The Seal of Simran
Most of us are still spiritually clumsy beginners trying to learn the dance of love. To have success we must reinforce our foundations. All Masters have emphasized that simran is the very basis and foundation of Sant Mat. They continually remind us that concentrated meditation at the eye centre will take us to the Master within, the real end to which our simran must lead.
There are three types of simran which we can do during the day while applying our hands to our work. Firstly, there is light, unconcentrated, fairly mechanical simran, which nevertheless has value because of the power innate in the words themselves. Some people do this kind of simran in rhythm with their walking, and it is usually the first sort of simran that we learn to do when we start off trying to keep it going all day. Secondly, there is fairly concentrated, steady simran which can only be kept up while doing work which does not require attention. Thirdly, there is subconscious simran, which comes after long practice.
One of the main reasons why we desperately need to use the ‘seal’ of simran is that we all leak like sieves; we identify with everything that happens to us, and every changing thought and feeling makes our attention run out, leaving us scattered and empty.
We are constantly losing air through the deflating pinpricks of life. Simran is the self-sealer for our leaking. It prevents the mind, which Master says is fundamentally negative, from invading and puncturing us and from making all our joy seep out. It seals us from reacting unnecessarily to small facts and events that invade us from the outside, and also from the disturbance of our own meddling mind with its constant, absurd internal dialogue. External life controls and plays havoc with us because we do not have anything internal with which to resist it. Simran establishes an inner force that resists the outer forces of life, so that nothing can enter without our consent. It surrounds us like a protective cocoon when we keep it spinning on the axis of the mind. Without its protection and security, life can be a pain factory, but simran seals us hermetically every day.
Simran is a knack. The knack comes through thousands of experiments, through lots of trial and error. It is the essence of many mistakes; then suddenly we have the knack of doing it.
Many of us as beginners stick up cards everywhere to remind ourselves of simran – even in the bathroom. After all the reminders, the knack becomes natural and innate to us. It is permanent, and when we have it, we will always become aware of when the mind has strayed, and we will immediately yank it back to simran. Eventually we will even be able to do it while chatting, or watching a film.
Simran is a treat. It can also be described as an inner food or nourishment. We tune ourselves into Master’s great stream of energy and imbibe his spirit. It is like manna in the desert of modern life which we can have whenever we want it.
Simran is a token. We are given a checkbook as a token of the fact that we have money in the bank. Similarly, we are given the five words as a token of the fact that we have the Radiant Form within us. It is our inexhaustible bank balance. It is also our passport to another world, designed to take us to a ‘close encounter’ with that Radiant Form, which will then lead us further on. Simran creates the magnetic attraction to get us to his Form.
At initiation, Master gives us the five words of simran, words that are outside our experience, outside our known vocabulary and free from all past associations. Why? If we say those five words just once, what can we find to associate with them? Do they conjure up associations with our mother, father, lover, boss, our likes and dislikes? No, they are absolutely without any association with this world, or any of our past lives. They are pristine, unhooked and unloaded. No associations are stuck in them like barnacles, except a single one – our beloved Master. They are loaded words, but loaded with him. This is a new language: a spiritual power and Master’s inexhaustible might is present in it. The words have nothing to do with this visible, tangible world because they exist beyond and apart from the senses.
We ought to carry our simran like a thread through the day, and connect it back to the Shabd during meditation. Simran and Shabd are the same thread. One reason why many satsangis do not practice continuous simran is that they start out with a big bang, but after a few days, they encounter a struggle, and then they drop it. But if we want to learn the trick and have the knack, this is the very time to continue with it. When we work through the mind’s resistance soon something fundamental will change inside. Just do it.
Maharaj Charan Singh says: “These Names, properly repeated with devotion, stir up spiritual vibrations.” These spiritual vibrations can be stirred up immediately; we don’t have to wait to know them. Just try it.
So simran is a knack, a treat and a token. With simran, each satsangi is better armed than with anything our national defence forces could devise. Yet with simran as described here, something is missing. The famous conductor Arthur Rubenstein was asked in his nineties what he thought of the young pianists of the day. He replied that they were often technically utterly perfect, yet he had to ask most of them: “And when are you going to start making music?” The vital factor is love. We have not only to reinforce our foundations by using the seal of simran, but to do it with love, and soon we, too, will be making music – immortal music.
Adapted from Science of the Soul magazine