The Value of the Lord’s Name
Kabir, the great mystic, conveyed his teachings largely through his beautiful poetry. Some of Kabir’s verses urge his readers and listeners to understand the value of the Lord’s Name and be in constant remembrance of it; therein, he explains, lies the secret to salvation.
Between attachment and attachment lies great distance.
Attachment to the world is truly a curse
But beyond all value is that attachment
Which transports you across the ocean of this world.
Kabir, The Great Mystic
We are addicted to the world. Our list of addictions does not stop at fine clothes, fancy houses, the latest gadgets; we are also addicted to our constant flow of thoughts. This form of attachment to our thoughts is likened to ‘worldly simran’ – thinking and contemplating on the world and its objects, drawing mental pictures of what we are thinking. At the time of death, these same impressions appear before us, which have been repeatedly replaying during our lifetime and are the very cause of our rebirths – this is the root cause of all our sorrow and suffering.
The primordial Name is the philosopher’s stone,
The mind is rusty iron;
It is transformed into gold with one touch of the Name
And all its chains of attachment are shattered.
Kabir, The Great Mystic
When saints and mystics come into our lives, they impart the knowledge of spiritual simran to us – which is the remembrance of the Satguru, of God, of home. In Spiritual Gems, Maharaj Sawan Singh refers to the words as: “The repetition of thoughts of the journey within.”
Saints further tell us that the Lord and his Name is eternal and that contemplation on his Name will dissolve all our previous impressions. Our soul is already the particle of the Lord and wishes to merge in him. The mind, on the other hand, keeps the soul chained to this karmic wheel of birth and rebirth through its endless ‘worldly simran’. Maharaj Sawan Singh writes in Spiritual Gems:
The rust of attachments and impressions is removed by repetition. The repetition of thoughts of the journey within replaces our everyday thoughts. Then the mind, instead of wandering outside, begins to take rest and peace within; and when it goes in, the spirit also goes with it.
It is important for us to understand the purpose of this spiritual simran. Simran of the Lord’s name empties us of all thought of the world and stills the mind. Reaching Master’s astral form within is the real work of simran. Our actual spiritual journey starts here; till then simran is doing its field work – collecting all of our consciousness which is spread throughout the senses of the body and out in the world, gathering it slowly and steadily at the eye centre. Once the mind is stilled and fully concentrated at the eye centre, we experience light, sound and then God.
However, the mind does not take to simran easily, because it knows that the repetition of the holy Names means its own annihilation. It is not easy to reach the eye focus and stay there. We cannot reach there by force and the process is slow. Only perseverance will bring results. Maharaj Jagat Singh writes in The Science of the Soul:
Knock, knock, knock. He hears. If at first you do not succeed in having the door opened from inside, do not run away. Go on knocking, knocking so violently as to make him open the door. Simran is the knocking.
Guru Nanak writes:
Ceaseless simran is the ladder by which to reach the mansion of the Lord. Were the tongue to multiply into many tongues and each were to repeat his Name, it would still be inadequate.
As quoted in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. I
The kind of perseverance Masters speak about is the simran which is done with every breath – while sitting, standing, walking and eating. One has to do simran with one-pointed attention. The habit of simran should be so firmly established in our minds that it starts to play automatically and effortlessly in our subconscious. Initially, building the habit of simran may feel like a tug of war between our thoughts and repetition of the names. But it is a trick which we need to master even while attending to all our other work. The secret of the trick lies in going through the world with the mind as concentrated as if you were carrying a pitcher full of water on your head, ever careful that you must not spill even a drop.
We will experience many failures before we master the practice of simran. But we can always try to remember these words of encouragement:
Each time we let go of our thoughts and go back to our simran,
we win a heroic and courageous victory.
Kabir explains to us the ultimate value of simran:
All happiness rests in ever-repeated simran,
All sorrow and suffering is removed by simran.
Kabir declares with utmost force and clarity:
Practise this simran and be one with the Lord.
The happiness which Kabir talks about is not the happiness that dissipates when we face trouble and pain in our lives. It is the everlasting inner joy and bliss that comes from being intoxicated with the loving remembrance of the Lord’s simran. In Spiritual Gems, Maharaj Sawan Singh describes the Lord’s Name as the rendezvous of all beings; the cure for all sorts of ills. He ends the letter by quoting Guru Nanak:
The whole world is miserable.
Only he is happy who has taken to Nam.