second experience is a first movement of the awakening of
the inner being in sleep. Ordinarily when one sleeps a complex
phenomenon happens. The waking consciousness is no longer
there, for all has been withdrawn within into the inner
realms of which we are not aware when we are awake, though
they exist; for then all that is put behind a veil by the
waking mind and nothing remains except the surface self
and the outward worldmuch as the veil of the sunlight
hides from us the vast worlds of the stars that are behind
it. Sleep is a going inward in which the surface self and
the outside world are put away from our sense and vision.
But in ordinary sleep we do not become aware of the worlds
within; the being seems submerged in a deep subconscience.
On the surface of this subconscience floats an obscure layer
in which dreams take place, as it seems to us, but, more
correctly it may be said, are recorded. When we go very
deeply asleep, we have what appears to us as a dreamless
slumber; but, in fact, dreams are going on, but they are
either too deep down to reach the recording surface or are
forgotten, all recollection of their having existed even
is wiped out in the transition to the waking consciousness.
Ordinary dreams are for the most part or seem to be incoherent,
because they are either woven by the subconscient out of
deep-lying impressions left in it by our past inner and
outer life, woven in a fantastic way which does not easily
yield any clue of meaning to the waking mind's remembrance,
or are fragmentary records, mostly distorted, of experiences
which are going on behind the veil of sleepvery largely
indeed these two elements get mixed up together. For, in
fact, a large part of our consciousness in sleep does not
get sunk into this subconscious state; it passes beyond
the veil into other planes of being which are connected
with our own inner planes, planes of supraphysical existence,
worlds of a larger life, mind or psyche which are there
behind and whose influences come to us without our knowledge.
Occasionally we get a dream from these planes, something
more than a dream,a dream experience which is a record
direct or symbolic of what happens to us or around us there.
As the inner consciousness grows by sadhana, these dream
experiences increase in number, clearness, coherence, accuracy
and after some growth of experience and consciousness, we
can, if we observe, come to understand them and their significance
to our inner life. Even we can by training become so conscious
as to follow our own passage, usually veiled to our awareness
and memory, through many realms and the process of the return
to the waking state. At a certain pitch of this inner wakefulness
this kind of sleep, a sleep of experiences, can replace
the ordinary subconscious slumber.
is of course an inner being or consciousness or something
of the inner self that grows in this way, not as usually
it is, behind the veil of sleep, but in the sleep itself.
In the condition which you describe, it is just becoming
aware of sleep and dream and observing thembut as
yet nothing fartherunless there is something in the
nature of your dreams that has escaped you. But it is sufficiently
awake for the surface consciousness to remember this state,
that is to say, to receive and keep the report of it even
in the transition from the sleep to the waking state which
usually abolishes by oblivion all but fragments of the record
of sleep happenings. You are right in feeling that the waking
consciousness and this which is awake in sleep are not the
samethey are different parts of the being.
this growth of the inner sleep consciousness begins, there
is often a pull to go inside and pursue the development
even when there is no fatigue or need of sleep. Another
cause aids this pull. It is usually the vital part of the
inner being that first wakes in sleep and the first dream
experiences (as opposed to ordinary dreams) are usually,
in the great mass, experiences of the vital plane, a world
of supraphysical life, full of variety and interest, with
many provinces, luminous or obscure, beautiful or perilous,
often extremely attractive, where we can get much knowledge
too both of our concealed parts of nature and of things
happening to us behind the veil and of others which are
of concern for the development of our parts of nature. The
vital being in us then may get very much attracted to this
range of experience, may want to live more in it and less
in the outer life. This would be the source of that wanting
to get back to something interesting and enthralling which
accompanies the desire to fall into sleep. But this must
not be encouraged in waking hours, it should be kept for
hours set apart for sleep where it gets its natural field.
Otherwise there may be an unbalancing, a tendency to live
more and too much in the visions of the supraphysical realms
and a decrease of the hold on outer realities. The knowledge,
the enlargement of our consciousness of these fields of
inner nature is very desirable, but it must be kept in its
own place and limits.
is not a yoga in which physical austerities have to be done
for their own sake. Sleep is necessary for the body just
as food is. Sufficient sleep must be taken, but no excessive
sleep. What sufficient sleep is depends on the need of the
you do not sleep enough the body and the nervous envelope
will be weakened and the body and the nervous envelope are
the basis of the sadhana.
must be the want of sleep that keeps your nervous system
exposed to weaknessit is a great mistake not to take
sufficient sleep. Seven hours is the minimum needed. When
one has a very strong nervous system one can reduce it to
six, sometimes even fivebut it is rare and ought not
to be attempted without necessity.
normal allowance of sleep is said to be 7 to 8 hours except
in advanced age when it is said to be less. If one takes
less (5 to 6 for instance) the body accommodates itself
somehow, but if the control is taken off it immediately
wants to make up for its lost arrears of the normal 8 hours.
So often when one has tried to live on too little food,
if one relaxes, the body becomes enormously rapacious for
food until it has set right the credit and loss account.
At least it often happens like that.
is not possible to do at once what you like with the body.
If the body is told to sleep only 2 or 3 hours, it may follow
if the will is strong enoughbut afterwards it may
get exceedingly strained and even break down for want of
needed rest. The yogis who minimise their sleep succeed
only after a long tapasya in which they learn how to control
the forces of Nature governing the body.
for fevers and for mental trouble sleep is a great help
and its absence very undesirableit is the loss of
a curative agency.
is certain forces that work and certain parts of the personality
that use them. In the ordinary consciousness, these part-personalities
are veiled and the forces limited by the external mind,
but when one gets behind the veil that limitation disappears,
the action of the forces enlarges and works out automatically
what has tobe done.
then these forces are each intent on its own work and do
not care for anything elsee.g., here they disregard
the need of the body for rest and sleep, which is bad. The
central consciousness must interfere and say, no,
this is the time for sleep, not for these activities, keep
them for their proper place and time.
is a want of sleep itself that brings the symptoms of uneasiness.
The action of sadhana cannot of itself bring this kind of
reaction, it is only if the body gets strained by want of
sleep, insufficient food, overwork or nervous excitement
that there are these things. It is probably because the
nerves are strained in the day time and you do not relax
into ease that it is difficult to sleep.
is restlessness in you which prevents you from keeping sleep
inwardly or outwardly. To sleep well the vital and physical
and mind also must learn how to relax themselves and be
care to rest enough. You must guard against fatigue as it
may bring relaxation and tamas. To rest well is not tamas,
as some people suppose; it can be done in the right consciousness
to maintain the bodily energylike the saväsana
of the strenuous Hathayogin.
[reading a novel before going to bed] threw you into a tamasic
consciousness and consequently the sleep was heavy in a
gross subconsciousness and the fatigue was the result.
because of its subconscient basis, usually brings a falling
down to a lower level, unless it is a conscious sleep; to
make it more and more conscious is the one permanent remedy:
but also until that is done, one should always react against
this sinking tendency when one wakes and not allow the effect
of dull nights to accumulate. But these things need always
a settled endeavour and discipline and must take time, sometimes
a long time. It will not do to refrain from the effort because
immediate results do not appear.
is not a right method to try to keep awake at night; the
suppression of the needed sleep makes the body tamasic and
unfit for the necessary concentration during the waking
hours. The right way is to transform the sleep and not suppress
it, and especially to learn how to become more and more
conscious in sleep itself. If that is done, sleep changes
into an inner mode of consciousness in which the sadhana
can continue as much as in the waking state, and at the
same time one is able to enter into other planes of consciousness
than the physical and command an immense range of informative
and utilisable experience.
he is having now are the true spiritual and psychic experiencesnot
those of the vital plane which most have at the beginning.
The experiences of the vital plane (in which there is much
imagination and fantasy) are useful for opening up the consciousness;
but it is when they are replaced by the spiritual and psychic
consciousness that there is the beginning of the true progress.
difficulty of keeping the consciousness at night happens
to mostit is because the night is the time of sleep
and the subconscient comes up. The true consciousness comes
at first in the waking state or in meditation, it takes
possession of the mental, the vital, the conscious physical,
but the subconscious vital and physical remain obscure and
this obscurity comes up when there is sleep or an inert
relaxation. When the subconscient is enlightened and penetrated
by the true consciousness this disparity disappears.
The Pishachic woman that tried to enter is the false vital
impure Shaktiand the voice that spoke was that of
his psychic being. If he keeps his psychic being awake and
in front, it will always protect him against these dark
forces as it did this time.
must not try to avoid sleep at nightif you persist
in doing that, the bad results may not appear immediately,
but the body will get strained and there will be a breakdown
which may destroy what you have gained in your sadhana.
If you want to remain conscious at night, train yourself
to make your sleep consciousnot to eliminate sleep
altogether, but to transform it.