Discover Your Simran
Simran is really such a crucial part of our spiritual practice, and yet many of us have still not acquired the habit. Every time we have a problem that worries us, every time we have to plan something, every time we get busy with anything that requires a little attention, our simran just vanishes.
When we’re initiated we’re told that we have to repeat the five words of simran in order to focus our minds at the eye centre, in order to start making contact with the Shabd – the Word, which is not a spoken word but the power which brought the whole creation into being. And simran will connect us to the Shabd. That’s why it is so indispensable for us. No simran, no Shabd. And preferably simran that’s done with love and devotion.
In Spiritual Letters Baba Jaimal Singh tells his disciple Baba Sawan Singh:
Simran’s current links up with the Dhun [the Sound] and the current of the Dhun links one with the Shabd – and the Shabd is the very essence of the Anami Lord himself. For this reason, if simran is done with love and devotion, steeped in the soul’s seeing faculty, it brings great joy and bliss. Grace and mercy then descend in full measure.
There are a couple of things of interest in this quote: Firstly, that the simran which has been given to us by our Master has power – it produces a current of its own, and it’s this current that merges into the current of the Shabd. When our simran becomes concentrated, we make contact with the Shabd. Secondly, if we can do our simran with love and devotion when we sit for meditation, this will help to focus our attention at the eye centre. And thirdly, we need to engage the seeing faculty of the soul. We need to look into the darkness at the eye centre – really look. If we can visualize the face of our Master there, so much the better, but if we can’t, we need to peer into the darkness.
So there is a specific way of doing our simran, in order for it not to be just a mechanical repetition. But of course Hazur Maharaj Ji has told us that even mechanical simran will lead to concentrated simran. We just have to keep doing it – because it has to become our link with the awesome pulling power of the Shabd.
The Shabd, which sustains the entire creation, emanates from the topmost spiritual region, the home of the Lord himself. The Master also comes from this region, and the power that he infuses into those words which comprise our simran also comes from this region.
When the soul was separated from God and descended into lower regions, it took on the company of mind. It is the mind which is responsible for keeping the soul bound to this material creation. And what our simran has to do is still the mind. It is to gather the soul currents from every part of the body and focus them at the eye centre. When this has been done, the soul will turn within and commence the inner journey.
But of course this won’t be easy. The mind is attached to the senses and the sensual pleasures of this creation, all of which keep us bound here. Moreover it’s carrying the burden of countless karmas, incurred over perhaps millions of lifetimes. How can it get rid of that burden? It can do so only with the help of a perfect Master who, when he initiates a disciple, takes over the administration of his karmas, and arranges his life in such a way that the karmic debt can be paid, without incurring too much new karma. But not only does the karmic debt have to be paid; the mind also has to be purified of the dirt which it has collected in its long sojourn here. For this it needs the cleansing power of simran. Not the words as such, but their inherent power, the power that the Master infuses into the words at the time of initiation.
We might doubt that our simple simran can achieve something so challenging. But look at it this way: If one were to take a scale with two pans, and if you placed the mind and all its karmic burden and all its dirt in the one pan, and if you placed simran in the other, simran is sufficient to balance the weight in the other pan.
At this stage though, the soul is still utterly dominated by the mind. And so we have to rely on the support of one who comes from the region beyond that of the mind. This help comes when we meet a Master, when he places us on the path and gives us initiation.
But this is only the beginning. On this physical level the Master’s work has in fact been done. Now we have to meet him inside to travel with him and complete the journey. And the point where we meet him is beyond the eye centre. It is the disciple’s responsibility to withdraw the soul currents to the eye centre. It is not the Master’s responsibility. He gives us simran in order to withdraw the soul currents to that point at which we can meet him within.
When we hear this, we may feel apprehensive. We may even feel despair, because anybody who meditates will know how tricky the mind can be. But then, maybe we’re not taking into account the power of simran. Maybe we need to change our perspective. Rather than being concerned about the weight of karma on the mind, let’s rather concern ourselves with the power of simran.
Something else to think about: It is no good resorting to simran only when we need help. We should be doing our simran even when things are going well. Simran needs to become the activity that our minds revert to, like a default that a computer is programmed to go to automatically, when there are no other activities that demand our attention. When we can achieve that, our simran will become sweet. Then we will discover the joy of our simran.
But still, it’s not easy. In fact, Baba Ji said recently that meditation is not meant to be easy. What we’re trying to do here is use our simran to stop any extraneous thought from entering our mind to distract us. How can we check those thoughts? There is a way.
Let’s picture this: You’re holding a loosely woven black cloth in front of your face. At first, all you see is black. But when you look more closely you may be able to make out a form on the other side. Perhaps even a shimmer of light. That’s how we need to look into the darkness at the eye centre. And when we do that with attention, concentration really does start to take place. This is something that has to be worked at, of course, and there will be many times when the attention slips away, but with practice it will work.
The Masters are always being asked questions about exactly how we need to meditate in order to achieve our goal of going within. In reply to one such question, Hazur Maharaj Ji once made it sound so simple:
When you close your eyes, you are automatically within. … When you close your eyes you see darkness. Mentally, keep your attention in this darkness and do your simran with the attention of the mind. … You are just to close your eyes, and when you close your eyes you will automatically be behind the eyes in this darkness.
Spiritual Perspectives, Volume II
If this is all that’s needed, then we have all ‘gone within’ many times! And it does seem that just doing this – closing our eyes, starting our simran and looking into the darkness – is all that the Master expects of us. In fact, during a recent session at the Dera, Baba Ji said this several times. Just do that much, he said, and the Master will do the rest.
It would be good, though, if while looking into the darkness we could visualize the face of our Master there. But even if we can’t hold on to the image of his face, we can at least look into the darkness. And we can enjoy the darkness; we can be comfortable in the darkness. The darkness can become our shelter, our place of peace. We can enjoy being there while paying attention to each word. If we can do this, the mind will learn to concentrate.
But while we’re so concerned with discovering our simran, there’s something else we should never forget. Ultimately the quality of our meditation depends on grace. By our own effort we can achieve nothing. It’s only because he is pulling us towards him that we feel the need to do any meditation at all. It’s only because of his grace that we even remember to do our simran. Any effort we make is far more thanks to him than it is to us.
We read in Volume II of Spiritual Perspectives:
Everything is done by the grace of the Father in this world. A seeker can achieve nothing without his grace. Without his grace a seeker would not even know about the Father, what to say of reaching the Father, what to say of trying to achieve his destination. … By his grace we have that longing and desire in us to go back to the Father. We search, we read books, we find the path; we try to tread the path, try to achieve that object. … Everything happens by grace.