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Mahanidhi Swami

Srila Prabhupada spoke both negatively and positively about sleeping. Mostly he discouraged it by saying: “Sleeping is death—a waste of time—a great loss—maya—forgetfulness of Krishna.” We fully agree!

In Sri Bhagavad Gita (6.16), Bhagavan Sri Krishna advocates moderation: “A yogi does not eat or sleep too much or too little, na-ati-ashnatah, na-ati svapna.” So for Krishna bhakti yogis, eating and sleeping are also acts of devotion.

Although Srila Prabhupada often said we should give up all sleeping like the six Goswamis, he was also a realist who gave practical, sound advice to his followers. When speaking conservatively about sleeping, Srila Prabhupada said:

“Your [his disciples] eating and sleeping are also God consciousness. One should think, ‘I have to keep this body fit for working for Krishna’. Sleep is also necessary to keep the intelligence in working order. If there is no sleep, the brain cannot work nicely.

“So regular, six or seven hours a day is sufficient. However, sleeping should be kept to a minimum. We want to be wide awake and conscious of Krishna all the time.” (quotes from BBT FOLIO)

In pursuit of the practical, we humbly present our personal sleeping tips so that everyone will be healthy and enthusiastic in their Krishna bhakti bhajana.

  • BEFORE SLEEPING
  1. Two hours before sleeping time—keep the home lighting dim, not bright lights everywhere. This promotes the brain’s melatonin production which helps one to sleep quickly and soundly. Bright lighting taxes the eyes and brain making it hard to fall asleep quickly. It can also make you toss and turn restlessly until the brain slows down.
  2. Bathe & Dress in fresh clothes.
  3. Eat a light meal AT LEAST two hours before sleep.
  4. Fresh air walk 20 minutes.
  5. While sleeping, point your head EAST (promotes wisdom) or SOUTH (promotes health and disease recovery). This is VERY IMPORTANT and it may necessitate moving your bed.
  6. Hear/read some Radha-Krishna sweet lila-katha before sleeping.
  7. Bed prayer before sleeping: “O Gurudeva and Giridhari-Syama! Please forgive me for all my wrongs. If I leave my body tonight, then please I beg You to help me remember You fully at my last.”
  • WAKING TIME
  1. Don’t use alarm clock, bright lights, music, etc.!

Determine your sleep requirement, and rest early enough so your internal bio clock will automatically wake you at the right time. It’s actually being done by the all-merciful Paramatma Sri Krishna! Jai Sri Krishna! Gudakesa Arjuna ki jai!

  1. Before moving or opening your eyes remember Sri Krishna, Sri Guru and pray:

“O Krishna! You are so loving and kind. You have given me another day to serve and love You. Throughout this day, may I please you with my every thought, word and movement.”

  1. Keeping eyes closed; rub palms together briskly and continually while slowly inhaling and exhaling three times; now rest palms over closed eyes; take two very deep breaths. Now stretch your arms, extend your feet, and hold both knees against your chest.
  2. Open eyes, roll over on your RIGHT SIDE, slowly get up, and stand next to the bed without moving. Inhale deeply while stretching arms above head, and then slowly exhale while lowering arms.

Waking up slowly like this enables the body to adjust between rest and movement. It gives your system a chance to turn on and activate your vital human organs. To just open your eyes, jump out of bed, and run to the bathroom (emergencies excluded) is very bad for health. And for the elderly this can cause heart failure and “Hari Bol”!

We close with a blessing: “May you all have Radha Syama sweet dreams, svapna vilasa, as you remember the following transcendental nectar drops.

The Skanda Purana (Purusottama-ksetra Mahatmya) glorifies the astonishingly amazing power of ordinary acts done in Jagannatha Puri Dhama: “For those staying in Jagannatha Puri sleeping is equal to samadhi!”

As for our sweeter than sweet Thakuraji Syamasundaraji, Sri Vallabhacarya Ji says, “Syama’s singing is sweet, Syama’s drinking is sweet, Syama’s eating is sweet, Syama’s sleeping is sweet, Syama’s beauty is sweet, and Syama’s tilaka is sweet. Everything is sweet about the original King of the sweet.

gītaṁ- madhuraṁ –pītaṁ- madhuraṁ
bhuktaṁ -madhuraṁ –suptam- madhuraṁ
rūpaṁ –madhuraṁ-tilakaṁ -madhuraṁ
madhurādhi-pater- akhilaṁ- madhuraṁ

(Madhurastakam 4)

Happy, healthy Krishna bhakti yogis ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

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)

Summary:

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!