In remembering anything remember what you are forgetting || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Question: Sir, when you say, “Remember the One,” I can make sense of it right now. But when I go home, the same statement becomes very dry. If I go home and remember – ‘Remember the One’, it doesn’t mean the same thing, as it means now. So, is there any point in really remembering this sentence, or writing it down?

Speaker: ‘Remembering’ or ‘forgetting’ are meaningful words only with respect to the Moon (the mind), not with respect to the Sun (the Source). The Moon must remember, and the moon forgets, right? We are talking of the mind. What is it that we are asking the mind to remember? We are asking that it must remember its essence. Now, what is it that is to be remembered?

We are saying, “Remember your foundation and your being.” That is what I said. “Remember your foundation and your being.” Now is there anything apart from this? You have talked about the foundation and you have also talked about the structure. You have talked about the soul and you have talked about the body; the foundation and the being.

We are saying, “Remember it.” But it is already there, it is not really to be remembered. It is already there, it is not really to be remembered. But then wise men have always talked of remembering, remembering, remembering – Surati. Why have they talked of it? And then what does ‘constant remembrance mean?

The mind, as it is, has the faculty of memory, memory and knowledge that it acquires through senses. And it has intellect, intellect that accords value and importance to the knowledge that has been acquired. And the mind looks outwards at objects. That is from where it gathers information, the appearance of objects and then it has an intellect that accords importance to those impressions and appearances.

It accords importance to those impressions, and remembers them according to the importance granted to them. We are talking of the mind. Your eyes look at something, the appearance comes to the mind, and then memory and intellect combine to give value and importance to that appearance. And if a high value is given, then you remember it. You say, “It is of critical importance.” You remember it.

RemembranceWhen you remember that to which the intellect gives importance, that is when you forget That to which existence gives importance. When you remember that to which you give importance, then you forget that which is really important. When man-made values become important, then existential values are forgotten.

It is not really a question of remembering the Truth; it is really a question of not remembering the false. You remember the false all the time. Your senses keep on gathering appearances, incessantly. Your senses are like wild creatures, you have no harmony with them. You have never made peace with them. They do not serve you at all; they punish you.

And your intellect too is unrefined. All the wild material that your wild senses bring to you, your wild intellect attaches importance to it. So all this becomes important. When all this becomes important, then how will you remember the really important?

You say that you go home and forget. What do you mean by ‘home’? It is a physical location. You mean a collection of objects, right? ‘Home’ is a collection of objects: some things, some people, some memories. Why should that become important to your mind? Why? “These are just appearances, how can I take them seriously?”

Take an example, we have been discussing, and the elderly gentleman had to move for some reason. And we have some veterans sitting here, and I could see how when the gentleman was moving across the room, your eyes were following him. Now, you are remembering, what? The object and its movement. Your eyes had become glued to the object.

See how your eyes move. See how even when this session is going on, your eyes are so wild. And when you are looking at this and that, then it becomes important. And you remember all that. When you remember what is not important that is called ‘forgetting the important’. Otherwise the important is not an object to be remembered, it is your life-breath. You do not need to remember it, it is the beating of your heart. You do not need to remember it. You do not need to remember it.

People talk of remembering God; that is actually stupid. What do you mean by ‘remembering God’? One can only remember something that is separate from him. There is no real need to remember God. God is your heartbeat; you don’t need to remember him.

What you need, is non-remembrance. What you need, is forgetfulness towards the world. What you need, is to ignore all this that happens around.  Ignore all this, not in the sense that it is not happening, but in the sense that it cannot be taken seriously, in the sense that it is not important. And remember, you just developed this habit, this ugly habit, of giving importance to this, that, all the petty and immaterial stuff. It is just a bad habit that you developed. It is just a conditioning.

Since childhood, you have been told that this is important and that is important. And you were born with a body that was already conditioned to consider a few things, a few material things as important. Added to the conditioning of the body, there was the conditioning given by the family and society. The result is this perverted habit of considering everything as important.

Look at how you read the newspaper; look at how you watch the television. Whatever is coming to you, you keep absorbing it. You keep looking at it, you just don’t get up and walk away. You allow the appearances to enter your mind. And not only do the appearances enter by themselves, the appearances enter with the message, with the code that – ‘we are important’.

Have you noticed this? Never does a news item just say that it is a news item. It also contains a justification as to why it is important. And you allow that item to enter you. You allow all the propaganda of this stupid world to enter you. And then that becomes important.

What is spirituality? It would not be wrong to say that – spirituality means a healthy indifference to the world. Remember, I am talking of a healthy indifference. To not to be touched, to remain uncorrupted – that is what is spirituality. That is what is ‘the essence of wisdom’.

You may go home or go anywhere. As a human body, you have to be somewhere, right? Located in time and space. There would be the dance of appearances and objects all around you. Are you wise enough to know how important it is? No, you do not know that. So you give it extreme importance.

You get excited by a four percent salary rise. You get excited if the Sensex takes a three hundred point jump. You get excited if your marks increase by two percent. All these things become matters of life and death to you. You get unnerved if you hear that your daughter is going around with somebody. You become nervous if you hear that the neighbour is buying a bigger car.

The servant brought grocery, and you are now suspicious that there may be a fudging of ten rupees, and you take it so seriously. Have you ever seen people negotiating in the vegetable markets? That is the world. If you want to understand the world, go to a vegetable market, and look at people negotiating. See how intensely and passionately they negotiate for two and a half rupees.

And these are well-to-do people, gentlemen and women coming from affluent families, reasonably well-to-do families. A car and a chauffeur might be waiting for them. And she wants to negotiate right up to the bone. “Can you reduce the price by three more rupees? Instead of thirty-three rupees, may I just pay thirty rupees?” Now, look at her face at that moment when she is intensely negotiating. Look at her face. What does she remember? She remembers only one thing – three rupees. Now when you remember these three rupees with such determination and passion, how will you remember the Truth? The three rupees is all that matters to you right now.

I have advised you earlier, and I am advising you again, take it as mantra – whenever something becomes important to you, ask yourself, “What am I forgetting?” Anything, that ‘something’ could be anything.

Whenever you find yourself being too deeply engaged with anything, ask yourself, “In being engaged with this, in remembering this, what am I forgetting?” And you will find that the object of remembrance will be diverse – sometimes you will be remembering money, sometimes reputation, sometimes future, sometimes security, sometimes attraction, attachment. You would be remembering a thousand things, but there would be only one, that you would be forgetting – the One.

You remember a thousand things, but whatever you remember, makes you forget just one thing – the One. The One. That is what you forget. You might be watching T.V. in a very engrossed way, what are you forgetting? The One. You may be quarreling very intensely, what are you forgetting? The One. You may be deeply engaged in pleasures of the body, what are you forgetting at this instant? The One. You may be deeply overtaken by sorrow and suffering, you might be crying. You remember your sorrow, but what are you forgetting at this moment? The One.

There are a thousand objects, but all objects serve just one purpose – they make you forget the One. The One.

Go home, or go anywhere else, objects will be there. Don’t you have the wisdom to see that they are merely objects? “There are walls, there are things, there are people and there are ideas – these are objects. How can I be serious about them? How can I be serious about them? Alright, as a body I have to live amidst them, so I will maintain a particular level of dealing. But deeply within, its only One that I will remember. Only One. On the surface, I might keep dealing with the world, but deep within, my heart beats in remembrance of just One, just One” –  that’s the way to live. That’s the only way to live.

~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at:  Prashant Tripathi: In remembering anything remember what you are forgetting.

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