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Always Remember Our Divine Nature To Avoid Crashing To Low Level Of Human Life

Memory is important but how to handle it is the point. Portraying a graphic picture of the ways of mind, Sri Krishna says in the Gita: In one who dwells longingly on sense objects, an inclination towards them is generated. This inclination develops into desire, and desire begets anger.

Anger generates delusion, and delusion results in loss of memory. Loss of memory brings about the destruction of discriminative intelligence and loss of discriminative intelligence spells ruin to a man.

‘Delusion results in loss of memory’ not only when we are angry and upset and do things harmful and unethical but it also comes when we are careless. Carelessness (called Pramada in Sanskrit) does not mean not doing something but while knowing what is to be done – due to a lazy attitude and lack of seriousness – forgetting to do it. That is why we have to be reminded, again and again. (Gita, 2.62-63)

If ‘loss of memory’ is equivalent to carelessness (Pramada), then it implies that one should cultivate constant, unbroken memory of the ideal of our divinity. If we fail to do it, we ‘fall’ down. And it all happens imperceptibly. Acharya Shankara points the dangers of Pramada in Vivekachudamani (325), if the mind ever so slightly strays from the ideal and becomes outgoing, then it goes down and down, just as a play-ball inadvertently dropped on the staircase comes down from one step to another.

Comments an eminent monk of the Ramakrishna Order on this verse:

A boy plays with a ball standing on the top stair. Inadvertently the ball slips from the hands and falls on the first stair. The ball does not stop there. . . It keeps gaining momentum in the course of its fall and does not stop until it reaches the bottom . . . [Similarly] The falling mind keeps gathering momentum until it comes down crashing to a very low level of human life. This is the moral fall of man. . . Hence there is need to exercise great caution. Be alert! Be alert! (The Message of Vivekachudamani, Swami Ranganathananda, Advaita Ashrama, p.531)

In other words, ‘remember’ always, ‘do not forget’ ever. To develop remembrance, in a spiritual perspective, remember our divine nature. This is generally done in two ways: either being aware of our divine core, ‘separating’ it from the material entity — drig-drishya viveka or the discernment of the seer from the seen. This, of course, presupposes purification of mind. And having mentally separated oneself from the changing and therefore painful phenomenon called this material world, one then dwells in one’s Divine Self.

The other method, much easier and widely used, is Nama-smaranam, remembering the Divine Name — or the sacred name of the Personal God one believes in. This means doing Japa or repeating God’s Name. This repetition is not a mechanical act, done with speed and hurry. It is a loving remembrance of the Lord, the Beloved One.