Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 06 Jun 2024


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How is the ignorance during deep sleep broken during normal or forceful awakening?

[Shri G. Lakshman asked: Padanamaskarams Swami. This is related to deep sleep. Deep sleep is full of ignorance and awareness doesn't exist. Please explain to me the process of how this ignorance is broken (i) when normal awakening happens, (ii) through external forceful awakening during deep sleep. At Your lotus feet, I always remain. G Lakshman]

Swami replied:- It is a natural law setup by God that the brain-nervous system starts functioning after taking rest for some period of time. When the rest is completed, the function of the system is restored by inert mechanical process in the background. For example, sunrise and sunset are taking place for inert sun-globe at regular interval. Both sunrise and sunset are based on the background, which is an inert mechanical process like the rotation of the earth around its axis and the rotation of the earth around the sun. In these moments, there is no awareness. But still, a very regular system of sunrise and sunset is functioning for the past millions of years. Therefore, based on the inert and mechanical natural law that is setup and controlled by God, the sunrise and sunset take place regularly without even a trace of error. We agree that this natural law is controlled by God having unimaginable awareness (awareness generated by unimaginable omnipotency). But, if you say that there is some awareness within the background of the system that is governing this natural law, it is not acceptable because the entire system along with its mechanical background does not have even a trace of awareness. Similarly, there is not trace of awareness in deep sleep so that it can break the ignorance of deep sleep to cause awaken state. The fundamental reason for this argument is that there is no trace of any type of experience (even the experience of ignorance) during deep sleep due to the absence of the experiencer (awareness).

Many regions of the brain control the mechanical processes like respiration, blood circulation, etc., in the body and such controlling parts of the brain do not have awareness for their function. A small region of the brain that controls the generation and dissolution of the awareness through mechanical process only controls the beginning and the end of the sleep. Once the awareness is generated, it involves itself in external worldly works and internal process of thinking only but not in any internal mechanical process like starting and ending sleep. The generation of awareness is not in the hands of awareness itself because before the generation of awareness, awareness did not exist. In deep sleep, there is no experience of awareness or its absence or of anything or absence of anything or presence of many things or absence of many things or  total ignorance due to absence of all things and the only reason here is the absence of the experiencer or awareness. When sleep is forced, even though awareness wants to wake up for some more time, it becomes very difficult and the awareness is forced by the mechanical background to go into sleep. When the mechanical background breaks the sleep, even if the awareness wishes to sleep further, sleep does not continue and at the maximum, one may simply close the eyes while the awareness is fully functioning. When somebody wakes you up, you are forcibly breaking the sleep because the external mechanical process of waking you up by an external person is taking place. Here also, the mechanical process is dominating the awareness. This mechanical process is running due to the initial wish of God just like sunrise and sunset.

The Veda says that  sunrise and sunset are taking place due to the fearful force of God (Bhīṣo'deti sūryaḥ). Similarly, due to the will force setup by God in creating zoological living beings, the awakened state, dream state and deep sleep state are taking place. All the other mechanical processes of the body like the functioning of heart, functioning of kidneys, functioning of lungs, etc., are taking place only due to the force of the wish of God, who established the mechanical laws of functioning of the body. This is the reason why spiritual scholars thank God before going to sleep and after waking up because they recognize the truth that due to the control of God only, any mechanical process in the world or in the body is taking place. They are not thanking the individual soul (self) thinking that it woke up the body after the end of the rest period of the brain-nervous system. The individual soul itself was absent during deep sleep. The thoughts in the individual soul are present in the brain-chip like the RAM in the computer. Awareness is like current that takes a xerox copy (photocopy) of the brain-chip and becomes the individual soul like the screen in the computer. The power is switched off when deep sleep starts and the same power is switched on at the end of deep sleep. The switching on and switching off processes are mechanical and automatically setup by the unimaginable power of the unimaginable God during the administration of this world that includes all zoological living beings.