What is Remembrance?

Acharya Prashant
14 min readOct 14, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

अर्जुन उवाच।

नष्टो मोह: स्मृतिर्लब्धा त्वत्प्रसादान्मयाच्युत।

स्थितोऽस्मि गतसन्देह: करिष्ये वचनं तव।।

arjuna uvācha

naṣhṭo mohaḥ smṛitir labdhā tvat-prasādān mayāchyuta

sthito ‘smi gata-sandehaḥ kariṣhye vachanaṁ tava

Arjuna said: O infallible one, by your grace my illusion has been dispelled, and I am situated in knowledge. I am now free from doubts, and I shall act according to your instructions.

~ Chapter 18, Verse 73

✥ ✥ ✥

Acharya Prashant (AP): So, we have read that the topic for today is smṛitir labdhā. It relates to remembrance. It is important to put a little context on these words.

In the Bhagavad Gita, these are the last words uttered by Arjuna, becoming the last chapter obviously, and are close to being the final verses. Arjuna is declaring that “I have regained remembrance”. So, one wonders, what is it that Arjuna seems to have gained? What is it he seems to have again remembered? He is making a claim. He is expressing his situation. He is saying, “After all the discussion that we had, O Krishna, now I remember.” What is it that he remembers?

Now, this word ‘remembrance’ is not at all a new word for us. In the spiritual domain, it is quite a familiar and oft-used word. We say we must remember; ‘sumiran’, ‘surati’, ‘smaran’. A lot of emphasis has been put on remembering by saints, by scriptures, by religious traditions across the world. And they say, “Remember,” and they say, “Remember the Truth, remember God.” What is it that is being asked to be remembered?

When the mind hears the word ‘remembrance’, does it not treat it like any other word? Because words are words, words are the stuff of mind. The mind is used to receiving words. And every word is a proxy for some object, for something that is situated in space…

Acharya Prashant