Chapter 28: Existence Needs You
You can chant your name. It gives a certain relaxation. The great English poet Tennyson, without being initiated by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - there was no question of it because he existed a long time before Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born - just found it by himself because he had to sleep in a room separate from his parents. They were rich people, they could provide each child with a separate room of his own. But he was so small and the nights were so dark. There was great fear - and particularly in England, which seems to be the most ghost-haunted country in the whole world.
It is strange, but nowhere in the world will you find so many ghost-haunted houses, so many people concerned about ghosts. So naturally the little child, Tennyson, was very much worried when it became dark and the lights were put off. Finding nothing else to hold on to, he discovered a trick. He would repeat his own name continuously: “Tennyson, Tennyson, Tennyson, Tennyson,” just to avoid all kinds of ghosts who must have been around in the darkness hiding in the nooks and corners of the room. He became so occupied with his own name that a certain curtain was created protecting him from all sides, so there was not even a small gap for any ghosts to enter in.
He found - strangely, accidentally - what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi calls Transcendental Meditation. He became utterly silent, peaceful, and fell into deep relaxed sleep. And in the morning when he woke up, he would wake up with the same repetition - Tennyson, Tennyson - that he had gone with into sleep.
This is something to be understood. Anything that you go to sleep with, the last thing that you remember before sleep falls over you, will be the first thing you remember as you become awake, even before opening your eyes. Psychologically of course you were not aware of it, but you repeated the same thing the whole night.
If Tennyson repeated his own name while he was falling asleep, slowly, slowly the sleep became deeper and the word Tennyson became farther and farther away like an echo, until finally he forgot all about Tennyson and fell into an unconscious state. But that word continued in the unconscious as an undercurrent. That’s why in the morning, the first thing he remembered was his own name.
You can try it. Anything you fall asleep with will remain flowing within you and you will have to encounter it in the morning when you wake up. This means the whole night he was repeating consciously at first, then unconsciously, then again consciously, the same name. Naturally he could not dream. He could not think of anything else. His sleep became a very silent, deep, dreamless sleep - what Patanjali calls sushupti. Modern psychology is still not aware of it.
Patanjali, the man who first wrote the whole science of yoga.It happens very rarely that a single man creates a whole science. It is now five thousand years old, but in these five thousand years, nothing has been added to the science of yoga. It remains exactly the same. And I don’t think there is any possibility in the future either to make any improvement. A single genius completed the whole thing, not leaving anything out of it that could be added later on. Patanjali calls this state sushupti, dreamless sleep. It is a beautiful state, very healthy, very nourishing, very rejuvenating.