|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 65-69
Knowledge retention through Arham meditation
Department of B. Ed., Sri Tikaram Kanya Mahavidyalaya, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India
|Date of Submission||18-Jul-2020|
|Date of Decision||19-Oct-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||31-Oct-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||23-Dec-2020|
H. No. 1048, Near Post Office, Moh. Munna Lal, Subhash Chowk, Mawana, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh
In the age of science and technology, the availability of different types of media has accelerated the rate of knowledge explosion. This growing knowledge needs to be gained and retained to attain success in life. Some techniques need to be employed to improve retention of knowledge as human mind also has certain limitations and cannot absorb all the information poured over. Meditation is one of such techniques. Numerous forms of meditation practices are popular around the world. Here, the researcher is taking into consideration the practice of Arham meditation to improve knowledge retention. Arham meditation is the process of changing the state of mind. It transforms the unstable and fickle mind to a calm, peaceful, compassionate, happy, and healthy mind. Arham meditation follows a sequence of some activities – sitting or standing in proper posture at a peaceful place and then relaxation of mind by Arham pranayama, which is then followed by the act of healing oneself internally with Arham chanting. The next task is to become aware of our own selves. Here, the practitioner tries to focus his/her attention on whatever is going on in the body, just as an observer.At last, the excessive energy produced in the body is released and spread in surroundings by reciting Arham Prayers. This Is done with a view to spread health and happiness throughout the Universe. Thus, it benefits the practitioner on the one hand and the whole population on the other hand. In short, Arham meditation brings the mind to a calm state and this calm mind accepts the knowledge faster and absorbs it quickly for further use.
Keywords: Arham meditation, knowledge retention, chanting, Arham prayer, Panch Namaskar mudra
|How to cite this article:|
Jain A. Knowledge retention through Arham meditation. Yoga Mimamsa 2020;52:65-9
| Introduction|| |
The most wonderful blessing endowed to humankind is brain that enables them to think and attain knowledge (Richard Pryor). These features differentiate human from most forms of life. The brain interacts with the environment via sensory organs, and knowledge of a person is the result of this interaction. Mathematically, it can be written as:
Knowledge = Individual × environment
As this interaction goes on throughout the life of every individual, the knowledge continues to expand. Piaget's theory of genetic epistemology supports the view of relentless growth of knowledge. Accumulation of knowledge over centuries, along with highly active information and communication technology (print as well as nonprint forms), leads to knowledge explosion. Knowledge explosion facilitates acquisition of good quantity of quality knowledge for every individual. According to IBM's prediction, the knowledge will be doubling at a very rapid pace by the end of 2020, that is, knowledge will be doubled at every 11th–12th h. In today's competitive world, every one feels the necessity to excel in his/her work field, thus prominently focusing on acquiring maximum knowledge. They attain success in their task of acquiring knowledge, up to a great extent. This knowledge usually gets stored in short-term memory, from where it gets slip very easily. Therefore, it serves no purpose. Knowledge proves to be beneficial only if it can be applied and used, when required. To make it more precise, it can be said that true knowledge is the ability to understand, associate, and retrieve or recall information effectively.
In other words, gathering information and acquiring knowledge only does not accomplish the goal of education, and thus requires to be organized and retained for better results. This act of organization and fixation of knowledge is termed retention of knowledge. Knowledge retention is basically the process of absorbing (and ultimately retaining) information over time. If a person learned something today and forgets it tomorrow, then he/she has failed to retain the information (Academy, 2018). In the 19th century, Hermann Ebbinghaus explained this concept through his theory of learning curve. He exclaimed that 70% of newly acquired knowledge gets wash off from the memory if no effort is made to retain it (Andriotis, 2019). The brain's ability to handle new knowledge and put it into practice can be a frustrating process at times. In general, human minds are flooded with information, out of which a very low percentage is retained by us. The issue of knowledge retention often arises, when we talk about learning new skills, information, or procedures, as a high degree of attention is required for knowledge retention (Kosar & Bedir, 2018). The capacity of a person to sustain attention over time is limited and arduous, that is prone to fatigue, lapses, and fluctuations with extended involvement (Fortenbaugh et al., 2017; Warm et al., 2008; Langner & Eickhoff, 2013). In such situations, the old saying turns true, “In one ear and out the other” when it comes to retaining large amounts of information at once. Newly acquired information tends to disperse at an alarming rate as our brain is limited to what it can learn, retain, and store from short term to long term. Focusing on both the types of memory might help in understanding what is required for knowledge retention to take place. When a stimulus is perceived, it first goes to the primary memory with short-term storage and then with adequate repetition or practice, it takes place in the long-term storage. While determining what commits to long-term memory, the brain asks the following two basic questions to itself:
- Does the information make sense?
- Does it have meaning? (Sousa, 2017).
If whatever the students have heard or read does not make sense to them, they will forget it quickly. Short-term memory is the storehouse of moment-to-moment conscious thoughts and perception, whereas long-term memory is a semi-permanent memory store, which endures a lifetime and supports in learning new information. Thus, the necessity of rehearsal/repetition or practice for the transfer of the newly acquired knowledge from short-term memory to long-term memory is emphasized particularly in information-processing approach to memory (Allison, 2014). The sole ingredient of retention is remembering which is one of the main aspects of the cognitive function of the human body. In short, if the main emphasis is on retention of information, then the main focus of cognitive Process of remembering (UK Essays, 2018).
| Importance of Knowledge Retention|| |
Retention of knowledge is essential in life, as it determines the success of people residing on the planet may they be the students, teachers, business entrepreneurs, employees in industry, or some other people. Today, people have access to a huge reservoir of knowledge, and they go through it but it all drains. There are certain causes behind this forgetting such as more reading less retention, less repetition, no interest among learners, and less applicable in real life. Without a huge storehouse of knowledge, one cannot imagine the survival in this competitive world. Hence, there is a dire need to retain whatever is read or heard.
| Strategies of Enhancing Knowledge Retention|| |
There are several ways to improve knowledge retention. Some of them are mentioned here:
- Avoiding information overload
- Active involvement of learner
- Stimulate multiple senses
- Engage emotions
- Exploit novelty
- Use spaced repetition
- Simplify and streamline content
- Creating brain-friendly environment
- Make good use of images
- Social connections
- Encouraging curiosity and so on.
Several techniques for retaining knowledge have been stated above. Out of all these, this paper is focusing on one technique, that is, meditation, and more specifically Arham meditation, as the tool for enhancing knowledge retention among students.
| Concept of Meditation|| |
Meditation is not about becoming a new person or a changed person, it is just about bringing change in the way of thinking, developing positive attributes, and living a healthy and happy life (Campos et. al 2016). Meditation is a practice which enables a person to experience a relaxed body, a quiet mind, and an awaken spirit. Researches reveal that 90% of happiness does not depend on circumstances, but on how our brain process irrespective of whatever is going on in life at a given moment of time. Growing attention toward meditation has attracted several researchers to study this topic in various contexts. Due to enormous work, the definition keeps on changing, thus there is no perfect definition.
Definitions from the West posited that meditation is a self-regulatory technique that mainly focuses on maintaining one's attention. According to Western philosophers, meditation can be broadly categorized under two heads – open-minded monitoring and focused attention meditation. Nonreactive monitoring of the content of experience for every single moment is known as open-minded monitoring (Lutz, Slater, Dunne, & Davidson, 2008). This form of meditation is believed to promote nonreactive meta-cognitive monitoring and awareness of automatic cognitive and emotional interpretation of sensory perceptive impulses. When the attention is willfully focused on a specific thought or an object, then it is termed focused attention monitoring. It facilitates focusing mind on some thought or object, detecting mind meandering, and bringing it back again (Lutz, and et al., 2008; Travis & Shear, 2010). A number of studies have investigated mindful interventions and witnessed certain benefits, such as reduced mental stress and tension and enhancement in cognitive abilities such as mental clarity, stability, and creativity (Newman 2018 ; Goyal et.al. 2014). Meditation also increases the length of time for which someone can focus (Malinowski, 2018). Zanesco, King, MacLean, & Saron, (2018) observed that continuous practice of meditation relates with improvements in sustained attention and response inhibition, with the ability to modify longitudinal trajectories of cognitive change across an individual's life.
On the other hand, in the Eastern/spiritual tradition, meditation is considered a tool leading to spiritual development, the growth of inner peace, mental powers, concentration, positive emotions (love, compassion, happiness, and others), and on reducing negative emotions such as jealous, anger, and fear.
Arham Yoga and meditation is a superb combination of both the views as it focuses on sustained attention as well as its goal is attainment of serenity, purity, and self-awareness. This branch of yoga and meditation is proposed by Jain Muni 108 Shri Pranamya Sagar Ji, a devoted and sincere disciple of a very well-known Jain Saint Acharya Shri 108 Vidya Sagar Ji Muniraj. Keeping in mind the nonavailability of time and the busy schedule of today's youth, Muni Pranamya Sagar Ji propagated this thought as it is a less time-consuming and a highly effective way of attaining inner peace, power, purity, and many more qualities such as physical, emotional, mental, as well as social well-being. Jain mythology seeks austerity on a priority basis, but equal importance is given to meditation, which is sometimes not taken into account by the scholars due to some illusions, prejudices, or some preconceptions. The basic accent of all these activities is disciplining the mind as a disciplined mind serves the best base for attainment of inner peace, compassion, and other positive dimensions of emotions.
| Concept of Arham Yoga and Meditation|| |
This branch of yoga and meditation is comprised of six steps: each and every step has its own significance and contributes in the attainment of the desired goal. A brief description is given here:
Panch Namaskar Mudra
This step as a whole is consisted of five mudras, namely Arihant mudra, Siddha mudra, Acharya mudra, Upadhyay mudra, and Sadhu mudra. These mudras are complete pack comprised of asanas including Arham chanting. Every mudra has its own physical and psychological benefits. Every mudra has its own effect which has been described as PEACE by Muni Shri, whereas P stands for Power, E for Energy, A for Activity, C for Creativity, and E for Evolution.
Analytically, Pranayam is comprised of Prana and Aayam where Prana means breath and Aayam stands for the process of inhalation and exhalation in a regulated manner. Pranayama has been given a special place even in other branches of yoga. This process of inhalation and exhalation brings harmony between body, mind, and spirit, thus ultimately enhancing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual serenity.
It refers to rhythmical repetition of the mantra “Om Arham Namah” either loud or silently. Sound is considered as healing and sacred and one of the most powerful forces. Psychoacoustics is a branch of studying sounds, which supports this view. According to Jain Muni Shri Pranamya Sagar Ji and other practitioners of Arham Yoga, Arham chanting improves the concentration and keeps the mind calm and pure.
Numerous researches have been conducted in this context and all of them revealed that meditation, if carried effectively and for certain period of time, always yields fruitful results. Dr. Sara Lazar, 2011, during her study found that meditation can change the shape and size of the brain. According to Muni Shri Pranamya Sagar Ji 2019, loving meditation carries the essence of eternal love and has no relations with the worldly affairs. It emphasizes that individuals should become an observer, having no attachment and just treating everything as if it is temporary. Practicing loving meditation helps to release one from the bondage of incarnation and leads to the ultimate goal of life, that is, mercy and forgiveness. Its main focus is on the attainment of liberation, but it proves to be beneficial for the health of practitioner, that is, physical, mental, and emotional health.
The activation of glands starts as soon as the practitioner's body gets filled with the positive meditation energies and affects them even psychologically.
Muni Shri Pranamya Sagar Ji says that it is the process of talking to one's inner self. He exclaimed that the energy produced or released with a calm and relaxed mind has the capacity to heal the individual physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually, as well as economically.
| Process of Arham Meditation|| |
Arham meditation includes a pinch of all the six steps in it. To start the process of meditation, one should sit in Padmasana, Ardh-Padmasana, or normal cross leg condition in a calm place. Now, the practitioner should close the eyes softly keeping the spinal cord straight with the hands placed on the knees in Gyan Mudra (joining the first finger with the thumb and keeping the other three straight).
Now, the second step, known as Arham pranayam, is to be followed where the practitioner is supposed to regulate his/her inhalation and exhalation. Jain, R. 2019 stated that it should be done sequence of Rechak (inhalation), Kumbhak (holding the breath inside), and completing the cycle by Purak (exhalation). This complete cycle should be repeated for 27 times which forms a Kayotsarg. It relaxes our mind. Then, Arham chanting is done as the energy generated by chanting is super peaceful and has the capacity to heal the body, mind, soul, and the entire cosmos. After chanting, the practitioner feels himself/herself as a pure soul who is detached from all material and emotional bondages including family, friends, career, and luxuries. The practitioner here should simply become an observer and just watch everything as temporary, that is, nothing is permanent. This activity will help to break the bondages of many incarnations and will lead to the ultimate goal of forgiveness and mercy (Jain, 2019).
The practitioner should appreciate oneself as well others by thinking as whatever I have is sufficient and best for me, all of my organs are working properly, people in the entire world are good, no one does anything bad to me, and so on. A truly wise man always appreciates what he has rather than pursuing what he doesn't have (Muni Pranamya Sagar Ji, 2018). This feeling calms the fickle mind and fills it with positive energies such as happiness, compassion, and universal love. These positive affirmations leave deep impacts on our subconscious mind, transmutes our old negative beliefs, and fills one with fresh energy to move on positively. Here, positive affirmations are made to program the subconscious, which has the essence of the fifth step, that is, spiritual feelings.
Lastly, the practitioner should recite the Arham prayer. It is the act of making our vessel bigger with the feeling of universal love. The prayer written by Muni Shri Pranamya Sagar Ji (2018) is full of deep thoughts and motivates one to disperse the positive energy gained during the whole meditation process. These prayers teach us that every living being is having same “jeev atman” inside them. Hence, one should think positively for every individual. Perhaps, it has been named loving meditation by Muni Pranamya Sagar Ji. The energy produced within an individual and dispersed universally, through a calm and relaxed mind either conscious or unconscious, has the capacity to heal every one physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and economically as well. Muni Shri asserts that the peace of life lies in the peace of mind.
| Conclusion|| |
Meditation is simply a process of becoming aware of one's own actions (Eklavya, 2010); more precisely, it is the act of focusing attention in the present thoughts and actions. It sounds very easy and simple, but actually it is one of the most difficult tasks for one and all, as everyone lives in future or past rather than in the present and that is the basic reason for several mental, physical, emotional, or social restlessness. Arham meditation is developed keeping in view all these problems as well as the requirements of today's generation. The competitive environment and the desire to achieve maximum comfort and zeal to lead a luxurious life does not let the feeling of fulfillment to develop. If one has no time to enjoy things one have, then that individual is simply ignorant (Muni Shri Pranamya Sagar Ji). The 21st century has witnessed knowledge explosion at large, thus making the task of retention most important. Arham Yoga prepares the practitioners for gaining large amount of knowledge and retaining as much as they can. It actually calms the mind and when the flood of information arrives, this calm mind readily accepts the new information, absorbs it, and allows it to get transferred to long-term memory. When there is a sudden jerk or movement in a water vessel, the water comes out and along with that particles of other things may also come out. Similarly, when the mind is in a fickle state, it cannot retain any information, thus it needs to be calm and peaceful to gain and retain knowledge.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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