Steps to retain knowledge

Steps to retain knowledge

In life, many times, it so happens that we’d have embarked on a learning journey. The learning could involve anything — a long-term educational course, a new language, or even a recreational one like training in yogic techniques, devotional songs/shlokas. Interestingly, at the last leg of our learning expedition, as we try recollecting the things disseminated to us by our tutor, we find our mind getting addled, muddled and going entirely blank!

Apparently, it baffles us of our evanescent memory that has made the just imparted knowledge to sieve out, without a vestige of it having got imprinted on our mind. Well, how do we then try remembering the things taught to us, such that it gets ineradicably embedded in our brains for ever? Here, I remember the impressive set of three words that one finds in the vedantic terrains of Hindu philosophy. They are ‘shravana, manana and nidhi-dhyasana’. The three steps to self-realization. But the same principle also serves as the secret formula for successfully retaining every scrap of knowledge that one stumbles upon in several spheres of life.

‘Shravana’. This means ‘attentive listening’, keeping absolutely alert all our aural faculties. Here, strangely many times, it so happens that when we are listening to say, an educational lecture or a spiritual discourse, we find our thoughts traipsing in thousands of directions, which unwittingly makes us indulge in ‘edit hearing’! So, with deflected focus, when in ‘dribs and drabs’ we try assimilating the dished out knowledge, obviously it becomes difficult to retain it. On the contrary, when we listen with singular focus, our intellectual horizon gets broadened.

After attentive listening, the next step to retain knowledge is ‘manana’ — repeated reflection and rumination over taught lessons. Here, when the mind keeps lingering longer over learned things, each time we’d be coming up with interesting interpretations. By this, we’d be giving constant intellectual makeovers to the mind, thereby revising and redefining our earlier perspectives and perceptions over several matters.

Finally, nidhi dhyasana is the profound meditation, wherein the mind is fully absorbed in thoughts pivoted around our newfound knowledge. Here, when we allow our thoughts to be fixated fully on the newly acquired knowledge, it starts pervading our entire being, to an extent that no other thoughts penetrate our mind. This aids in us gaining complete control over that new knowledge, which by then would have been entrenched in our brains eternally!

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