Self awareness

Virtue is not taught but recollected – Socrates

Plato’s Meno begins with the question, ‘Can you tell me, Socrates, is a virtue to be taught?’

The answer of Socrates is that virtue is not taught but ‘recollected’. Recollection is a gathering of one’s self together, a retreat into one’s soul. The doctrine of ‘recollection’ suggests that each individual should enquire within himself. He is his own center and possesses the truth in himself. This is fairly similar to a theme that we find so often in ancient Upanishads – ‘swadhayay’.

The word swadhayay is used to mean two things – ‘self-study’ and ‘studying the self’. Though the word may literally mean both depending upon how do we want to use it, the second meaning, ‘studying the self’ is the real purpose of Dhyan. The function of the guru or guide is not to teach but to help to put the learner in possession of himself.

Every person possess the truth in herself but on account of her excessive identification with the external world, she tends to lose awareness with the ‘self’. When we starting spending time with ourselves, studying and recollecting the self we become aware of the self.

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