The Mother Answers on Dreams and Visions - I

Often I have dreams about railways. I often miss the train...

It is quite symbolical!

... because I have too much luggage. I run after it and at times I succeed in catching up with it and jumping into the last coach.

The train, the ship, and I suppose the aeroplane also are for those who do yoga, symbols of the way and of the Force that leads you—if you lose your time or if you have too much luggage or if you think of it too late, well, you miss the way and you must run hard to catch up.
There are lots of dreams like that which give a very precise indication of the state you are in.

When I was in Calcutta, I dreamt that someone dressed in white came to my bedside, holding the flower you have called "New Creation" [the tuberose]. I did not know the meaning of the flower then. It was only after my coming here that I came to know it. The form I saw resembled you.

Dreams are very interesting, specially if one knows how to use them.

What is the nature of a sleep without dreams?

If one succeeds in making the mind and vital silent, and in keeping the body well asleep, one can have a very still and quiet sleep, and then, if one can manage to get out of these forms and enter the higher worlds, one may reach the true repose of Sachchidananda.

How is it that one meets and recognises in dream persons whom one is going to meet and recognise later on in ordinary life?

There are many possibilities. But most often, it is that a communication has been established either on the mental or the vital plane or even on the subtle physical plane and it is this communication which brings about the meeting later—your dream is not only a premonition but also a condition; there is an inner relation close enough to enable you to come into contact in sleep, and circumstances so arrange themselves that you meet physically afterwards. Sometimes it is only a premonition, but then the dream has a special quality—you see someone coming and he does come physically a little later.

Generally it is an already established relation; it is someone whom you meet, whom you frequent, whom you speak to, with whom you live some hours of the night. Then afterwards when you both meet you have the impression that you know each other very well. That's a fact, you already know each other, before having met physically.

Are there not false visions?

If you narrate something you have not seen, evidently that is a false vision! Also if you embellish, rearrange, change your vision when you report it, this too becomes a false vision. But if you tell in all simplicity what you have seen, what can there be false about it? Your interpretation may be false—you may say, "That means this" and you make a big blunder, but what you have seen, you have seen, and what you have not seen, you have not seen! This is something which always astounds me!... Have you seen it? If so, then you have! The explanation of what you have seen is another matter, but if you have seen something, you have seen it!

This question generally comes from those who have the habit of rearranging a little what they see. They see a tiny thing, perhaps, in a flash, and then willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously they arrange things, they add a little bit, add to it another, they give a little explanation, make the thing coherent and when it has become something that can stand on its own legs, they say, "I had this vision", but it is not at all what they saw...This is a kind of mental insincerity. It is spontaneous—when the mind sees one thing here, another thing there, yet a third elsewhere, this is very unpleasant for it. It fills up the holes, it says, "This leads to that", "That is the cause of this", and so on, and the mind is very happy because this is logical. What the mind adds in between the points of the vision may happen, by chance, to be true, but it may also be false.

Ask yourself rather whether you have a mind which keeps quiet, which is wholly sincere and objective, which says exactly what it has seen or whether you have one of those minds bubbling with activity which, as soon as it has seen something, adds to it its grain of salt, automatically, and makes out of it a big story; and so you are quite convinced that you have seen all that, but in fact you have not seen it at all. It is in this that one can say that visions are not sincere. But that is not the fault of the vision! What you have seen, you have seen; it is the fault of the interpretation or simply of the narration which was embellished. I have had admirable examples!—of people who had seen truly revealing things, but who understood nothing about them. On the spur of the moment they recounted spontaneously what they had seen—in half an hour the story had become a little different, all the "holes" were filled up and finally the story stood well on its legs! The story was idiotic, it made no sense, whilst the few points they had seen were magnificent revelations.

(Silence)

The capacity for visions, when it is sincere and spontaneous, can put you in touch with events which you are not capable of knowing in your outer consciousness...There is a very interesting fact, it is that somewhere in the terrestrial mind, somewhere in the terrestrial vital, somewhere in the subtle physical, one can find an exact, perfect, automatic recording of everything that happens. It is the most formidable memory one could imagine, which misses nothing, forgets nothing, records all. And if you are able to enter into it, you can go backward, you can go forward, and in all directions, and you will have the "memory" of all things—not only of things of the past, but of things to come. For everything is recorded there.

In the mental world, for instance, there is a domain of the physical mind which is related to physical things and keeps the memory of physical happenings upon earth. It is as though you were entering into innumerable vaults, one following another indefinitely, and these vaults are filled with small pigeon-holes, one above another, one above another, with tiny doors. Then if you want to know something and if you are conscious, you look, and you see something like a small point—a shining point; you find that this is what you wish to know and you have only to concentrate there and it opens; and when it opens, there is a sort of an unrolling of something like extremely subtle manuscripts, but if your concentration is sufficiently strong you begin to read as though from a book. And you have the whole story in all its details. There are thousands of these little holes, you know; when you go for a walk there, it is as though you were walking in infinity. And in this way you can find the exact facts about whatever you want to know. But I must tell you that what you find is never what has been reported in history—histories are always planned out; I have never come across a single "historical" fact which is like history. This is not to discourage you from learning history, but things are like that. Events have been quite different from the way in which they have been reported, and for a very simple reason: the human brain is not capable of recording things with exactitude; history is built upon memories and memories are always vague. If you take, for example, written memories, he who writes chooses the events which have interested him, what he has seen, noticed or known, and that is always only a very small portion of the whole. When the historian narrates, the same thing happens as with dreams where you take one point, then another, then another, and at last you can have an almost exact vision of what has taken place and with a little imagination you fill up the gaps; but historians relate a continuous story; between the events or moments there are gaps which they fill up as best they can or rather as they wish, according to their mental, vital and other preferences. And that comprises the history you are made to learn. The same story, narrated in one language and in another, in one country or in another, you cannot imagine how comic it is! This is particularly true if one of the countries is interested because of its vanity, its prestige. And finally the two pictures presented to you are so different that you could believe that two different things were being spoken about. It is unbelievable. But I have noticed that even for altogether external, concrete facts where there is no question of evaluation, it is still the same thing. No human brain is capable of understanding a thing in its totality; even the most scholarly, the most learned, even the most sincere person does not see a subject—and especially many subjects—totally. He will say what he knows, what he understands, and all that he does not know, all that he does not understand is not there, and this absolutely changes everything.

But if you can acquire this capability of entering into the terrestrial memory, I assure you it is worth the trouble. It is quite different from Yoga; it is not necessary to have a spiritual life for that, you must have a special ability.

For everything—I would repeat it to you eternally if I had the time—for everything, one must be absolutely sincere. If you are not sincere, you will begin by deceiving yourself and all your experiences will be worth nothing at all. But if you are sincere and by discipline (for it is not easy) you succeed in entering this mental memory of the world, you will make discoveries which are really worth the trouble.

15 February 1951
- The Mother

He is himself the dreamer and the dream. - Sri Aurobindo