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by Swami Sivananda

Smarana is remembrance of the Lord at all times. This is unbroken memory of the Name and Form of the Lord. The mind does not think of any object of the world, but is ever engrossed in thinking of the glories of the Lord alone. The mind meditates on what is heard about the glories of God and His virtues, Names etc., and forgets even the body and contents itself in the remembrance of God, just as Dhruva and Prahlada did. Even Japa is only remembrance of God and comes under the category of this Bhakti. Remembrance also includes hearing of stories pertaining to God at all times, talking of God, teaching to others what pertains to God, meditation on the attributes of God, etc. Remembrance has no particular time. God is to be remembered at all times without break, so long as one has got his consciousness intact. Right up from his getting up from sleep in the morning, until he is completely overpowered by sleep in the night, a person is to remember God. He has no other duty in this world except remembrance of God. Remembrance of God alone can destroy all worldly Samskaras. Remembrance of God alone can turn away the mind from sense-objects. Generally the mind runs extrovert. But remembrance of God makes it introvert and does not allow it to run to particular objects of the world. Remembrance of God is a very difficult method of Sadhana. It is not possible to remember God at all times. The mind will cheat the person. He will think that he is meditating on God, but actually he will be dreaming of some object of the world or something connected with the name and fame. Remembrance is equal to concentration or meditation. All the qualities which a Raja-Yogin prescribes for the practice of meditation should be acquired by a Bhakta who wants to practise Smarana-Bhakti. Smarana is swimming against the forceful current of the river of Maya. Smarana leads to exclusive meditation on God, as is done in Raja-Yoga.

Company of real devotees is another auxiliary in the remembrance of God. Service of Mahatmas is still another necessity. The mind cannot but remember divine things when it is in the company of divine people. Therefore one should have Satsanga and he should always live with a saint or a great Bhakta. He should not be perturbed by censure or ridicule from the world. He should rely on God and rest assured that God will help him in all troubles and He will give him Final Emancipation.

Lord Krishna says in the Gita: O Arjuna! He who fixing his mind on Me, constantly remembers Me, I am easily attained by that Yogi, ever united with Me. The Gita is an authority on the nine modes of Bhakti. Lord Krishna illustrates with authority that the various modes of devotion shall lead one to the Supreme.

Remembrance of the Lord has given Liberation even to those who remembered Him through hatred, even as a worm, through meditation on the wasp through hatred and fear, attains the state of the wasp. Haters of the Lord like Kamsa and Sisupala had attained the state of Moksha through Vaira-Bhakti. Constant remembrance is the fruit of almost all other methods of practice in spiritual Sadhana. This is the most potent method and the most difficult also.

The miser does not forget his wealth even if he is engaged in other duties. The lustful man does not forget his beloved, and the cow does not forget its calf even while grazing. Even so a worldly man, even though he may be engaged in other duties of life, should practise the remembrance of God.

Prahlada practised the remembrance of God. He never forgot God at any time. He was punished by his cruel father in all possible ways. But the devoted Prahlada crossed over all troubles and obtained the Supreme Grace of the Lord. Prahlada was lost in the consciousness of God. Such should be the ardent aspiration of all devotees. The seventh Skandha of the Bhagavata gives a beautiful description of how Prahlada practised Bhakti even amidst trying conditions.

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