Nostalgia is a soft, sentimental feeling about a past experience or event. In Greek, it means homecoming. If we meet a friend after a gap of several years, there is an inner thrill, a joy that fills our being. Very often, listening to old songs thrills us with a feeling of romantic nostalgia.
For a student of spirituality, the right use of nostalgia can become a very important tool and technique to move into higher levels of consciousness and sensitivity. Metaphorically speaking, we are all searching for that long lost friend whom we have lost and forgotten eons ago. A slight glimpse of his face or just a touch fills our being with a thrill we have never experienced before. The height of the spiritual experience is the feeling of nostalgia. As if after thousands of years, we are meeting our friend again. Yes the experience of enlightenment is nostalgic.
We have so many memories which, when relived, evoke a state of nostalgia. The five senses are always in the present moment and so when we relive (not daydream) those memories, we are living them in the now with deep sensitivity and feeling in the five senses. This brings on a deep nostalgic experience. Holding that state is dharana and expanding it in time is dhyana.
Once Krishna left Vrindavan and Radha, he never returned. All Radha had left was the pain of separation called ‘viraha’ and the memories of Krishna. She worked upon these and brought about a total transmutation in her being to merge and sublimate into Krishna. She would relive each of her memories with Krishna, expanding and intensifying their sensitivities and dissolving into a state of nostalgia. Gurdjieff calls this self-remembering. A point came when she was no more and the Presence of the long lost friend was Always. She had merged into that infinity called Krishna.
The Bhagwad Gita we have today is not the one Krishna told Arjuna but the one Sanjay recounted to the blind king Dhritrashtra. In his last slokas, Sanjay relates how, by just remembering Sri Krishna’s words, his being is filled with joy and ecstasy.
Yes, nostalgia transformed Sanjay and can become the key to our upliftment too.