The Storm of the Mind
During a question and answer session at the Dera, a young man wanted Maharaj Charan Singh to comment on the Great Master’s statement that the satsang of the saints is the haven of the agonized. Maharaj Ji’s response, as we read in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, was as follows:
Yes, it is an anchor. You see, if your boat is caught in a storm and you reach the shore, you feel so relieved. We are all in the storm of our mind, and when we go to the satsang of the mystics, we find we can land on a shore. How relieved we feel.
We can easily imagine a boat out at sea – caught in the midst of a raging storm – being violently tossed about by the waves and then, somehow fortuitously, finding a shore upon which to land. Yes, what a relief that would be. Most likely, we can see ourselves in that picture because we are all caught in, and exhausted by, the storm raging in our minds. Yet, being in the company of the Master – where we feel calm, quiet and protected – is like finding a shore on which to land. Let us not think, however, that going to the satsang of the mystics is simply a matter of being in their physical presence. Going to the satsang of the mystics means being aware of our connection to them. That connection is, quite simply, love. Maharaj Charan Singh says:
We must seek a devotee and lover of the Lord, a true Master, who is connected by an all-consuming love to the Supreme Being. We must keep his company and associate with him so that through him our thoughts and love may also be attuned to love and devotion for the Lord.
Spiritual Discourses, Vol.II
How fortunate we are to have already found a lover of the Lord. As we spend time with him and fall in love with him, we simultaneously begin to develop love and devotion for the Lord. In this way, as we read in Legacy of Love, we follow through on the hope and aspiration Maharaj Charan Singh had for each of us when he wrote, “May your love for the form culminate in the love of the formless.’’ But whilst being in the Master’s physical presence is very precious and it does indeed awaken love in our hearts, we can’t stop there! Baba Ji has told us over and over again that the only reliable way to strengthen and deepen our love is by spending time with him individually, one on one. We get to choose the time, but he has picked the meeting place – the eye centre. This is the one daily invitation that we can never afford to turn down.
If, by going to the satsang of the mystics, we are serious about awakening love for the Lord, we are advised to live by certain principles. These are invaluable for several reasons: from a spiritual perspective, they are essential prerequisites for developing our own, direct and eternal relationship with the Master, and from a practical viewpoint, they help control the storm of our minds. For example, by faithfully adhering to the vegetarian diet, refraining from the consumption of alcohol and drugs, and living a moral life, we help calm our overactive and excitable minds. These lifestyle changes, which we are able to make through the Master’s grace, are highly valuable gifts because so much of our mental turmoil arises from not living this way.
At our disposal are numerous other means for calming the mind. These include performing seva, attending satsang, reading Sant Mat literature and, overall, trying to be a good human being. The most important of all, however, is meditation. It is meditation that will eventually release us – our soul – from the grip of the mind and bring it to a point of stillness.
Maharaj Charan Singh made this clear in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II:
We have to get ourselves into that habit of meditation, of concentration. Daily, regularly and punctually, we have to go on doing it, and ultimately we succeed…. But in order to achieve this, we must struggle with the mind. It is a constant struggle for light. It is not so easy. From age to age, from year to year, our mind got into the habit of scattering out into this world. Everything is drawing us out, pulling us out.
As the Master makes clear, we have not only become accustomed to focusing on the external, but our mind is constantly thinking about one thing or another. Meditation is the one tool that reverses these habits. In fact the very reason we have been given simran is to eliminate such constant compulsive thinking. What a relief it is when the mind stops – even for a few moments! Maharaj Charan Singh expressed this beautifully when he was asked to talk about the stillness within. Again, as we read in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II:
The purpose of simran is to eliminate all those thoughts so that we may not think of those worldly things at all – to achieve that silence where the mind can be absolutely still…. The moment that you are there, [when] you have been able to eliminate worldly thoughts, light and shabd will absolutely pull you, [it] will catch you there.
As Baba Ji reminds us with almost every question he answers, it is through our meditation that we will be able to withdraw the mind to the eye centre, hold it there and keep it still. It is in the stillness that we will contact the Shabd, the real form of our Master. It is in the stillness that we will find love, joy and contentment as the Shabd, once and for all, quietens the raging storm. Maharaj Charan Singh explains why we find it difficult to contact the Shabd and how we can overcome this:
You see, naturally in the initial stages the sound is not very distinct and clear. The more successful we are in concentration, the more distinct, clear and pulling the sound becomes. So we have to give more time to simran and dhyan.
Actually, simran is the key to our spiritual journey. Given its power over the mind, its value is beyond words. But simran only works if the words to be repeated are given by a perfect living Master. In Die to Live, Maharaj Charan Singh gives the following analogy to explain this:
A bullet kills only when it comes through the gun barrel…. Similarly, it is only when the names are given to us by a mystic that they have any power behind them.
Without being given to us by the Master, the five holy names comprising our simran are just like any other. But when they are given by him, they carry his power against which the mind is no match. When we repeat them, we are not only reminded of him, we are in his company. In fact, simran is even better than having the Lord’s email address! It is how we can stay in touch with him instantly: any time, any place, anywhere.
The more we repeat simran during the day, the more likely we are to replace our mental noise with quiet and stillness during our meditation. The more we practise meditation, regularly and punctually, the more likely we are to remember simran during the day when the storm of the mind is bearing down on us. Simran connects us to our Master and, in his presence, we find a shore on which to land. How relieved we feel.