(Last Updated on : 22/03/2010)
The smrtiparisuddhau svarupasunya iva arthamatranirbhasa nirvitarka yogic sutra defines the usage of memory of an ordinary man in every aspect, leading from recalling the past to actualising the present. However, when the memory is cleansed and purged, it ceases to behave in the common manner. Both mind and memory quits its functioning and one is into a state of no-mind. One generally requires the assistance of memory in the early processes of asana. In order to gain perfect awareness, the brain must function ingeniously, not mechanically.
completely cleansed, purest of minds
devoid of one's nature
as it were
shining alone in its purest form
unreflecting, unconsidered, without analysis or logic
In nirvitarka samapatti, the difference between memory and intellectual illumination is disclosed; memory is cleansed and consciousness shines without reflection.
When memory is completely purged and purified, mind too is purified. Both discontinue to function as distinct entities; a no-mind state is experienced, and consciousness alone expresses itself, shining untarnished without reflection of external objects. This is called nirvitarka samapatti.
Memory is the recapitulation of past thoughts and experiences. It is the storehouse of past impressions. Its knowledge is reflected knowledge. The sadhaka should be aware that memory has incredible impact on intelligence. By tenacity in yoga practices and persistent self-discipline, new experiences come to light. These new experiences, liberated from the memories of the past, are fresh, direct and subjective; they wipe out what is remembered. Then memory ceases to function as a separate entity. It either unites with consciousness or takes a secondary position, giving prevalence to new experiences and bringing precision in intelligence. For an average person memory is a past mind. For the enlightened man, memory is a present mind. As memory is purged, intelligence becomes illuminative and moves closer to the seer, losing its identity. This is nirvitarka samapatti.
Even for the unripened mind, there is a right and a wrong use of memory. It is not for recapitulating bliss, but for establishing a support of experience as a source for further accurate action and perception.
In asana, for instance, one commences with trial and error. The fruits of these experiments are graded by the discriminating intelligence and stored in the memory. As one progresses, trial and error decreases, and correct perception increases. So memory provides foresight against error. In the heads tand, for instance, something that normally goes wrong is that the upper arm shortens. Memory warns one to 'be aware before it happens'. Discriminating experiment awakens consciousness. Awareness, with discrimination and memory, breaks down bad habits, which are reiterated actions based on incorrect perception, and replaces them with their opposite. In this process the brain must be ingenious, not mechanical. The mechanical brain questions only the external occurrences, bringing objective knowledge. The creative brain questions the inner and outer, bringing subjective and spiritual knowledge. In asana, understanding starts with the inner skin; in pranayama, with the inner membrane of the nose. These are the embarking points of the spiritual quest in asana and pranayama.
In this manner, a virtuous character is built up. When awareness is associated with intelligence, honesty comes into being; when brain and body proceed in harmony, integrity prevails. In all this lengthy process of tapas, memory supports the building-up process. When memory works perfectly, it becomes one with the intelligence. At this point, memory, which had originally dug pretty many pits, has metamorphosed itself into the honest guru.