The Miracle of Simran
Let’s think about the miracle of simran. First, it is miraculous enough that we have met a living Master and have been initiated. Even more miraculous is that we have been given the names that are supercharged with the Master’s divine energy. But isn’t it also a kind of miracle that we actually remember to repeat the names! Without his grace we would never even finish one round of simran, much less start a new round. Our mind would hijack us into some worldly thought and carry us away with it, again. So it is a miracle of grace that we remember to do even one round of simran. If we knew just how miraculous, we would say each name with reverence, gratitude, determination and joy. With that attitude the simran would change the very foundation of our being from a worldly focus to a spiritual focus.
Simran changes us. We will, of necessity, lose our sense of self and our ego if we keep on repeating the names. Simran is the solvent that dissolves our ego.
The Master tells us that we should just sit still, repeat the names and let ourselves go. This last part is the hardest. But if we say the names without letting go of ourselves, it’s like trying to drive our car by pushing one foot on the accelerator with the other foot firmly planted on the brake. We won’t move very far!
From another perspective, we are like a caterpillar that sees butterflies and knows deep inside that being a caterpillar is not our true state. We know we are meant to flutter among the fragrance of the flowers. So as caterpillars, we might imagine sprouting wings and becoming a caterpillar that flies. But that is not how caterpillars turn into butterflies. Biologists tell us that a caterpillar must first enter a cocoon and dissolve into protoplasmic goo, losing all traces of being a caterpillar, before it begins to re-form as a butterfly.
If caterpillars were like humans, they would need to find a living butterfly to guide them through this process. The master butterfly would gather the caterpillars in evening meetings and answer all of their questions, like: “How long will it take? I’ve been crawling for thirty years now and don’t see any wings sprouting.” Or, “Isn’t there another way to become a butterfly besides dissolving into goo?” Or, “Will I still be able to crawl if I want to?” The master butterfly would explain to the caterpillars, “You only have to do three things: sit still, create a cocoon, and let yourself go. Once you are dissolved and lose your caterpillar identity, you will become a butterfly. All caterpillars do. There are no failures in caterpillar transformation.”
For us, it is the simran practice that creates our cocoon. Simran is also the solvent that dissolves our ego, our identity, reducing us to “ego plasmic” goo – so we can be transformed. But transformed into what? As spiritual seekers, we get to uncover this mystery in stages, much to our delight. Yet there is no way to anticipate what this transformation will be like for us. We are no more able to know what it will be like than a caterpillar can know what it will be like to become a butterfly.
There is a fable of a child who was made of salt, who 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 understanding. Finally, he came to the shore of the great ocean. “How marvelous,” he cried, as he 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 farther and farther into the water, dissolving with each step, and at the end exclaimed, “Ah, now I know who I am.”
Like the salt boy, we too will become the ocean. We will dissolve our ego and lose the illusion of our separateness. When we merge into the ocean of Oneness, previous separateness will seem like a dream.
We need to wake up. We don’t have time to waste. We have just enough time to fulfil our spiritual purpose here. The sand in our hourglass is filtering down, and we don’t know how much is left. We have no idea how serious 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.
But we possess the miracle of simran. It’s up to us to use and cultivate it for all its glorious promise. As the Master frequently reminds us, all we have to do is sit still, repeat the names and let go.