Sweet Mother, what is the difference between a symbolic dream and a vision?
Usually one has a vision when one is not asleep, when one is awake. When one is awake and enters within oneself—whether in meditation or concentration—one has visions. Or at night you can’t sleep… remain stretched out, remain quiet, don’t sleep and you may have visions.
Dreams come when one is asleep, that is, when one has no longer the waking consciousness; whereas in vision one is in the waking consciousness, but one quietens or immobilises it, and it is another more inner consciousness which awakens; yet one is not asleep, the body is not asleep, it is just made quiet.
One can have visions even while remaining active. Some people have visions even amidst activity. Vision is another plane of perception which awakes. It is the senses in the mind or vital or physical which wake up and manage to pass their experiences to the outer consciousness. It is as though one had another pair of eyes behind these, eyes which could see in the vital instead of seeing in the physical. And this is always there. Only, as one is concentrated on the most material life, one doesn’t notice it. But some children have the two conjointly, they see even physically all kinds of things which are not physical. Usually they are told that they are saying stupid things; so they stop speaking about them. But they don’t see just this, only physically, they see other things behind. One can have visions with closed eyes, one can have visions with open eyes; while when dreaming one is always asleep.
Ref : Question and Answers 1955