Part V — Questions and answers: University of New Mexico

FFB 172-178. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 24 April 1974 — 8:30 pm.

Question: Do you always sleep at night as you did before you reached cosmic consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Cosmic consciousness and sleep are two different things. Once one has achieved cosmic consciousness he does not lose his cosmic consciousness even in his sleep. It becomes part and parcel of his own existence. Suppose you have an object in your hand. Even while you are fast asleep you can still keep that object in your hand. Similarly, when you have become one with the cosmic consciousness, with Divinity itself, it is within you. But when one achieves the cosmic consciousness or realises God, he does not have to sleep seven or eight hours every night. One or two hours is more than enough for the realised soul. And this rest he takes because he feels sorry for the body, which every day enters into the battlefield of life. If he has students or disciples, he has to enter into their problems consciously and devotedly. Then, his body-consciousness needs and deserves some rest. If he does not sleep, it will not tell upon his health; but he may feel sorry for the physical body. So he will give the body some rest. Many people sleep out of habit or lethargy. Some people sleep eight hours, ten hours, eleven hours, twelve hours. But we have to know how much sleep the body actually needs, not how much the body demands. I wish to say that more than seven hours is not necessary for any individual. In the beginning, if somebody is weak, if he has some physical ailment, then naturally he will take more sleep. But if his health is sound, then seven hours is more than enough for any seeker to start with. If a sincere seeker sleeps more than seven hours, that means he is making friends with ignorance.

Now, in my case, I take a few hours' rest a night — sometimes two hours, sometimes three hours. But sometimes for many nights in a row I will not sleep — not because of my personal problems, but because of the problems of my disciples. I have to solve their problems before the day dawns. Of course these are also my problems, since I have accepted my spiritual students as my own.

The sleep of a God-realised soul is not like the sleep of ordinary people. When ordinary people are sleeping, at that time they are totally oblivious of the world around them. But when a real spiritual Master sleeps for two hours or so, even then he is inseparably one with the soul and the soul's light. The body takes rest, but his meditation is extremely profound. You may stand in front of him and see him snoring, but afterwards he will be able to tell you where he has been and what he has been doing. He will also be able to tell you what has been happening on the physical plane. Even during his sleep he is one with the soul, he is observing and meditating and bringing down Light for the earth-consciousness and for his dear ones, his spiritual children. In the case of a real spiritual Master who has attained the universal consciousness, his sleep is perfectly conscious.