I once asked my teacher, “If a devotee dreams of guru or Krishna is that true? What to make of dreams?” My teacher kindly answered, “Dreams are true! Dreams of Guru or Krishna are true. This is told in Vedanta sutra 3.2.4. Of, course it is rare to dream like this. One must be very pure and very fortunate.”
Later I looked up the Vedanta Sutra and found out some amazing things about dreams. Here are the appropriate citations:
VEDANTA SUTRA: Svapnadkhikaran 3.2.4
Are the dream objects real or false? The Shruti says, sücakaç ca hi çruter äcakñate ca tad-vidaù “Dreams are true because the dream objects indicate future results.”
Sri Baladeva Vidya Bhusana says “The knowers of dreams predict results, so dream objects are real. Because (hi) the dream object indicates (sücakaù) things auspicious or inauspicious or indicates a mantra, the creations in dreams are real.
This point is proven in Shruti:
yadä karmasu kämyeñu, striyaà svapne ‘bhipaçyati,
samåddhià tatra jänéyät, tasmin svapna-nidarçane
“If, when performing kämya-karmas, one sees a woman in a dream, he should know that the rites were successful.” Chändogya Upaniñad 5.2.9
Those who know dreams (tad-vidaù) say (äcakñate) [Vs. 3.2.4] that the dream indicates good or bad results. Riding on an elephant indicates something auspicious will happen and riding on a donkey indicates something inauspicious.
According to Smrti, one can obtain a mantra in a dream:
ädiñöavän yathä svapne räma-rakñäm imäà haraù
tathä likhitavän prätaù prabuddho buddha-kauçikaù
Buddha-kauçika on waking in the morning wrote out the mantra called Räma-rakñä that Çiva taught him in a dream. Räma-kavaca
It is proven that dreams often correctly predict future events, reveal mantras or prescribe medicines. Dream objects are real like objects in the waking state.
Dreams appear or disappear by the will of the Lord. This is not surprising since God is also the cause of bondage and liberation. saàsära-mokña-sthiti-bandha-hetuù: the Lord is the cause of bondage, subsistence and release in this world. (Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad 6.16)
The Kurma Purana says the Lord alone is the creator and destroyer of the perception of dreams, since by his will the jéva attains bondage and liberation, svapnädi-buddhi-kartä ca, tiraskartä sa eva tu tad-icchayä yato hy asya, bandha-mokñau pratiñïhitau.
Here’s a statement from the Srimad Bhagavatam Tenth Canto to prove the Sruti claim above that dreams predict future events. When Kaàsa heard how Sri Krishna broke the sacrificial bow and how the guards had been killed, he understood that the eighth child of Devaké had come to kill him. That night he had ghastly dreams of ghosts, poison and murder. Thus he understood that his death was sure.
Once Hayagriva das had the following conversation with Srila Prabhupada:
HD: “Prabhupada, last night I dreamed of Krishna.”
SP: “That is no ordinary dream. Dreams of Krishna and the spiritual master are not ordinary. If the spiritual master gives you instructions in a dream, you should follow them.”
HD: “I’ll never forget that dream.”
SP: “Yes. That is Krishna’s blessing.” (Vrindavana Days chapter 25)
Although it did not specifically mention dreams of guru or Sri Krishna, the Vedanta Sutra did say that DREAMS ARE TRUE because they predict future good or bad events, prescribe medicines, cures, and give mantras. The objects of dreams are real and produced by Bhagavan, who is the creator and destroyer of dreams as well. If by good fortune one dreams of Sri Guru or Sri Krishna, but the message is unclear, confusing or bewildering, then one should take guidance from a trusted senior devotee.
Srila Prabhupada confirms above that Krishna/Guru dreams are real and significant. The divine dreams of a devotee are rare gifts bestowed upon one by the causeless mercy of Sri Guru and Sri Krishna. We should cherish our dream treasures, and pray every night to be gifted again.
May everyone have Sweet Dreams of madhurya-mayi Radha and Krishna madhurya!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!