Episode # 81 – Detrimental effects of “Excessive sleep” – An important message from Vidura!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed the last of the “five” as explained by Vidura in which he had given an important accord on the importance of controlling all the five senses together – Eyes, nose, tongue, touch and ears. Here the stress is on the fact that even if one of these five senses go in an undesired way, the rest of the four would also follow suit! How important is this explanation in our modern day life too! We’ve witnessed couple of examples in this regard to prove the point.

Now moving on to the next explanation, here Vidura is going to explain six items in each sloka. So far, we’ve seen one, two, three, four and five items in each of the slokas. Now we’re going to see slokas that are packed with six aspects in each. Let us now witness the first such sloka:

“Shatdoshaaha purusheneva hathavyaaha bhoothimichhathaa!”

Here Vidura is explaining that if a person is desiring to attain a sustainable growth in life, he should let go of six important things. What are those six things that a person should compromise, so as to attain success in life?

“Nidraa tandraa bhayam krodha aalasyam dheerga soothrathaa!!”

The explanation is crystal clear here. The six things to be sacrificed for sustainable growth are, “Nidraa” (Excessive sleep), Tandra (Giddiness because of excessive sleep), “Bhayam” (Unwanted fear), “Krodha” (Unnecessary anger), “Aalasyam” (Laziness) and “Dheerga soothrathaa” (Procrastination). Now let us witness each of it in detail.

If we’ve to talk about “Nidraa” all of us now that this terminology in Sanskrit language denotes “Sleep”. We’ve already witnessed considerable amount of explanation with regards to sleep in our earlier episodes. Of course now we know the different stages of sleep – “Susupti Dasa”, “Swaapa Dasa”, “Jaagra Dasa” and “Turiya Dasa” and how much of sleep is required for a normal individual in day-to-day life. Our readers can recollect these terminologies from our earlier discussions pertaining to this topic. However the question here is that, why do we need sleep and to what extent do we need to sleep?

The purpose of sleep is not to keep on sleeping! 🙂 The main purpose of sleeping is to refresh all our body parts and senses and to reenergize them from the state of tiredness. Sleep is important because our mind gets adequate rest and with that, it is rejuvenated. Hence, our sleep should be for a time period wherein only these important purposes are fulfilled. Excessive sleep is something that we need to avoid in life! Some people will go to bed just because it is 10 PM. If we go to bed this way, we will never get proper sleep. Only if our body is tired and exhausted, will we get sleep immediately after hitting the bed!

For instance, why do we see people who perform extensive backbreaking labor sleep well? It is because of their excessive physical work and the body becomes extremely tired at the end of the day! However people like us who are not that much active physically would not be able to sleep a lot like the labourers do. However, whatever little time we sleep, we should be able to get that deep sleep. For this, there are many “Aasanas” and exercises in Yoga. Today we celebrate the “International Yoga Day” and so it’s a good opportunity for us to appreciate the significance of Yoga-Aasanas to obtain a sound sleep for the stipulated time period.

Hence the important message from today’s episode is that, sleep is extremely important for us. Sleep should be for the purpose of rejuvenating our body and mind and should be strictly restricted to a particular time period (Maybe 6 hours per day). Excessive sleep is bad and detrimental to our well-being and we should make sure that we do not fall into this trap of sleeping more than the stipulated time period.

Why should we avoid excessive sleeping? It is because our body becomes more and more inactive and eventually leads us to laziness and giddiness. The next two aspects “Tandra” (Giddiness) and “Aalasyam(Laziness) are derivatives of excessive sleeping. The state of “Tandra” is because of the inactiveness of the mind and the state of “Aalasyam” is because of the inactiveness of the body. This is why even in the modern day, when we see people who sleep a lot, it would seem as if they’re drunk and trying to come out of a hangover. They would not be able to concentrate and focus on the given task to be completed. This is because, the mind and body is pushed into a state of inactiveness and it becomes very difficult to come out of that state if we sleep for more than the stipulated time period. Thus the root cause of both “Tandra” and “Aalasyam” is nothing but “Excessive sleep” and it is for this reason we say that this should be avoided.

The last two things – “Bhayam”, “Krodha” and “Dheerga Soothrathaa(Fear, Anger and Procrastination) are nothing but derivatives of “Aalasyam” and “Tandra”. Our physical and mental laziness leads to anger and frustration because we’re unable to perform our duties meticulously. Because of this, we get into unwanted fear of “what if someone asks something”. Hence we can see here that excessive sleeping (Nidraa) is the root cause of innumerable problems in our everyday life and we should make sure that we keep a check or a vigil on the number of hours we sleep every day.

For today let us do introspection within ourselves on how many hours we sleep every day! If we’re sleeping in excess of six hours every day, we really need to think again! We should try meticulously to bring down our number of sleeping hours and maintain it at 6-7, which is good for both our physical and our mental well-being. We shall wait till the next episode to witness the next six things that Vidura is going to explain. Stay tuned! 🙂

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 International School of Business & Media, Pune, 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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