Recently at a college orientation, the language professor struck a responsive chord as he explained a basic technique for acquiring skill in foreign languages. He said, “From the time that students sign up for this program, the goal is for them to think in that particular language. Then they have it, but it takes effort, practice, and patience.”
We find that all spoken languages – even sign languages – are basically interactive; they are tools of communication used when sharing our needs, desires, dreams, plans, hopes, likes and dislikes, with others in this world. We talk or sing to our children, pets and even our plants. At times, being preoccupied, we may even find ourselves conversing out loud – with absolutely no one!
Similarly, on this inner spiritual path, the process of meditation commences with loving, constant repetition or remembrance of the five holy names that the Master gives the disciple at the time of initiation. This new language, or simran as we call it, is infused with his power.
When doing simran, we are speaking directly and solely to the Master. With simran the gap between the human and Divine can be bridged. At initiation the Master tosses a golden rope to the disciple. While he holds the rope for us at one end, our task is to pull ourselves up to the eye centre, struggling intensely against the downward and outward tendencies of the mind. This is how we fight the mind – repeating one precious name at a time.
The problem is this: Our mind is heavily programmed. Our inner computer has been configured so that we automatically revert to constantly thinking in our own worldly, interactive language, even when we are not actively engaged in communicating with others. Now we have the inner pull, the desire to see the Master, and to be with him. Is it possible to reconfigure the inner computer of our mind? Instead of squeezing a little simran into the day, can we build the day on a foundation of simran? It’s a matter of resetting and reprogramming our mind to think simran – so much that it becomes our primary language within.
Maharaj Charan Singh says in Spiritual Discourses, Vol. I:
Simran is the first and most essential step. Unless its course, which is both long and tedious, is completed, we can hardly gain the other two states [that of contemplating on the form of the Master and merging with the Divine Music]. Therefore, we have to practise simran so assiduously that even while talking it should continue to roll on its course. The five holy names must spin ceaselessly around their axis. Sitting, standing, walking, eating, awake or asleep, the repetition must go on.
As we know, simran replaces the unnecessary chatter and useless hubbub that the mind constantly and ceaselessly creates. Just as we practise ABC’s, we learn to do constant simran by consciously and consistently doing it, practicing it, and putting in the effort to think simran.
As we mature on the path, we begin to notice a subtle change. No longer do the words of simran appear dry and pointless. When silently calling the names of the inner Master, we become aware of the joyous glow of his loving presence within ourselves. Simran brings inner quiet, calm, and relief from the storms of our mind.
At one time or another, we all face the challenge of keeping our emotions in check. Baba Ji has explained that we give the mind its power to create these emotional storms. It has no power of its own.
When a situation occurs in our life and we allow the mind to react negatively, the soul suffers the consequences. We can take back the power that we have allowed the mind to exercise over us by refusing to react to its prodding. It was never meant to be master over the soul. The mind is like a spoiled, out-of-control child. It needs to be disciplined and put back in its rightful place. Silence and simran – the best solution to any situation – is a way to keep the emotions in check. Maharaj Sawan Singh writes in Spiritual Gems: “When you notice the coming of anger, begin the repetition of the names. As your meditation will improve, the anger and ego will also disappear.”
Masters tell us that meditation is the cure for all of our ills. If we are to escape from this prison of the world, we must simply buckle down and begin thinking simran. It takes effort, practice and patience just like any foreign language. Let’s sacrifice all useless thoughts, imaginings and ponderings and replace them with our simran in order to know the true language of our Master. Hafiz in The Gift, as rendered by Daniel Ladinsky, says:
Here’s a rope,
Tie it around me,
Will be your companion
Our simran is the rope; our companion for life is our Master.