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Three Black Ducks
James: Hi, Tony. This is a cool dream. It’s Vedanta in a nutshell. Dreams are sometimes Isvara’s way of elucidating a problem and solving it. I enjoyed dissecting it and have emboldened my comments within it. If you send me your address I will send you a copy of Inquiry into Existence.
Part 1: The Problem: Samsara – Ignorance – Rajas and Tamas
Tony: I’m in a sort of underground garage [the unconscious, the causal body]. Suddenly a large blue van [the jiva, the “vehicle” for the self; when I was doing dream work many years ago my ego often appeared as a great big semi tractor-trailer rig, barreling through the landscape] comes careening in and slams against one of the walls. I can hear a commotion from inside the van [a disturbed mind], which suddenly fires back to life and I realize they are going to try to run me over. It comes at me full speed, but there is nowhere to hide. I realize the only thing I can do is wait until the last possible second and jump aside, which I do. The van slams to a stop when it hits the wall on the other side of the garage and crashes badly. I go running to find a phone. [The ego is rajasic. Rajasic people always encounter obstacles; they “slam” into them. It will destroy, “run over,” you. Nothing to do about it but “step aside,” i.e. maintain dispassion.]
I find myself in a room full of people [a mind full of thoughts), some I know, some I don’t. I wildly exclaim to them what just happened to me. I find a phone and mean to call 911 when I realize there is a fire station right next door. I run into the fire station. I find a black woman in civilian clothes. I shout to her what is going on. She sounds the alarm and the firemen suddenly appear and rush with me to the garage. [But dispassion – the objective view – is hard to come by. Some part of you wants to “put out the fire,” i.e. the rajas. You enlist your anima, the feminine side. But she is a tamasic anima and deserts you – she is also infected by the fear. There is another “higher” anima too. She is immune to fear.]
When we get to the garage [place where you store things, i.e. the unconscious], three men emerge from the van. They appear to be Mexican-like in countenance and short in stature [foreign parts, the Shadow, stunted parts of the self, unacknowledged stuff that will make trouble if it isn’t investigated]. Somehow we realize they are dangerous. [If you don’t acknowledge the dark side, it will bite you.]
They manage to get away from all of us, even though there are 15 or 20 of us. All sorts of people and relationships are here, entirely male. Randy Smith and Margarito are the only ones I explicitly remember. Margarito and I give pursuit along with everyone else. We run at full speed for quite a while down streets, alleys and the like. [A busy life chasing the shadows. This scene reminds me of Plato’s allegory of the cave.] Margarito [the tamasic part of you] gets tired and has to give up. He stops, panting, and gives me a package of fish hooks [ignorance is a package of hooks]. He tells me to be careful, that the men we are chasing are like black [the Shadow, i.e. unresolved karma] ducks [trying to catch the past, i.e. understand it, pursing negative thoughts].
I take off running again [the jiva always chasing something out of fear]. I realize the police have made calls out to the people in the area to watch out for the dangerous men [negative, uncharitable thoughts]. I run and I run and I run. I am consciously surprised that I can still be going [rajas – desire – does you, you don’t do it, i.e. the tail wags the dog).
Part 2: The Solution – Self-Knowledge
I get to a school [the self, self-inquiry] where a man is locking all the gates [keeping the mind within, on the self, not letting it run to objects]. I tell him about the three men [may be the three bodies, the abode of ignorance. The Gita says ignorance abides in all three bodies] and to watch out [self-inquiry is eternal vigilance, even after moksa]. He says something about already knowing [the self “knows” and consequently is capable of helping the ego deal with its negativity] and that he is capable of helping. I finally catch up to [understand the problem of ignorance/desire] the men [because now you have help, i.e. self-knowledge], they are there shooting with a strange weapon [rajas, a dangerous weapon, i.e. something that inflicts injury] at my cohorts, who fight their way forward.
One of the men comes after me. I sneak inside a passageway [self-inquiry, a passage beyond ignorance] between two buildings to hide [insulate yourself from ignorance]. He can’t get at me, so he throws some kind of smoke-bomb thing at me. I realize it gives off a noxious gas [the vasanas. There is a lovely Pauranic story – the Puranas are like dreams or cartoons – in which this pristine ocean – the self – is churned by the gods and demons (good and bad thoughts), which stirs up a noxious poison, i.e. the vasanas. The word “vasana” means “fragrance,” which in the case of negative thoughts and feelings produces a noxious “stench.” The other symbol that reveals them is smoke. Recall that lovely verse in the Gita that says the desire hides the self like smoke covers fire]. Somehow I manage to come around the other side [look at the ignorance from another point of view, i.e. from the self; remember, now you have “help”] of him. I grab hold of him [come to understand what ignorance is]. He suddenly turns into a strange creature resembling a black duck, but more cartoon-like; he walks and is orientated upright [the dark side has been “uprighted,” i.e. brought into the light, meaning integrated by the jiva. The duck is probably a pun; I think it means to “duck,” or to avoid, something. Isvara is quite fond of puns, as they are common features of dreams. It is tamas, the tendency to avoid things. Rajas – projection – is in bed with tamas – denial, or avoidance. We don’t want to look at the dark stuff; it is seemingly easier to avoid it. It is also a “bomb,” meaning it destroys].
I realize they are alien-like beings and not human at all [the bad thoughts/impulses don’t belong to you, i.e. they are not “human”]. As I struggle with it, its head separates from its body [discrimination, gaining knowledge of ignorance]. I can hear his friends [the parts of your mind that are attached to the wrong view of life] yelling at me not to kill their friend, but they are too busy with my attacking cohorts to do anything about it. I take the body part of the creature [ignorance is an “animal,” it is attachment to the body] and grind it into the smoke bomb remnants, which are still glowing hot and burning [it stays after moksa but it no longer “blazes” or you could interpret it to mean that it is transformed into love; it glows]. I grind it in with absolute determination and kill it [once you know who you are you have to keep doing your nididyasana until there is nothing left of the ignorance].
When I go back to help the others [work on the remaining unprocessed thoughts], I realize they have killed a second one and only one is left. He still looks like a human [the last thought to go is the idea “I am a human being,” or alternatively, this last entity is the eternal jiva, which you can’t kill; the more you try to kill it the more it laughs at you – because it is the self. I am partial to the second interpretation the more I think about it]. We are all crouched inside a room with windows to the outside [extroverted parts of the mind]. There are still several people shooting at the last human/alien through the windows. The human/alien [the self-realized person. It is someone who is alien to the world but truly human, i.e. confident in himself] has gotten stronger and has taken on a more powerful air [firm knowledge] as he brandishes a strange weapon [self-knowledge] and laughs maniacally.
One of the men shooting at it through the window in turn gets shot in the butt by the alien. Everyone laughs [you can never kill the jiva. It is eternal. It is the self. If you attack it, you get “shot in the butt,” meaning you are a fool].
I love that ending!
James: Isvara has a great sense of humor.
Tony: Right on! I’m amazed at how you even get something out of seemingly insignificant details. Now, here’s the part I left out as far as the context is concerned. I recorded this dream in June of 2012. It was right at the end of my sugar high from the Neos. I thought I had a good handle on things, and two years went by before something seemed amiss. I was right back in my old frame of mind. This dream and your interpretation couldn’t be more perfect. Eventually I came to ShiningWorld. The most helpful bit for me was understanding the identity of jiva and Isvara, which of course the Neos know nothing of. It’s almost as if that bit is the lynchpin. It straightened the crooked Neo picture and things fell into place.
James: You are absolutely correct. Jiva/Isvara is the lynchpin for moksa. It is the essence of the teaching and, yes, the Neos don’t have a clue.