Then your custom install of PHP4 has, in one way or another, failed.
That failure may be nothing more than improperly specifying the handler in .htaccess, or it could be other things.
bashrc and bash_profile should have nothing to do with it. .baschrc, .bash_profile, and .pearrc have to do with PEAR installation, but you should first get your custom PHP iinstall "working" (recognized) and then add the PEAR stuff you need - this would eliminate on whole set of potential error/confusion.
It is obvious that you are frustrated, but this is an "old" pattern: A user claims he did stuff "as directed by wiki page X", but does not provide the script that they used, complete with any edits or settings, and we have no way of knowing exactly what they have, or have not done, or whether they have tried before and failed, and cleaned-up up after themselves, or tried repeatedly and not cleaned-up after themselves before trying again, or what, if any, error messages were displayed from the script they ran, etc....
The wiki warns that this is "advanced stuff", and cautions that there is no support for it .. this is obviously not for everyone.
Then do that - you can run mod_apache on DreamHost, though that would still likely leave you with issues, as not all functions are available in the DH mod_php, and you may still have module issues.
I agree! It would be even cooler if that someone had the ability to "just know" exactly what you did, or didn't, do or in some other way be enough of a mind-reader to just "automagically" know why your installation is not being used (as indicated by your phpinfo() output). Hey, we can guess, but it is not that simple.
Well that is certianly an alternative, and I guess makes it unnecessary to continue to try to get it sorted.