Subodha was born in a Brahmin family in the ancient capital of Indraprastha. He was leading a pure life. He was second to none in learning. He was piety and compassion incarnate. He had every virtue that could be desired. He was highly charitable and God-minded. He was a Godly personality. He was God living on earth. He was a perfect celibate.
One fine day Subhoda took a refreshing bath, had a sumptuous meal. It was midday on a midsummer. It was terribly sultry. He felt exhausted and leaned against a low couch. He felt drowsy and fell into the state of dream. In his dream he became the son of the King of Kasi. He grew up to the age of 12. His father, the king of Kasi educated him in all the Vidyas suitable to a Prince. The prince was named Priyadarshi. Prince Priyadarshi soon picked up all the arts, archery etc. The king of Kasi prepared the marriage of his son in proper time. Prince Priyadarshi was installed on the throne and the king retired. Priyadarshi ruled the country justly and wisely.
One day King Priyadarshi went on a hunting expedition with a retinue of followers. He had a very good game. He was extremely tired. His retinue had fallen back. He was far away from them. He tied the horse to a tree. He went to a hut and demanded water for drinking. A beautiful lady equal in beauty to a celestial damsel brought a glassful of water. The king was enchanted by the beauty of the lady. He wanted to marry her. The father of the woman also agreed on condition that he remained with them and gave half of his wealth in return. The king agreed.
The king took the newly wedded wife to the kingdom. She turned to be a wretched woman. She ill-treated every one. She led the king into all evil ways which the king was not at all habituated to. He led a very loose life. He became very unpopular in the country. He was disliked by all because he never cared for the welfare of the people. All the day and night he was engaged in the company of the wicked new queen. He had many sons and daughters by his new wife. He led a despicable life in her company.
One night King Priyadarshi retired to his bedchamber after a long day of dissipation and sensuous revelling. He laid himself upon the bed soon and sank into a sound slumber. King Priyadarshi dreamt that his death took place and people were carrying his dead body. He then found himself reborn in the house of a Bania. The Bania was a wine seller. He too took the profession and led the life of a wine seller throughout his life. One day he drank plenty of wine. He fell into drunkard stupor. In that condition he dreamt that he was born as a Sudra in the country of Usinara. He served the King of Usinara as a stable keeper. The whole life he was tending the horses. One night he dreamt that he was born as Chandala and was leading the life as such. One day he went to the forest to collect fuel. He was attacked by a tiger. He shrieked and woke up to find himself to be once again Subhoda, the Brahmin leaning on his couch.
Subhoda clearly and vividly perceived his various lives as King Priyadarshi, as the son of a Bania, as a Sudra and as a Chandala. He lived several lives. All these he experienced in one single dream.
O Man! You are like Subhoda. Just as Subhoda shrieked when the tiger attacked him you are also now under the painful agony of your present life. You find everywhere selfishness, crookedness, wars and calamities. There is no food to eat. There is no peace of mind. You are entangled in the meshes of Maya and Tamas. You are lazy and lethargic. You are sometimes fed up with life. Sometimes you even want to commit suicide when you are placed in acute suffering in your private and public life. You find your ambitions are shattered. You fall in evil company. You spoil your life and youth. You have endless desires.
Friend, tell me frankly: "How long you want to remain in this state of abject ignorance and suffering"? Wake up. Gird up your loins. Become a Yogi. You are not this physical body. You have nothing to do with suffering. Shake of this lethargy. Open your eyes. Enough of your long slumber. Wake up! Wake up to the Reality! Now it is Brahmamuhurtha, the dawn of glorious future! Sleep no more. Identify yourself with the real spirit within. You will no more be tormented by agony and misery.
Rise up in the ladder of Yoga. Follow the instructions of the ancient seers and sages. Practise Namasmarana. Give up vanity. Be humble and simple. Lead a life of purity, goodness and nobility. You will shine as a dynamic Yogi!
May you bring light, joy and peace to the Whole world! May you become Immortal!
Excerpted from Philosophy of Dreams by Sri Swami Sivananda, A Divine Life Society publication; First Edition: 1958.