Question: How can we stay conscious when we're sleeping?

Sri Chinmoy: In your case, since you only meditate a half hour or an hour a day, it is not possible. If one wants to be fully alert during sleep and not disturbed by vital, emotional forces or wrong movements, then one has to meditate at least six and a half hours daily. And in that meditation one cannot all the time be looking at the clock to see how many hours have gone by. One may not watch the time, but he must know that he is meditating at least six hours daily. If one can meditate consciously for six or seven hours — and not only for a day or two, but for a few months, perhaps even a few years — then only can one be fully conscious during sleep. At that time he will be able to know which plane his soul is moving in during sleep. Like a bird, the soul flies from this plane to that plane during sleep, and one can be fully conscious of this movement if he meditates.

But I do not advise one who has plenty of work to do in his office or at school to meditate six or seven hours a day. First of all, if the vital is not pure, it will immediately create problems greater than the achievement in meditation. The person will lose his mental balance and will have to go to a mental asylum. Gradually one can work up to six hours a day. It is like exercising the body; every day you take exercise and gradually you develop your muscles. Then you feel strong and others feel you are strong. Similarly, you have to start with fifteen minutes or half an hour of meditation and gradually increase it. In the spiritual world, you cannot push or pull or do things by force. Slowly and steadily you run towards the Goal. At each step you have to be confident of what you are doing. If you have been meditating for half an hour, you can try to meditate for forty-five minutes or an hour, but from half an hour please do not jump to six and a half hours.

If you cannot meditate for six hours, which you cannot and must not try right now, before you go to bed I wish you to breathe purity into your system consciously for five minutes. During the day, many wrong things have taken place. Impurity, ugliness and many other undivine forces have entered into your physical body. But if you establish purity in your system at night, you will get a little conscious sleep, although not the kind that you will have when you have meditated for six or eight hours a day. Without some purity, what most of us call sleep is not sleep at all. It is death. During sleep we live in the world of the dead, the world of inertia and inconscience.