What’s the Use of Memory? A Practice of Memory and Saṁskāra

YS I.11 - anu-bhūta-viṣaya-asaṁpramoṣaḥ smr̥tiḥ Memory is the retention of images of sense objects that have been experienced YS IV.9 – jāti deśa kāla vyavahitānām-apy-āntaryāṁ smr̥ti-saṁskārayoḥ ekarūpatvāt. Because they are identical, there is an uninterrupted connection between memory and saṁskāra, even though they might be separated by birth, time, and place. YS II.10 – tasya praśānta-vāhitā saṁskārat The mind’s undisturbed flow occurs due to saṁskāras.


Memory, as Proust reminds us, is not always a reflection of the way things actually were. Indeed, human memory, unlike, say, computer memory, fulfills a different function. The function of memory has been analyzed by both contemporary psychology and in the literature of classical yoga, with some interesting convergences and equally interesting divergences. Here we will examine the purpose of remembering from both the

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