Is memory a blessing or a bondage? Sadhguru explains, memory is just a doorway – if doors are opening for you, it can be a wonderful thing, but if they are closing in your face, you see it as horrible.
Sadhguru: Human memory is a fabulous thing; it's because of this ability to remember we have science, we have technology, we have a civilization, we have information technology; it's all about memory, isn't it? But at the same time it's human memory which is the source of all bondage. What you call as karma is just memory on different levels of life. Memory is like a doorway; a doorway can open but also it can close. If doors open for you, you experience doors as beautiful things. If doors close in your face you always remember doors as horrible things. Isn't it so? In your life if doors are opening for you wherever you go, you see door as a very wonderful thing but if it's always slamming in your face door is a horrible thing. Memory is just like this. Memory is what has given us the ability to be informed; it is because we are capable of making ourselves informed about various things many beautiful things have happened in our lives, many. The very basis of civilization is memory. Today what goes as learning is simply memory, isn't it? Memory transmitted from generation to generation; that is how if your father knew how to do one stitch you learnt how to make the second stitch and your children learnt the third stitch; this is how things have happened. But if you did not remember the first stitch, reinventing the wheel all the time, nothing would have happened, isn't it? Just intelligence would not have led to civilization; memory is important. At the same time memory also makes your life repetitive not receptive, simply repetitive. When you carry a certain volume of memory within you life becomes repetitive, automatic. All sense of being human, all the possibilities of being spontaneous, all the possibility of exploring new terrain in one’s life gets obliterated because of memory. As I said, it's like a doorway. It all depends whether it's opening for you or closing for you. When people try to learn by shear memory many things happen and lot of so-called culture and civilization is a product of that - shear memory, not much intelligence in it. Together they are a deadly combination. Just memory is simply a repetitiveness.
One of the Isha meditators from United States wanted to come to India. Last four years he’s been planning and planning but he has a cat that he loves and to leave the cat for more than two weeks and come to India has been very difficult. You know the cat? He divorced his wife about six years ago. So he has no such problems but the cat. Slowly he became little more dispassionate and he decided to come. So he handed his cat over to his brother and then he travelled to India. Landed at the Chennai airport. The moment he cleared the customs, first thing he did was he borrowed a volunteer’s phone who had come to receive the US meditators who are landing that day and he said, ‘I need to make a call to United States.’ Say, ‘Okay.’
So he called his brother and he… first thing he asked, ‘How is the cat?’ The brother said, ‘Cat is dead.’ He said, ‘What! Cat dead?’ He screamed and yelled and cried and then he said, ‘Okay it's dead; we can always get another cat but don’t you have any sensitivity? Couldn’t you say in a gentler way? Simply barking cat is dead. Is there no sensitivity at all in you?’ Then the brother asked, ‘Okay, what was I supposed to say? It's dead.’ (All laugh) ‘I can understand it's dead, but couldn’t you say something; couldn’t you say the cat went up to the roof top, (Participants Laugh) there it rained heavily and he got soaked and you called the fire brigade and you went up and you got it down and you put him… you took all the care; put him in the cat hospital …but he got pneumonia and he passed on but peacefully; something. There is no sign of civilization in you. What is this cat is dead?’ Then he said, ‘Okay next time I’ll try.’ Then he said, ‘Alright, how are you?’ He said, ‘I am doing well.’ ‘How is mother?’ ‘Well, she went up to the roof…’
Lot of civilization has become like this… because information that travels from generation to generation gets stored in different ways and so much distortion and now you can't look at anything straight the way it is. Minds get so deeply conditioned that you can't look at anything straight anymore. So what you call as culture is just memory; what you call as civilization is just memory; memory is not useless, memory is useful but if you do not know how to keep it aside that becomes your biggest bondage because life becomes repetitive. When you are repetitive you cannot be receptive.