Episode # 13 – Significance of proper SLEEP for a person – Its different stages!!!

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In the previous episode we had commenced looking into the Vidura-Neeti, sandwiched within the Udyoga Parva of the Mahaabhaarata text. In the previous episode we had seen King Dhirdhiraashtra expressing his problems of lack of sleep to Vidura and thus we witnessed his pitiful situation.

Normally, a person will not get proper sleep due to two main reasonsOne is because of innumerable problems plaguing him/her in some way. The other might be due to the love that he/she maybe having towards husband/wife/fiancé. However, King Dhirdhiraashtra’s situation is not of the second variety and hence we shall not go into detailed discussion about the second aspect. What is going to be Vidura’s answers for King Dhirdhiraashtra’s concerns? Let’s see them starting today. Why is King Dhirdhiraashtra unable to sleep?

“Jaagratho dahyamaanasya shreyoyadhanu pashyati!

That bruhi tvam hi nastaatha dharmaartha kushalohyasi!!” 

Thus from the above sloka, King Dhirdhiraashtra requests Vidura, who is an embodiment of Dharma to help him out of his problems by giving some advice! Now, Vidura starts answering King Dhirdhiraashtra by posing some important counter questions to King Dhirdhiraashtra. Each and every word that Vidura is now going to use, is of extreme importance. If a person is unable to sleep within just 10 minutes after hitting the bed, it is imperative that he/she is having issues to cope with.

Before we go into Vidura’s questions, let us look at something very important with regards to proper sleep. We can categorize sleep into four important stages: Jaagrad-dasha,Svaapa Dasha, Sushupthi-Dasha and Thureeya-Dasha. I shall give a brief about each of the four stages. The first one is Jaagrad-Dasha – This is the stage where our senses and mind are completely awake and active. The next stage is Swaapa Dasha – During this stage, our eyes are closed and we are lying on the bed already. However, our mind is active at this stage and is not shut down. To an extent, research has proved that it is only because our mind is active during sleep dreams occur. Thus we can say that all our dreams during sleep occurs when we are at the second stage of our sleep, which is the “Swaapa Dasha”. If we are at this second stage, we’re still yet to go into deep sleep. Many a times, we might observe that if we have a lengthy dream during our sleep and wake up in the morning with that hangover, it means that our sleep has not gone into the next stage, but stagnated in the Swaapa-Dasha itself. This implies that our body hasn’t rested well. Hence, we would feel extremely tired physically and mentally, for the whole of the next day! Thus it is to be understood that we would go into the deep sleep mode only if we are able to sleep without dreams.

The next stage is the “Susupti-Dasha”. This is the stage where we go into the deep sleep mode. Both our mind and body is at complete peace and rest. The more time our body goes into this “Susupti-Dasha” mode, the more fresh and energetic our body would be when we wake up next day morning. According to scientific evidences, we need to be in this “Susupti Dasha” for atleast four to five hours a day. We should note that our normal sleep time in bed would be some 7-8 hours, of which, a minimum of 4 hours is needed for our body to be in this “Susupti-Dasha”. The body to attain this Susupti-Dasha would use the other 2-3 hours that are remaining. Thus in order to attain this Susupti-Dasha” state, one should forget all the problems, he/she faces in day-to-day life, forget who said what and forget the entire world around him/her.

However, this might not be the case for great Maharishis or Mahaatmaas. In these cases, they would directly be able to transcend into the “Susupti-Dasha” straightaway once they lie down. It is because, they’ve got all their senses and mind under their complete control and hence for them, these four hours of deep sleep is more than sufficient. The main significance of this Susupti-Dasha is that, it is at this time our “Aatma” (Soul), senses and body would get merged with the ultimate “Brahman” (Divine). It is thus, we get “recharged” or “re-energized” completely! Just like how we recharge our mobile phone with electric power when its battery goes down, we recharge our bodies with the “Brahman” every might via the “Susupti-Dasha”.

There are a few more aspects to be explained about the importance of sleep for our body. Let us stay tuned for the next episode to find out! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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