What exactly happens in sleep? Sri Aurobindo has thrown some light into this, highlighting the scientific as well as the occult point of view. According to the scientific view of sleep, we pass in many “phases” of sleep until we arrive at that phase that gives us complete rest and silence. This phase is said to last only ten minutes. It is these ten minutes that are said to restore our energies and make us feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Then, Sri Auronbindo relates the occult view of sleep as experienced by The Mother. One passes through many states of “sleep consciousness”, as in entering and exiting various worlds and finally reaching the Satchidhanada state. This state is said to give one “rest, light and silence”. After experiencing this state, one “retraces one’s way till one reaches the waking physical state.”1
The Mother has advised many a sadhak who has approached her for some guidance on how to sleep, on how to sleep in a better and progressive way, how to attain a certain control over oneself during sleep. The Mother has categorically mentioned that one can will a sound sleep. A sound sleep and quiet sleep is one which can get one in touch with the deeper part of oneself. One can also will one’s movements during sleep, The Mother assures.
In short, it appears that the world of sleep can be a refreshing boost to a progressive life provided one aspires for that progress, even during sleep and makes the necessary effort in order to establish a sleep pattern that elevates one’s being and not one that throws one into the dark gallows of the inconscient where one looses oneself and emerges out of that region battered, exhausted and lost. Once again, it appears that one cannot flee from a certain attitude in order to gain a sound sleep, and these would be - an ardent aspiration for a sleep that saves, constant work on one’s sleep following the guidance of The Mother, from texts she has written on this subject, persistence in the effort and as in any other endeavour one undertakes along the line of this yoga, lots and lots of patience and endurance.
The topic of sleep is one that deserves much attention. Besides being an essential component of building a sound body and mind and a capable physical frame, it also is an avenue capable of opening up many windows and doors to our inner lives, the knowledge of which is crucial for anyone set upon the path of integral yoga.