Forgetfulness is a form of freedom. – Khalil Gibran
Speaker: The Heart stands for Freedom. The Centre, the Core stands for Freedom. The Truth stands for Freedom. And because the Truth is Truth, it cannot go away or disappear. Then why do we feel un-free? If Truth stands for Freedom and Truth cannot go away, why do we often feel that our freedom has gone away? If Truth and Freedom are synonymous, and Truth is everlasting and omnipresent, then why does man appear to lose his freedom so often?
The Truth is there and the Truth does not lose its freedom. Then who loses freedom? The mind loses freedom. The mind has no freedom of its own; the mind has freedom only by virtue of its intimacy with the Truth. Truth is freedom and when the mind will be close to Truth, the mind too will be free. The mind’s freedom is available to it only when it is close to the Truth.
Truth is freedom and if the mind is away from Truth, then it will also be away from freedom. Now what is meant by being away from Truth? What is meant by this statement – ‘The mind may be away from Truth’? The Truth is and the Truth need not be remembered. The mind is not close to the Truth because it remembers the Truth. The mind need not remember the Truth to be close to the Truth, because the Truth anyway is. The Truth is the natural, the fundamental and the innocent state of mind. It need not be remembered. It is.
You need not remember yourself. You are. Whatever you will remember about yourself is just an identity. You need not remember yourself. You simply are. But man remembers a lot. And whatever he remembers, takes him away from the Truth.
Whatever you remember, takes you away from Truth.
Whatever you know as information, as knowledge, takes you away from Truth. That is why deep sleep feels so relaxing. It is because in deep sleep, you remember nothing. In deep sleep you forget not only your pains but also your pleasures. That is why deep sleep is so relaxing. In deep sleep you forget not only the Satan and Maya but also your gods. That is why deep sleep is so relaxing. Anybody here who remembers his gods even in sushupti (deep sleep)? All your gods are just gods of the waking state of consciousness. They disappear as soon as the waking state is gone. That is why deep sleep is so relaxing.
‘Relaxation’ is freedom from remembering, freedom from memory, freedom from knowledge and mental activity. That is the only true definition of relaxation.
But we often take a very beautiful word and turn it into a nightmare. We have taken the word ‘remembrance’ and made it synonymous with memorization. ‘Remembrance’ really means freedom from memory. ‘Remembrance’ does not mean remembering anything in particular.
‘Remembrance’ really means freedom from remembering.
When you say that you remember where your keys are kept, then you remember something specific. When you say that you remember the face of your son, then you remember something in particular. But when the wise man says that he remembers God, all that he means is that he remembers nothing in particular. And then it is what I call as, ‘Just remembering’, remembering with nothing to remember, remembering objectlessly, remembering thoughtlessly. ‘Just remembering’.
We have taken another beautiful word and given it a horrible meaning. The word is ‘attention’. When we are told to live an attentive life, then often the image that is conveyed is that you should move around with a careful bundle of memories. The child did not do his homework, the teacher will say, “You were not attentive enough. That is why you did not do your homework.” This teacher is giving a very poisonous meaning to a great word.
‘Attention’ does not mean remembering a particular task, or object, or whatever. ‘Attention’ just means being. That is it. Attention means being like an empty container, free of rubbish, free of everything. That is attention.
Who is a wise man? The one who lives free of memories. The one who does not walk around with a mind full of objects. The one whose psyche is not made up of a to-do list. He is a wise man. But if you are a walking storehouse of knowledge and information and memory, then you remember a lot. And remembering a lot means forgetting the Truth. The more you will remember this world, the more will the world reinforce itself, the more distant you would be from the Truth.
Khalil Gibran is putting it only mildly when he says, “Forgetfulness is a form of freedom.” Boldly he must have declared, “Forgetfulness itself is freedom. It is not a kind of freedom. It itself is freedom.” The world makes all attempts to ensure that you remember it. What else is world trying to do all the time? It is attacking you through the eyes; it is attacking you through the ears. It is attacking you through the conditioning and the past. The world is trying to enslave you by making you remember it.
Have you not seen how bad the world feels when it sees that you do not remember it? Just try forgetting your wife’s birthday, and you will see what I mean when I say that the world enslaves you by making you remember it. The world seems really offended, if you forget the world.
There is no bigger insult to a person than to walk past him and not acknowledge his presence. He will feel deeply offended. Even if you abuse him, then it is alright. At least you acknowledge their presence, at least remembered that they are there. But if you are indifferent to the world, if you are detached, if their being, if their presence means nothing to you, then the world will not forgive you. They want you to remember them.
Liberation lies in not remembering. And when you do not remember the false, the Truth is anyway remembered. You need not try to remember the Truth. Your efforts will fail because there is nothing to remember. How will you remember the Truth? Truth has no form, no name, no shape. How can you remember the Truth? Just forget the false, just stop giving importance to the false, and you are Home.
Listener 1: Sir, in one of your discourses on Nanak, you said, “Forgetfulness is separation (Vismriti hee dooree hai).” Can you relate it that with this statement?
Speaker: The saints always talk of remembering. They are speaking from the heights of their consciousness. When they are saying they remember, what they mean is that they remember objectlessly. But when the word ‘remembrance’ comes to us, we interpret it to mean that just as we are occupied with objects in all the things of the mind, similarly, remembering too must be object specific. The saint says, “Remember,” and we hear “Remember something.” When Nanak Dev says, “Remember God,” he does not say, “Remember this or that.” He means – remember that vast emptiness which is the essence of everything. Are you getting it?
‘Forgetting’ means remembering objects. In the spiritual sense ‘forgetting’ means remembering. Remembering what? The world. I repeat: God does not need to be remembered. Whatever you will remember will not be God. Whatever you will remember will only take you away from God. God is freedom from remembering.
If somebody says, “I remember God all the time,” then he is deeply mistaken. Don’t try the impossible. Nobody can remember God. Just do what is possible, which is, to not to remember the world. That is sufficient. Don’t let the world become so important to you that you remember it all the time. That is sufficient.
Free from the clutches of the world you remember God.
And also remember that freedom from remembering the world cannot come without a remembrance of that freedom. It is a deep-deep remembrance of the Truth that liberates you from the false. The saints would say the same thing by saying, “It is by the grace of the Truth that you obtain the Truth”.
Have you seen certain people closing their eyes and visualizing certain images? And they do it as some kind of a spiritual activity. They say, “We are remembering God.” You can keep doing these things for thousands of years, and you can keep entertaining yourself with all this, but you will reach nowhere.
No form, name, or figure that can be remembered is the Truth. The Truth is when forms, names and figures stop touching and bothering you. That is when the Truth is.
Be cautious of those who talk of the beautiful images of God. They are stuck within the boundaries of the mind and are worshiping nothing but those boundaries.
~ Excerpts from a Shabd-Yog session held at Advait Sthal. Edited for clarity.
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