Monday, February 16, 2009

Ramana Maharshi : Is not sleep state nearer to pure Consciousness than the waking state

Question : Relatively speaking, is not the sleep state nearer to pure Consciousness than the waking state ?
Ramana Maharshi : Yes, in this sense: when passing from sleep to waking the `I'-thought [individual self] must start and the mind must come into play. Then thoughts arise and 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 recognized 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 on 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 realize the Self.

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