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” – Dhiaan or Dhiyan, “ਆਰਾਧਣਾ” – Aaraadhanaa…).
In nutshell, as envisaged by the Gurbani, meditation is not to sit in particular postures with half-closed eyes, staring in the sky, and so on! Also, it is not to go sit in secluded places such as mountain-tops, caves, jungles, basements, etc.! Further, it is not as silent or loud repetition of some Mantra, phrase, word, etc. Because that’s not the real Bhagti as taught by the Gurbani!
- 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).
Thus, the Gurbani’s “Simran”, “Jap”, “Dhiaan” are not to be understood in the ancient tradition prescribed by the crafty, self appointed clergy (Brahmin, Pandit-ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾਂ). Because:
- What’s the use of such meditation if it does not bring about shift or change in one’s thinking (Soch – ਸੋਚ), conduct, actions…?
- What’s the use of such meditation if it does not bring about clear understanding of the Gurmat (i.e., Spiritual Knowledge of the Gurbani – Divine Wisdom, Divine Virtues, Brahm-Giaan, ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨ)?
- What’s the use of such meditation if the Gurmat does not become part of one’s very being and daily life (i.e., live by the Divine Wisdom or Divine Virtues of the Gurbani – Gurmukh Lifestyle)?
- What’s the use of such meditation if it does not bring about a transmutation of the mind, or if one’s whole being does not get transmuted into a divinity?
- What’s the use of such meditation if it does not free one from doubts, Maya, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed. etc.) without the division between thinker, thought, and thinking, or without the division between meditator, meditation, and the object of meditation?
- What’s the use of such meditation if a genuine spiritual tingle is not produced? 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 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 the open expression through the extrovert senses?
The Gurbani gives a clear and straight forward description of many terms, including Simran, Jap, Tap, Aaraadhanaa, Naam, and so on.
- 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).
- 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” 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 “Gobind” (Mool, Jot Saroop, True Nature, Dibb or Divine Saroop…). In other words, it’s to unfailingly remember the Divine Virtues or the Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani (Naam, Shabad, Hukam…), and then habitually and unalterably live it in daily life – keep the mind and intellect uninterruptedly linked to it’s Mool within. This is being Awake and Aware (ਜਾਗਰਤ ਅਵਸਥਾ – Gurmukh Lifestyle).
“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, emotions, and 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…). With such “Jap“, the mind becomes stable (ਮਨ ਦਾ ਟਿਕਾ).
In nutshell, through the Shabad-Vichaar, the Gurbani urges to remember the Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani (Gurmat) with each breath so it will become a part of one’s very being in daily life (the Gurmukh Lifestyle).
- ਜਪੁ ਤਪੁ ਸਭੁ ਇਹੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਾਰੁ ॥੫॥੨॥੪॥: This Shabad is the essence of all “Jap” and “tap”. ||5||2||4|| (sggs 661).
- ਗਿਆਨੁ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਮੀਠਾ ॥: (That person to whom) the Gur-Shabad tastes Sweat, (for him) Gur-Shabad is the Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom) and the Dhiaan (Inner Reflection, meditation, etc.). (sggs 162).
When the Divine Wisdom (Brahm-Giaan, ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…) of the Gurbani becomes the part of one’s very being, the mind becomes stabilized (ਅਡੋਲ). When the mind so established in inner silence engages in Shabad-Vichaar, it becomes “Simran“…
Such “Simran” or meditation is the true Bhagti. Spiritual Knowledge and Mool is realized through such “Simran” or meditation. Apparently, the Gurbani is asking the mind to remember its “Joti Saroop(u)” (“ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ”, Dibb Saroop or Divine Saroop, Mool...), each and every breadth (“ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਿਮਰਹੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ॥”)! To sum up in simple Punjabi: ਮਨ ਬੁਧੀ ਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਅਪਨੇ ਮੂਲ ਨਾਲ ਜੁੜਿਆ ਰਹਿਣਾਂ ਹੀ ਸਿਮਰਨ ਹੈ ।
- ਇਉ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਅਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥੫॥: Thus says Nanak – O mind! You are “Joti Saroop(u)” (Pure Light or Consciousness, Pure Nature, Original or Real Nature …)! Recognize your Mool (Source, Origin, Base, Reality, Divine Nature…) ||5|| (sggs 441).
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 (“ਮਿਠਤੁ ਨੀਵੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਗੁਣ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਤਤੁ ॥”).
To put it otherwise, the meditation as envisaged by the Gurbani needs to be practiced ALL the time — “Standing up and sitting down, while sleeping and awake” (i.e., continually – ਸਦਾ), with each and every breath! That is, one’s entire daily life has to become a meditation (the Gurmukh Lifestyle – follower of Truth, Divine Wisdom, Virtues…)!!
- ਆਰਾਧਉ ਤੁਝਹਿ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਅਪਨੇ ॥ ਊਠਤ ਬੈਠਤ ਸੋਵਤ ਜਾਗਤ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਨੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O my Suaamee (Mool, Hari, Gobind, Raam, Allah…)! I only engage in Your Aaraadhanaa. Standing up and sitting down, while sleeping and awake (i.e., continually – ਸਦਾ), with each and every breath, I remain engaged in Hari’s Jap. ||1||Pause|| sggs 1298).
Clearly, the connection of each breath is with the mind! For example, when the mind is linked to its “Joti Saroop(u)” (“ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ”, Dibb or Jot Saroop…), it will invariably be in the mode of positive thinking, positive energy, positive actions, etc. However, to the contrary, if the mind is disconnected from its “Joti Saroop(u)”, it will certainly be in the mode of negative thinking, negative energy, negative actions laced with lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride (Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, etc.).
To confirm this, one can conduct a simple experiment on oneself. For example, watch your breathing pattern when you are frightened, or when you are engaged in sensuous activity, or when you are angry! To see the difference, compare it with the breathing pattern when in touch with your Jot Saroop (Divine Nature…)!
Understandably, the Gurbani reminds 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…), and burn away all other intellect (Mayaic or worldly intellect, ਸਾਰੀਆਂ ਸਿਆਣਪਾਂ…) with proper understanding obtained through the Gur-Shabad-Vichaar. 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).
Clearly, Sikhi is Giaan Maarag (Divine Wisdom, Spiritual Knowledge, Aatam-Giaan, etc.) — the Way of the Shabad-Vichaar (Reflections on the Gurbani).
- ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਣਹੁ ਤੁਮ ਗੁਰਸਿਖਹੁ ਸਚਾ ਇਹੈ ਸੁਆਉ ॥: O GurSikhs! Listen to the Upadesh (Giaan or Spiritual Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad). This alone is the true purpose of life (sggs 963).
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 emphasized by the Gurbani, Sikhi is the inner game of the Shabad-Surt (Naam-consciousness, Aatam Giaan, Brahm-Giaan, Gurmukh-hood …). Simply put: Shabad-Surti 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.
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! Under stand such Spiritual Wisdom, (on account of which you) become the “Chaakar” (Daas, attendant…) of Truth. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 728).
- ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਬਿਧਿ ਮਨ ਹੂ ਜਾਣੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: (When a mortal) understands through the Shabad-Vichaar, (then he) comes to know the ways and means (of controlling) the mind (sggs 1260).
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 …)!
- 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 a Gurmukh (follower of Truth, one) becomes established in own Home (Heart), and (his) all senses unite with sublime (Virtues). Nanak is the slave of that person who seeking the Shabad finds this Home within. ||1|| (sggs 1291).
Hence, the Jap as taught 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”).
Clearly, the Gurbani is a revolutionary “Siddhaant“! However, the crafty Pujaaree Group (ਪੁਜਾਰੀ ਲਾਣਾ, Bhai, Ragi, Parchaarak, Deraavaad Sant, etc.) has reduced it to empty rituals (Karamkaand). All of this is similar to what was prevalent before Baabaa Nanak.