The Miracle of Simran
How is it that simran is a miracle? First of all, it is miraculous enough that we have met a living Master and have been initiated. Even more miraculous is that we have been given these names that are super-charged with the Master’s divine energy. But the height of the miracle is that we sometimes actually remember to repeat these names.
Without his grace we would never even finish the round of simran we are on, much less start anew even while our mind tries to hijack us into some worldly thought and carry us away with it, again and again. If we knew just how miraculous the repetition of even one round of simran is, we would say each name with deep reverence, overflowing gratitude, focused determination and exuberant joy. With that attitude the simran would change the very foundation of our being. And isn’t that what spirituality is about – changing the very foundation of our being from our worldly focus to a spiritual focus?
We can’t do simran without it changing us – even our sense of identity. We may want to repeat those names and have our ego, our sense of self, stay the same, but that’s impossible. We will, of necessity, lose our sense of self if we keep on repeating the names. Simran is the solvent that dissolves our ego.
We can’t just say the names; we have to let go of ourselves as we do the repetition. We have to let the names dissolve us. Baba Ji says that we should just sit still, repeat the names and let ourselves go. Is it this letting ourselves go that we have such a hard time with? If we say the names without letting go of ourselves, it’s like trying to drive our car by pushing our foot on the accelerator with our other foot firmly planted on the brake. The car goes nowhere.
We are somewhat like a caterpillar that sees butterflies and knows deep inside that being a caterpillar is not its true state. Biologists tell us that a caterpillar must first enter a cocoon and dissolve into proto-plasmic goo, loosing all traces of being a caterpillar, before it begins to transform into a butterfly. So how does our transformation begin?
After initiation, our simran practice is what begins our transformation. Simran, along with keeping the four vows, is the solvent that dissolves our ego, our identity, so we can be transformed by him. We are no more able to know what our transformation will be like than a caterpillar can really know what it will be like to become a butterfly. We must experience it.
There is a story of a child that illustrates the idea of the individual transforming and merging into the ocean of God’s love. The child, who was made of salt and very much wanted to know where he had come from. So he set out on a long journey and travelled to many lands in pursuit of this. Finally he came to the shore of the great ocean. “How marvellous,” he cried, and stuck one foot in the water. The ocean beckoned him in further saying, “If you wish to know who you are, do not be afraid.” The salt child walked further and further into the water dissolving with each step, and at the end exclaimed, “Ah, now I know who I am.” The experience of transformation made the child realize who he really was.
As satsangis, we too want to lose the illusion of our separateness and merge into the ocean of Oneness. We experience this as a waking up. Our previous separateness seems like a dream from which we have awakened.
We need to wake up. There is urgency to our need to wake up. We don’t have any time to waste. The Master has given us only just enough time on the earth to fulfil our spiritual purpose here. The sand in our hourglass is trickling away and we don’t know how much time is left. We have no idea how urgent our situation is. We are lost in darkness and in imminent peril of rebirth. We have forgotten who we are and forgotten our true home. Each round of simran brings us closer to remembering our true self and our true home.
In our possession is a miracle, the miracle of simran, which could be described as a continuous filling of the heart and mind with beautiful, grateful and loving awareness of the Master. It’s up to us to take full advantage of this miracle, and cultivate it for all its glorious promise. As Baba Ji frequently reminds us, the ball is in our court.
No one should give the answer that it is impossible for a man occupied with worldly cares … to pray always. Everywhere, wherever you may find yourself, you can set up an altar to God in your mind by means of prayer. And so it is fitting to pray at your trade, on a journey, standing at the counter or sitting at your handicraft.… By the power of the invocation of the name of God … [one] would come to know from experience that frequency of prayer, this sole means of salvation is a possibility for the will of man.
Saint John Chrysostom, as quoted in The Way of the Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way