If a person is denied sleep, he becomes cut off from the very source of life. Atheism will continue to grow in the world in the same ratio as sleep continues to get lighter. In countries where people have lighter sleep, atheism will be more on the increase there. And in countries where people have deeper sleep, the more theism will be on the increase. But this duality between theism and atheism is a totally strange thing for man, because it develops out of an unconscious condition. A person who has a deep sleep spends the next day in peace, while the one who does not have a deep sleep remains restless and troubled the following day. How in the world can a restless and troubled mind be receptive to godliness? A mind which is disturbed, dissatisfied, tense and angry, refuses to accept godliness, denies its existence.
Science is not at the bottom of the increasing atheism in the West; the disorderly, chaotic condition of sleep is at the root of it. In New York, at least thirty percent of the people cannot sleep without tranquilizers. Psychologists believe that if this condition prevails for the next hundred years, not a single person will be able to sleep without medication.
People have completely lost sleep. If a man who has lost sleep were to ask you how you go to sleep, and your answer were, “All I do is put my head on the pillow and fall asleep,” he will not believe you. He will find this impossible and suspect there must be some trick he doesn’t know to it – because he lays his head on the pillow too, and nothing happens.
God forbid, but a time may come, after a thousand or two thousand years, when everyone will have lost natural sleep, and people will refuse to believe that a thousand or two thousand years before their time, people simply rested their heads on their pillows and fell asleep. They will take this as fiction, a mythical story from the Puranas. They will not believe it to be true. They will say, “This is not possible, because if that isn’t true about us, how can it be true about anyone else?”
I am drawing your attention to all of this because three or four thousand years ago people would close their eyes and go into meditation as easily as you go to sleep today. Two thousand years from now it will be difficult to sleep in New York – it is difficult even today. It is becoming difficult to sleep in Bombay, and soon it will become difficult in Dwarka as well – it is just a matter of time. Today it is hard to believe there was a time when a man could close his eyes and go into meditation – because now, when you sit with your eyes closed, you reach nowhere; inside, thoughts keep hovering around and you remain where you are.
In the past, meditation was as easy for those who were close to nature as sleep is for those who live close to nature. First meditation disappeared; now sleep is on its way out. Those things are first lost which are conscious; after that, those things are lost which are unconscious. With the disappearance of meditation the world has almost become irreligious, and when sleep disappears the world will become totally irreligious. There is no hope for religion in a sleepless world.