Thank you for the share. Your dream struck a chord with me, reminding me of my Guru’s teaching about the three levels of tests that God conducts.
The first test is that of Lord Brahma’s; when people approach God for any kind of material help, He simply ignores their prayers and instead starts preaching spiritual knowledge. Many people simply leave at this stage itself, considering this knowledge to be of no material benefit.
The few people who remain become eligible for the test of Lord Vishnu after some time. Here, instead of giving any kind of material benefit or wealth to the devotee, the Lord goes on to take away his/her wealth. Most people at this stage simply give up.
In the Vishnu Puranam, it’s mentioned that the Lord, in fact, steals the money of those devotees on whom He wants to shower His grace (yasyaanugrahamichchaami tasya vittam haraamyaham).
The handful of devotees who pass Lord Vishnu’s test become eligible for the third and final test of Lord Shiva. In spite of losing his/her wealth, when a devotee still yearns to sacrifice to the Lord and serve Him, it only shows his/her true love. At this stage, Lord Shiva gives horrible troubles to the devotee as a test. The name Rudra means He who makes others weep (Rodayati iti).
For example, the Lord in this stage may appear as a mad person in a highly drunken state surrounded by prostitutes. He starts thrashing the devotee with a stick and demands money from him/her.
A mad person or someone in a drunken stupor is naturally avoided. Here, the Lord shows both characteristics and seems as if He should be completely avoided. The prostitutes surrounding Him show His seemingly unjust character towards women. Injustice towards women is supposed to be one of the main gateways to hell and such a person should be boycotted as per the scriptures of justice. He also beats the devotee with a stick and this is violence without reason. If non-violence is the highest justice, violence without reason should be the highest injustice. Moreover, He demands money instead of begging.
Such a person shows the climax of injustice and as per ordinary reason, should be avoided. Even if you know that He is Lord Dattatreya or Lord Shiva Himself, tolerating His test is next to impossible. In spite of all these negative qualities and actions, if you still tolerate Him, love Him, praise Him with folded hands and submit money as Gurudakshina by falling on His feet, it is the climax of your love to God or real devotion at its peak.
The Supreme Parabrahman expresses Himself as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It’s like the same person who appears in different dresses at different times based on the occasion. Sorry for the long post. Just thought I should share the little that I know. :)