ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ॥ ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰ ਕੀ ਉਤਰੈ ਚਿੰਦ ॥: Saasi Saasi simarahu Gobind ... (sggs 295).

The Gurbani frequently uses the word "Simran" ("ਸਿਮਰਨ", "ਸਿਮਰਨੁ"...), which is often seen translated in English as "meditation". So is the word "Jap" ("ਜਪ", "ਜਪੁ" ...) often seen translated in English as "meditation, "chanting", and so on. There are some other words that are often seen translated in English as "meditation" (e.g., "ਧਿਆਨ", "ਧਿਆਨੁ"-Dhiaan...).

The Gurbani gives a direct, clear and straight forward description of many terms, including Simran, Japa, Naam, and so on. However, still, it seems so difficult for the majority (above 99.9. percent category) to come out of ancient tradition that defines these terms differently. Our Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) does not subscribe to the old practices prescribed or given by the crafty, self appointed clergy (ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾਂ).

  • ਅਖੀ ਤ ਮੀਟਹਿ ਨਾਕ ਪਕੜਹਿ ਠਗਣ ਕਉ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (Cheats, ਪਖੰਡੀ) Close their eyes and hold their nostrils (they do such trickery only) to dupe the world. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 662).
  • ਉਦਕ ਮਾਹਿ ਜੈਸੇ ਬਗੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਮਾਡੈ ॥੧॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕਉ ਕੀਜੈ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਜਪੰਨਾ ॥ ਜਬ ਤੇ ਸੁਧੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਮਨੁ ਅਪਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The heron (standing in the water) appears to be meditating, but it is concentrating on the water (to catch a fish). ||1|| Why do you practice Japa, when your mind is not pure? ||1||Pause|| (sggs 485).
  • ਮਨਹਠਿ ਜੋ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਤਿਲੁ ਨ ਲੇਖੈ ਪਾਵੈ ਬਗੁਲ ਜਿਉ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਲਾਵੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਰੇ ਧਾਰੀ ॥: One who acts (performs religious acts, etc.) through stubbornness is of no account at all (his actions are of no avail; because) like a crane, he pretends to meditate, but he is still stuck in Maya (i.e., he is Mayadhaaree - ਮਾਇਆ ਧਾਰੀ) (sggs 687).
  • ਬਗ ਜਿਉ ਲਾਇ ਬਹੈ ਨਿਤ ਧਿਆਨਾ ॥: (The Manmukh) sits like a stork, pretending to meditate (sggs 230).

The Gurbani's "Simran", "Jap", "Dhiaan" are not to be understood in the ancient tradition prescribed or given by the crafty, self appointed clergy (Brahmin, Pandit-ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾਂ).

What's the use of such meditation if it does not bring about clear understanding of the Gurmat (i.e., Brahm-Giaan, Divine Wisdom, Spiritual Knowledge, Divine Virtues of the Gurbani)?

What's the use of such meditation if one is not going to persistently and unbrokenly live the Gurmat in daily life (i.e., live by the Brahm-Giaan, Divine Wisdom, Spiritual Knowledge, Divine Virtues of the Gurbani)?

In other words, what is the use of such meditation if the Gurbani's Upadesh (Teaching, Truth...) does not get assimilated in the consciousness; or if an uninterrupted thought flow of the Gurbani's Wisdom does not get directed towards Higher Awareness or Mool within (Source, Gobind, Raam, Hari, Allah, Jot Saroop, Pure Nature...) without open expression through the extrovert senses? The Gurbani asserts that such deceptive lifestyle is a Mannmukh lifestyle.

Thus, in nutshell, as envisaged by the Gurbani, meditation is not to just to sit in some peculiar posture with full or partially closed eyes, or to stare in the sky (i.e., this is not Bhagti) ! Also, it is not to go sit in a secluded place such as mountain-top, cave, jungle, basement, etc.! Further, it is not as silent or loud repetition of a some Mantra, phrase, word, etc.

Also, as envisaged by the Gurbani, the purpose of meditation is not to become somebody, but to become humble. For, according to the Gurbani, humility is the Essence of all Virtues. Baabaa Nanak Teaches us:

  • ਮਿਠਤੁ ਨੀਵੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਗੁਣ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਤਤੁ ॥ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਨਿਵੈ ਆਪ ਕਉ ਪਰ ਕਉ ਨਿਵੈ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਧਰਿ ਤਾਰਾਜੂ ਤੋਲੀਐ ਨਿਵੈ ਸੁ ਗਉਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: O Nanak! There is sweetness in humility, and Virtues; (humility) is the essence of all good Virtues (i.e., it's the best Virtue!). Everyone bows down to himself (in this world - for the sake of one’s own selfishness); no one bows down for the sake of other. (But notice that) when something is placed on the balancing scale and weighed, the side which descends is heavier! (sggs 470).
As far as "Simran", "Jap", or "Dhiaan" go, the Gurbani says:
  • ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ॥ ਮਨ ਅੰਤਰ ਕੀ ਉਤਰੈ ਚਿੰਦ ॥: With (each) breath, remember “Gobind” (Mool…). (So that) wory within (your) mind be erased (sggs 295).
  • ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਸਾਸ ਹੈ ਜੇਤੇ ਮੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥: With all breaths (i.e, ਲਗਾਤਾਰ-continually…), take care of the Naam through the Gurmat (i.e., unceasingly maintain the Divine Knowledge – ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨ – through the Gurbani’s Instruction). (sggs 980).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥ ਹਉ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਛੋਡਉ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: (I) heed to the Gur-Shabad, within. (I) will never forsake the "Hari Naamu" (Giaan or Divine Wisdom, which I obtained from the Gur-Shabad). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1154).

Clearly, "Dhiann or Dhiyan " is essentially to heed the Gur-Shabad within (to pay attention, to reflect, to contemplate, etc), uninterruptedly (Persistant Bhagti).

"Simran" as envisaged by the Gurbani is to constantly remember the Divine Virtues or the Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani (Naam, Shabad, Hukam...) through the Shabad-Vichaar, and then constantly live it in daily life. It is to keep the mind and intellect uninterruptedly linked to it's Mool within (Jot Saroop, Pure Nature ...). This is being Awake and Aware (ਜਾਗਰਤ ਅਵਸਥਾ).

"Jap" as envisaged by the Gurbani is to understand the Gurbani (to attain Brahm Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡ ਗਿਆਨ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤ ਕਰਨਾ…), and then maintain constant remembrance of that Understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…) when transacting with the outside world of objects, sphere of emotions, and the realm of thoughts (ਫੁਰਨੇ, desires…).. With this understanding comes the detachment from Maya. With this Inner Understanding (ਆਂਤਰਿਕ ਸੋਝੀ) the mind Awakens to its Mool within (Original or Untainted Nature...). Thus, with such "Jap", the mind becomes stable (ਮਨ ਦਾ ਟਿਕਾ).

Such still mind beomes fit for Shabad-Vichaar. When the mind so stabilized engages in Shabad-Vichaar, it becomes "Simran". To say in simple Punjabi: ਮਨ ਬੁਧੀ ਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਅਪਨੇ ਮੂਲ ਨਾਲ ਜੁੜਿਆ ਰਹਿਣਾਂ ਹੀ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਹੈ ।

The Gurbani asks us to burn away all other intellect (all Mayaic Budhi, ਸਾਰੀਆਂ ਸਿਆਣਪਾਂ…) with proper understanding obtained through the Gur-Shabad-Vichaar. In other words, the Gurbani wants us to retain only the Tatt Budhi or Tatt Giaan (“ਤਤੁ ਬੁਧਿ”,”ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ”-Bibek Budhi of the Gurbani; Essence of the Wisdom of the Gurbani…). Because, people without the Divine Knowledge are plundered. This is the Gurbani’s edict (ਫੈਸਲਾ).

  • ਸਭ ਬੁਧੀ ਜਾਲੀਅਹਿ ਇਕੁ ਰਹੈ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥: All (Mayaic) intellect (ਸਾਰੀਆਂ ਹੀ ਸਿਆਣਪਾਂ) are unavailing (useless, futile…); only the Essence of Spiritual Wisdom lasts (remains…). ||4|| (sggs 1413).

Thus, Sikhi is Giaan Maarag — the Way of the Shabad-Vichaar (Divine Wisdom, Spiritual Knowledge, Aatam-Giaan, etc.), not the way of making money as the Pujaaree-Group (ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾ) has done. The Way of the Shabad-Vichaar is beyond body-consciousness (ਬਾਹਰਲੇ ਸਰੀਰ ਦਾ ਮੋਹ…), dogmas, Karamkaand (rituals), traditions, religions, race, social divisions…

  • ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਤੁਮ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਹੁ ਸਚਾ ਇਹੈ ਸੁਆਉ ॥: O Gur-Sikhs! Listen to the Teachings (of the Gur-Shabad: Gurmat, Aatam Giaan, Spiritual Wisdom…). This alone is the true purpose of life (sggs 963).
  • ਸਿਖੀ ਸਿਖਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Sikhee sikhiaa gur veechaari (sggs 465).
  • ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ਤਾਂ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰੀ ॥: Vidiaa veechaaree taan paroupakaaree (sggs 356).
  • ਸਿਖਿਆ ਦੀਖਿਆ ਭੋਜਨ ਭਾਉ ॥: Sikhiaa deekhiaa bhojan Bhaaou (sggs 221).

In nutshell, the Gurbani speaks at the level of the Aatmaa (ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਦਰ ਦੀਆਂ ਗੱਲਾਂ ਕਰਦੀ ਹੈ – ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਵਿਚਾਰ…), therefore, one becomes Sikh at the level of Aatmaa, NOT at the level of body-consciousness (i.e., Maya). Hence, as tirelessly emphasized by the Gurbani, Sikhi is the inner game of the Shabad-Surt (Naam-consciousness, Aatam Giaan, Brahm-Giaan, Gurmukh-hood …). That is, Sikhi is the Internal Way of life – Inner Path. Therefore, the game of Sikhi has to be played in the Sahaj Maarag, within (Natural State of Being, Giaan Avastaa – ਗਿਆਨ ਅਵਸਤਾ, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, “ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ”…). Thus, there is more to the Gurbani and the Sikhi than what many of us have been told or led to believe by the Pujaaree-Group (ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾ) who plays the game of money instead of the game of Shabad-Vichaar!

In "Sidh Gosti" (sggs 938), Sidhas asked Baabaa Nanak as to how one cross the Bhav-Saagar (i.e., Maya-ocean, worldliness...)? Baabaa Nanak Answers:

  • ਜੈਸੇ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਨਿਰਾਲਮੁ ਮੁਰਗਾਈ ਨੈ ਸਾਣੇ ॥ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਤਰੀਐ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਖਾਣੇ ॥: The lotus flower floats untouched upon the surface of the water, and the duck swims through the stream (i.e., without getting feathers wet); (similarly) O Nanak! With consciousness focused on the Shabad, one crosses over the terrifying world-ocean (of Maya). (sggs 938).

Simply put: Shabad-Surt or Shabad-Consciousness is to constantly live by the Wisdom (Giaan) or Bibek-Budhi of the Gur-Shabad. It is to burn Haumai (egolessness) and die in the Shabad. Shabad-Surti demands constant abidance in Truth (Sach). Hence, to love or live the Sikhi is to love the One Truth; otherwise, its all fraud! According to the Gurbani, such Gurmukh Sikh is very “rare”, rest are all mere traders (“ਬਿਉਹਾਰੀ” – ਵਪਾਰੀ, ਸੌਦੇ-ਬਾਜ, ਮਤਲਬੀ, Karamkaandee, Maya’s traders, play the game of money…).

  • ਕੋਟਿ ਮਧੇ ਕੋ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਸਗਲੇ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Out of millions, hardly anyone is (Your) "Sewak". All others are mere traders (selfish, i.e., their religiosity is only for show off).. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 495).

Hence, the Gurbani asks us to practice the Giaan-Jap (“ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਪਹੁ”). And the Giaan (Wisdom, Knowledge, Aatm-Giaan, Brahm-Giaan…) is the subject of the Budhi, not the gross external body-frame. The Gurbani:

  • ਐਸਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਮਨ ਮੇਰੇ ॥ ਹੋਵਹੁ ਚਾਕਰ ਸਾਚੇ ਕੇਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O my mind! Undestand such Spiritual Wisdom, (on account of which you) become the "Chaakar" of the True (One). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 728).

Thus, the Gurbani’s Jap makes one “Sewak” or “Chaakar” (humble being ...) . It neither makes one the Guroo, nor the Satguroo, nor the Sant, nor Sri 108, nor any Deraas (ਡੇਰਾ), nor any Aashrams, etc.

In this way, the Jap envisaged by the Gurbani is “Ajapaa Jaap” – the letter “A” in “Ajapaa” indicates without the external senses (i.e., tongue, etc.). That is, constant or unbroken Awareness of one’s Mool (ਮੂਲ), Joti-Svaroopa, Aatm-Giaan, Gurmat, Spiritual Wisdom, Divine Knowledge …!

  • ਅਜਪਾ ਜਾਪੁ ਨ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਆਦਿ ਜੁਗਾਦਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਸਭਿ ਸਖੀਆ ਪੰਚੇ ਮਿਲੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਸਬਦੁ ਖੋਜਿ ਇਹੁ ਘਰੁ ਲਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਦਾਸੁ ॥: (The mind which has become stable) becomes immersed in the Primal (Lord such a way that it) does not forget "Ajapaa Jaapu". As the Gurmukh (follower of Truth, one) becomes established in its own Heart, and all senses become sublime. Nanak is the slave of that one who seeks the Shabad and finds this Home within. ||1|| (sggs 1291).

So, the Jap as tought to us by the Gurbani is performed within (Nij Ghar-ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ) — with the support of the Budhi — to realize Brahm Giaan (Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡ ਗਿਆਨ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤ ਕਰਨਾ…). In Other words, for meditation, one should sit within (Nij Ghar-ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ), with identification with the Mool (Jot Saroop...) only, and have confirmed "I-am-not-the-body". Not mere words, but with conviction that the mind is "Jot Saroop". So the Gurbani asks to hold tight to Naam Sevaa, and give up all clever tricks ("ਚਤੁਰਾਈ").

  • ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Iou kahai Nanaku man toon joti saroopu hai apanaa moolu pashaanu ||5||: Thus says Nanak - O mind! Your "Saroop" (nature, identity...) is "Joti" (Divine Light). (O mind!) Recognize your Mool (Source, Jot, Origin...) ||5|| (sggs 441).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਝੂਠੀ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ ॥੮॥੨॥: O Nanak! Without the Naam, all clever tricks are false ||8||2|| (sggs 230).
  • ਸੋ ਜਪੁ ਸੋ ਤਪੁ ਜਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਭਾਵੈ ॥: That alone is Jap, and that alone is Tap, which is pleasing to the Satigur (i.e., which is in conformance with the SGGS). (sggs 509).

With constant and thorough practice of this Ajapaa Jaap – the state of “ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ” arises within (“Budhi Badalee” — transmutation of Mayaic Budhi or worldly intelligence or worldly mind or worldly wisdom, etc.). This seems to be the Goal of Jap as toucht by the Gurbani.

  • ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਬੁਧਿ ਹਰਿ ਲਈ ਮੇਰੀ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਦਲੀ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੨॥੨੧॥੭੨॥: (Now my worldly intellect) has been destroyed, (and as a result of this) altered Budhi, (I) have obtained Spiritual Perfection (Mool realization). ||2||21||72|| (sggs 339).

However, according the Gurbani, a "rare" one embarks on this revolutionary path — not an easy path! Such person is called the Gurmukh, Bhagat, Daas, Jan, etc., in the Gurbani.

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਜਿਹ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਗਏ ਪਾਛੈ ਪਰੀ ਬਹੀਰ ॥ ਇਕ ਅਵਘਟ ਘਾਟੀ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਤਿਹ ਚੜਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਕਬੀਰ ॥੧੬੫॥: O Kabeer! The crowds follow the path which the Pandits have taken (the path of falsehood, Pakhand, Karamkaand…). (But) There is a rugged or precipitous cliff on the way to “Raam” (Mool, Source, Truth…); Kabeer is climbing that cliff (alone!). ||165|| (sggs 1373).
  • ਬਾਣੀ ਬਿਰਲਉ ਬੀਚਾਰਸੀ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: By becoming a Gurmukh (spiritual being, True Being, etc.), a rare one contemplates (ਵਿਚਾਰ, Refletion, spiritual Inquiry, etc.) the Bani (sggs 935).

— T. Singh