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Archive for March 27th, 2013

Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 22:33:20 -0000
To: AM-GLOBAL
From: mahesh/matt mjp@broadview…
Subject: Sleep: Useful & Harmful

Baba

This entire email is composed of 4 parts:
(1) Posting: Sleep: Useful & Harmful
(2) Reader Comment: Re: Baba Story: Baba Is As Pure As The Ganges
(3) Trailer Quote: Easiest Way To Memorise Anything
(4) Prabhat Samgiita #3752;

== SLEEP: USEFUL & HARMFUL ==

Namaskar,
There are three types of sleep: (a) spiritual slumber where one has no interest in sadhana; (b) psychic sleep where one has no interest in the intellectual sphere; they may have a lot of physical energy and they may be devotionally inclined, but intellectually they are deficient; and, (c) physical sleep. In this letter we are talking about physical sleep.

COMMON TO ALL

Some who are not familiar with proper sleeping habits may (a) sleep after paincajanya, (b) stay awake late into the night gossiping or watching movies or playing video games etc, (c) or engage in other types of unhealthy sleeping patterns. But all such ways are to be avoided.

As we all know, Baba guides us in various places that sleep plays a highly unique role in the life of each and every being of this universe. Sleep is not just a waste of time – but rather satisfies a very special function for the body & mind. Baba has graciously provided us with all the do’s and don’ts regarding sleep, as well as how it benefits human existence. One of the chief benefits of sleep is that it is a time when the body is given opportunity to repair itself. The cells, the glands, the organs all get repaired when one sleeps. Thus, sleep plays a vital role in human health. We should all pay heed to Baba’s following guidelines to maximize the benefit of sleep and optimize the body’s ability to repair itself.

WHEN HUMANS SHOULD SLEEP

As a general health rule that pertains to every human being, Baba specifically states that human beings should sleep during the night – not during the day.

“Sleeping during the day and staying awake at night are to be avoided.” (1)

WHY SLEEPING AT NIGHT IS BENEFICIAL

In Senior Acarya Diary, Baba clearly explains how and why nighttime sleeping is beneficial for human beings. His main point being that the pattern of keeping awake in the daytime and sleeping at night helps the body restore and revitalise itself. By this way, the blood cells, nerves, and glands of the human body get restored and charged. Because sunlight has a generating effect on the human body and moonlight makes one feel more tired. And other biological and natural effects are also linked with maintaining this type of sleep cycle (2).

That is why human beings feel fresh and revitalised in the morning. Because sleeping at night helps humans repair their body and regain their energy level – both mentally and physically.

In the same chapter of Senior Acarya Diary, Baba reveals that there are various animals who derive benefits by following an opposite approach to sleeping and living. These are nocturnal beings – but for humans this approach is not good.

PROPER SLEEPING PATTERNS CURE DISEASE

A proper sleep cycle – i.e. sleeping at night – also plays an important role in the curing and treatments of various diseases such as: Acidity, indigestion, heart disease, white leprosy, and cancer etc. In His book, Yogic Treatment, under the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ section Baba warns patients not to adopt a reverse sleeping pattern.

“Sleeping during the day, staying awake at night… are to be strictly avoided.” (3)

So not in one place but in numerous instances throughout the book Baba issues this same warning – otherwise the disease cannot be cured. So following an improper sleep pattern is hazardous to one’s health.

DON’T SLEEP TOO MUCH

At the same time, sleeping excess amounts during the night is not good for the human existence. So people – especially sadhakas – should be very attentive to how much sleep they are getting, i.e. we should all be careful not to oversleep.

“The ancient people believed that excessive sleep is good for health, but this is not the case. Rather, too much sleep not only impairs the health, but has an adverse effect on the mind.” (4)

SECRETS FOR A LONG LIFE

To maximize human longevity, Baba has given a short list of very important guidelines. And two of those are related with our sleep-awake cycle. Hence there are numerous benefits to maintaining a proper sleep schedule – one of which is longevity of life.

In His secrets for a long life, Baba has given these points:

(A) “Going to sleep as soon as one feels sleepy.” (5)

As we can all understand, in the above directive, Baba is guiding us not to force the body to remain awake late at night. This should not become our regular way of living. Sometimes due to pressure of circumstance it may be unavoidable, but that should be minimized. Remember, the body enters into sleep mode in order to repair itself. If one continues to press the body beyond its limits by staying up late and not giving it the rest it needs, the body will not be adequately restored. On the opposite end of the spectrum, nor should one lie down in bed before they feel ready to go to sleep. So our standard practice should be to sleep when tiredness overcomes one’s existence – i.e. “when one feels sleepy”. And, as far as possible, through developing a regular habit, one should sleep each night at the same time, at a proper time that is not too late. That is the basic idea of Baba’s teaching.

(B) “Getting out of bed in the Bra’hma Muhu’rtta [just prior to sunrise]” (6)

In this second directive, as is quite evident, Baba is guiding us to arise before daylight hours. That means getting up for paincjanaya and then staying awake. Some sadhakas wake up for paincjanya and then go back to sleep for 1, 2, or even 3 hours. Or one might justify to themselves that since they woke up for paincjanya then they can sleep again just after lunch etc. But this is not Baba’s system. Arising in the pre-dawn hour means concluding one’s sleep at that point and beginning one’s spiritual routine of meditation and asanas and bathing and then later taking food and attending to one’s allotted daily duties, work, and pracara activities etc. And one should not return back to bed until the end of day.

Hence, following a standard sleep pattern of ‘early to bed & early to rise’ is an optimal approach for human beings. According to Ananda Marga philosophy, sleep is instrumental in leading a long and healthy life.

THOSE SUSCEPTIBLE TO POOR SLEEP PATTERNS

It is often seen that students, in particular, adopt an unhealthy sleeping pattern. They stay awake late into the night to attend to their studies and then they arise in the mid-morning – hours after sunrise. Part of the reason for this is that they find it easier to study when it is quiet and the mid hours of the night provide such an environment. This is especially true in so-called third world countries where all family members are living in the same house. And students in overseas areas often remain awake at night either to due extreme busyness in life or due to procrastination. In any event, if at all possible students should adjust their routines according to Baba’s guidelines.

It is also seen that those attending to a Mon-Fri work week, often like to “sleep-in” on Saturdays and Sundays. Some students also like to do this. But this also is not a healthy practice. Then there are some people who we call “night owls”. There are various professors and internet fanatics etc who spend large portions of the night glued to their various endeavours – and then they sleep far into the day. Unfortunately in this circumstance, the human body cannot be maintained for long in this type of backwards routine.

POOR SLEEP PATTERNS ADVERSELY AFFECT MEMORY

Here is one critical point related with sleeping and memory. While asleep, no one has the awareness to know that they are sleeping. There is a sense of emptiness or vacuity.

“Nidrá, one of the main propensities. “Abhávapratyayá lambaniivrttih Nidra”. Nidra (sleep) is a propensity which brings vacuity in mind. In human beings the propensity that brings forth blankness is itself Nidrá. Suppose, you are resting on your bed. Your eyes are on the watch, you fall sleep, but when you get up, you fail to say at what moment actually you slept. Between sleeping and rising things occurred of which you are ignorant. There was vacuum, neither you were seeing anything nor hearing anything. This state of vacuity is Nidrá.” (7)

Whereas if you are eating or walking, one is keenly aware they are eating and walking. That is the case with your daily activities; one’s conscious mind is active. Even when you prepare for sleep, you remember that. But once one falls asleep, one does not know they are sleeping.

Indeed, a person can document all they did during the day, but when sleeping that period is a blank – one does not know what they are doing. In the thread of memory, there is a gap.

So those who sleep in the daytime create more gaps in their memory. In taking short naps throughout the day, there will be a growing gap in one’s memory. That brings dullness and dumbness. One’s intellectual sharpness decreases.

Here is the proof.

Let’s say one morning you read a chapter of a book and finish it by 11am. And then from 11am to 11:30am you remain awake and involve in other projects, then at 11:30am you will have a solid recollection of that chapter. In contrast, if you read a chapter from the same book and finish it by 11am, but then sleep from 11am – 11:30am, then at 11:30am your recollection of that chapter will not be as sharp. It will be comparatively worse than if you had remained awake. It will be faded or feel like a more distant memory. When you sleep then those events that occurred directly before sleep become more distant memories, whereas if you remain awake those events are more clearly recalled.

Sleeping one time in a 24-hour period is ok, but more than that is not good. Those who sleep more become dumb. Their power of recollection, i.e. memory, will wane.

Here are more teachings from Ananda Marga philosophy on this subject of sleep.

“EXTREMELY FRIGHTENED BY THEIR DREAMS”

“Sleep: Due to excessive physical and mental labour, the nerve-cells and nerve-fibres become fatigued and demand relaxation, forcing the conscious mind to cease functioning and producing the state of sleep. Often the subconscious ceases also, leaving only the unconscious to continue the work of the brain. However, sometimes the nerve-cells begin functioning during the latter part of the night, due to sudden heat in the back portion of the cranium or to an upward movement of gastric wind. The subconscious mind accordingly starts thinking or remembering, producing dreams. In the absence of the functioning of the conscious mind, these products of the subconscious are accepted as true and practical. Sometimes the dreamer actually believes that he is flying, for the non-functioning of the conscious mind prevents him from perceiving this idea to be pure imagination. Some people become extremely frightened by their dreams and produce inarticulate mutterings of fear; at times dreamers even die of heart failure. To assist a person out of a disturbing dream it helps to bring the person’s hands or feet into contact with the ground, for this aids the conscious mind in beginning to function again.” (8)

MORE SLEEP IS NOT BETTER

“Nidrá [sleep]. A person who is given to too much sleep can never perform big things in life. A person who sleeps too long spends half of his or her lifetime in sleep only. So how will he or she find time to do noble deeds? Human life, after all, is not very long; and of that short span of life, if half is wasted on sleep only, then there will hardly be any time left for doing noble deeds. That’s why it is said, a person who is given to too much sleep can never aspire to attain the peak of progress in life. Sleep is necessary for health, but many people wrongly think that the more one sleeps, the better it is for health. That is wrong. Human beings go to sleep because they want to work more. While working for long periods the body gets tired, and then only does one take sleep, just to get back fresh energy for work.” (9)

“SENTIENT TRANSPARENCY IN THE CITTA”

“Daylight imposes mutative influence on the human nerves and night-time imposes a static influence, causing the inertness of sleep in the body and mind. The periods of sunrise, sunset, moon and midnight (the sandhyás) bring about a sentient transparency in the Citta.” (Subhasita Samgraha – 3, Vibration, Form and Colour)

Namaskar,
in Him,
Mahesh

References
1. Ananda Marga Carycarya – 3, ‘General Health Rules’, pt #9
2. Reference: ‘Pranayama’ Chapter
3. Yogic Treatments, ‘Cancer Chapter’
4. Yogic Treatments, ‘Cancer Chapter’
5. Caryacarya – 3, Appendix, point #3
6. Caryacarya – 3, Appendix, point #8
7. Yoga & Bhakti
8. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 23, Samádhi, Senselessness and Sleep
9. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 31, Sleep and Inertia

Note 1: FOR HEALTHY ADULTS

The points expressed in this letter are for healthy adults. Children need more sleep and small infants will sleep most of the time. Also, those who are sick or aged will need more rest to restore themselves as their bodily needs are different. Thus this letter about sleep is directly for those who are healthy adults.

Note 2: NOCTURNAL BEINGS

Not all animals follow the same schedule as humans. Here following is a list of those animals that are nocturnal– i.e. they sleep during the day and remain awake at night:

African hunting dog
Amethyst python
Armadillo
Aye-aye
Badger
Bandicoot
Bat
Beaver
Bullfrog
Bushbaby
Cassowary
Cat
Coyote
Deer
Deer mouse
Dobsonfly
Douroucouli
Echidna
Fennec
Firefly
Flying squirrel
Red Fox
Gecko
Gerbil
Ghost crab
Green Sea Turtle
Hamster
Snowshoe hare
Harvest mouse
Hedgehog
Heron
Hippopotamus
Hyena
Kangaroo rat
Kiwi
Koala
Leopard
Loris
Lumholtz tree-climbing kangaroo
Moth
Nightjar
Oilbird
Okapi
Opossum
Owl
Pangolin
Periwinkle
Possum
Potto
Raccoon
Rainforest dingo
Rat
Red-legged pademelon
Rhinoceros
Skunk
Sugar glider
Tiger
Tree frog
Weasel
Whippoorwill
White-tailed uromys
Wolf
Woodcock

As noted above, humans are not on the above list as being nocturnal.

**********************************

Subject: Re: Baba Story: Baba Is As Pure As The Ganges
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2013 21:04:11 -0700 (PDT)
From: Nagaraja Rao
To: AM-GLOBAL

Namaskar all:

This is the type of story about BABA we need to hear more and more in these turbulent times in AMPS. I was very lucky to have known Shashiranjanjii , then a member of parliament. With all the power he had held I found him to be the most humble man without ego. This is indeed very unusual for a politician as they think they are the saviours of this universe. He was indeed a great devotee of Lord Baba.

Nagaraja Rao USA

The section below demarcated by asterisks is an entirely different topic,
completely unrelated to the above material. It stands on its own as a point of interest.

**********************************
Easiest Way To Memorise Anything

Baba’s below teaching discloses the reason why our scripture has been composed in the genre of poetry: Because poetry is easy to memorise. For this reason, Baba has composed our scripture – i.e. Ananda Sutram and Prabhat Samgiita – in poetic verse.

“In the absence of rhythm it is difficult to memorize. That is why since ancient times, for 15,000 years, the common practice has been to bring every valuable branch of knowledge within the scope of rhythm. Human beings do not easily forget rhythm. One may forget the contents of knowledge, but not the rhythm. That is why all Vedic Rks were composed in 7 meters. All literary compositions were brought within the gamut of the seven Vedic metres…as they are valuable for the memory.” (Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell – 5, p. 353)

If you want to learn or memorize anything, the easiest way is to set it to rhythm. One paragraph of prose is very difficult to memorise, but 1 stanza of a poem, shloka, or song is comparatively easy to memorise. Rhythm helps in memorising anything.

That is why in their infancy, children are introduced to language via rhythm is nursery rhymes and songs etc. By this way they can quickly learn and advance.

In the distant past, before the invention of any script and before paper came into vogue, people used to keep everything in their mind. There were no books or other media as we see nowadays: Audio, video, writings, etc. There was nothing.

So when there was no way to store ideas or teachings on paper or cassette, then there was no option but to store it all in their memory. The only way to do that was to create rhythmic poetry. So all those past yogis, rishis, sages, thinkers, and munis put their realization in shloka, poem, or any kind of rhythmic expression like vedas, purana etc. Even when script started, most people did not know how to read or write, so those thinkers also put their teachings into poetic verse. This happened all across the globe.

This is not only for those of the past. Today also if you want to memorise anything then put it in rhythmic form. Cunning advertisers create jingles or rhymes to influence consumers and film-makers do the same.

So to keep something readily in the mind then take help of a rhythmic flow, otherwise it will be very difficult to store that in your memory. For this reason Baba has given the key of Ananda Marga teachings – i.e. Ananda Sutram – in poetic form, and Prabhat Samgiita as well. And in virtually every discourse He has included a shloka. By that way – by memorizing one rhythmic shloka – one can get the seed idea of the entire discourse. That is how to memorize that entire discourse in key form.

In His series of discourses on the Faculty of Knowledge, Baba has given so many points about memory and rhythm.

**********************************

Prabhat Samgiita

PS Intro: In this song the devotee is addressing Parama Purus’a in a very indirect manner.

“Ba’ndhan jetha’y ceyechilum se ba’ndhan keno na’ elo…” (P.S. 3752)

Purport:

The Divine Bond – “Ba’ndhan” – which I was looking for, why has that Divine Bond not come. He, that Divine Bond, is the darkness of my nights as well as the effulgence of my days; He is my everything. Alas, He is remaining far.

By His grace, I wanted my loving devotional link with Him to gradually grow closer & closer through the sweet ideation of my Ista mantra, different lessons, dhyana etc, all the ways which He shows up to samadhi – until ultimately becoming one with Him. I was also thinking that by calling Him constantly with the repetition of my mantra & heartfelt feeling, then He will bless me by His august advent in His absolute and divine form in my Guru cakra. In that way, by His grace I will get His extreme proximity and oneness. Alas, He is remaining far.

I was also desiring that He will attract me close to Him by showering His divine love and infusing a sweet intimate relation. Thus by falling in love with Him, His divinity will descend in my unit existence. Naturally, my heart will feel love for His vast creation – as the neo-humanistic feeling will sprout in my heart, by His grace. Then each and every manifestation of this grand universe will emanate His effulgence. Alas, He is remaining far.

Those sadhakas who are blessed by Him and engaged in pointed, arduous meditation, by His grace, they surely love all beings. Baba, You are my divine bond, please grace me by keeping me deep within Your bosom…

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