Sunday, August 28, 2011

41. Sikh meditations: Jap and Simran

Sikh meditations blend spirituality with the person’s daily life. The two aspects of the meditation are Jap and Simran.

Jap means to repeat, to affirm and to act.

In a Sikh Meditation we repeat the Gurbani sentences, Gurbani words and the Guru Mantra. Another way the Jap forms a part of Sikhs life is when the Sikh Prayers are recited Daily, Gurbani Kirtan is listened to regularly.

Gurbani which are words of Shabad Guru has guidance to shape our basic beliefs aligned with spiritual life. In this life we live in raza – a positive contentment, we are loving towards others, we share, we forgive, we have positive uplifted outlook. A life being lived in Chardikala. The positives of this life can be appreciated by looking at what won’t be there in this life: anxiety, anger, greed, exploitation and above all a sense of fear. We too have happiness and sorrow; tears and joy; hope and despair. The anxiety and fear are our regular companions. A change is what we ever desire.

The Gurbani gives us wisdom and direction that changes us to become a Jyote swarope – a light that is an image of GOD. Our perception are changed, our self-concepts are changed.

The jap is a tool, a process that is an important aspect in this change process.

A novice often questions this aspect. Why repeat? Why again and again? Why remember GOD again and again? Why praise GOD again and again like a sycophant?

In fact we are repeating good to be good. We repeat an image to be that image.we are shifting our state of being to what we truly are – a Jyote swaroope from a temporary self identity that we adorn and live with in this world.

Our present way of thinking and living has also come about through experiences. Much has been reinforced by repetition. In fact the majority of our thoughts/actions are not through a logical conscious thinking but guided by a default way of thinking and choosing triggered by thoughts connected with experiences which are the domain of our subconscious.

Our subconscious mind has been built up by experiences. The input influences were many ranging from those of parents, teachers and peers. But one factor that greatly influenced was our environment that included TV, press and neighbourhood. The thinking and emotions of all around us has shaped our subconscious mind which is further part of a collective consciousness.

We have within us anxieties and fears. The anger is easy to trigger and greed ever lies hidden. The circumstances of our live don’t have much to cheer.

We now only have to accept the Guru’s words and move ahead for the change.

The other important main aspect of the Sikh meditation to understand well is Simran.

The Simran broadly means ‘to remember ‘.

In Simran we remember our true nature. Through Simran we bring about a perception of truth. Object of Simran is to change us into what we truly are.

As we decide to do Simran many questions come in mind. How to do Simran? When to do Simran? How is it different from meditations? Does it involve controlling the mind and so on?

Simran can be better understood if some aspects are compared with what is commonly known about meditation.

Meditation involves closing of eyes so as to shut the outward focus of senses and move within. In meditation either a mantra word is repeated to focus the mind and move towards stillness or thoughts are observed so as to go through the gaps between thoughts.

However the Simran can be done either with eyes closed or with open eyes. Simran also has a Guru mantra for focusing of the mind. This Guru mantra is a change or transformation agent. It enables us to have a state of mind with awareness having an inward point of origin.

Normally our focus of senses is directed outward from a point of origin near our eyes. This point is nearer to outside world. The first change that Simran of Guru mantra brings about in us is to have an inward focus as well. The outside world is looked at with inner eyes as well and also heard with inner ears. The inner eyes and inner ears are no physical organs but are organs of consciousness.

The second change that Simran brings is the way we look and feel the material world around us. What we see around is distinctiveness and variety. There are so many different objects. All individual persons are different. They look different, they think differently and they behave differently. There are so many different species. There is distinctness all around. The objects are distinct. We routinely change and modify these. We have a daily life starting from the point we wake up to the point we sleep again. We use so many objects. We interact with such variety of people. We think and have so many thoughts. The world is filled with variety with everything distinct and different.

And if someone tells us all things inherently are same, what would be our reaction. What would be your reaction if I tell you the PC screen, the table, the chair ,the walls and all other objects around you are a part of God’s creation , you would agree. But If I said these are aspects of GOD ,it is going a bit further but if I called these objects GOD you would think am I mad.

Well the path towards God is to know what the word GOD means. It also is a path where our perceptions change. We enter a state of knowingness. In this state we know the truth of things and we perceive differently. Our experiences also differ .Instead of viewing things as distinct we view them as interconnected as well. There is a shift from separateness towards perception of oneness. A ground for addressing, separate perception of self as well.

This change is brought about in Sikh’s life by the Guru. The Guru shows the path. The Guru imparts understanding. The Guru guides. The Guru watches and directs.

And what had been there in the Sikh’s mind initially? First of all doubt, next outward attractions that keep the mind involved. The working nature of the mind is such that there are thought and thoughts interconnected always in motion. This mind keeps us involved in the world. We are son, daughter, father, mother, worker, boss, neighbor, citizen and so many other roles. We have responsibilities and duties. We have desires and needs. All these and much more makes for a life we are living. Should not these be addressed along with our spiritual quest? The life that Guru guides us to live looks towards our prosperity as well. Our health improves visibly and there is greater strength to withstand diseases than normally even during initial stages of simran when the sikh begins to absorb Guru's directed way of living the life.

The Sikh looks around and feels the joy. When there is simran of the Guru mantra Waheguru , Waheguru , Waheguru ... with every utterance the sikh delights at the wondrous creation . It is Wah Guru , whether it is the world around or the own body , there is wonder of creation in every thing. accompanying this simran is the secret guru guided direction of feeling HIS presence as well. FEEL , FEEL and FEEL . Do Simran with a feeling.

When Gurbani is recited FEEL.

When Shabad is listened FEEL.

Accept the Guru's word as absolute truth.

As we enter and walk the path , the relationship with Guru is our first most important step. This relationship is first addressed by the Sikh meditative path of Simran which essentially has Jap as its component. We can know what Simran truly is by doing Simran.

It is through Simran that we have to know the Shabad Guru and form a relationship so that we are able to move to next step where the reality is not visible nor is it a part of our experience but has to be accepted as truth so that we vibrate at a level where we can perceive it and make it a part of experience.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


The Sikh spiritual meditations are a subtle powerful change force.  

The change process sets forth the moment the Sikh hears, reads and begins his tryst with Gurbani.
The power of Gurbani has subtle influence on the psyche of the Sikh which initiates the changes in the multifold ways which continue at different levels.

First of all, Gurbani touches the Sikh at emotional level. The shabad Gurbani soothes the nerves, reduces anxiety and fear. Shabad kirtan induces feelings of love, confidence, assurance and oneness of a subtle higher divine force. Shabad kirtan raises the emotional level of the Sikh to experience higher level of feeling.
The Gurbani next imparts knowledge. This knowledge is about the way we have to line in this world and progresses spiritually. The knowledge is a transformer. It makes us view the world spiritually. It makes us change our beliefs towards the true reality that is ‘oneness’. The knowledge is subtle with doors opening as the Sikh progresses spiritually.
Thirdly, the Gurbani induces the change process in us by aligning our thoughts with those of the Guru and takes us through a journey of ever new meditations which brings in new and new spiritual experiments in the journey from the life of separation to the life where oneness is felt, observed, experienced and the jyote swaroop image shines.

Here are some of these meditations which are spiritually transforming:-


The Mool (Origin) Mantra, as the name suggests is about the origin. It is about nature of the world and that of own self. It is the basic meditation which has levels which keep opening up newer and newer experiences and understanding. All the Gurbani meditation revolves around the Mool Mantra.
The Mool Mantra is:-
Ek oankaar - One Universal Creator God
Sat naam - TheName Is Truth
Karata purakh- CreativeBeingPersonified
Nirabho -NoFear
Niravair- No Hatred
Akal moorath - Image Of The Undying
Ajooni - Beyond Birth
Saibhang - Self-Existent
Gur prasad - By Guru's Grace.

EKONKAR: This one word is at the beginning of SGGSji. The most simplistic translation of Ekonkar is “God is One”.
The very moment Sikh focuses on “Ekonkar” the meaning begins to evolve with more and more insights. The more the Sikh reads Gurbani, there is better appreciation of the vastness of meaning that this single word encompasses and reveals. The word Ekonkar represents the creation and the creator. Ekonkar begins the Sikh’s spiritual journey. The Sikh knows oneness, experiences oneness and is one with oneness.
The Sikh sheds the common notion of GOD, as the experience of vastness unfolds and begins to see oneness.
The meditation on “Ekonkar” is a journey. This journey is a journey of exploration. The letting go of life times of notions on GOD and reality. In this journey we are force to face with the dilemma on nature of reality. The pendulum ever swings as to what is real and which is an illusion. The mind repeatedly keeps its pull towards the comfort accepting what everyone believes. The mind is the first stumbling block that the Sikh has to overcome with the tools that the Guru has provided. The Guru through His grace bestows the Sikh with the fit of simran.
The base of Sikh spiritual meditation is simran. Simran means to remember and repeat. Simran is the basic meditation method which the Sikh makes as part of life. Simran lets the sikh be ever aware of the Guru. Through simran the Sikh keeps alive the change and transformative process with ever awareness of HIS presence.
When the Sikh repeats Gurbani, it is simran. The listening to Gurbani Kirtan is Simran. The Jap of Guru Mantra”Waheguru” is simran.
In the Mool Mantra, the Guru has instructed the Sikh and revealed what the focus of the simran has to be. The word Mantra begins with Ekonkar and has seven words which cannot be exactly translated, only the meaning of these words can be indicated: EKONKAR thus means : There is one God. The universe is His manifestation and there is oneness.

SAT NAAM: this word is composed to two words ‘Sat’ and ‘Naam’ which means ‘HIS’ name and refers to the Divine reality within and bout. The absolute truth is that HE is the only reality. This “truth” is to be ever reinforced through simran so that the developing belief becomes the “truth”.

KARTA PURAKH: Karta Purakh means the creator – the creative force. The creator is not distinct from the creation. HIS Hukam prevails in the creation. The simran is to observe and accept the HUKAM with the creation.

NIRBHAU: Nirbhau means absence of fear. This means that in the underlying reality the fear is an illusion and force that is Maya. The fear is because of duality. The reality is “Anand”. The truth is only LOVE.

NIRVAIR: Nirvair means absence of enmity. Again enmity is because of duality. Simran is to see the illusion so that oneness is observed. How can when all are one, there be enmity?

AKAL MOORAT: The cycle of life and death is a part of creation. The creator is beyond this cycle and “Akal” – one whom death cannot touch. We just cannot go beyond the confirms of this world of relationship. In the world we know happiness through sadness, there is high because there is low. The opposite relationships are all around and an intricate part of our lives. We know life as there is death. How are we to know one who created these and the world we live in? Some connection has to be there with our world. Guruji thus explicitly state HIM to be Akal Moorat. A form or an existence which IS and EVERIS, TIMELESS. There is no Death, just existence.

AJOOIN: Ajoni means ONE who is unincarnated (not having any reincarnation/incarnation). This again is use of a defining way by stating ‘this is not’. There is only ONE and ONENESS. Nothing else. No other second or similar. The world that has birth, death and rebirth is a manifestation – a creation .

SAIBHANG: Saibhang explains the next obvious question. Who created the creator? How the creator came into existence. Another question that arises out of our everyday experiences. Guruji specifies explicitly HE is self-created. HE IS and creates HIM HEMSELF.

GURPRASHAD: Now the last obvious question. How can we know HIM. Where can we find HIM. The answer is in the word,”Gurprashad”- Guru’s Grace. One can know HIM through Guru’s grace only. Only the “Guru’s” “Prashad” can make us find and know HIM. Our shackles of illusion and separateness is thus shattered.

The word “Prashad” is used for a food offered to Guru . In the Gurdwara after the end of worship service Karah Prashad is served to sangat. This Karah Prasad is a kind of sacred pudding which is sweet and a delicacy. This is considered and taken as Guru’s kindness, favor or grace. Spiritually the direction and guidance is of the Guru. This is Guru’s grace and so also the result.
The first real defining direction for the spiritual aspirant, a Sikh is knowing, finding and following the True Guru.
The word Sikh means a disciple. Who is the Guru of a Sikh? We have the Ten Guru’s starting with the First Guru being Guru Nanak Devji and the present ever living eleventh Guru being Guru Granth Sahebji whom the tenth Guru gave Guru gaddi.
The first thing that the learns that the Guru is not the Physical Body but a “Guru Jyote “ that is transferred from one Guru ‘s Physical body to the next and now is within Sree Guru Granth shahebji who are also known as The Shabad Guru.
Has Shabad been throughout the Guru? Guru Nanak Devji in Sidh Ghost bani has stated that his Guru is the Shabad. Right from the first Guru’s time the Sikhs were introduced to Gurbani. The original Gurbani is the Shabad Guru now.
The Sikhs first meditation is seeking of THE GURU.