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Save Oneself From Bad Memories

From: Cinmay Deva
Subject: Save Oneself From Bad Memories
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2011 10:43:11 -0400


"Bhul kare du're thekechi tumi bhul bheunge dio..." (1827)


Baba, due to my own defects I am not able to get close to You. Because of not following Your dharmic guidelines, my progress is hindered and I am just keeping myself away from You. Baba, by Your grace, please remove all my shortcomings and weaknesses and bring me in Your closest proximity, take me in Your lap. In my life I have received an abundant amount of love from You; You have graced me so much. Baba, now I am offering my love to You-- please grace me by accepting it.

Baba, in the sky there is a deep blueness and my tender heart is full of love for You. Baba, I do not want my love to remain hidden & secluded in my little heart. By Your grace please allow the reddish glow of my heart-- i.e. my love-- to merge in the vastness of the distant blue sky. Baba, please let my love reach up to the highest realm-- reach up to You.

Baba, when I sing the song and ideate on You there is a deep feeling of longing in my heart. By Your grace You have given the tune and in that way I sing for You. Baba, may my heart's inner longing be goaded & pointed exclusively toward You. Baba by Your grace, I should always contemplate and think of You; my life should revolve and dance around You. My life should be successful, please grace me...


Memory plays a huge role in the life of any sadhaka - in the life of any human being. People want to remember things but often are unable to remember all that we wish to recall.

Memory is not just about recalling facts and figures, passwords and PIN's, but serves as a key aspect of our overall happiness. We should remember those sweet and dharmic points that keep us moving in the right direction, and we should forget those painful moments that weigh us down.

So memory plays a crucial life in the proper growth of every human being.

Unfortunately, the power of memory is often misused as people dwell on things that haunt them from the past and forget to recall those finer ideas that will bring love, momentum, and light into their life.

As sadhakas, we are in better position than the general public. Our sadhana and devotional practices reinforce sentient ideals and keep our psyche buoyant and free - not sunken and bogged down.

Even then, we all have room for growth and improvement; we should better understand memory and the functioning of mind in this regard.

Baba has outlined three distinct ways to enhance our memory and hence enhance the quality of life. We should learn and practice these points and share them with all we know.


Baba's first mandate for developing a strong memory recall is to be pointed and concentrated. If one is studying chemistry, one should not also be talking on the phone and listening to music at the time. Then one will not be able to remember the subject of chemistry. Because the mind cannot simultaneously involve in two things with full concentration. The mind will be bifurcated and the memory will be retarded.

Baba says, "One mental flow is engaged in memorizing the subjects being studied, while another mental flow entertains various other thoughts such as: 'What will my parents and seniors say if I fail in the examination? The juniors in my locality will cease to respect me, they will say all kinds of unpleasant things...' and so on. Obviously that boy's mental power has become bifurcated." (APH-5, p.357)

So the mind should be completely fixed on what you want to remember. If the mind is in a fickle state or moving from one pabulum to another - from one thing to another - then remembering any point will be quite difficult, if not impossible. So fixed concentration is needed.

At the same time, one should not entertain other types of thoughts - such mental diversions should pushed aside.

Baba says, "What should a wise person do in such circumstances? He should think nothing else except: 'I will memorize whatever I'm reading now, without bothering about my gains if I succeed or my losses if I fail in the task. I will not allow any portion of my mind to flow in an undesirable direction, and thus I will keep my mind exclusively engrossed in the task of learning'." (APH-5, p. 357)

Accordingly, we should only think only about that thing that we wish to learn and remember. That is Baba's teaching.

For instance, if one is walking down the street and remembering their ista mantra, then one should not also think about that when they get home they have to pay their taxes nor should they think about the fact that last year their business sales were low. If one wants to remember their ista mantra, then that sadhaka should think about their mantra - period. No active attention should be paid to any other thought, word or idea. By this process one will develop a stronger and stronger ability to remember their ista mantra.

One other critical component is that one can generally create pointed concentration only if the topic is of interest and value to them. If anyone thinks that something is useless or unimportant, then they will not be able to concentrate properly and hence will not remember that idea or teaching.

For instance, if one goes vegetable shopping then upon their return they will most certainly remember what they purchased and how much it cost, but they will not remember all the faces of the other customers or recall what other people purchased. Because those things are not important to them.


Embedded within this first point of pointed concentration is that we should have both keen awareness and vivek (discrimination) regarding those things that we are trying to remember.

Specifically, we should not remind ourselves again and again about memories that are harmful to us. This much understanding we should have.

Yet all too often, a distraught widow thinks again and again about the death of her spouse, or a man recalls the day his wife left him, or people think again and again about mistakes they made long ago in the past.

In short, people commonly think about the sadder or more shocking moments of their life. They cannot do anything to change those events, yet for months and years they bring those sorrowful memories into their mental plate on a daily basis. This in turn invites much anguish and pain in their life.

If one really cannot rid oneself of a negative or horrifying memory - if they are unable to free oneself of that terrible thought mentally - then changing one's environment or taking away external reminders of that occasion can help remedy the situation. For instance, do not revisit the scene of a car crash that killed your baby. That physical reminder will immediately trigger that painful memory in the mind.

Side by side, equally detrimental though less painful, people may also spend much time remembering their past glories - such as how they scored three goals in a football match 40 years ago, or how they became class president in high school, or so many other useless things from days bygone. These also do not contribute to their growth as human beings or sadhakas. Yet people churn these events in their mind again and again.

Thus along with proper concentration, we must be careful about the types of things that we are remembering - are they helpful for our development of mind, or not.


Baba's second mandate for developing a strong and proper memory is regular repetition.

For instance, if we want to remember a sutra or shloka or one of Baba's discourses, then first we must follow point #1: Employ pointed concentration to the subject matter. But that in and of itself will not be enough. The human mind has its limitations and over time we will forget.

In that case, to keep the point alive in the mind regular repetition is needed. In the beginning we may need to review by reading or listening to the topic monthly or even weekly. Thereafter, the span of time between review sessions can increase to 3 months, 6 months or even yearly, until finally we reach a point when those ideas are fully rooted in the mind and we have them for life - they will not be forgotten.

So the above is an excellent way to remember good ideas.

In contrast, if there is a painful memory, then we should take the opposite approach. Above we are using books and cassettes as external stimuli to keep the mind fresh in the mind. Conversely, if there is a place - such as our deceased sons's bedroom - that reminds of some horrific event etc, then we should be sure not to revisit that place as
it will only reinforce those painful memories in the mind.

So this point of reinforcement or review works in two directions and can be used to remember important things as well as free ourselves from old, painful memories.


Baba's third mandate on enhancing one's memory is doing dhyana sadhana, i.e. sixth lesson.

Here is one of Baba's unique teachings where He is indirectly referring to Himself. Some jinanis may not be able to understand Baba's below teaching, but any devotee will certainly recognise that in the below citation Baba is talking the dhyana of Ananda Marga.

Baba says, "The psycho-spiritual approach which strengthens the memory, and makes the intellect omniscient. A good way to stabilize the memory is to meditate on someone you have seen or heard about who possesses a unique photographic memory. This will increase your own memory." (Faculty of Knowledge-5)

By keeping Baba's image in our mind - then our mind becomes like His mind - in which case there is nothing in this universe that we will not be able to remember.


Here Baba reminds us of one important teaching from Lord Buddha. Namely, if one wishes to cross the ocean of samskara then one must make the mind light and free - one cannot cross that ocean if one is weighed down by all kinds of worries from the past of fears about the future. Such memories are an impediment and just shackle us.

So the mind should be pure and focused in the present.

Baba says, "When you are to move fast, your mind should be light; if the mind is heavy it will not be able to move fast. What makes the mind heavy? So many impurities of thought...

Muinca pure muinca pacchata majjhe muinca bhabassa pa'ragu'

[Remove all the water from the boat of your body;
being free from water, it will become very light.]

“You should make your mind light. You should give up all worldly thoughts, all base thoughts, all depraving thoughts, and make yourself light.” To make oneself light means to free oneself from impurities. A magnet can easily attract a piece of iron, but if that piece of iron is full of impurities, that very magnet may not be able to attract that iron. So the Supreme Self, Supreme Lord, is always attracting you, but because of your heaviness due to worldly impurities, you are not being attracted by Him." (AV-31)

Thus, if one is bogged down by all kinds of crude thoughts then remembering Baba will be extremely difficult.

We are to get rid of those old, worn-out memories and think only about Him.


By Baba's grace, He has blessed us with the realisation that He is the most venerable Entity in this universe and only He should be remembered. At the same time we should systematically remove those thoughts which we do not want to remember. This will help us immensely in life. Finally, when remembering Him becomes our fixed habit (dhruva'smrti) then our success and salvation are assured, by His grace.

Baba says, "Those who have developed a memory capable of retaining information do not forget anything any more. That is, they always mentally remember God. Then what happens in that condition? They get their memory firmly implanted – firmly based in a solid foundation – and they never forget. And that condition of never forgetting anything, is called dhruva'smrti. And memory then stands firm and sure. Then you have full control over your memory according to your wish. Such people are called dhruva'smrti – they can always remember God and thus feel a special kind of a'nanda or bliss in their minds." (AV-6)



Here are a few more of Baba's invaluable guidelines on enhancing one's memory.

Baba says, "One whose mental power is weak, whose nerve-cells are feeble, who has little will-power, who cannot make his mind singularly pointed or concentrate sharply, has a short memory. He is unable to remember what has been seen or thought after a lapse of time." (AV-6)

Baba says, "At the time of learning something, you should empty your mind of all other thoughts, giving full importance to what is being learnt...As a result, you will develop your thinking capacity." (APH-5, p. 357)

Baba says, "The exact mental reproduction of what has been previously perceived is called smrti or memory. For instance, you once perceived an elephant by observing a real elephant and seeing its huge body, legs, eyes, ears, nose and trunk. The physical form of the elephant struck the retina of your eyes creating a vibration in your optical fluid, and was ultimately imprinted in your mind as the image of the elephant. Now some time later when you see an animal with the same type of limbs as those of your previously perceived elephant, you immediately conclude that this animal must also be an elephant. Your conclusion is based on your previous perception. This is memory." (AFPS-7)

Baba says, "When the memory becomes established, unfailing and spontaneous, it is called dhruva'smrti, or constant memory. Dhruva'smrti, or constant memory, is an essential prerequisite for spiritual sama'dhi or bliss." (AFPS-7)

Importance of Sadhana

Baba says, "Numerous rich and beautiful cities of the historic past are now buried under the earth. Many splendid palaces and mansions, many churches, temples, mosques and synagogues, and many pyramids have been reduced to rubble. With the constant change in the flow of time, how many major changes have occurred in the universe? Similarly, with the change in time and space, people also change. A small two year old child becomes a smart and active twenty-five year old youth. And the same energetic youth becomes an infirm, inactive old person in due course. Thus, nothing in this universe is permanent. Many gigantic animals of the past have become totally extinct from the surface of the earth. Royal pomp and opulence, the pride of power, the vast knowledge of mighty scholars have become things of the past, thrown into the dustbin of history. Many objects emerged in the past, remained on earth for a short time, and then disappeared according to the inexorable law of nature."

"The only eternal truth is Parama Purus'a. He is ana'di, beginningless, endless, all-pervasive; an entity beyond the scope of time, place and person. He is the only eternal, undecaying, imperishable, immutable entity. He is the Supreme Source from which the inanimate, plant and animal worlds have emerged. He is the starting point and the culminating point of everything. Hence, wise people should utilise their physical, psychic and spiritual power to realise that supreme omnitelepathic entity, to become one with Him." (PNS-18, p.6)

Note: Please read Baba's above teaching again carefully. It explains everything.

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