Faith

Slumber and meditation

A day is said to be divided into five parts for worship — abhigamana, upaadaana, ijya, svaadhyaya and yoga. One has to get up early and prepare for worship (abhigamana). Upaadaana means collecting all the materials needed for worship. Uncavritti, that is obtaining rice grains as bhiksa, is a part of upaadaana. Ijya is actual worship of the Lord. Svaadhyaya is the study of the scriptures. Yoga means meditation and when we lie down to sleep, we should do so in an attitude of meditation.

There are rules governing how one lies down to sleep and how one should rise from bed, said Valayapet Ramachariar in a discourse. Before sitting down to eat, we should wash our feet. But we should not wipe our feet dry. Again, when we go to bed, we should wash our feet, but we must wipe them dry. We see how meticulously Lakshmana followed this rule. Before Rama goes to sleep in the forest, Lakshmana washes and wipes His feet.

But why should there be such rules regarding sleep? Sleep is when the atma reaches the Paramatma. In a state of deep slumber, the Jivatma loses its sense of identity and rests in the Paramatma. It does not mean that the Jivatma merges with the Paramatma. Nor is it the state where through jnana a Jivatma reaches the feet of the Paramatma. That is a permanent state. What happens during sleep is temporary. When the person wakes up, he gets back his sense of identity and his mind and indriyas begin to function again.

So, when one wakes up, one should not get up in a hurry. One should sit up as gently like a pregnant woman who is mindful of the baby she carries in her womb. One should sit up for a few minutes and only then should one rise.


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 11:13:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/slumber-and-meditation/article22623749.ece

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