Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 28 Oct 2023


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Knowledge of Deep Sleep (Sushupti)

(This is an updated article that includes Q7)

October 15, 2023

1. Does the soul's experience of ignorance of everything in deep sleep imply that it slept well with happiness?

[Prof. J.S.R. Prasad asked:- In the YouTube, I saw a video in which Swami Sarvapriyananda spoke in the following way on deep sleep (sushupti):- “In the deep sleep mind is shut down whereas the consciousness exists. After deep sleep, the person is telling that he slept well with happiness. He is not speaking any logic before speaking this statement. What he spoke is not logical inference but direct experience through perception. Moreover, Vyaapti (generalization) is not possible here as we say that wherever there is smoke there is fire. Hence, in deep sleep the consciousness or soul is experiencing the ignorance of everything and such direct experience is uttered as that he slept well with happiness. Therefore, in deep sleep the soul exists as the experiencer of ignorance called Praajna.”

Swami, please give the counter to the above said argument. Another video in which a saint says that existence of consciousness in the deep sleep is called Yoganidraa. What about this concept?]

Swami replied:- You told that the statement of the person after deep sleep that he slept well with happiness indicates the direct experience of the deep sleep during the deep sleep since such statement is coming out directly without any logical analysis. This point is not correct at all. Let Me take the usual example of inference, which is:- You have seen in the kitchen that smoke exists always with fire and you have drawn Vyaapti, which is that wherever there is smoke there must be fire. Based on this Vyaapti, you have seen smoke coming from the top of a hill and you have told suddenly that there is fire (unseen) on the top of the hill. Your statement shows that you are speaking the existence of the fire on the top of the hill as if you have seen the fire on the top of the hill and experienced its existence directly. In this situation, you have never expressed the logical analysis of inference, which is:- i) Fire and smoke coexist as I’ve seen in the kitchen. ii) I’ve seen smoke coming from top of hill. iii) Therefore, based on the smoke seen by Me, I infer that fire is existing on the top of the hill. The person is not telling all this analysis because he digested all this analysis within himself due to several such occasions repeated in the past. Similarly, the person awakened after deep sleep has experienced the Vyaapti on several days because every day the person is observing the happiness after deep sleep due to good sleep in the deep sleep. He has confirmed and digested the concept of Vyaapti that good deep sleep is always associated with happiness after awakening from it. Based on the long-time digested analysis, the person after experiencing happiness just after deep sleep says that he slept well. The person need not utter all this logical analysis just like the person after seeing smoke from a hill. If you say that the person inferring fire on the hill due to the seen smoke has experienced the fire on the hill directly, you can also say that the person who slept well in the deep sleep also directly experienced the happiness during the deep sleep. In both these examples, there is no direct perception-experience of neither the fire on the hill nor the happiness during deep sleep. It is only inference that happens to be the basis of such statement appearing as if it is direct experience. After all, inference is accepted as the authority like perception. Every scholar of logic accepts perception and inference as the two valid authorities out of the six authorities of knowledge.

I slept well in the deep sleep” denotes past tense of the verb. “I am sleeping well in the deep sleep” denotes the present tense of the verb. Both verbs would be the cases of perception, provided the above statement stands on par with the following case:- “I am eating well” and “I ate well.” In the case of eating, the person is aware of eating while taking meals and the same person is also aware of the happiness experienced after eating saying that he ate well. In the second case, there is awareness of eating during eating and after eating so that we can say that there was direct experience of eating during the time of eating and direct experience of happiness after eating. But, the first case is different because during the time of deep sleep, the present tense verb was not experienced, which is to say that during the deep sleep, the soul did not experience happiness thinking that it is sleeping well with happiness. This experience is existing with every person in this world and hence, must be the strongest authority because experience is the strongest. We can neglect the experience of a single person having defect in eyes, but not the experience of everybody in this world.

If awareness is not present, there is no experience. Since experience of happiness during deep sleep was absent, it clearly means that awareness was absent in deep sleep. You say that the soul experienced ignorance. But, during the deep sleep, the soul never thought that it is not knowing anything. The awakened soul alone can think that it is not knowing anything when the soul is existing in such state of total ignorance. Therefore, you cannot differentiate awareness or consciousness from experience. The awareness or consciousness has two properties:- i) To know itself only as in the state of meditation and ii) To know other objects as in the states of awakening and dream. In the deep sleep, neither the first property nor the second property exists. It means that deep sleep is neither meditation nor awakened state nor state of dream because the awareness neither identifies itself nor something other than itself.

You say that the mind is shut down while the consciousness exists in deep sleep. The consciousness/ awareness is the general nervous energy (neurons), which is aware of itself and other items. There are four internal instruments, which are the awareness itself divided into four faculties based on functional difference. These four faculties are Antahkaranams, which are i) Basic ego (Ahamkara), which is the basic idea of I or self, ii) Memory (Chittam) that stores the grasped information, iii) Mind (Manas) that brings dilemma of a thought and iv) Intellect (buddhi) that does logical analysis leading to a decision. Awareness is like a lump of gold and the four antahkaranams are like different golden jewels. Any thought is only a mode of awareness. In deep sleep, all the four antahkaranams are shut down and the reason is the disappearance of awareness. Neither fan, nor light bulb, nor TV, nor heater are functioning in the house, and this means the current is not existing. Therefore, in deep sleep the awareness disappears since the brain-nervous system is shut down for the sake of taking rest. If the grinding machine is shutdown, grinding work cannot be done even though current exists. Similarly, even though inert energy (current) produced from the digestion of food exists in the body, since the brain-nervous system (grinding machine) is not working, the conversion of inert energy into awareness (current into grinding work) cannot take place. Just like grinding work and cutting work are the specific work forms of electric power respectively,  awareness is a specific work form of inert energy, generated by the oxidation of food in mitochondria cells.

Swami Sarvapriyananda is justified because he is the follower of the Advaita philosophy of Shankara, in which it is told that every ordinary soul is already God. Hence, even in deep sleep, God must exist because God is eternal. In order to support this goal, every Advaita philosopher says that even in the deep sleep of an ordinary soul, soul or consciousness exists. In order to support some other point, you should not forget the impossibility of the present point. In order to support that every soul is God, you have to establish the eternality of the soul. To support this point, you have to say that soul or awareness exists in deep sleep also. For this purpose, you are separating mind from the soul. Of course, we also agree that mind and soul are different like the light bulb and the general electricity. But, if electricity exists, the light bulb also exists just like if awareness exists, the mind also exists. You shall not argue that even though electricity exists, the light bulb need not exist since we can switch off the light bulb. That is ok, but, in deep sleep the light bulb (mind) is put off by itself without your switching it off. In deep sleep, even without any trace of your effort, the mind is put off and this means that such a thing can happen only when the awareness is put off. Moreover, along with mind, the other three antahkaranams (fan, TV and heater) are also put off without any trace of your effort. This certainly means that the awareness (electricity) by itself disappeared and even if you put effort, the antahkaranams will not function since there is no generation of awareness by brain-nervous system due to its full rest. The transformer failed and hence, the current is not coming to your house due to which all the electric instruments are not functioning in your house.

I’m not telling that Shankara is wrong in His Advaita philosophy. He also knows that every soul is not God and He demonstrated this to His close disciples. Shankara drank wine and every disciple also drank it following the Advaita concept that every soul is God like the soul of Shankara. Next day, Shankara drank molten lead and asked the disciples to drink it if every soul is God like His soul. The disciples failed and fell at the feet of Shankara. Then, Shankara told that He alone is God (Śivaḥ kevalo'ham). He told that every soul is God because there was no other way to convert atheists into theists. Since, India was filled with atheists (Purvamimamsakas and Buddhists), Shiva had to incarnate as Shankara. There is no other way to preach the atheist except to say that he is God since the atheist will never believe that somebody else other than him can be God. None can say any other statement to an atheist except this one statement and hence, Shankara had to say like this. The same statement is further used by Him so that He made the atheist to say that God exists. He followed the following three step procedure:- i) You are God, ii) You exist and iii) Hence, God exists. Later on, the atheist asked about the miraculous powers that are not seen with the soul if He were God. Shankara told that it was due to the practical effect of very long ignorance (mala, the effect of long standing vikshepa). Hence, Shankara advised the atheist to worship God in order to purify his mind from practical ignorance. The atheist not only became theist but also became a devotee of God. Due to the overambition of his desire to become God, the atheist could not think that why God should worship God. The effect of the ambition induced by Shankara was so strong! Ramanuja and Madhva stressed on theoretical devotion and practical devotion respectively and carried on their programs as per the schedule of God. Hence, the Advaita followers misunderstood Shankara due to their lack of knowledge about the background of Shankara.

Another saint in YouTube mentioned about Yoganidra as deep sleep maintaining simultaneous consciousness. We have no objection to this concept because such Yoganidra cannot be found in an ordinary soul and hence, we cannot use it to support that every ordinary soul is God. Yoganidra is found only in the case of God or a special soul called Yogi, who has attained the grace of God. In the case of ordinary souls, the deep sleep is called sushupti and not Yoganidraa.

October 16, 2023

2. The Gita says that awareness is eternal and also says that it is born and dies daily. Is this a contradiction?

[Prof. JSR Prasad asked:- Swami, the soul or awareness is said to be eternal in the Gita (Ajo nityah…). At the same time, the soul is born daily and dies daily (Atha chainam…). Is this not a contradiction?]

Swami replied:- Suppose that you have a computer in your house. The strongest thoughts acquired from past several births (samskaaraas) are like the information present in the hard disk drive and this drive is the chip of the brain in which all the strong thoughts are saved. Awareness is like the electricity that displays this information on the screen. In deep sleep, the drive exists physically in the brain of the human being and since awareness is absent, it is not displayed on the screen, called mind. Every day, the computer dies, when the computer battery runs out of charge. When the computer is charged by electricity, the computer is born again. Due to this type of birth and death every day, do you say that the computer is condemned? Similarly, due to death in deep sleep and birth after deep sleep, you need not say that the soul is not eternal. If the soul is not eternal, how can the soul come out of the gross body during death and go to the upper worlds embedded in a new subtle energetic body? When you are leaving your home and going to another city in a train, you are taking the information from the drive into your smart phone. Similarly, when the soul is going to the upper world, it draws all the data of information from the drive like brain memory of the gross body and the smart phone is the subtle body that accompanies you during the train journey (Vāyur gandhānivāśayāt…- Gita). The data of information, which is the bundle of samskaaraas or strong thoughts is the individual soul in inert state and when it is associated with awareness, is the individual soul in its original state. In this process, you cannot say that if the phone or computer is discharged, the drive is condemned and not eternal.

In the Gita, it is told that the individual soul is daily dying when the awareness disappears in deep sleep and after the deep sleep, the individual soul is born when the awareness is generated and associated with the individual soul. The individual soul exists in inert state as the information chip of the brain (like the drive of the computer) and in the absence of awareness, we can say that the individual soul died temporarily. This means that the individual soul is dissociated with the awareness temporarily and due to this, the information chip of the brain does not disappear. You cannot call awareness as the individual soul and you can’t call the information chip also as the individual soul. The individual soul without awareness is dead, but, such death is not permanent. Such situation does not disturb the eternality of the individual soul. If the individual soul is permanently leaving awareness, you can call the individual soul as permanently dead. The awareness is born daily and dies daily. Whenever it is dead, the information is maintained in the inert chip of the brain and hence, the data of information does not disappear as soon as the awareness disappears. The data is saved in the inert chip of the brain so that whenever awareness is born, the chip comes into contact with awareness and now, awareness is associated with the information of the specific soul, which is called as individual soul. Strictly speaking, the inert energy generated from the digestion of food that is modified into awareness in a functioning brain-nervous system shall be called as the soul. The generated awareness in purest form without association with the stored information can be called as pure individual soul as experienced in meditation. When this pure awareness is associated with information, the result is called as the individual soul or impure worldly soul.

The main important point is that in the Gita, God Krishna did not condemn the alternative theory of the individual soul and considered it as an alternative view of reality while saying “Even if you consider the individual soul being born daily and dying daily, you need not worry about the soul because its permanent eternality is not damaged”. Therefore, this alternative theory exists simultaneously with the theory of the eternality of the soul. Even if the gross body dies, the soul is not dying and hence, the soul is eternal since it is always associated with the information whenever it exists. The temporary death means that the awareness is totally disappearing in deep sleep due to which the individual soul (which does not exist at all in deep sleep) cannot grasp anything in deep sleep. It is impossible to grasp any information in the absence of awareness. After the end of deep sleep only, the individual soul is born (because the born awareness is associated with the stored information) and starts grasping any information. Such an individual soul starts grasping the happiness that resulted during the long rest period of the brain-nervous system. Due to this experienced happiness, the individual soul infers the long rest, called a good deep sleep. Since this is the process that takes place every day, the intelligence spontaneously gives the result of the logical discussion of the inference due to which the person says that he/she slept well. The person also says that he/she is unaware of anything in deep sleep because nothing in the deep sleep was recorded due to the absence of awareness. All these points come spontaneously due to the long-standing repeated analysis of inference. The person is telling that he/she is not aware of anything, we must take this statement as valid since this statement is coming from the mouth of the actual person, who slept. The person is not telling that he/she experienced this ignorance of not knowing anything throughout the deep sleep. It is only the spontaneous concluding knowledge of inference, which should not be mistaken as direct perception. You can call the individual soul as ‘Praajna’ in deep sleep with a new meaning, which is that the individual soul is completely inert (Pra = completely and Ajna = inert without a trace of awareness).

October 21, 2023

3. How is the information chip released along with the soul after death?

[Shri Lakshman asked:- Paadanamaskaram Swami, After going through the reply to Shri J S R Prasad’s recent question on deep sleep, I have the following doubts which You may please clarify.

Upon death of a human being, the awareness is also dead, so when the soul leaves the body, how is the information chip released along with the soul? I presume that the information chip is not part of the soul.]

Swami replied:- The information chip is the material present in the brain just like the information disc is a materialized part present in the computer. The electrical energy in the computer and the inert energy in the human being are one and the same because both are inert. When the current flows in the computer, the information present on the disc is displayed on the screen. Similarly, when the inert energy is converted into awareness in the brain nervous system and comes in contact with the information chip present in the brain, the information is displayed on the brain. Hence, when the awareness is absent in deep sleep, the information present in the brain chip is not displayed to the brain. On awakening, awareness is generated, which displays the information to the brain. Deep sleep is only a temporary death of awareness due to complete rest taken down by the shut-down of the brain nervous system. In the actual death, the awareness is not dead as per the divine law of God. The time of death is not deep sleep. Only ignorant people say that death is the permanent deep sleep, which is not correct at all. Awareness enters a subtle energetic body and leaves the gross body along with the information taken from the brain chip. Since  awareness leaves the gross body, we say that the gross body is dead. Therefore, the duration time of death is not deep sleep because awareness exists as the individual soul. During death time, the physical body may not have movements (like speech), but, awareness exists inside. The Veda says that speech dissolves in the mind and the mind dissolves in inert energy (Vāṅmanasi, Manastejasi, Tejassati…). This means that the person becomes speechless and awareness is leftover along with inert energy in the gross body. Now, awareness (individual soul) dissolves in inert energy. Due to this, we must know that awareness as individual soul left the gross body. Then, for a few moments, inert energy exists in the body. Then, inert energy also exits. Now, the process of death is completed. But, when awareness leaves the gross body (coma state ends), the individual soul leaves the gross body along with a copy of the information drawn from the information chip present in the brain of the gross body.

When inert energy exits from the gross body, the gross body becomes very cold. Only after death (death means very close pre-state of death in which the individual soul leaves the gross body and the inert energy is just going to leave the gross body), awareness is absent in the gross body since the individual soul or awareness left the gross body. The inert energy (functioning kinetic energy) on leaving the gross body dissolves in the inert cosmic energy, called ‘Sat’. Sat means the root reality of the first relative cause (which is the first product of the ultimate cause, called unimaginable God) denoting inert cosmic energy from which all the further creation emerged out as its product. The absolute reality of God is actually Sat, but the first inert energy being the root material cause of the entire creation is also mentioned as Sat. For example, the red-hot iron rod very near to the fire can be called as fire. Here, the unimaginable God is the ultimate cause and inert cosmic energy is the first creation of the unimaginable God that is modified into various items of creation and is called the root relative cause of this creation. In the final dissolution, this cosmic energy also dissolves into the unimaginable God. Dissolution means not complete destruction of the existence of the world since it means only existence in subtle state.

The above process is with reference to the death process of ordinary living beings. The individual soul of Shishupaala merged in the body of God Krishna. Here also, the inert energy of the gross body of Shishupala accompanying the individual soul merged with the inert energy of the gross body of God Krishna. In this case also, the above procedure is followed.

When the dead gross body is burnt, the information chip of the brain is also burnt. If the dead body is buried, the information chip also perishes with the decomposed gross body in the earth. Even though the information chip is destroyed, the information is not destroyed because it gets copied and is constantly associated with the individual soul in every birth. In fact, the awareness associated with this information alone is called individual soul. Otherwise, awareness is different from the information just like the current and the information printed in the memory drive of a computer are separate items. The pulse signals printed in the information chip are called as sphotas and this is a famous concept, called ‘Sphota Siddhaanta’.

4. How is the soul aware of its own dead body and the relatives crying?

[The soul when it is inert, how does it become aware of its own dead body and the relatives crying? I remain at Your lotus feet, G Lakshman]

Swami replied:- The soul is only the inert energy that is generated by the oxidation of food. This inert energy on entering a brain-nervous system is converted into awareness or individual soul. Soul is the block of gold whereas the individual soul is a specific golden jewel. The individual soul is loosely spoken as the soul. Hence, the individual soul or awareness is well aware of the information of strong thoughts, called samskaaraas. A person named Radha Krishna can be called Krishna. Similarly, the individual soul is also called soul. If this analysis exists in the mind, the doubt that the soul is inert will not come. In the word ‘individual soul’, the soul or inert energy exists like gold in the golden jewel.

October 22, 2023

5. Can You please explain the process of rebirth?

[Ms. Thrylokya asked:- Finally, should we take the information chip of the brain or awareness as the individual soul or jiva? Can You please explain the process of rebirth?]

Swami replied:- We cannot take anyone of these two as jiiva or individual soul in complete sense. In deep sleep, the information exists in the information chip in the brain. By this, we cannot say that the individual soul exists during deep sleep because it is not associated with awareness. On awakening from deep sleep, the awareness appears again and is associated with the information chip. Now only, the individual soul in complete sense exists. Hence, the individual soul is defined as  awareness mixed with the information of strong thoughts. In meditation, awareness becomes pure awareness since all the thoughts are eliminated from awareness because pure awareness is now not associated with the information chip. Such pure awareness in  meditation cannot be told as individual soul. Between information and awareness, information is very important in the view of the nature of the individual soul. Awareness is a specific form of inert energy and is always pure. Such awareness is very much similar to the soul (inert energy) because inert energy is also not aware of the information. The soul is inert (energy) whereas pure awareness (which is a specific work form of inert energy) is aware of itself. Awareness grasps the information from the world and maintains the information for some time and this state can be compared with the temporary storage of information in the computer. The grasped information is printed on the information chip in the brain and this can be compared to the hard drive of the computer. Now, the awareness maintaining the information temporarily is called ‘chittam’, and the information chip in the brain is also called ‘chittam’ that is storing the information. After printing the information, the awareness forgets that information being involved in other types of grasping new information. Whenever the individual soul wants to recollect specific information,  awareness is associated with such specific signal in the information chip so that the required information is recollected by the individual soul. The information chip perishes with the body after death. In the time of  death, awareness takes out a copy of information from the information chip and leaves the gross body after entering into a subtle body. This information contains strong thoughts of previous births, called qualities without the details of the incidents. However, the individual soul contains details of some important incidents of the previous births as long as the individual soul is in the upper worlds. Slowly, the details of the incidents of the previous births also disappear and remain as qualities so that in the next birth, the qualities alone will accompany the individual soul. In some individual souls, the details of the incidents of the previous births are not erased and hence, such souls remember their previous birth in the present birth also. This is the practical proof arranged by God for the sake of preaching the concept of rebirth of the soul.

October 23, 2023

6. Is there any common point between the philosophy of J. Krishna Murthy and Yours?

[Ms. Thrylokya asked:- There was a philosopher by name J. Krishna Murthy. You are also Krishna Murthy. Is there any single common point between You both in Your philosophies?]

Swami replied:- In one of his speeches, he mentioned that truth can’t be experienced. I also told that the ultimate unmediated-unimaginable God (truth or Sat) is beyond our experience, which means that His unimaginable nature cannot be experienced by us since it can’t be even imagined. In this point, we have common agreement. But, there is a difference also if you further extend this point. He did not say that the existence of truth can be inferred even if it is not experienced through perception. I said that the existence of the ultimate truth (unimaginable God) can be inferred through  unimaginable events, called miracles. If you say that he also means the existence of truth because that which is not experienced can also exist, your argument on this point is very weak. My argument is that strong perfect inference exists in this point because the perceived miracles clearly establish their source (unimaginable God). My argument has the Vedic authority also (Astītyevopalabdhavyaḥ).

October 27, 2023

7. Which is the awareness You are referring to in Your following statement?

[Shri Lakshman asked:- Paadanamaskaram Swami, In Your reply to my question on “How is the information chip released along with the soul after death?”

You mentioned “Awareness enters a subtle energetic body and leaves the gross body along with the information taken from the brain chip”. Please clarify my following doubt: Which is this awareness, You referring to and how is this produced? I remain at Your lotus feet, G Lakshman]

Swami replied:- Awareness is always generated from inert energy, when it enters the functioning brain-nervous system. Awareness is only a specific work form of inert energy that is generated by the oxidation of food. As per the rule of the divine administration of God, the awareness exists during the time of death. It disappears only after the death. Awareness alone is not the individual soul. Similarly, the information chip alone is not the individual soul. The individual soul is awareness mixed with the information drawn from the information chip of the brain. This individual soul enters the subtle body (energetic body) and leaves to the upper worlds. Since this entire creation is made of the inert energy (cosmic energy), the awareness of the individual soul after leaving the gross body will go to the upper worlds and no special awareness is to be created by God. Awareness is a form of energy and there is no death for it. In deep sleep, awareness is not generated since the brain-nervous system is taking full rest. During deep sleep, the information is retained in the information chip of the brain. This does not mean the individual soul is existing in deep sleep. Neither pure awareness nor the information chip is the individual soul. Since information is always retained by the chip, the individual soul is indirectly becoming eternal. We are only saying that  awareness is absent during deep sleep and we are not saying that the individual soul is absent. A part of the individual soul (awareness) is absent in deep sleep. Another part of the individual soul (information stored in the information chip) is present making the individual soul to be eternal. Neither the awareness, nor the information chip, nor the information itself, nor the individual soul is God. The Advaita philosopher is breaking a rock to get water!

Actually, the Veda says that awareness is produced from food (Annāt puruṣaḥ). In fact, inert energy is produced from digested and oxidized food. This inert energy enters a brain-nervous system to produce awareness, which is a special form of inert energy. Awareness propagates in the form of neurons, as light energy propagates in the form of photons. Therefore, for the production of awareness, both inert energy and a materialized nervous system are essential. If you say that awareness is God, do you mean that God is produced by inert energy and a nervous system? Before creation, there was neither inert energy nor matter (materialized nervous system). When thought needs awareness, how could God think of creating this world for His entertainment before the creation of awareness? For this doubt, the answer is that God thought due to His omnipotence so that He can think even without awareness. If you are particular about awareness to be called as God, say that the unimaginable awareness is God. The awareness of God is unimaginable since it is generated without inert energy and a brain-nervous system. You cannot say about unimaginable God’s unimaginable awareness (two unimaginable items) because any number of unimaginable items become one unimaginable item only. Hence, the only one unimaginable item is unimaginable God or unimaginable awareness. If you are so particular about the eternality of imaginable awareness, let us say that in deep sleep, awareness is in its causal form, the inert energy, just like the golden jewel on destruction is in the form of its cause, the lump of gold. Imaginable awareness or awareness can be called inert energy just like the golden jewel is called gold. Finally, the conclusion is that  awareness exists in both the states of awaken and dream states, but disappears in the state of deep sleep. Awareness or consciousness or individual soul are one and the same item. Nobody is aware of or experiences the ignorance of everything in deep sleep. A student may say “I am totally ignorant in this subject taught by you” and you must note that the student told this statement in awaken state or even in dream state, but not in the state of deep sleep!