Change recollection from selective to comprehensive and deceptive to protective

Alcoholics, for a few moments of pleasure, undergo the indignity of slurred speech, incoherent behavior and overall foolishness that takes a heavy toll on time, money, health, love and life itself.

When alcoholics are sober, they are often painfully aware of this toll. But when the next urge to drink attacks them, their memory malfunctions, giving them vivid recollection of the fleeting initial pleasure and giving near-zero recollection of the lasting eventual misery. Such selective recollection is deceptive – dangerously deceptive – for it perpetuates their alcohol addiction.

The Bhagavad-gita (02.63) states that such malfunctioning of the memory stems from delusion – the delusion that overwhelms those who unguardedly contemplate on tempting objects. The Gita (02.62-63) gives the eight-stage trajectory of thoughts that begins in contemplation and ends in self-destruction. So when alcoholics contemplate drinking, the resulting desire snowballs into a delusion that pushes back the memories hostile to drinking and pushes forward memories conducive to drinking.

Such deceptive recollection entraps not just alcoholics, but all of us, according to our specific attachment. And the innate selectivity of our recollection is aggravated by today’s culture that depicts worldly pleasures selectively. The Gita (18.38) states that worldly pleasures are like nectar in the beginning, but poison in the end. The culture aggressively glamorizes the initial nectar and artfully conceals the eventual poison, thus worsening the deception.

To protect us from such deceptive recollection, scripture gives the full and unvarnished picture of worldly pleasures. When we complement serious scriptural study with conscientious contemplation on how our own experiences with worldly pleasures ended in misery, our conviction about their overall miserable nature strengthens. Thereafter, whenever temptations attack us, we can fight them off with our scripture-based and experience-boosted recollection.

Thus, serious scriptural study transforms our memory from selective to comprehensive and from deceptive to protective.

From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.


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