Patanjali Yoga Sutra Ch 1, Sutra 10 (Parisamvad)

Patanjali Yoga Sutra
Transcribed from Parisamvad at The Yoga Institute.

Chapter 1, Sutra 10


Dreamless Sleep is the Mental Modification Produced by the Condition of Inertia as the State of Vacuity or Negation (Of Waking And Dreaming)

Abhava : non existence
Pratyaya : the cause , notion
Alambana : support ;leaning on, dependent on
Vrtti : activities , fluctuations
Nidra : deep sleep
“Sleep is also considered as mental activity. We are discussing the various states. It’s not just a total blank run. Awareness is there. That is why that state also has to be controlled and checked. When you say, Citta Vritti Nirodha, the stoppage of the Citta includes the stoppage of Nidra. Not that when you fall into sleep you are in Samadhi; the mind keeps busy. So in the yoga sutras, they go into details. The mind has to be controlled completely – that is the idea. Activities that create sleep, dreams, etc. are also suspected. We have to recognize that even when we are sleeping some activities still go on. We don’t lose that awareness.
Q : Doesn’t a Yogi need sleep?
A : The mind is aware. Awareness is there. You don’t switch off awareness.
Madhavdasji was a Yogi. He used to meet people, answers questions, say things. It was noticed that there were times when he suddenly stopped. He was sitting. People were around, he was trying to say something and suddenly he stopped. It was found by convention and custom that now onwards he is not going to answer any questions or even be aware of the surroundings. So all those sitting around would quietly leave and for hours this man would be sitting, not saying anything, not doing anything. Just quietly inward and they would consider that as a Yogic state.
Naturally it was unusual and during this state much clarity occurs, much understanding can occur, that is why he would encourage it. Otherwise just sitting blank is not desirable. In our usual day-to-day life we want to think, and think endlessly. Occasionally we stop but for a split second, but then again start. So all that time mind is busy and the thinking is not a very Yogic kind. It is undesirable thinking. We should be able to stop, but we can’t. Whereas a Yogi who is at a different level, talking about Samadhi, techniques, experiences, he is able to be in that state and he remains sometimes in that state.
‘Deep sleep’ should not be misunderstood with this word ‘sleep’. It is a state of consciousness, where the person has consciously withdrawn, but it is a conscious activity and it can be prolonged and during that prolonged time, the mind doesn’t run after anything at all. It just enjoys that state. It may be that the state is so interesting and worthwhile that the person remains in that state for very long time any maybe it is close to death.
Such people like Madhavdasji on his last day, he told the gathering that today I will go to my room and please don’t trouble me. You can open the room tomorrow morning or a little later. He did that. He went into the room, closed the door, didn’t bolt it. He sat and was continuously sitting till next morning. When the disciples opened the door, he was sitting but not living. They realized that he has passed away. Now that was a voluntary control. So this is all about sleep, I hope you are not sleeping.
Q : Why is it that as age advance people sleep less and less?
A : They lose control, the thinking becomes more. A younger person can control the mind and stop the mind.
Ordinarily we are at mercy of nature and sleep just comes to us. If only effort is put then we can go to a different state, a deep sleep state where we are not conscious of anything and can remain like that for hours and that is considered as a good state. In case of Yogi, if he has no other interest, he just switches off. The Yogis can consciously do this. Not that they enjoy doing it, but since they have nothing else to think and prefer rather, to think of God or to remain in a condition where there are no thoughts, but they get into that state and they remain in that state for long.
There was this young man in Maharashtra who would come near the river bank and sit, just sit, quietly. His family was a little worried that this young boy may become a Sanyasi. So they got him married early. After the marriage also, he would go and sit for long at the same place. One day they found that he was sitting but he had passed away. This thing can happen because the person had reached a state where there was no interest in external things. He just enjoyed this quietness, steadiness, possibly understanding and maintained it. So these incidents do happen.”
“Nidra is one of the characters of Citta. A small little creature also needs sleep. Humans can definitely alter this state. When the awareness is not there, then the person gets into a sleepy state. Nidra is definitely a biological need. If a person doesn’t sleep well, quite a lot of problems can occur. If a person doesn’t sleep for 3 days, psychiatric problems start. We have to be really, really particular about sleep because this is one of the Vrittis.
Sleep can be Klista and Aklista. When you get up in the morning very fresh and fine, you feel positive – that awareness is there. Such sleep is Aklista. If the person gets up in a dull state and wants to again go back to sleep then it is Klista. We have to work to get a good sleep. We have to change these Vrittis from Klista to Aklista. A good positive sleep can relieve a lot of major problems. When you are not feeling comfortable, sleep early. Three hours of sleep before midnight (i.e. 9 p.m. onwards) and then wake up by 4, 5 or 6 a.m.

Seven to eight hours of sleep or rest is a must. We use our mind too much. So even if you get up early, don’t think. Thought is action, just rest. Do Savasana, Nishpandbhava, Dradhasana, Makrasana,but don’t think. There are various classifications in sleep – orthodox sleep, REM sleep, etc. At least 2 ½ hours of sleep is a must. The other hours could be reduced by meditation, by slow Pranayama, Asanas, relaxation techniques, music, etc. The sleep can be reduced from 8 hours to 5 hours or 4 hours depending on the purpose. Unnecessarily reducing sleep will not be right. One has to consciously experience a relaxed and peaceful state.”

About Parisamvad
On every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, The Yoga Institute, Santacruz holds Parisamvad sessions – Free interactive sessions that are open to all. These session begin at 7:20 am and end around 7:45 am.
The Friday Parisamvad is dedicated to explanation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by our esteemed Gurus, Dr. Jayadeva and Smt. Hansaji.
All are welcome to attend.

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