Inspiration for Simran
An inspiration for us to add more simran to our lives can be found in the anonymous little book The Way of the Pilgrim. In the foreword to the book, we are told by Father Hopko that the story, in many ways a spiritual mystery, was written perhaps only to propagate a spiritual understanding of the value of the prayer of the heart. Whatever the origin and intention of the story, it makes certain things very clear to all spiritual seekers. He says:
[The Way of the Pilgrim] makes several things clear to spiritual seekers. It affirms first of all that the source, goal and content of human life is not spirituality or religion, liturgical ritual or ascetic regimes, but the living God Himself. It tells us that life is communion with God: personal, direct, immediate, real, painful, peaceful, and joyful. It tells us … that constant, continual, ceaseless prayer in His name opens the door to Divine reality and puts us in immediate contact with the One who is the source, substance, and goal of our life, and our very life itself.
This is just like what our Master tells us. The very purpose of life is God-realization. The purpose of our life here and now is to get to the eye centre. The way to the eye centre is through our spiritual practice -simran and bhajan. Repetition of the holy Names and listening to the voice of God within is communion with God. Master suggests that we should do our simran like one side of a conversation with him. Communion with God is our very life.
The pilgrim, in The Way of the Pilgrim, was a Christian, and his simran was the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.”
The pilgrim also tells us that constant repetition of the Jesus Prayer, or any other prayer of the heart … is a personal calling upon the personal God.
The pilgrim’s starets (spiritual advisor) also gives advice from his own experience; he advises the pilgrim to repeat the prayer three thousand times a day to begin with.
After increasing his repetition of the prayer to three thousand times a day, the pilgrim then increases his repetition to six thousand times a day. He relates:
For an entire week, in the solitude of my hut, I repeated the Jesus Prayer six thousand times a day. I was not anxious about anything and paid no heed to any thoughts, no matter how strongly they assailed me. I concentrated only on precisely carrying out the staret’s instructions. And do you know what happened? I became so accustomed to the prayer that when I stopped praying, even for a brief time, I felt as though something was missing, as if I had lost something. When I began to pray again, I was immediately filled with an inner lightness and joy.
The results of the pilgrim’s repetition of the Jesus Prayer are inspiring. Our simran will give us similar benefits, but also much, much more because the Names were given to us by a living Master who imbues the simran with his power. In Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. I, Maharaj Sawan Singh writes:
The names that a Master imparts are … energy-charged and help the transference of spiritual energy to the disciple, with the result that rapid progress follows.
We are lucky – we have a Master who, by comparison, makes very few demands of us. Does he say repeat our simran three, six or twelve thousand times a day? No. He says sit for two and one-half hours a day, look into the darkness, repeat your simran, and remember your Master as much as you can throughout the day. Does he say go out begging for your food? No. He says live a normal life, earn your living in an honest way, eat healthy vegetarian food and don’t drink alcohol or take mind-altering drugs. He says just do your meditation; just sit there, just put in the effort and that he will take care of the results. How could we not love such a Master? All he asks is for us to just be with him. And he will take care of everything else.
In Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. I, Great Master says:
The results of repetition will be in direct proportion to the love and faith brought to bear upon it. Carry out the simran of the Lord with love and faith. His names have a great power. When repeated with faith one feels intoxicated with joy, with the result that he forgets his body and himself and is aware of the presence of the Lord. How potent and blissful is the Name of God! It creates in the devotee a fast-flowing current of bliss, peace and soul force, and he feels truly blessed.
To do simran, it is not necessary to give up the world and its tasks. Carry on your duties and still keep your attention fixed in simran. If you wish to be filled with the grace of God, you should banish all else from your mind. Leave everything else aside and cherish the Name of the Lord alone in your heart. As soon as you empty your mind of all thoughts by means of simran, you will find the way to the Lord’s mansion.