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Learn from Sleep

by Swami Sivananda

Study the condition of deep sleep, where there is neither the play of the mind nor the senses. There are no objects; there is neither attraction nor repulsion . Wherefrom do you derive ananda in sleep? This experience is universal; everyone says: "I slept soundly. I knew nothing. I was very happy in sleep." During deep sleep you rest in satcidananda atman and enjoy the atmic bliss which is independent of objects. The difference between deep sleep and samadhi (superconsciousness) is that in deep sleep there is the veil of ignorance and in samadhi this veil is removed.

From sleep you draw four conclusions:

You exist. There is a feeling of continuity of consciousness.

There is advaita (oneness).

You are ananda svarupa (blissitself).

The world is mithya (a play of the mind).

Names and forms are illusory. The world is mere play of the mind. When there is mind, there is world. If You can produce destruction of the mind consciously through yoga sadhana (practice), the world will disappear and you will feel the atman everywhere.

Even in the daytime you become one with the atman whenever a desire is gratified. When you enjoy an object you become mindless for a short time. You rest in your own atman and enjoy the atmic bliss. ignorant persons attribute this happiness to the objects. Just as the dog which sucks a dry bone foolishly imagines that the blood comes from the dry bone whereas in reality the blood oozes out of its own palate, so also foolish persons imagine that happiness comes from external objects, while they actually derive the happiness from their own Atman within. They are deluded owing to the force of illusion and ignorance.

Have no longing for objects. Reduce your wants. Cultivate vairagya (dispassion); it thins out the mind.

Do not mix much. Do not talk much. Do not walk much. Do not eat much. Do not sleep much. Control the emotions. Abandon desires and vasanas (tendencies). Control irritability and lust.

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