur gandharva-sattamah
pranamya sirasadhisam
uttama-slokam avyayam
agayata yaso-dhama

The best of the Gandharvas, King Huhu, having been cursed by Devala Muni, had become a crocodile. Now, having been delivered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he assumed a very beautiful form as a Gandharva. Understanding by whose mercy this had happened, he immediately offered his respectful obeisances with his head and began chanting prayers just suitable for the transcendental Lord, the supreme eternal, who is worshiped by the choicest verses.

The story of how the Gandharva had become a crocodile will be described later. The curse by which the Gandharva took this position was actually a blessing, not a curse. One should not be displeased when a saintly person curses someone, for his curse, indirectly, is a blessing. The Gandharva had the mentality of an inhabitant of the celestial planetary system, and for him to become an associate of the Supreme Lord would have taken millions of long years. However, because he was cursed by Devala Rsi, he became a crocodile and in only one life was fortunate enough to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face and be promoted to the spiritual world to become one of the Lord's associates. Similarly, Gajendra was also delivered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead when he was freed from the curse of Agastya Muni.

SB 8.4.5
so 'nukampita isena
parikramya pranamya tam
lokasya pasyato lokam
svam agan mukta-kilbisah

Having been favored by the causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and having regained his original form, King Huhu circumambulated the Lord and offered his obeisances. Then, in the presence of all the demigods, headed by Brahma, he returned to Gandharvaloka. He had been freed of all sinful reactions.

SB 8.4.6
gajendro bhagavat-sparsad
vimukto 'jñana-bandhanat
prapto bhagavato rupam
pita-vasas catur-bhujah

Because Gajendra, King of the elephants, had been touched directly by the hands of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he was immediately freed of all material ignorance and bondage. Thus he received the salvation of sarupya-mukti, in which he achieved the same bodily features as the Lord, being dressed in yellow garments and possessing four hands.

If one is favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead by having his gross body touched by the Lord, his body turns into a spiritual body, and he can go back home, back to Godhead. Gajendra assumed a spiritual body when his body was touched by the Lord. Similarly, Dhruva Maharaja assumed his spiritual body in this way. Arcana-paddhati, daily worship of the Deity, provides an opportunity to touch the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus it enables one to be fortunate enough to get a spiritual body and go back to Godhead. Not only by touching the body of the Supreme Lord, but simply by hearing about His pastimes, chanting His glories, touching His feet and offering worship—in other words, by serving the Lord somehow or other—one is purified of material contamination. This is the result of touching the Supreme Lord. One who is a pure devotee (anyabhilasita-sunyam [Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu

SB 8.4.7
sa vai purvam abhud raja
pandyo dravida-sattamah
indradyumna iti khyato

This Gajendra had formerly been a Vaisnava and the king of the country known as Pandya, which is in the province of Dravida [South India]. In his previous life, he was known as Indradyumna Maharaja.

SB 8.4.8
sa ekadaradhana-kala atmavan
grhita-mauna-vrata isvaram harim
jata-dharas tapasa apluto 'cyutam
samarcayam asa kulacalasramah

Indradyumna Maharaja retired from family life and went to the Malaya Hills, where he had a small cottage for his asrama. He wore matted locks on his head and always engaged in austerities. Once, while observing a vow of silence, he was fully engaged in the worship of the Lord and absorbed in the ecstasy of love of Godhead.

SB 8.4.9
yadrcchaya tatra maha-yasa munih
samagamac chisya-ganaih parisritah
tam viksya tusnim akrtarhanadikam
rahasy upasinam rsis cukopa ha

While Indradyumna Maharaja was engaged in ecstatic meditation, worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the great sage Agastya Muni arrived there, surrounded by his disciples. When the Muni saw that Maharaja Indradyumna, who was sitting in a secluded place, remained silent and did not follow the etiquette of offering him a reception, he was very angry.

SB 8.4.10
tasma imam sapam adad asadhur
ayam duratmakrta-buddhir adya
vipravamanta visatam tamisram
yatha gajah stabdha-matih sa eva

Agastya Muni then spoke this curse against the King: This King Indradyumna is not at all gentle. Being low and uneducated, he has insulted a brahmana. May he therefore enter the region of darkness and receive the dull, dumb body of an elephant.

An elephant is very strong, it has a very big body, and it can work very hard and eat a large quantity of food, but its intelligence is not at all commensurate with its size and strength. Thus in spite of so much bodily strength, the elephant works as a menial servant for a human being. Agastya Muni thought it wise to curse the King to become an elephant because the powerful King did not receive Agastya Muni as one is obliged to receive a brahmana. Yet although Agastya Muni cursed Maharaja Indradyumna to become an elephant, the curse was indirectly a benediction, for by undergoing one life as an elephant, Indradyumna Maharaja ended the reactions for all the sins of his previous life. Immediately after the expiry of the elephant's life, he was promoted to Vaikunthaloka to become a personal associate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, in a body exactly like that of the Lord. This is called sarupya-mukti.

SB 8.4.11-12
sri-suka uvaca
evam saptva gato 'gastyo
bhagavan nrpa sanugah
indradyumno 'pi rajarsir
distam tad upadharayan
apannah kauñjarim yonim
yad-gajatve 'py anusmrtih

Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, after Agastya Muni had thus cursed King Indradyumna, the Muni left that place along with his disciples. Since the King was a devotee, he accepted Agastya Muni's curse as welcome because it was the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, although in his next life he got the body of an elephant, because of devotional service he remembered how to worship and offer prayers to the Lord.

This is the unique position of a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although the King was cursed, he welcomed the curse because a devotee is always aware that nothing can happen without the desire of the Supreme Lord. Although the King was not at fault, Agastya Muni cursed him, and when this happened the King considered it to be due to his past misdeeds. Tat te 'nukampam susamiksamanah (SB 10.14.8). This is a practical example of how a devotee thinks. He regards any reverses in life as blessings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, instead of being agitated by such reverses, he continues his activities of devotional service, and Krsna takes care of him and enables him to be promoted to the spiritual world, back to Godhead. If a devotee has to suffer the reactions of his past misdeeds, the Supreme Lord arranges for him to be given only a token of these reactions, and very soon he is freed from all the reactions of material contamination. One should therefore adhere to devotional service, and the Lord Himself will very soon see to one's promotion to the spiritual world. A devotee should not be disturbed by unfortunate circumstances, but must continue his regular program, depending on the Lord for everything. The word upadharayan, "considering," is very significant in this verse. This word indicates that a devotee knows what is what; he understands what is happening in material, conditional life.

SB 8.4.13
evam vimoksya gaja-yutha-pam abja-nabhas
tenapi parsada-gatim gamitena yuktah
gandharva-siddha-vibudhair upagiyamana-
karmadbhutam sva-bhavanam garudasano 'gat

Upon delivering the King of the elephants from the clutches of the crocodile, and from material existence, which resembles a crocodile, the Lord awarded him the status of sarupya-mukti. In the presence of the Gandharvas, the Siddhas and the other demigods, who were praising the Lord for His wonderful transcendental activities, the Lord, sitting on the back of His carrier, Garuda, returned to His all-wonderful abode and took Gajendra with Him.

In this verse the word vimoksya is significant. For a devotee, moksa or mukti—salvation—means getting the position of the Lord's associate. The impersonalists are satisfied to get the liberation of merging in the Brahman effulgence, but for a devotee, mukti (liberation) means not to merge in the effulgence of the Lord, but to be directly promoted to the Vaikuntha planets and to become an associate of the Lord. In this regard, there is a relevant verse in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.8):

tat te 'nukampam susamiksamano
bhuñjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak

"One who seeks Your compassion and thus tolerates all kinds of adverse conditions due to the karma of his past deeds, who engages always in Your devotional service with his mind, words and body, and who always offers obeisances unto You, is certainly a bona fide candidate for liberation." A devotee who tolerates everything in this material world and patiently executes his devotional service can become mukti-pade sa daya-bhak, a bona fide candidate for liberation. The word daya-bhak refers to a hereditary right to the Lord's mercy. A devotee must simply engage in devotional service, not caring about material situations. Then he automatically becomes a rightful candidate for promotion to Vaikunthaloka. The devotee who renders unalloyed service to the Lord gets the right to be promoted to Vaikunthaloka, just as a son inherits the property of his father.

When a devotee gets liberation, he becomes free from material contamination and engages as a servant of the Lord. This is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.10.6): muktir hitvanyatha rupam svarupena vyavasthitih. The word svarupa refers to sarupya-mukti—going back home, back to Godhead, and remaining the Lord's eternal associate, having regained a spiritual body exactly resembling that of the Lord, with four hands, holding the sankha, cakra, gada and padma. The difference between the mukti of the impersonalist and that of the devotee is that the devotee is immediately appointed an eternal servant of the Lord, whereas the impersonalist, although merging in the effulgence of the brahma-jyotir, is still insecure and therefore generally falls again to this material world. Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adho 'nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah (SB 10.2.32). Although the impersonalist rises to the Brahman effulgence and enters into that effulgence, he has no engagement in the service of the Lord, and therefore he is again attracted to materialistic philanthropic activities. Thus he comes down to open hospitals and educational institutions, feed poor men and perform similar materialistic activities, which the impersonalist thinks are more precious than serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Anadrta-yusmad-anghrayah. The impersonalists do not think that the service of the Lord is more valuable than serving the poor man or starting a school or hospital. Although they say brahma satyam jagan mithya—"Brahman is real, and the material world is false"—they are nonetheless very eager to serve the false material world and neglect the service of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

SB 8.4.14
etan maha-raja taverito maya
krsnanubhavo gaja-raja-moksanam
svargyam yasasyam kali-kalmasapaham
duhsvapna-nasam kuru-varya srnvatam

My dear King Pariksit, I have now described the wonderful power of Krsna, as displayed when the Lord delivered the King of the elephants. O best of the Kuru dynasty, those who hear this narration become fit to be promoted to the higher planetary systems. Simply because of hearing this narration, they gain a reputation as devotees, they are unaffected by the contamination of Kali-yuga, and they never see bad dreams.

SB 8.4.15
yathanukirtayanty etac
chreyas-kama dvijatayah
sucayah pratar utthaya

Therefore, after getting up from bed in the morning, those who desire their own welfare—especially the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and in particular the brahmana Vaisnavas—should chant this narration as it is, without deviation, to counteract the troubles of bad dreams.

Every verse in the Vedic literature, especially in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita, is a Vedic mantra. Here the words yathanukirtayanti are used to recommend that this literature be presented as it is. Unscrupulous persons, however, deviate from the actual narration and interpret the text in their own way with grammatical jugglery. Such deviations are to be avoided. This is a Vedic injunction supported by Sukadeva Gosvami, one of the mahajanas, or authorities. He says, yathanukirtayanti: one should recite the mantra as it is, without deviation, for then one will be eligible to rise to the platform of all good fortune. Sukadeva Gosvami especially recommends that those who are brahmanas (sucayah) recite all these mantras after rising from bed in the morning.

Because of sinful activities, at night we have bad dreams, which are very troublesome. Indeed, Maharaja Yudhisthira was obliged to see hell because of a slight deviation from devotional service to the Lord. Therefore, duhsvapna—bad dreams—occur because of sinful activities. A devotee sometimes accepts a sinful person as his disciple, and to counteract the sinful reactions he accepts from the disciple, he has to see a bad dream. Nonetheless, the spiritual master is so kind that in spite of having bad dreams due to the sinful disciple, he accepts this troublesome business for the deliverance of the victims of Kali-yuga. After initiation, therefore, a disciple should be extremely careful not to commit again any sinful act that might cause difficulties for himself and the spiritual master. Before the Deity, before the fire, before the spiritual master and before the Vaisnavas, the honest disciple promises to refrain from all sinful activity. Therefore he must not again commit sinful acts and thus create a troublesome situation.

SB 8.4.16
idam aha harih prito
gajendram kuru-sattama
srnvatam sarva-bhutanam
sarva-bhuta-mayo vibhuh

O best of the Kuru dynasty, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul of everyone, being thus pleased, addressed Gajendra in the presence of everyone there. He spoke the following blessings.

SB 8.4.17-24
sri-bhagavan uvaca
ye mam tvam ca saras cedam
gulmani sura-padapan
srnganimani dhisnyani
brahmano me sivasya ca
ksirodam me priyam dhama
sveta-dvipam ca bhasvaram
srivatsam kaustubham malam
gadam kaumodakim mama
sudarsanam pañcajanyam
suparnam patagesvaram
sesam ca mat-kalam suksmam
sriyam devim mad-asrayam
brahmanam naradam rsim
bhavam prahradam eva ca
avataraih krtani me
karmany ananta-punyani
suryam somam hutasanam
pranavam satyam avyaktam
go-vipran dharmam avyayam
daksayanir dharma-patnih
soma-kasyapayor api
gangam sarasvatim nandam
kalindim sita-varanam
dhruvam brahma-rsin sapta
punya-slokams ca manavan
prayatah susamahitah
smaranti mama rupani
mucyante te 'mhaso 'khilat

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Freed from all sinful reactions are those who rise from bed at the end of night, early in the morning, and fully concentrate their minds with great attention upon My form; your form; this lake; this mountain; the caves; the gardens; the cane plants; the bamboo plants; the celestial trees; the residential quarters of Me, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva; the three peaks of Trikuta Mountain, made of gold, silver and iron; My very pleasing abode [the ocean of milk]; the white island, Svetadvipa, which is always brilliant with spiritual rays; My mark of Srivatsa; the Kaustubha gem; My Vaijayanti garland; My club, Kaumodaki; My Sudarsana disc and Pañcajanya conchshell; My bearer, Garuda, the king of the birds; My bed, Sesa Naga; My expansion of energy the goddess of fortune; Lord Brahma; Narada Muni; Lord Siva; Prahlada; My incarnations like Matsya, Kurma and Varaha; My unlimited all-auspicious activities, which yield piety to he who hears them; the sun; the moon; fire; the mantra omkara; the Absolute Truth; the total material energy; the cows and brahmanas; devotional service; the wives of Soma and Kasyapa, who are all daughters of King Daksa; the Rivers Ganges, Sarasvati, Nanda and Yamuna [Kalindi]; the elephant Airavata; Dhruva Maharaja; the seven rsis; and the pious human beings.

SB 8.4.25
ye mam stuvanty anenanga
pratibudhya nisatyaye
tesam pranatyaye caham
dadami vipulam gatim

My dear devotee, unto those who rise from bed at the end of night and offer Me the prayers offered by you, I give an eternal residence in the spiritual world at the end of their lives.

SB 8.4.26
sri-suka uvaca
ity adisya hrsikesah
pradhmaya jalajottamam
harsayan vibudhanikam
aruroha khagadhipam

Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After giving this instruction, the Lord, who is known as Hrsikesa, bugled with His Pañcajanya conchshell, in this way pleasing all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma. Then He mounted the back of His carrier, Garuda.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Fourth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Gajendra Returns to the Spiritual World."