स्मरो वावाकाशाद्भूयस्तस्माद्यद्यपि बहव आसीरन्न स्मरन्तो नैव ते कंचन शृणुयुर्न मन्वीरन्न विजानीरन्यदा वाव ते स्मरेयुरथ शृणुयुरथ मन्वीरन्नथ विजानीरन्स्मरेण वै पुत्रान्विजानाति स्मरेण पशून्स्मरमुपास्स्वेति ॥ ७.१३.१ ॥
smaro vāvākāśādbhūyastasmādyadyapi bahava āsīranna smaranto naiva te kaṃcana śṛṇuyurna manvīranna vijānīranyadā vāva te smareyuratha śṛṇuyuratha manvīrannatha vijānīransmareṇa vai putrānvijānāti smareṇa paśūnsmaramupāssveti || 7.13.1 ||
1. Memory is certainly superior to ākāśa [space]. This is why, if many people get together but their memory fails, then they cannot hear or think or know anything. But if they remember, they can then hear, think, and know. Through memory one knows one’s children and animals. Therefore, worship memory.
Smaraḥ vāva ākāśāt bhūyaḥ, memory is certainly superior to ākāśa [space]; tasmāt, this is why; yadi api, even if; bahavaḥ, many people; āsīran, get together; na smarantaḥ, [but] they cannot remember; te, they; na eva kañcana śṛṇuyuḥ, cannot hear anything; na manvīran, nor think; na vijānīran, nor know; yadā vāva te smareyuḥ, but if they can remember; atha śṛṇuyuḥ, then they can hear; atha manvīran, then they can think; atha vijānīran, then they can know; smareṇa vai, by virtue of memory; putrān vijānāti, one knows one’s children; smareṇa paśūn, by virtue of memory [one knows one’s] animals; smaram upāssva iti, worship memory.
Memory is the medium through which we learn. Without memory we cannot progress, because we cannot retain anything. Because we have the faculty of memory, we hear something, we understand it, and then we are prompted to action. Suppose someone tells me: ‘Beware! There is a snake over there. Don’t go that way.’ If I cannot remember what that person has said, then I will go in that direction and be bitten by the snake.
When the guru gives us spiritual instructions, we have to hear it correctly, think over it and ponder it, and then meditate on it again and again. We must think deeply on it. Without memory we cannot do that.