How to induce sleep

If we live a normal life then sleep is natural and there is no need to induce it artificially. But due to our hectic lifestyle and unnatural habits we lose our natural patterns of sleep. So first thing which we can do to have a nice sleep is regulate our daily schedule, switch off the lights and go to sleep at a fixed time daily. But if we cannot sleep even after regulating the lifestyle then below I am giving some tips which can help to have a good sleep.

1. Doing some exercise daily can help to achieve a good sleep. Simple exercises like walking, swimming, cycling  etc. can help us to regain our sleep.

2. Giving up coffee, smoking, alcohol can help us to achieve sleep.

3. Taking bath of warm water before going to bed can help us to have good sleep.

If we cannot sleep even after implementing the practices mentioned above then below I am telling few techniques which we can use at the exact time when we enter into bed.

1. Most basic technique is if you want to sleep then forget about sleep and try to stay awake, but don't move around and don't watch TV or use mobile.

2. Practice some deep breathing which will send your brain signals of slowing down and it will respond positively for sleep.

3. Start counting 1 to 100, then stop at 100 and start counting in reverse order from 100 to 1. It is very much possible that you will lose the count and forget about it. Don't bother about remembering counting all the time. If you forget counting then it is a sign of sleep. So unless you are fully awake again you will not notice that you have lost the counting.

Topic - Sleep

What is sleep?

Importance of Sleep

Necessary amount of sleep

Factors important for good sleep.

Factors causing sleep problems

How to induce sleep

Factors causing sleep problems

Sleep problems are caused by following factors.

1. If our brain is confused by the light signals through out eyes then we cannot go to sleep. Our brain is designed to start sleep when there is darkness around. Due to the invention of electricity we can now keep the lights for long time in the night. This kind of artificial light caused confusion in brain and we cannot sleep.

2. If there is pain in any part of body we cannot get good sleep.

3. Mental conditions like anxiety, stress and depression can cause sleep problems.

4. Some ordinary chemicals like Caffeine, Nicotine, Alcohol can cause problems in sleep.

Topic - Sleep

What is sleep?

Importance of Sleep

Necessary amount of sleep

Factors important for good sleep.

Factors causing sleep problems

How to induce sleep

Factors important for good sleep

We go to sleep according to the biological clock which is in our brain. This clock is set to start sleep when there is darkness around. So the absence of light is the most important and basic factor for good sleep.

Second important factor is the mental condition. If we are under stress then we cannot go to sleep.

Third important factor is the comfort of body, we cannot go to sleep in dis-comfortable position.

Topic - Sleep

What is sleep?

Importance of Sleep

Necessary amount of sleep

Factors important for good sleep.

Factors causing sleep problems

How to induce sleep

Importance of Sleep

In fact we all know the importance of sleep very well, I do not need to describe it here but for a clear and better understanding I am giving few points which can tell us the importance of sleep.

Benefits of good sleep -

1. Good sleep increases our concentration power.

2. Good sleep can increase our athletic capacity.

3. Good sleep increases immunity.

Effects of poor sleep -

1. Bad sleep can affect our immune system and make us more vulnerable to deceases.

2. Poor sleep can cause heart problems.

3. Poor sleep can cause metabolic problems.

4. Poor sleep can be an indication of depression

5. Poor sleep can badly affect our relationships.

Topic - Sleep

What is sleep?

Importance of Sleep

Necessary amount of sleep

Factors important for good sleep.

Factors causing sleep problems

How to induce sleep

Necessary amount of sleep?

The need of sleep for each individual vary. Normally an healthy adult needs six to eight ours of sleep.

The new born babies have to sleep around 18 hours of day on irregular intervals. 

1 to 2 year old babies have to sleep 11-14 hours per day.

3 to 5 year old children sleep 11 to 13 hours every night.

6 to 13 years old children need 9-11 hours of sleep.

The teenagers above 14 years need 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep.

More we get old we sleep less. It might be because as our body leads to death, we don't need much sleep as the need to recharge body becomes less.

Topic - Sleep

What is sleep?

Importance of Sleep

Necessary amount of sleep

Factors important for good sleep.

Factors causing sleep problems

How to induce sleep

What is Sleep?

In ordinary language we can say that sleep is a state when we do not experience anything from the outside world. We may experience the dream world but we do not experience the real outside world. But if we look at the scientific language then we find that the human consciousness researchers have divided the states of Consciousness in four categories consisting different frequencies of brain waves. These four categories are Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. We can say that the first two categories are of the waking state and last two are of the sleeping state. Theta and Delta patterns of brain waves are found while we are in sleep.

Theta waves are found when we are in dream and Delta waves are found when we are in dreamless sleep. These both states are very important for our day to day life and functioning. In these two states especially in deep sleep or dreamless sleep our body gets refreshed and cured.

Topic - Sleep

What is sleep?

Importance of Sleep

Necessary amount of sleep

Factors important for good sleep.

Factors causing sleep problems

How to induce sleep

Sleep

It is extremely important for everyone to have enough sleep. During sleep our body gets recharged and we experience mental peace also. In this section we will study important factors about sleep and what can we do if we are not able to sleep enough.

What is sleep?

Importance of Sleep

Necessary amount of sleep

Factors important for good sleep.

Factors causing sleep problems

How to induce sleep





Different concepts of Moksha

First, if we look at Chārvāka, for them death is the Moksha (liberation from samsāra) because nothing is left to be caught in the cycle of birth and death or the cycle of karma.

For Buddhists, Nirvāna is Moksha. Nirvāna literally means non attachment with anything or having no desire of anything. It blocks the process of Vidnyāna being born again into new womb to complete the karma. They think that after reaching to this state of non-attachment, the consciousness or Vidnyāna becomes śūnya or is destroyed forever (some Buddhists scholars do not agree with this definition of Nirvāna, but if we accept the idea of momentary existence then getting destroyed forever is the only possible meaning of Nirvāna).

For Jains, becoming free from the bonds of matter is Moksha. They think that soul, which is caught in material energies from eternity in past can become free and eternally sit on siddhaśīla. They suggest, to reach Moksha we must completely exhaust our Karma because it is the Karma that binds the Soul with matter.

For Sānkhya and Yoga the moksha is like Jaina-s, when Purusha gets departed from prakruti’s three Guna and remains in itself. But for that matter they don’t suggest the exhaustion of Karma. In their opinion means of Moksha is Sādhanā described in Patanjali Sūtra-s and ultimately reaching to Samādhi.

Moksha has different meanings for different schools of Vedāntins also. Broadly Advaita and Dvaita are the main two schools. Dvaita schools believe, to live with Īśvara for eternity is moksha. However, for Advaita School the Moksha is realization of this world as Māyā and Mithyā, which does not have independent existence other than Brahman and living life according to the will of Īśvara in the understanding that Consciousness is always free and the bondage is imaginary.

Topic - Views about Consciousness

Meaning of Spirituality


Uttar Mimānsa or Vedānta

This is the most sophisticated thought in Indian philosophies, as I know. It is called as Vedānta, which means the end or the goal of Vedas. This thought was there from very early times but it was ādi Śankarāchārya, who spread this thought (Advaita Vedānta) in India and during this process he refuted so many contradicting thoughts to put Vedānta on the top of them. Śankarāchārya’s detailed work can be read in his commentary on Brahmasūtra and in Śankar Digvijaya. He refuted Jaina, Buddhist, Chārvāka, Sānkhya, Yoga, Pāśupata and even Bhāgawat ideologies.

In Vedanta, there are again six major branches. Advaita (ādi Śankarāchārya), Viśishta Advaita (Ramānuja ācharya), Dvaita (Mādhavāchārya), Dvait-Advaita (Nimbārkāchārya), Śuddha Advaita (Vallabhāchārya) and last is Achintya Bhedābheda (Chaitanya Mahāprabhu). In this book, I will talk about Advaita Vedānta of ādi Śankarāchārya.

Advaita Vedānta accepts impersonal Brahman as the ultimate goal of manifested beings but also accepts major role of Īśvara in the whole process. Īśvara helps us to get out from the bandhan (bondage) of Karma. We, on our own cannot be free from past Karma (Sanchita) which is infinite. Karma is divided in three major parts. One is Sanchita Karma, which is the sum of all our Karma we did from unknown past; it is infinite because while living we are continuously gathering karma into it. Second kind of Karma is Prārabdha, which we bring with us from sanchita to fulfill in current life. Third kind of Karma is Kriyamāna, which we accumulate during the process of fulfilling prārabdha, this Kriyamāna karma gathers in Sanchita. This is a vicious unending cycle of sanchita to prārabdha to Kriyamāna and again back to sanchita.

Īśvara (who is not any person in Vedānta but the Consciousness of the Universe) helps us to come out of this cycle by taking us to Real Guru and Guru explains us the knowledge of Self, and the nature of bondage which is imaginary, this knowledge directly takes us beyond the personality that was caught in the cycle, and we realize that we are already free.

Topic - Views about Consciousness

Meaning of Spirituality


Pūrva Mimānsaka

The meaning of the word Mimānsā is analysis about the real meaning of the Veda-s. This philosophy accepted that soul exists but said that the liberation of soul is possible only through Karma (work as ascribed in scriptures). We should do good deeds and yadnya (rituals) here in this mrutyuloka (earth) and after death go to heaven. If we do not behave according to śāstra (Scriptures) then we will be thrown into hell. But they did not believe that heavens or hells are eternal rather they said that after enjoying the fruits of good deeds or after finishing the punishment for sins we will come back to the earth to do more good or bad karma and enjoy it’s fruits. If one wants liberation from this cycle of birth and death then he has to wait until death, after completing the right work throughout life one can realize Consciousness after death and become free. Few of the followers of this thought do not accept the existence of Īśvara.

Śankarāchārya has refuted this thought also because it contradicted with the basic idea of Upanishads which is “śrunvantu viśve amrutasya putrāh āye dhāmāni divyāni tasthu. Vedāham etam Purusham mahantam āditya varnam tamsah parastāt, tameva viditvā atimrutyumeti nānyah panthāh vidyate ayanāy” This thought of Upanishad suggests that it is possible to go beyond the birth and death by knowing the Ādityavarna Purushah. It means knowledge (Dnyāna) and not the Karma is the means of liberation. Currently there are few followers of this school who believe that they will do yadnya and enjoy its fruits in heaven. 

Topic - Views about Consciousness
Meaning of Spirituality



Yoga

This school of thought is based on the Sānkhya ideology but the founder of this thought Maharshi Patanjali has added some practical exercises and rules in this thought to reach the ultimate goal. This school accepts Īśvara unlike the Sānkhya. But major difference in this school and Vedānta is that Maharshi Patanjali uses Īśvara pranidhāna or Bhakti as a method to reach emancipation and it is not a necessity. Further Yoga assumes that there is real bondage which has to be removed by taking action to make the mind quiet and to achieve nirvikalpa samādhi; this kind of thinking gives rise to duality. Because if we think that peace can be attained only in samādhi then there arise two states, one which is samādhi and second which is not samādhi. Further, the idea of liberation through action gives an atheist shade to this philosophy and therefore, it is refuted by Śankarāchārya and Dnyāneśvara mahārāja (from Maharashtra). But as with other important schools, Vedāntins have used some of the features (at least names of the features) of this thought as sādhanā to help realize the ultimate truth. 

Topic - Views about Consciousness
Meaning of Spirituality


Nyāya and Vaiśeshika

I have combined these two because they are combined in reality. Both emerged differently but in the course of time got combined with each other. Between these two Nyāya is the older school. The most important factor of Nyāya is that it tried to prove the existence of Īśvara (God) through logic in response to Buddhism. Later this school was merged with Vaiśeshika. Vaiśeshika School was founded by Kanāda. Kanāda word is derived from word Kana, which means atom. This whole philosophy was based on the idea of atoms of matter coming together and giving birth to this universe. Both these schools proposed existence of extra-cosmic God who creates, maintains and destroys this Universe and both of them agreed on the plurality of souls. Major difference between these schools and Advaita Vedānta is, these schools accept duality and Advaita does not accept duality. However, the thoughts of Nyāya School are accepted by Advaita from the stand point of Transactional Reality. We don’t need to go in depth of these thoughts because they no more exists in India and in current days modern Physics is almost like these thought so we will discuss this issue when we discuss about modern science later in this book. However, modern science has gone beyond their own stand of atoms as fundamental entities and now science talks about quantum physics and is trying to investigate even inside the subatomic particles. 

Topic - Views about Consciousness


Meaning of Spirituality


Sānkhya

This school of thought was invented by Kapila. He is said to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu (it is disputed). This school accepts two fundamental tattva (entities). First is Purusha  (Consciousness) and second is Prakruti (Matter), hence this school is a dualistic school; Sānkhya also admits plurality of souls. Here Purusha (one meaning of this word is “male”) does not indicate any sex but the pure Consciousness. Prakruti is another substance along with Purusha , which is made up of three Guna-s (qualities), Sattva, Raja and Tama. When Sattva Guna increases in prakruti it gives birth to the Universe, and animate and inanimate things in it. But in this game of Prakruti, the Purusha gets caught and starts thinking that he is the doer of Karma. Because of this notion, Purusha gets caught in the cycle of birth and death. This was a very popular school. Bādarayana Vyāsa as well as Ādi Śankarāchārya had to use a very large portion of Brahmasūtra to refute this school.

But the question emerges why did Ādi Śankarāchārya refuted this thought which was proposed by an incarnation of Lord Vishnu (there is divide of opinion about Kapila, some say that there were two people named Kapila, one of them promoted the atheist thought of sānkhya and another who was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu promoted theist thoughts).

Basically Sānkhya was a dualist thought, and duality is not acceptable to Upanishads. Another reason is, this thought was caught in the hands of atheists, and they used it as a weapon against theists. Sānkhya philosophy is not materialist but it seems that there is no role for the will of intelligent agent (Īśvara) in the idea of inert pradhāna (prakruti) and three Guna. Therefore, this thought was refuted by the proponents of Vedānta. However, it seems that Śankarāchārya and lord Krushna himself has used some of the ideas of this school in their philosophy.

Topic - Views about Consciousness


Meaning of Spirituality


Jaina

This is very ancient ideology. Origins of this thought are not known to me. Jaina accepts soul independent than matter but it is caught in the matter. When karma gets exhausted soul gets liberated from matter. According to this philosophy, we can have direct and right knowledge of reality only after liberation. Until then we can describe any object in seven ways, it is the main principle of Jaina philosophy, it is called as syādavāda. According to the theory of syādavāda, we can think about any object in seven different ways, they are -

i)Syādasti – it is possible that it (object) may exist
ii)Syānnāsti – it is possible that it may not exist
iii)Syādasti cha syānnāsti cha – it is possible that it may exist and may not exist.
iv)Syādavaktavyam - it is possible that it may be inexpressible.
v)Syādasti cha avaktavyam cha - it is possible that it may exist and may be inexpressible.
vi)Syānnāsti cha avaktavyam cha - it is possible that it may not exist and may be inexpressible.
vii)Syādasti cha nāsti cha avaktavyam cha - it is possible that it may exist; it may not exist and may be inexpressible. 

Topic - Views about Consciousness

Meaning of Spirituality


Buddhist

This school of philosophy is very rich in terms of thoughts. People think that Gautama Buddha was the founder of this school but it seems that there were many Buddha-s before Gautama, who also promoted this ideology, because we find arguments against Buddhist views in Brahmasūtra and Brahmasūtra’s reference is given in Bhagawad Gītā, it means that Brahmasūtra was written before Gītā and refusal of Buddhist ideology in Brahmasūtra suggests that this thought was there before Lord Krushna’s time. Evidence suggests that Lord Krushna lived on this earth before Gautama Buddha. So we can easily conclude that thought of Buddhism was there from very time of Upanishads. Texts of Advaita Vedanta like Vedāntasāra of Sadānanda Yogindra Saraswati suggest that Buddhist thought originated from Chāndogya Upanishad (Vedāntasāra 131), but in the flow of time Buddhism cut itself from Upanishads.

After few centuries of the death of Gautama Buddha, this ideology was split in two opposing ideas, Theravāda or Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna. Theravāda spread in southern part of Asia (Sri Lanka, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia) and Mahāyāna spread in Northern and eastern part of Asia (Tibet, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam). The ideology of Buddhism could not survive in India, its birth place; because they were defeated in philosophical debates by Hindus and there monasteries were destroyed by Muslim invaders. However, Hindus accepted Gautam Buddha as ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who took birth in Kaliyuga.

Theravāda: - This school in Buddhism does not accept any idea of independent Consciousness but it accepts relative reality of Consciousness. That means Consciousness emerges out of continuously changing atoms of matter.

Mahāyāna: - Mādhyamaka School of this tradition does not accept Consciousness and calls everything as empty or Śūnya. Yogāchāra school of Mahāyāna accepts that only Consciousness (ego) is real and everything else is false. According to this school emptiness is the absence of perceiver and perceived. Yogāchāra branch is almost like Vedānta School of Hindu philosophy, but they think Consciousness having momentary existence and everything else is imagination of that momentary Consciousness. It is like solipsism where ego is the creator of the non-ego. (While Vedānta tries to prove Consciousness as ultimate reality and non-changing, according to Vedānta ego and non-ego both appear simultaneously).

Topic - Views about Consciousness

Meaning of Spirituality


Chārwāka or Lokāyata

This is the most primitive thought about God or Consciousness. This thought suggests that Consciousness is nothing but the material forces and body itself. There is nothing more to search about. People believe that Bruhaspati, the Perceptor of Deva-s (Angels), taught this wrong philosophy to Asura-s (Demons) to delude them from right path of life. A saying became popular after this thought “Yāvat jīvet sukham jīvet, runam krutvā ghrutam pibet, bhasmibhūtasya dehasya punarāgamanam kutah”. It means, enjoy life in all possible means, do not hesitate even to do debt for enjoyments because there is no coming back for the body which becomes ashes after death and hence we do not need to worry about repaying the debts. According to this philosophy body gives birth to Consciousness and when body stops working, Consciousness of that body is destroyed forever similarly this world is also operated by material forces and not any Consciousness or God. (It is like saying moon illumines the sun and when moon is absent sun disappears). Chārwāka thought that there are four basic elements; earth, water, fire and air, which are directly perceptible, are the cause of the Universe. They do not accept existence of the fifth element, space, because they cannot perceive it.

This thought could not spread in India and today also because of the charm of science very few so called intellectual people get attracted towards this kind of thinking.

Topic - Views about Consciousness


Meaning of Spirituality



What is Consciousness?

When I talk with people about Consciousness then I find there is a great misunderstanding in their mind. Some people think mind as consciousness, some think sensations of body as consciousness, and some think faculties of body-mind as consciousness and so on. In this book I will try to clarify the exact meaning of Consciousness. Above I mentioned that people of different religions have invented different theories about God and His creation but when we want to do inquiry about God or Īśvara, creation and causes of life then it is important to know that we have to do inquiry about Consciousness (the sense of “I”) because that is the essence of our being, without Consciousness we are dead. If we leave consciousness aside and start investigating then we are not going to reach anywhere, because without consciousness what is left is inert matter, which cannot operate on its own. Blind material forces do not have enough foresight to design a world where millions of species will inhabit and live with each other. The purposeful design of this world indicates towards an intelligent cause behind it. We have to put intelligence before the creation of this world, while world exist and when it ends. Consciousness that we have and Consciousness that operates the world, both have same qualities.

Therefore, fundamental question is what is intelligence/Consciousness? In India, our whole thought goes around this question and answer has come to us in many forms. Below we will look at different thoughts that emerged in India and later we will discuss about the modern science.
There are two major groups one is Atheist and second is Theist. Here one important point has to be understood that we are talking about Indian philosophy and in India Atheists are the people who do not accept Īśvara and Veda-s (mainly Veda-s, because somebody may not believe in personal God but believe in Vedas and he becomes eligible to be called as Theist), theists are the people who accept Vedas as authentic scriptures leading towards knowledge. However they may not believe in Īśvara. Atheist group consists of Chārvāka, Buddhist, Jaina and Ājīvaka (now extinct). Chārvāka thought is extreme atheistic, which says that there is neither Īśvara nor Jīva independent from matter. Buddhists are little less atheist, they also not believe in Īśvara and independent Jīva but they believe in rebirth of Vidnyāna (momentary Consciousness) and it’s Nirvāna from the cycle of birth and death. Buddhists are also against Veda-s. Jaina-s believe in Jīva (personal Consciousness) and their rebirth as well as Moksha but they do not believe in Īśvara, Veda-s and call Jīva as equivalent to body which resides inside body. The last of this group Ājīvaka believes (used to believe in past, because there are no more followers of this cult) in God and Soul but they do not believe in Veda-s rather they say that neither the rule of Karma nor the free will drives our lives, but, it is a force called Niyati that drives our lives. Any authentic text of Ājīvaka is not available today because all of them are extinct now therefore the views I have put here about the philosophy of Ājīvaka are also not authentic. Main reason is said that Samrāta Aśoka after accepting the Buddha Dharma, ordered killing of all followers of Ājīvaka doctrine who were opponents of Buddha. Nearly 18000 followers of Ājīvaka were massacred on the order of Aśoka.

The theistic group consists mainly of Yoga, Sānkhya, Vaiśeshika, Nyāya, Pūrva Mimānsā and last is Uttar Mimānsā or Vedānta. The founders of these schools are considered to be Patanjali of Yoga, Kapila of Sānkhya, Kanāda of Vaiśeshika, Gautama of Nyāya, Jaimini of Pūrva Mimānsa and Vyāsa of Vedānta. All these people accept Veda-s as final authority to know the truth; however, they define Veda-s in different ways. Below we will discuss Atheist group in brief. 

Topic - Views about Consciousness

Meaning of Spirituality