D.: Relatively speaking, is not the sleep state nearer to Pure
Consciousness than the waking state?
M.: Yes, in this sense:
When passing from sleep to waking the ‘I’
thought must start;
the mind comes into play; thoughts arise;
and then the functions of the body come into operation; all these together make us say that we are awake.
The absence of all this evolution is the characteristic of sleep and therefore it is nearer to Pure Consciousness than the waking state.
But one should not therefore desire to be always in sleep. In the first place it is impossible, for it will necessarily alternate with the other states.
Secondly it cannot be the state of bliss in which the Jnani is, for his state is permanent and not alternating.
Moreover, the sleep state is not recognised to be one of awareness by people,
but the sage is always aware. Thus the sleep state differs from the state in which the sage is established.
Still more, the sleep state is free from thoughts and their impression to the individual. It cannot be altered by one’s will because effort is impossible in that condition. Although nearer to Pure
Consciousness, it is not fit for efforts to realise the Self.
The incentive to realise can arise only in the waking state and efforts can also be made only when one is awake. We learn that the thoughts in the waking state form the obstacle to gaining the stillness of sleep.
“Be still and know that I AM God”. So stillness is the aim of the seeker.
Even a single effort to still at least a single thought even for a trice goes a long way to reach the state of quiescence. Effort is required and it is possible in the waking state only.
There is the effort here:
there is awareness also;
the thoughts are stilled;
so there is the peace of sleep gained.
That is the state of the Jnani.
It is neither sleep nor waking but intermediate between the two.
There is the awareness of the
waking state and the stillness of sleep.
It is called jagrat-sushupti.
Call it wakeful sleep or sleeping wakefulness or sleepless waking or
wakeless sleep. It is not the same as sleep or waking separately. It is
atijagrat (beyond wakefulness) or atisushupti (beyond sleep).
It is the state of perfect awareness and of perfect stillness combined.
It lies between sleep and waking; it is also the interval between two successive thoughts. It is the source from which thoughts spring;
we see that when we wake up from sleep.
In other words thoughts have their origin in the stillness of sleep. The thoughts make all the difference between the stillness of sleep and the turmoil of waking.
Go to the root of the thoughts and you reach the stillness of sleep. But you reach it in the full vigour of search, that is, with perfect awareness.
That is again jagrat-sushupti spoken of before.
It is not dullness; but it is Bliss.
It is not transitory but it is eternal.
From that the thoughts proceed.
What are all our experiences but thoughts? Pleasure and pain are mere thoughts.
They are within ourselves.
If you are free from thoughts and yet aware, you are That Perfect Being.
Lady Bateman appreciated the discourse and thanked Sri Bhagavan.