Rabbi Bunam used to tell young men
who came to him for the first time,
the story of Rabbi Eisik, son of Rabbi Yekel in Cracow…
After many years of great poverty,
which had never shaken his faith in God,
he dreamed that someone bade him look for treasure
under the bridge which leads to the king’s palace in Prague.
When the dream recurred the third time he set out for Prague. But the bridge was guarded day and night
and he did not dare start digging.
Nevertheless he went to the bridge every morning
and kept walking around it until evening.
Finally, the captain of the guards,
who had been watching him, asked in a kindly way whether he was looking for something, or waiting for someone.
Rabbi Eisik told him of the dream
which had brought him from a faraway country.
The captain laughed, “And so to please your dream you wore out your shoes to come here! You poor fellow.
And as far as having faith in dreams, if I had had it I should have had to go to Cracow and dig for treasure under the stove in the room of a Jew – Eisik, son of Yekel!
That’s what the dream told me. And imagine what it would have been like; one half of the Jews over there are called Eisik, and the other half Yekel!” And he laughed again.
Rabbi Eisik bowed, traveled home,
dug up the treasure from under his stove,
and built the house of prayer which is called Reb Eisik’s Shul.
Rabbi Bunam used to add,
“Take this story to heart and make what it says your own. There is something you cannot find anywhere in the world, not even at the Zaddik’s,
and there is, nevertheless, a place where you can find it.”
The first thing to be understood about the story is that he dreamed. All desiring is dreaming and all dreaming takes you away from you – that is the very nature of the dream.
You may be sleeping in Pune and you may dream of Philadelphia. In the morning you will not wake up in Philadelphia, you will wake up in Pune. In a dream you can be anywhere; a dream has a tremendous freedom because it is unreal. In a dream you can be anywhere: on the moon, on Mars. You can choose any planet, it is your game. In a dream you can be anywhere, there is only one place you cannot be – that is where you are. This is the first thing to be understood about the dreaming consciousness. If you are where you are, then the dream cannot exist, because then there is no point in the dream, then there is no meaning in the dream. If you are exactly where you are and you are exactly what you are, then how can the dream exist? The dream can exist only if you go away from you. You may be a poor man and you dream about being an emperor. You may be an ordinary man and you dream about yourself being extraordinary. You walk on the earth and you dream that you fly in the sky. The dream has to be a falsification of reality; the dream has to be something else than reality.
In reality there is no dreaming, so those who want to know the real have to stop dreaming.
In India we have divided human consciousness into four stages. We call the first stage the ordinary waking consciousness. Right now you are in the ordinary waking consciousness. What is an ordinary waking consciousness? You appear to be awake, but you are not. You are a little bit awake, but that little bit is so small that it doesn’t make much difference.
You can walk to your home, you can recognize your wife or your husband, you can drive your car…that little bit is only enough for this. It gives you a sort of efficiency – that’s all. But it is a very small consciousness, exhausted very easily, lost very easily. If somebody insults you it is lost, it is exhausted. If somebody insults you, you become angry, you are no longer conscious. That’s why after anger many people say, “Why did I do it? How did I do it? How could I do it? It happened in spite of me.” Yes, they are right – it happened in spite of you because you lost your consciousness. In anger, in violent rage, people are possessed; they do things they would never do if they were a little aware. They can kill, they can destroy; they can even destroy themselves.