DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS: Mr. Khanna has asked me to give some message on my birth anniversary. The day of my physical birth fell on the 6th of February, 1894. The true date of my birth is the day when I sat physically at the holy feet of my Master SAWAN SINGH in February 1924. Still the truer date is when I was reborn anew into the beyond and met my Master in all His glory in 1917, i.e., seven years before my meeting with Him physically. I respect all holy scriptures of all the Saints who came in the past as they all were given by inspiration of God. I had the good fortune to sit at the feet of my Master. That which I have received of my Master is what I deliver unto you. I find it parallel with what all the past Saints have said. The difference is in the language or the way of expression, but the subject matter is the same. They all talk as to how to liberate our souls from mind and matter and know ourselves and know God. At the time of Initiation the Satguru resides with the devotee. He is with you always even unto the end of the world and will be extending all feasible help. He will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Whosoever's mind is stayed on Him with full faith, He will keep him in perfect peace. There is hope for everybody. Master Power comes into the world to save sinners and to put them on the way back to God. It is for you to remain devoted to Him, and keep His commandments. The rest is for Him to do. God is love. You are also love. Love is the potent factor in meeting God. "He that loveth not, knoweth not God." Therefore, "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind." I wish you to be the doers of the Word and not hearers only, for an ounce of practice is worth more than tons of theories. Reformers are badly needed, not of others, but of themselves. You shall have Godhead as salary. I wish you all Godspeed in your efforts to tread the way back to God, which lies within you. My love and best wishes are always with you and will remain with you. The mystery of life is solved in the company of those who have solved that for themselves. How to find such a man? One who has solved this mystery can help in finding the same Truth.
Someone questioned Guru Nanak as to how one could find a true and real Guru, and by what signs He could be recognized. Guru Nanak replied: "The human body is a temple of God, and it is by turning within that we meet God. There is a way from this house of the body to another house within (the Nij Ghar or Sach Khand) which is the Real House; and here the soul finds everlasting peace. The human body is just like a rented house, given to us temporarily (i.e., allotted span of life) until, in the meanwhile, the soul is wise enough to gain access to her permanent abode of everlasting bliss. Now, the Real and True Master is one who can show us the way out to the Kingdom of God within this body and can lead the soul from stage to stage until the kingdom is gained and the "soul comes into her own."
The human body, like any other physical thing, is subject to decay and disintegration. Even this world suffers dissolution. But Sach Khand or the Kingdom of God alone is indestructible and eternal. The process of Dissolution works up to the realm of Triloki or three worlds (physical, astral and causal planes) and that of Grand Dissolution up to the subtlest of the causal planes, but it cannot reach Sach Khand, or Sat Lok or Mukam-i-Haq as the Mohammedans call it (New Jerusalem of the Christians), for it is the veritable Kingdom of God, as spoken of by Christ. The Saints have therefore set Sach Khand as their goal, which is beyond the ken of Dissolution and Grand Dissolution.
Next, the Satguru or the True Master points out the way to the Kingdom of God. He tells us that the Divine Music comprised of five strains or melodies is always going on in the body. This continuous symphony is the connecting link between the Creation and the Creator. It is the ladder which the soul has to climb step by step in its onward journey to the Kingdom of God. This Music is most melodious, the like of which cannot be found on Earth. It has immense attraction and an irresistible appeal. The different melodies begin from Sahansdal Kanwal (the region of the thousand-petaled lotus) and reach as far as Sach Khand. The Master Soul gives a contact to the human soul at the lowest end of the Musical notes, besides some experience of the withdrawal of the sensory current from the body, both of which have to be developed by daily practice.
The Satguru comes into the world with the treasure of Naam. The Muslims call it the Nada-i-Asmani (heavenly music) and the Christians describe it as "Word." The treasure of Naam is not the heritage of this or that particular nation or community, nor of any particular country, nor of any religion, caste or creed. Again, this treasure is freely distributed by a Master Soul to all, irrespective of any of the above considerations. An aspirant may be a Brahmin or Kshatriya, a Hindu or a Muslim, or anything else, for that is not of any consequence. Each one of us can learn the art of life and the science of spirituality so as to find a way out to the Kingdom of God which is the common heritage of all and the summum bonum of life.
Again, a Master Soul may come into the world in any garb he may choose. It is of no consequence to the aspirants for spirituality. Any such considerations will surely be a hindrance and a positive disadvantage. Our only connection with the Master Soul is purely of a spiritual nature and not a temporal one. Saint Kabir, though a Muslim weaver, had among his followers Rajput chieftains like Bir Singh and Bhaghail Singh. Similarly Saint Ravidas, cobbler by profession, had Mirabai, a Rajput princess, and Raja Pipa in his sacred fold. All that we have to ascertain is that the Master is Shabda Sanehi - he who loves the Word and is Word personified - and can give us first-hand experience of the Shabd or the Sound Principle to start with. If He satisfies these conditions, we should have no scruples on any ground whatsoever in accepting Him and learning from Him the Science of Spirituality.
The macrocosm is in the microcosm. The human body is the prototype of the universe and much more than that. In it there are millions of solar systems with their suns, moons and earths revolving in and out. The sweetest of the sweet music is also going on in it, emanating from the true throne of the True King -- God.
A Muslim divine also says in this respect: "When I heard the bewitching strains of that celestial song, Kaaba (the holiest of the holy places of Muslim worship) and the temple (of the idol worshipers) both appeared to be bad caricatures before the divine intoxication it gave."
Maulana Rumi says: "The Saints are the true devotees of God, always listening to the Divine Music within. That infuses life into the lovers of God." Shamas Tabrez, another Muslim Saint, also speaks of it: "Every moment a strange type of call is coming from the Heaven. I hear that voice and nothing else. Blessed indeed are they who hear this call."
This song is unique in character. No language can describe it - neither Turkish, nor Arabic, nor Persian, nor any other. It is in fact an Unspoken Language and an Unwritten Law unto itself.
The Prophet Mohammed once declared that He listened to the Voice of God just as He listened to any other voice. But when questioned as to why it could not be heard by others, He said, "You cannot hear this Voice as your ears have been sealed up. Hie to some Master Soul with a prayer for breaking of the seal and then listen attentively in the silence of your heart."
Mrs. Annie Besant, the great Theosophist, calls it the Voice of the Silence and says that the Silence becomes vocal when the mind is at perfect rest.
"The Kingdom of God is within you," says Christ. The trouble is that we search for it without and find it not. Man in his search for God has not spared any efforts. He has looked for Him in the sacred rivers (like Ganges, etc.), in the snow-capped mountains of Badrinath, Kailash, Amarnath, etc., in the deep recesses of the forests and in the sacred places of all antiquity, but with no success. As the "way out" to God lies within, you will have to find a Master who knows the Way and would be a guide unto you until the goal is reached. This work only a True Master can do and no one else can do it.
Now the question comes: Where can this Divine Music be contacted? To this the Master replies, "This Divine Music is going on in Sukhmana (a central cord between Ida and Pingala, the two cords on either side, which running through the spine and passing through the center of and between the two eyebrows, reaches directly as far as Sach Khand or Shah Rag as named by the Muslims) . It can be experienced by the soul in her deepest depths, when layer by layer the various sheaths or coverings (physical or gross, mental or subtle, and causal) are shaken off from the soul in her onward journey to the various Lokas or regions : the sun, the moon, the stars, spirits (Pithrian), Deities (Devian), etc. At each stage, the Music becomes more enrapturing than before, until in Par Brahm (beyond the three Lokas) the soul becomes self-luminous in her pristine glory; then the Music too becomes exceedingly charming, in full swell with unending continuity. This is the Ajapa Jap going on at all times in an Unspoken Language. As the soul hears it she gets magnetized, with the result that the mind with its outgoing faculties is paralyzed for want of the inspiration it is used to drawing from the Spirit, and gradually it loses its hold of her. "The high-born maiden (being a drop of the ocean of Sat Naam) is freed from its clutches and now moves on unhampered."
It is of course impossible to describe the sublime symphonies in so many words as they are past description for want of adequate expression.
At present every soul has, on account of constant association with mind, acquired a tendency to flow downward and outward through the outgoing faculties. It is because of this that she cannot catch the Sound Current (the Elixir of Life) within. A cup turned upside down may for ages remain in the rain but not a drop will fall into it. But if it is turned aright, it will get filled up in one or two showers. Exactly is it the case with the soul. As soon as the Master Soul gives her a contact with the life-giving Sound Current by turning it aright through the withdrawal of the sensory current, the lotus-like cup of the spirit gets more and more water of immortality until she gets drenched through and through and is saved forever.
Mind, you know, is ever after pleasures of one kind or another. But the pleasures of this world are all transitory and have always some sting at the bottom. "Our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught," says an English poet. This renegade of the mind can only be subdued if some internal pleasure of rapturous strains of the Divine Music -the Word- is given to it in lieu of the external one. When mind tastes the sweet Elixir, it is diverted from the worldly enjoyments and is subdued. The soul becomes free. This is the only remedy by which the sages controlled the mind. It held good in all ages, the Golden, the Silver and the Copper, and holds good even today in Kali Yuga or the Iron Age. The Sat is eternal. It was in the beginning, It was in the middle, and It shall ever remain until Eternity. The Divine Music of Sat is then the sovereign remedy for stilling the mind. In due course of time by regular practice the soul becomes fully absorbed into the Elixir of Naam and the mind is rendered absolutely ineffectual.
As said above, the Sound Current begins from Turya Pad when, the sensory current having withdrawn from the body, the soul enters into the Beyond. The five strains in seriatim follow one another from one spiritual plane to another until Sach Khand is reached. One has to take hold of each of these strains or melodies for traversing from stage to stage until the final stage is attained. It is only here that salvation of the soul is assured and the cycle of births and deaths ends. This is the grand purpose of life, which one fulfills through the grace of the Master Soul.
The Master Saint Shamas Tabrez says: "The Great God has turned us out and closed strongly the door behind the eyes. He Himself comes to us in the garb of a man to take us back into His fold."
The method by which He lets us in once again is explained further: First one has to withdraw into the silence of the soul, before he begins to hear the five strains of Music. The sensory current is to be withdrawn at the seat of the soul behind the eyebrows. The journey onward begins from this stage, the seventh in the order from below. When the soul rises above the six chakras or ganglions in the Pind or physical body and starts toward Sahansdal Kanwal (the thousand-petaled lotus), the seventh stage, she catches the first of the five strains of the Divine Music and proceeds further. There is no Naam in the lower six chakras. These in fact are the grave, from which we have to rise above and come to the point from where the Grand Trunk Road of Spirituality begins.
Another Saint says, "At the seventh stage you begin to hear the five strains of the Divine Music, when you remove the tent of the soul from the graveyard of the body, comprising the six lower chakras. From here heavenly Music takes charge of the soul and pulls it up from stage to stage until the final consummation with Sat Purush or Sat Naam takes place."
Almost all the Saints have given the same qualifications of a True Master. Guru Arjan says, " Accept that man as a Guru who can give you an experience of the Truth, the Naam. That is indescribable, no doubt, but we must have some contact thereof." In short, whoever can tune us into the Shabd - the Divine Music. Kabir also speaks in the same terms: "We have so many sadhus, the great ones. I have respect for all of them. But the one who is One with the Word, and can give us a contact with that, he overtops all, and I have the greatest regard for him." Swami Shivdayal Singh Ji also speaks in the same way: "Guru is he who has love of Shabd and practices no other methods except that. Whoever practices Shabd is the perfect Guru. You sit at his feet, who will give you a contact with it." He who is Word personified, who was Word made flesh and dwelt amongst us, and can give us a contact with that, is held in high esteem by all Saints. The Holy Scriptures all speak in volumes of their greatness.
It is through the grace of God alone that a jiva (soul) comes across such a Master Soul or guide who is well versed in the science of Surat Shabd Yoga. The Master in extreme compassion takes him into his fold and links him up with the Sound Current and thereby puts him on the path of final liberation. Guru Nanak says that he is an admirer of the man who reaches his true home in this way.
The course of Surat Shabd Yoga, as described by Guru Nanak, is the most natural one. It can be practiced by man or woman, young or old, alike. Even a child can practice it with ease. It is designed by God Himself and not by any human agency, and therefore it admits of no addition, alteration, or modification.
It is God's Law that nobody can reach Him except through a Master Soul. This is what is given out by almost all the Saints who came so far.
The Master teaches us how to withdraw from the body and contact the Sound Current - the Word within. There are so many ways to withdraw from the body but the one devised by the Saints is the most natural and quickest and that is achieved through SIMRAN or repetition of the names of God. So I would like to just give in detail something about this subject which is very important and is the first step toward going up. As far as the Word or Naam is concerned I have already given a talk separately. I will now speak on
Thus every one of us is constantly dwelling on one thing or another. This close association leaves an imprint in the human mind which in course of time becomes indelible enough and leads to complete identification of the subject with the object - and hence it is said, "As you think so you become," or "Where the mind is there you are also," no matter where the physical self is. This being the case, Saints take hold of a person from the line of least resistance.
As no one can do without Simran, the Saints try to set one type of Simran for another type. They substitute for Simran of the world and worldly relations and objects, a Simran of God's Name, or "Word." As the former leads to distraction of the mind, the latter pulls heavenward, leading to peace of mind and liberation of the soul. Three to four hours in a day has been enjoined as the minimum for Simran, and it may be gradually increased. The Mahatmas are never without Simran even for a single moment. As it is altogether a mental process (for it is to be done by the tongue of thought), no amount of physical and manual labor can interfere with it. In course of time, like the tick of a clock, it becomes automatic and ceaseless for all the twenty-four hours. While the hands are engaged in work, the mind rests in the Lord.
I now give you some details of recipes prescribed for doing Simran or repetition of the name of God.
All persons are engaged in the doing of Simran in one form or another. Some do Simran by means of a beaded string called a rosary. In this type of Simran one cannot maintain undivided attention, for while doing it one has to roll off the beads with his fingers and reverse the head-knot on completion of each round of the rosary. In this way one cannot have single-minded devotion, without which there can be no gain. By constant practice the fingers automatically roll over the beads while the unbridled mind keeps wandering astray. This is why Master Souls always lay emphasis on mental Simran or one that is done with the tongue of thought. For Simran done with concentrated attention alone is beneficial.
Again there are persons who do Simran with their tongue. This type of Simran too is no better than that done with the help of the rosary. In this type also the tongue wags on in the mouth, while the mind runs riot all the time.
Some do Simran at the seat of the thyroid gland. This as well does not count for much unless it is done with the attention fully riveted to it.
Still others do Simran at the seat of the heart in unison with the constant heart beat, but here again the sine qua non is whole-hearted attention before one can expect any benefit from it. Another type of Simran is one that is done with the breath vibration of the vital air as it goes in and comes out; it gives just temporary stillness and is of little value.
Each of the above sadhans (practices) has more efficacy in ascending order than the one preceding, but none of them per se is efficacious enough unless it is done with undivided attention. A person may experience a little calm for a while but it cannot help the spirit in withdrawal and concentration at the seat of the soul just behind the center of the two eyebrows.
The Master Souls in all times and in all climes have therefore gone to the very root of the thing - the discovery of the Self called Atma-Siddhi, the experience of the Changeless One, beyond time, space and causation - something subtler, higher, nobler, purer and more powerful in the entire creation, and have enjoined Simran of the Highest Order: one done mentally on the Divine Ground, before the Threshold of God's own door, about which Christ says, "Knock and it shall be opened unto thee." Again the gospel says with regard to single-minded attention, "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be filled with light." This eye is called in Sanskrit as Shiv-Netra or Dev-drishti. The Muslims describe it as Nukta-i-Sweda. William Wordsworth, a great romantic poet, refers to it as an "Inward Eye."
Muslim Saints classify Simran or Zikr into five categories:
Similarly Rishi Sandilya in his Upanishad tells us that Bekhri Simran (done with the tongue) is quite good, but Upasu (done with the breath slowly) is better still, while Manski (done mentally with the tongue of thought) is the best and tops all the rest.
The Divine Ground on which Simran should be done is the center between the two eyebrows called variously as Third Eye, Tisra Til, Shiv-Netra or Nukta-i-Sweda. It is the gateway leading to the subtle planes. In the state of wakefulness it is the seat of the spirit or psyche and it is located above the six physical ganglions. We have to transcend both the astral and causal planes above the physical plane. The Yogis step by step cross over the six physical centers until they finally and completely traverse and go over the physical plane. Instead of descending down into the lower ganglions and then going up by piercing them through in the upward journey, it would be easier and better by far if one were to commence the journey right ahead from the seat of the soul in the wakeful state which is at the back of the two eyes. The easiest way to withdraw the spirit from the body to its own seat is by means of some mental Simran, as may be enjoined by the Master Soul.
For Simran there are two kinds of Names, original and derivative. Generally people engage in Simran of one or another of the derivative or attributive Names of God, as may have an appeal to the individual concerned. This may be good and useful to a certain extent but it cannot work as an "Open Sesame" to the higher and spiritual planes within.
Master Souls always do and recommend Simran of the highest type, to wit, of the Original or Basic Names of God for these open up charmed casements and bring to view vistas leading to spiritual realms within the body. Such Names are charged with and electrified by the thought transference that usually accompanies them when communicated to an aspirant by a Master Soul. As these are magnetized, they have the power to attract and pull the spirit up to the planes to which they relate. The engrafted words charged with the Divine Spirit of the Master very soon bear fruit. Christ in this connection says, "I am the vine, ye are the branches, and as branches cannot do without the vine, ye cannot do without me . . . Let you abide in me and my words abide in you."
Again, these charmed words of the Master - Basic Names of God - have the power to dispel the forces of darkness that may meet and assail a Spirit on its onward journey. Simran of these Names helps the soul both in the physical plane and supra-physical planes, one after the other. Hence it is imperative that Simran be done of such Names as the Master Soul enjoins, for they are charged with a tremendous spiritual power which negative powers can hardly put up with and from which they flee as from an enchanter driven. Immortal and everlasting as these words of the Master are, they bestow life everlasting to the soul in which they sink and take root. Death cannot come near such a soul. This is why it is said, "Take not God's name in vain."
Every name has its own significance, influence, energy and power. If one thinks of ice, he is reminded of the bleak cold and the shivers it brings; the thought of fire puts into mind its attributes of heat and warmth. The word "lawyer" is suggestive of courts and cases, and "doctor" at once conjures up pictures of hospitals, patients and medicine chests, etc. It is a common saying, "As you think, so you become." Thought is said to be the keynote to success. There is always a strong link between a name and the named, and much greater and stronger is this link between God and His Names. It may be said that God Himself resides and dwells in His own Names (basic and original and not derivative or attributive).
Simran of the Basic Names of God has an inevitable influence on the mind. It leads to dhyan, making the spirit forgetful of the world and worldly objects. In meditation nothing but concentrated Simran remains and from the great and deep silence of the heart (Hriday Kamal of the Saints, i.e., the Divine Ground behind the eyebrows) there issues forth a ceaseless Sound Current, which helps in pulling the spirit up, leading to the withdrawal from the body (without of course breaking the silver cord) and guides the spirit in its onward journey into various spirit realms. The luminous form of the Master always remains with the spirit helping and guiding it at every step. This Sound Principle is the link between God and man and in this way an indissoluble bond and relationship is established between the Creator and His creation. This Sound Current is variously described by various sages. The Vedas speak of it as Sruti (that which is heard; the Upanishads describe it as Nad or Udgit (song of the other world). The Muslims call it Bang-i-Asmani or Kalma. In Gurbani we have references to Shabd and in the Gospel it is mentioned as the "Word." The Zoroastrians call it Sarosha and the French have given it the name of Elan-vital or life current.
Once the consciousness takes root in this Sound Principle or Voice of the Silence, life everlasting is assured to the spirit. There is no other way to God than this and it can only be reached by means of Simran of God's Names. "Knock and it shall be opened unto thee" is what the Gospel preached. Emerson calls it "tapping inside." This knocking and tapping is possible only when through Simran the mind is stilled and the spirit is withdrawn and concentrated before the very door of God. This then is the way as ordained by God Himself, but no one can find it without the grace of the Master Soul, an adept in the science of spirituality, not only in theory like Yagyavalkya but in practice as well like Ashtavakra, one who has transcended all the planes (physical, subtle, causal and beyond) and holds a commission from God to lead other souls to Him.
Some do Simran with closed eyes and others with open eyes. The first in some cases sinks into drowsiness leading to what may be called Yog Nidra, and the second in some cases keeps the mind engaged on environments. One has therefore to guard against both pitfalls. Simran with closed eyes is preferable provided one retains full consciousness. It must be done regularly every day at a fixed time. Hafiz, Sufi poet of Persia, says "The only job is to pray, unmindful of whether it is accepted or not." This means you have to remember the Lord internally without any clutching to receive one thing or the other. We have to leave everything to Lord or Master working overhead. Just as we need food or the body, so do we need food for the soul. We are very careful in giving food to the horse of the body, but starve the rider - the spirit - the life-giving fountainhead that enlivens the body and without which it has no value. We must provide food to spirit more regularly than we do for the body; no matter where we are, whether at home or abroad, and no matter what the circumstances may be, this should be our first and foremost concern.
The Simran of Naam or Word is an elixir of life and in fact a panacea (healing) for all ills, physical, mental, accidental or ordained. It is a food for the spirit and when the spirit is strong and healthy it will charge the body with vital currents of life and light, dispelling all darkness from head to foot. It is the bread of life spoken of by Christ when he declared you cannot live on bread alone. But you can live on the Name of God alone.
Simran and Dhyan (meditation) flood the spirit with the waters of life. Spirit comes to its own, rises in its latent Godhood and like a tumultuous mountain stream rushes headlong toward the Ocean of Life which is its perennial source and merges therein, losing its separate identity.
There are no limitations as to time and place for Simran. It may be done at any time and at any place, sitting or standing, walking, or in bed, but it must be done in a state of conscious wakefulness. Early morning hours (Amrit Vela) is the best time for Simran. A light and frugal night meal, consisting of milk and fruits, and morning ablutions are aids in the right direction. Purity of thoughts, words and deeds go a long way to make success of the Sadhan (spiritual discipline) for ethical life precedes spiritual life and is in fact the very ground on which the spiritual structure has to be raised. For a householder, it is very necessary to observe strict discipline in life, in matters of diet, drink and speech. Again Simran must be done slowly and the Words are to be repeated or thought out with clarity. The whole process is to be carried out with love, devotion and single-minded attention to ensure quick results. When properly done for some time, a state of divine intoxication comes upon the spirit and blessed calmness is experienced. All worldly thoughts vanish like thin air and the spirit feels freed from the bodily tenements and is irresistibly drawn upward by the Unseen Power of the Master. When it thus withdraws from the sensual planes, it gets concentrated at its own seat, the inner light dawns, and one by one spiritual experiences like the starry welkin, the moon and the sun unfold themselves. One comes across frequent references to these things in all the scriptures both ancient and modern, like the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Holy Koran, the Gurbani, the Gospel, etc. The Prophets Mohammed and Moses speak of the various inner lights. In the Bible there are repeated references to the thunder and lightning in connection with the Voice of God as it spoke to the prophets.
As the spirit crosses over these initial stages and lands in the subtle plane, the luminous form of the Master appears, takes charge of the soul and leads it on the onward spiritual journey from plane to plane. With the advent of the Master the work of Simran is completed, and the aspirant's soul lies wholly in the hands of the Master Soul.
Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, has given a glowing account of the results which one can have by doing the sweet remembrance of the Word. He impresses on us to remember Him all the time in the words as used by the Saints in the past. There are so many names of the One Reality and our aim and goal is common. We have to start from the name and contact with the Named. Unless you contact the Named you cannot derive the full benefit of the words repeated by you. For instance you say "water" in English, aqua in Latin, pani and aab in Urdu and Persian, jal and nir in Hindi, but by repetition of these names alone your thirst cannot be satisfied. It is only by drinking the particular fluid which is called by so many names that your thirst is appeased. By doing Simran of the world and its environments, they have so much taken possession of us that we have become the world and it environments. We have to use the same methods so as to eliminate all the worldly thoughts from within by remembering sweetly of the Lord in the words devised by the Saints so far. So there are two uses of Simran: one use is to withdraw from the body by Simran of the electrified words given by a competent Master, and the second is to drive out the world and its thoughts from within us by the constant remembrance of the Lord in so many ways as prescribed, the description of which has been given above in detail.
The pelf and power hardly make a man. Poverty and riches are both transitory. A man of Simran stands far above all mankind. He is much more blessed than the rest. Most people crave for worldly things. Some are desirous of having children, others hanker after wealth and still others after name and fame. The kind Father, of course, grants prayers of all. But a man of Simran, on the other hand, asks for nothing. He seeks God for God's sake and hence is the crowning glory to Him.
Once Akbar, the great Moghul Emperor, while riding, lost his way and felt thirsty. He asked a farmer standing near a well for water. The peasant tied the Emperor's horse to a nearby tree and gave water and food to him, little knowing who he was. The King was pleased with his hospitality and told him who he was and bade the farmer to see him, should he ever stand in need of anything. After sometime the farmer had an opportunity to visit the metropolis. He went to see the King as he was bidden to do. On going to the royal palace, he found that the King was busy praying and at the end he requested God for the peace and prosperity of his kingdom. Seeing this, the farmer felt humiliated for having come to beg from a beggar; for he too could directly appeal to the Great God, who listens alike to the prayers of both rich and poor.
Guru Nanak has said, "Why should we ask for worldly things from God?" All those who love the body and bodily relations go the way of hell, but one who does Simran motiveless is truly great. We generally pray for the fulfillment of our wishes and desires. So long as a man or a woman is full of these, the human body far from being a temple of God is an abode of Satan. So Kabir says that God loves those who love God alone: for no other purpose but for the love of God. The same is in the Sikh Scriptures: "What should I ask for? There is nothing lasting in all the world over. I see the whole world passing away."
Kabir says, "In pain we pray to God, in pleasure we forget, Could we in pleasure pray, then pain would not come up."
We remember God only when we are hard pressed from every side. It is affliction and not affluence that turns us Godward. If one were not to forget God in prosperity, adversity would never come near him. Hard times only come as a result of sins committed when forgetful of the Lord. Simran (or constant remembrance of God) is a tonic for the soul. It makes the will grow stronger from day to day. Troubles and trials, however severe, cannot cow him down. With a smiling face he pulls through the storms of fate or destiny unscathed. Simran is a panacea for all the ills of the world. It is a potent remedy and works wonders to remove worry where all human efforts fail. A man of Simran never has any worry or anxiety.
Simran to be very effective must be constant and ceaseless. Once Moses, the Prophet of the Hebrews, felt that he was the most devoted of God's creatures. In an egotistic frame of mind, he questioned God if there was in the world a greater devotee than himself. The Great God told Moses that among His devotees were included many birds and animals besides human beings. Pointing to a solitary bird in the jungle, God directed Moses to meet the said bird, if he wanted to know the great depths of devotion. As Moses did not know the language of the birds, God endowed him with an understanding so that he could talk with him. Moses approached the bird and inquired as to how he was. The bird replied that engaged as he was in constant remembrance (Simran) he could ill afford any time for a useless conversation except for the Beloved's sake who had sent him. Next the prophet asked the bird if he had any trouble in which he could be of any help to him. The bird replied that he had no trouble whatsoever, but if the prophet wished to do him a favor, he asked him to bring nearer to him the spring of water that lay at a distance, as a flight to it to quench his thirst interfered in his Simran. This incident humbled the pride of Moses.
Guru Nanak also speaks in this wise: "If I forget You, O God, even for a fraction of a minute, this amounts to me more than fifty years." Again He says, "He who is in constant remembrance of God, only he is alive, O Nanak; all others are dead."
Simran must be done at all costs. Constant remembrance of God is life-giving to the devotee. Guru Nanak says, "If I remember Thee I live. When I forget Thee that means death to me." There are many devices to develop concentration. Some stand for hours and hours. Others keep their arms uplifted. Some engage in breathing exercises like Pranayam, and some sleep on nails or sit under the burning sun with four fires lit around them (i.e., Panch Agni Tap or the austerity of the five fires ) . But all these methods are artificial. Simran or the remembrance of God is the only natural method and the easiest to follow and develop. It can be practiced with equal ease by both the young and the old - in one's hearth and home and in the midst of kith and kin as well as in his business.
Kabir further says: "Forgetful of prayer in pleasure, we pray only in pain; so says Kabir: such prayers go all in vain."
Since we remember the Lord only when in trouble and never care for Him when in affluent circumstances, Saint Kabir says that God also does not listen to such selfish prayers which are muttered in vain in distress over one's ailments or when one is involved in a lawsuit, etc.
Prayer should be ceaseless, overflowing as a lover's passions are, forgetting not his love even for the twinkling of an eye. When a man falls in love with a woman, he carries her image in his mind at all times whether sleeping or awake, sitting or standing. If one could carry with him the love of God like this, it would be grand indeed.
Kabir goes on to explain how the sweet remembrance of God should be done. He gives another example of the same type. He says: "Attend to the prayer as do the village maids, Who move talking with attention always fixed on pitchers overhead."
The daily routine of life, says Kabir, does not interfere with the Simran. The village maids as they go to fetch water carry pitchers of water one above the other on their heads and in spite of an unseen path, they keep jesting and talking among themselves while the pitchers remain steady on their heads, as their attention is pertinently fixed on them. Similarly one need not forget Simran even in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life and worldly obligations.
Kabir again says: "Attend to prayer as kine do the calves, Who grazing under lea, never forget their young."
When a grazier takes the cows for grazing they do not forget the young ones they leave behind at home. All the while they are busy grazing in the field their attention remains fixed on their calves. In this way while engaged in worldly pursuits, we should not forget our aim and objective in life, i.e., God Realization.
Kabir gives another example to explain and bring home the fact that we should do the remembrance of the Lord: "Attend to the prayers as misers do the wealth, With mind forever fixed on the hoarded pelf."
A pauper collects his money by begging coppers and keeps counting it day and night. Whether sleeping or waking, he is dreaming all the time of his little hoarding. We too, should like a pauper always keep an account of the Simran that we do and try to accumulate bit by bit the wealth of Naam - not forgetting it for a moment.
Kabir has given so many examples so that we may understand the true value of real Simran which brings forth fruit.
A fleet-footed deer which cannot otherwise be caught is entrapped by the hunters, just by means of playing upon the trumpet. He is so enamored of the sound that he is irresistibly drawn toward it and helplessly places his head on the musical instrument. In just the same way, when once the ever restless mind hears the Nad (or the Sound Current within) it is charmed, stilled and becomes motionless. Soul when freed from the tentacles or talons of the mind is able to soar easily to higher regions.
Another example he gives: "Love the prayer as the moth loves the light, In its flame doth burn itself, never turns aside." Light is the very life of the moth. He loves it so passionately that he does not hesitate to singe himself to death, rather than to avoid it. Kabir Sahib therefore says that we must love Simran as the very breath of our life whether rich or poor, healthy or sick, awake or asleep, and like a moth be ever-ready to sacrifice our very self in our devotion to our ideal.
Again he says: "Lose yourself in the sweet remembrance as the keet in the bhirangi, Who for sooth loses itself to rise bhirangi like." Bhirangi (an insect) after almost killing a keet (another insect) revives the latter to life by bestowing its powerful attention to it. The keet when charmed back to life is no longer a keet but becomes a bhirangi - being saturated with the life impulse of the latter. In just the same way Kabir says that one who does Simran and gets firmly engrafted therein will have new birth and new life quite distinct from the old sensual life he has been living hitherto.
This is the "second birth" of which all the Saints speak. Christ says, "Unless you lose this life you cannot have life everlasting." "Except a man be born of water (first birth) and of the Spirit (second birth) he cannot enter the kingdom of God." "The first birth was of corruptible seed, and the second shall be of seed incorruptible." This may be called "birth in Christ," and when it actually takes place, one would like St. Paul say, "It is not I but Christ speaks in me." The principle of engrafted life works alike in plants as well as in man and is in accord with the laws of Nature.
Hazrat Baziad Bustanvi, a man of extreme piety and devotion, once looked within himself and found nothing but God. In a state of divine intoxication he exclaimed, "I am God!" His disciples, unused to hearing such apparently sacrilegious words, wondered what had happened to the Pir (Master). After some time, when the Master had come down from the super-conscious state, they inquired of him why he had exclaimed that he was God which was quite contrary to his usual instructions to them (that God could not come into a human body). The Master told them that the expression "I am God" was not uttered by him but by someone else (he could according to the Koranic Law be condemned as a heretic for uttering such blasphemous words). After some time, this Hazrat was once again seized by a fit of God-intoxication and began to exclaim, "I am God." This time some of his disciples came down upon their Master with staves, spears and swords. In the Masnavi by Maulana Rumi (the original poetic narrative in this behalf), it is stated that whoever aimed a blow at the Master's head, hands or legs got his own chopped off, while the Master beside himself kept chanting, "I am God." The disciples were amazed and inquired of the Pir the significance of the incident. The Pir with a smile on his face informed them that one who merged his little entity (soul) into the greater entity (Oversoul) becomes one with God and no one could hit or harm him.
Similarly it is mentioned in Ghat Ramayan (a sacred book of the Hindus) that Tulsi Sahib of Hathras (a man of great devotion) when staying with Baji Rao Hulkar, a Maharatta chieftain of Stara, once said: "While the people see my physical raiment (the body), I actually live out of it."
Our own Master Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji was once on tour to Gujranwala city in the Punjab when some opponents came up with the idea of fighting. Master was inside. He rose up. He was in a state of God-intoxication and said, "Look at me, who am I?" And it was all quiet.
This is the general experience of those who sometimes become God intoxicated. Such statements bring out the true meaning of Simran.
Saint Kabir gives so many examples. He says: "Love the prayer as fish love the water, Who would rather die than be separated from their element. "Water is the vital element of fish without which they cannot live. A fish would prefer to die rather than live without it even for a single moment. Similarly, Simran (the Sound Current) is the vital element in which we live and move and have our being. Unless we by actual practice realize this fundamental truth, we cannot have peace.
Now He further explains: Pray we with all our heart in the silence of the soul; Shut off the world without to unveil the Truth within.
Simran is to be done with the tongue of thought and not by word of mouth. It is entirely an inner mental process, to be practiced only after the outlets of the outgoing faculties are closed up. The treasure of Simran is to be kept hidden from the people of the world. It is the most precious wealth, the value of which worldly people can hardly realize. The reality dawns only when you tap the veil behind the eyes. Christ too says in this behalf, "Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you."
Referring to the outer process which we generally do by way of Simran, Kabir says : "By telling beads we please ourselves and yet we never gain; But if we were to make a bead of the mind, an inward light would dawn again." The telling of beads on the rosary gives just a mental satisfaction, but leads nowhere. If you were to turn the beads of the mind you would witness God's light within.
Kabir Sahib says that there is hardly any need of beaded rosaries for while the hands are engaged in telling the beads, the mind is fixed on the beads without and cannot possibly withdraw within; and without this there is no gain whatsoever. Conversely, when the mind is once absorbed in Simran (mental concentration) the iron curtain will fling open (at the "Open Sesame" or enchanted words). He says: "Aeons have passed in telling beads, yet our minds changed not; So cast off the wooden beads and take to the mental ones."
Kabir Sahib therefore says," We waste our entire life in performance of outer works of merits, but the soul finds no inlet. The veil within does not give way and soul remains without. We should therefore turn the bead of the mind, and it will act like a push-button giving an ingress of the soul to spiritual realms within."
Kabir further explains: "Continuous flow the symphonic strains sublime; Divine in birth, they subdue the mind."
By concentration a feeling of numbness gradually creeps up on the hands and feet and spreads on to the rest of the body until the sensory current gets focused on the center of the soul behind the two eyebrows (from whence during wakefulness it proceeds). The concentrated energy then falls back upon the veil behind the eyes which is rent asunder, opening a brilliant vista ahead. The sun and moon in turn appear with a melodious Sound Current emerging from beyond. These unbroken strains of music continue of their own accord. When this stage is reached an aspirant has nothing more to do except to be absorbed in them.
Kabir goes on further saying that: "True rosary lies in the mind, the rest is all sham and a worldly show; Lo, the rosary on the Persian wheel draws water alone."
Simran to be effective should be characterized by love, affection and devotion. If the rosary alone were to lead to God, then the big rosary on the Persian wheel could as well do the same thing. But our daily experience shows that they fail to achieve any such thing (rosaries on the Persian wheel are the ropes to which the water pots are attached and they fetch water only and nothing else).
Similarly the Chinese have invented what is called the "Wheel of Prayer." If it is once put in motion it makes about a thousand rounds. They transcribe a mantra or a holy hymn on a piece of paper and put it on the wheel and set it into motion and feel satisfied that they have repeated the holy name a thousand times; but to no avail. Simran done parrot-like by repeating a mantra thousands of times in this way cannot bear any fruit.
Among orthodox Hindus there is a practice of writing the word Ram, Ram or the Word of God on paper in thousands every day. After some time they scissor down each word Ram and put it in a pill of flour and consign the pills to the waters of some running stream and believe that they have gained religious merit. It gives only a little remembrance of Ram. If one were to tell them that real ram is within them, they would not believe it. So they neither find Ram nor do they get any substantial thing.
Similarly Purbias (an orthodox sect who attach great importance to outer rituals and try to perform them with religious faith) generally take a bath early in the morning in the waters of a running stream, as an act of religious merit. Once a few Purbias went to Kabul in Afghanistan (a hilly country to the northwest of India) where the weather is generally very cold. Here one of them went for a bath in the Kabul River, but finding the water icy cold he hesitated to enter the stream. He thought of a good device to escape the ordeal and yet satisfy his scruples. He took up a pebble and threw it into the stream, saying "O pebble, thy bath shall also be mine." After saying this he turned back and on the way met another Purbia going to the river for his morning ablutions. The latter asked him if he had taken the bath in the chilly bleak weather. The former informed him of the vicarious pebble-bath that he had had, and thereupon the other fellow embraced him saying, "Your bath is my bath as well." In this the blind leads the blind and both fall into the ditch by performing deeds blindly.
Kabir Sahib further refers to the rosary, saying: "Over the wooden rosary you have wasted much time; Now take to the mental rosary, that has no knot on the end."
"O Kabir, the telling of the wooden-beaded rosary is a great laborious task, but continuous mental rosary, as of the breath beads (incoming and outgoing) is a natural phenomenon. It goes on endlessly without any effort."
In the rosary there is the head knot. When one round is completed it is to be reversed so as not to neutralize the effect, for beads are to be told in one direction only. So Kabir advises that we should take to the natural rosary of the breath which being an endless continuation has no knots and needs no reversal at all.
Further he says : "On continuous fruitless revolution, The rosary cried out quarreling, 'Why do you turn me round and round?' Turn mental rosary should you want a Master guide. Telling beads and counting the turns on fingers, Hollow are such deeds of merit, performed with wandering mind. How can God be found with an insensate mind?"
Kabir says, "When doing all ablutions or purificatory exercises like telling the beads, etc., your mind is not still, what is the good of doing them after all? While you are telling the beads and counting the number of rosary revolutions performed on your fingers, the mind like an unbridled colt is wandering about. All such deeds are therefore of no avail. You can meet God through a living Master only, when according to His instructions, you learn to bridle the mind and turn it the other way" (i.e., inward and upward from its usual way of looking at things outward and downward). The practice of concentration and focusing of the mind can only be achieved through Simran as enjoined by a Master Soul and by nothing else.
Kabir Sahib further presses the point. "In vain is the rosary that loosens not the mind knot. A true heaven lies in the Master's feet alone. No outer shows are needed, all must be done within; Why lose time with the outside world? I am now engaged in my Lord within."
Simran as said above is a mental or inner process and as such the rosary or any other aid cannot be of any use in this behalf. By concentration at the blessed feet of the Master, by implicit faith in his instructions, and by putting them into actual practice, we can attain a stage of perfect bliss. There is no short cut but that of Simran as enjoined by the Master.
The Bible too says, "Be ye the doers of the Word and not the hearers only," and then you will enter New Jerusalem.
Emerson in this connection says, "The human body is a temple of God and as such God can only be made manifest from within." The contact between an individual spirit or human soul and the Oversoul is of course established by a Master Soul by means of the Sound Current or Word.
Another Saint, Bikha, says: "O Bikha, there is no man starving in this world. Everybody has a diamond of precious value within. They do not know how to withdraw from the body and concentrate the sensory current and transcend the lower chakras in the body. That is why they feel hungry. They have the thing within them but they do not know how to come out of the body to contact it."
The Sound Current or Word is contacted through the medium of Simran, which withdraws the spirit current from the body; when the current comes up to the seat of the soul in the waking state, only then it contacts the Conscious Power working throughout the whole creation. It will therefore appear that Simran or the process of the sweet remembrance of the Word is the stepping stone to contacting the Word within. The first step is therefore to do the Simran or repetition of the charged words given by a competent Master, and the second step is, when the soul is withdrawn to its seat in the body at the back of the two eyes, it contacts the Word which is called Naam, Shabd, Nad, Akash Bani, Kalma, Sarosha, etc. This Word has two phases: one is of Light and the other of Sound, which the soul experiences when it comes in contact with that Power. He sees the Light of God and hears sweet symphonies of the rapturous strains of the Sound Current going on within which gives its sweetness very sublime and ineffable; so sweet that no words can convey.
Farid, a Muslim Saint, says: "O Lord, there are so many sweet things in the world such as honey, buffalo milk, sugar, but the sweetness that Your Name conveys, O Lord, is far sweeter than all these." It is a subject to be done practically and tasted by the individual self. It is not a matter of routine only nor of mere talking. It is a matter to experienced by contact within. Those who have tasted the sweet elixir of it have talked about it in glowing terms.
Once Guru Nanak met Babar, the great King of India, who was taking an intoxicant. He offered it to Guru Nanak who told him, "Babar, this drug that you are taking loses its intoxication, but the intoxication I have by contacting the Word of God is everlasting and cannot be diminished." So it is an interesting subject. Those who have once tasted a bit of it can never forget it. All the world's enjoyments and other things lose their weight and value in their eyes.
Constant remembrance of the Lord further gives a wakefulness to the man who is engaged in it. Tennyson in his Memoirs gives an instance of his experience of a waking trance he had, which could be interesting to know. He says:
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