Special revelation – Hindu perspectives

Dreams and visions

Some Hindus believe that dreams are another state of ‘being’ for the atman (soul) where Brahman is accessible to any ‘ordinary’ atman.

If dreams contain a prophecy, this may be interpreted as a type of special revelation to be acted upon.

The Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad (a sacred Hindu text) states:

quote
When the atman is in the land of dreams, then all worlds (Earthly and other realms) belong to that atman.Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad

Many Hindus believe that through experience and meditation they can gain knowledge of Brahman. This is a personal experience, reached individually. Ways of experiencing include:

  • Meditation - by chanting sacred verses, or by repeating the sacred syllable 'aum'.
  • Pranayam - using breath control to aid health and meditative focus. Some use controlled breathing and body postures (what most people commonly call ‘yoga’) as part of their meditative practice.
  • Other focuses of meditation include the use of a mala (a string of prayer beads) that concentrates the mind, meaning everyday thoughts are cleared away.

Miracles

There are many examples of miracles in Hindu scripture. For example, Lord Shiva bringing his beheaded son back to life with an elephant’s head (this elephant-headed god is known as Lord Ganesh).

A statue of the elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesh

Some Hindus believe that Brahman is omnipotent (all-powerful), so these events actually happened. Others interpret miracles as a way to convey messages.

Some Hindus would argue that what appears ‘miraculous’ is only so because we do not fully understand or access the full capacity of our atman. This is why a sannyasin is able to stay lying on a bed of nails without food and water for weeks at a time because he has worked at accessing his ‘hidden’ capacities.