|Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio|
Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Mā was suggesting that I should speak on how to retain what you have heard. This is a quality which everyone in this world should have. And this is the only quality which counts in the matter of spiritual seeking and attainment.
We are all born in families as children; we don’t know about our births, about our father and mother, but they bring us up. We don’t know about the first four years of our growth; we have no memory normally. But we must be able to remember the things which have taken place thereafter.
If you observe, you will find that we have been growing. A child begins to walk, so many times he will fall, but he will make effort, make effort, make effort and finally become stable in walking. He does not leave, sometimes when he falls he cries, but he does not leave his effort. Then our adolescence. Let us say, at the age of maximum twenty-one years, our body stops its growth. We don’t interfere; it is a natural process. And then once it stops, from the next moment, the body is declining, declining, declining, aging. But that is the time we have become an adult and we have our own choices, our own ambitions, our own desires and the like.
In the background of whatever you have learnt and you have become, now a stage has come when we have to decide about our own growth, our own further life, every aspect of it. I think at that point of time if you look into, you will find that you have to observe, observe the others, observe the world, observe the different types of occurrence that transpire around us and then we have to think about them. So learning to think, learning to introspect, reflect over, it is a must in anybody’s life. In the process, a number of suggestions come to us. We see a number of qualities in others and you can always be learning. A man who wants to learn and who is given to observation, I think he can become to any extent knowledgeable.
We observe many things, we come to hear many things; that is not sufficient. We should remember them and act upon them, remembering them. First of all, you should be conscious of the fact that I should be able to remember, I should be able to remember. Without memory, nobody can live. We have learnt the numerals at a very young age, we still remember them. We have learnt the alphabet when we were young but we still remember them. So memory is always a treasure and we have to cherish it and develop it. With the memory, what is the next step to be done? We should act upon it. So in that process, this remembering what you have learnt is very important.
If you want me to suggest a way, I think we should tell our children, every day they go to bed, tell them that before going to bed, to try to remember what all happened right from the beginning, throughout the day. We should teach them, tell them. Some people may not listen to what you say, but sometimes there will be people who will listen to you. See and hear, and then remember, then act upon what you have heard and what you have seen. This is the only way for growth.
I was staying with a family in Malaysia. The master of the house was a doctor, a reputed doctor, an anesthesiologist, his wife was a managing director in the household. One day she told me, “I tell my husband anything only once”. Just imagine, what is the integrity, the efficiency of the wife and equally so of the husband? It is a quality; so immediately I felt that here is a point of view - we should not be unnecessarily reminded. We should be able to remember and act.
I have written in Vicharasethu a very important episode in my life. Switching off the bathroom light when I come out of the bathroom. Oh! It took months and months and months for me to remember and do it properly. I used to do it when I was leaving, after dressing up and all that. But Nutan Swamiji used to come there and whenever he used to come, he immediately switches off. So it occurred to me why should it be necessary for him to switch off, I should do it myself.
I started the struggle, I did many many things but I was not able to do it promptly, even now there are days in which I omit. Finally I found out a method. I used to keep my chappals facing the bathroom. So when I exited, I would put on the chappals, then I will have to look at that switch board and then seeing it I used to switch off, but even then failure was there. After some time, I left it because however much I might remind me, remind me, try, it doesn’t come to me naturally. So now also, there are very rare days when I miss but I still am on it. I don’t want to miss it. I feel bad if I miss it, delay the process. So this kind of a sincerity you must have. This kind of sincerity.
"Whatever I hear I should remember; whatever I remember I should act upon." This integrity and fervor should become part of your life. Any quality according to me can be cultivated, provided you try for it. Think about the quality and want to have it. Do not excuse yourself if you are not able to develop. Believe and want to develop it, develop it, develop it, develop it, develop it, want, want, want, want, remember, remember, remember. I have made a formula. If you are spending 50 mind hours on a quality, the quality will grow in you.
Your mind should spend 50 hours, not once or twice to get known. Maybe you take a few days, 50 mind hours you have to spend on a quality. Automatically the quality will become yours. So don’t tell me that we cannot develop. What else can we do then? Only eat and sleep? Every time, we should be able to remember, remember, remember. Recently, I have found forgetfulness is necessary. Unless we forget, our love and sensitiveness about memory will go away. When you remember and constantly remember, that remembrance does not become sensitive in you. When we forget, ‘Oh, I have forgotten, I have forgotten’, that feeling itself intensifies the need for its memory. That is why Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, matta: smṛtir-jñānam-apohanam ca | (Bhagavad Gita 15.15).
From me is memory, is again knowledge, is again forgetfulness. So a little forgetfulness is necessary so that you will be sensitive about your memory. As we grow older and older, maybe some part of the memory will go away.
I have started saying to Mā and the others, I don’t think I remember immediate things. I take an article and place it in, say, on my right or so, the fact that I have taken is okay, placing it on the right I am not able to remember. I have observed and I find that it has become almost a regular feature with me. What can I do? My body is becoming older, but I am writing. I am not forgetting words. Words are still available for me. If the words also fail to come, I cannot speak and write. But normally, there should be an effort on your part. So the answer to this question is “want to remember”.
I used to tell people that I am a very very poor reader. I don’t read. And whatever I have read, I have read substantially, only things which are to be remembered and kept as a treasure. So my reading was minimum, but I always wanted to gain something and act upon it. Otherwise I will not read. What is the point in reading? It is not worth it. So if I read, I should have something to remember. And if I remember something, I should act upon it; it should be of use to me. I think this kind of a refining process, refinement will help you to remember and retain what you have heard, what you have read. First of all, don’t read and don’t hear. If you read and hear, it should be for remembering. And you remember to be guided by what you have in your memory. Let us try to be qualitative about this kind of a personality.
Don’t be a light-hearted man. Be serious, be fervent, and be vigorous also. Any quality can be cultivated. And for cultivation, you have to spend some time. Whenever I ask you a question, how many hours have you spent on this quality, by interacting with it, by reading about it, about the people who have it, and by wanting to have it? Have you spent 50 mind hours? Then the quality will have become yours. So I think this is something very important. We are all doing, doing, hearing, hearing, speaking, speaking. But what? What for? So that evaluation should always be there and seriousness also should be there.
Once I was forced to see a kind of a mimicry along with my host in a place years back. All of them were laughing, but I could never laugh. If at all I could laugh, I could laugh at others. What is the point in seeing this mimicry? For what? I don’t know. You see something good, something nice, something of value, lesson, why should we spend our time in this?
So my point is very clear, don’t miss it. You develop the quality that “I will hear and I will read only to understand, I understand only to remember, I remember only to act upon beneficially and usefully”. This kind of an integration should be cultivated in your inner personality, then I think, you will be far far better.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.