NAMAH Journal
Moving Forward
New Issue
About us
Contact us
Publication Ethics
Other Publications
Print version

Namah Journal


The supreme rest*

The Mother

Mother, you said that the sleep before midnight gives us most rest...

Physically, yes.


Ah! I said that through personal experience and then that... There’s no why about it, is there? Everyone should find this out for himself, or not find it out. But I have heard from those who are interested in earth-chemistry that there are certain rays — (turning to Pavitra) isn’t that so? Tell us, do you know about it? — sun-rays which remain active in the atmosphere till midnight, and other rays which become active afterwards, and these give you strength and those draw it out of you. But there are many things like that; at least this, you understand, is something we hear of or read in books. I am giving it to you for what it is worth, I know nothing. Somebody who is very well up in the subject could give you a fuller explanation. (Laughing) But certain things are true, in practice. I cannot say why; perhaps they are only personal things! But still, I have heard of a similar experience from others also. For instance, you go into the sea, remain there a few minutes and you come out full of strength. You go into the sea and remain in it for an hour and you come out completely exhausted! Even with a hot bath it is the same thing. You have a hot bath; you are very tired; you get into it; you remain there at the most for a moment; you come out and feel quite fresh. You remain there for a quarter of an hour, you come out, you have lost all your strength, your energy, there’s nothing left, you are drained out.

I tell you this, I cannot speak to you with any competence about the reason, but the fact is there. It is like that. For myself I have an explanation, but it is good only for me, it does not work for others. So it is useless.

As for these stages of sleep which are spoken about here, if one is conscious of one’s nights, one can cover them in a few minutes. One does not need to wait for hours of sleep to do this, you understand; if one is conscious, one can pass through all that in a few minutes. To begin with, when one is conscious of one’s nights, the first thing to do before falling fast asleep, just in the state when one begins to relax, relax all one’s nerves — I have explained this to you already, one relaxes all the nerves and lets oneself go... like this... you know — well, at that moment, one must relax very carefully all mental activity and make that quiet, as quiet as possible, and not go off to sleep until the mind is quite calm. Then you escape quite a long period of useless excitement which is extremely tiring. If you can so manage that the mind relaxes and enters into a complete peace first, your sleep will immediately become very peaceful and very refreshing; naturally, your vital must not be in a turmoil, for then, in that case, it will take you into all sorts of places and make you commit all kinds of stupidities, and the result will be that you will wake up even more tired than when you went to sleep.

But if you are conscious, after having calmed your vital, when you begin to come out from your physical consciousness and enter a more subtle consciousness, you put your vital to sleep, you say to it, “Rest now, keep very quiet”, and then you enter your mental activity and say to the mind, “Rest now, remain very quiet”, and you put it to sleep also; and then you come out of the mind into a higher region, and there, if it begins to interest you, for instance, if it is the first time you have gone there, you may look at what is happening, have your experience, learn things — at times one learns very interesting things; and then, sometimes one can become aware of a certain general state also, have ideas about other people, other things; it is interesting! And later, if you have had enough of this, you say, “Keep quiet, sleep, don’t move”, and you put that to sleep, and rise to a still higher consciousness, and so on, till you reach a state where you are on the borders of form, I am not speaking of physical form — on the borders of all form, much higher than the form of thought, naturally; on the borders of all form and all vibration, in the perfect silence, what here we call Sachchidananda. And when you are there, everything stops, all vibrations subside, and if you remain there just three minutes, you come back to your body absolutely rested, refreshed, fortified, as though you had slept for hours! This is something one can learn to do. I don’t say it can be done overnight, a little work is necessary and also some persistence, but still... this one must learn to do; and when you are very anxious, very tired, very... for instance, when you have just undergone violent attacks from hostile forces in one form or another and are very tired, if you follow this process consciously, well, within a few minutes all that disappears completely. It is something worth learning. Only, one must be very, very, very persevering, for... Wait a bit, I am going to tell you something more about it.

When I began studying occultism, I became aware that — just when I began to work upon my nights in order to make them conscious — I became aware that there was between the subtle-physical and the most material vital a small region, very small, which was not sufficiently developed to serve as a conscious link between the two activities. So what took place in the consciousness of the most material vital did not get translated exactly in the consciousness of the most subtle physical. Some of it got lost on the way because it was like a — not positively a void but something only half-conscious, not sufficiently developed. I knew there was only one way, that was to work to develop it. I began working. This happened sometime about the month of February, I believe. One month, two months, three, four, no result. We go on. Five months, six months... it was at the end of July or the beginning of August. I left Paris, the house I was staying in, and went to the countryside, quite a small place on the seashore, to stay with some friends who had a garden. Now, in that garden there was a lawn — you know what a lawn is, don’t you? grass — where there were flowers and around it some trees. It was a fine place, very quiet, very silent. I lay on the grass, like this, flat on my stomach, my elbows in the grass, and then suddenly all the life of that Nature, all the life of that region between the subtle-physical and the most material vital, which is very living in plants and in Nature, all that region became all at once, suddenly, without any transition, absolutely living, intense, conscious, marvellous; and this was the result, wasn’t it?, of six months of work which had given nothing. I had not noticed anything; but just a little condition like that and the result was there! It is like the chick in the egg, yes! It is there for a very long time and yet one sees nothing at all. And one wonders whether there is indeed a chick in the egg; and then, suddenly “Tick!”, there is a tiny hole, you know, and then everything bursts and out comes the chick! It is quite ready, but it took all that time to be formed; that’s how it is. When you want to prepare something within you, that is how it is, it is like the chick in the egg. You need a very long time, and this without having the least result, never getting discouraged, and continuing your effort, absolutely regularly, as though you had eternity before you and, moreover, as though you were quite disinterested about the result. You do the work because you do it. And then, suddenly, one day, it bursts and you see before you the full result of your work.

But you understand, don’t you? One speaks like this, very easily, of becoming conscious of one’s nights, having control over one’s sleep-activities and all sorts of things of this kind, but you need to do many such little works like the one I have just described to you. Many of these are needed to obtain this result. When one is accomplished, you realise that there is another missing, and when this is done, you realise there is still another, and so on, until one fine day you can do what I said, and you go from one plane to another, like that, putting all to rest, until you come out of all activity and enter the supreme rest, consciously. It is worth the trouble.

* Heading provided by the Editor.

*The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 6. Cent. ed. Pondicherry:Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 1979, pp. 184-8.

Share with us (Comments,contributions,opinions)

When reproducing this feature, please credit NAMAH,and give the byline. Please send us cuttings.



Relax before sleep


The Mother