Simran Defined: The Sikh Concept of Contemplative Meditation

Remebrance of the Divine Sole Occupation of the Soul

Simran, a Singh sitting in silent contemplation.
Simran, a Singh sitting in silent contemplation. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Definition:

Simran means to remember, and is a means of contemplative meditation using repetition which enables one to realize that they are an inseparable part of the divine. Amritdhari initiates are advised that meditation during the quiet early morning hours is the most effective time of day for practicing simran. Gurmanter is a meditative repetition which is focused on the recitation of Waheguru, or the identity of the divine, is known as naam simran.

Simran may be performed by the practitioner in a variety of ways:

  • During worship.
  • Anytime of day or night.
  • When at rest and during every activity.
  • While preparing bibek langar for sangat.
  • As an early morning amritvela meditation.
  • Inaudibly, while listening deep within the mind.
  • Audibly with the tongue, while listening with the ears.
  • As an audible meditation synchronized with the breath.
  • A silent contemplation synchronized with the heart beat.
  • While singing hymns from the Sikh scripture Guru Granth.

Pronunciation and Spelling:

Pronounciation: Simran sounds like Sim-run, with phonetic emphasis on the first syllable. The i has a shout sound like the i of of in, and the a has a short sound like the u in run.

Alternate Spellings: See Gurmukhi Spelling of Simran

Examples from Sikh Scripture:

Simran is believed by Sikhs to be the sole object and occupation of the soul on a spiritual path.

Fifth Guru Arjun Dev wrote:

  • "Bhalo samo simran kee bareeaa ||
    Auspicious is that time, when obtaining the opportunity to remember Him in meditation. "SGGS||190
  • "Prabh kaa simran sabh tae oochaa ||
    God's remebrance is of all the highest and most exalted [act]." SGGS||263
  • "Aan achaar biouhaar hai jaetae bin har simran phok ||
    All other ritualistic conduct and affairs are useless, without the Lord's remembrance in meditation." SGGS||682
  • "Har simran kee sagalee baelaa ||
    The Lord's remembrance is always good at anytime. SGGS||1150
  • "Aath pehar apanaa prabh simran vaddabhaagee har paanee ||1|| rehaao ||
    During the eight watches of the day, (all twenty-four hours) I meditate in remembrance on my God, by great good fortune, have I obtained the Lord Master. "||1||Pause|| SGGS||1207
  • "Moorat gharee chasaa pal simran raam naam rasnaa sang lo ||
    Remember Him in contemplation, for part of an hour, or moment, or even an instant, and recite His all pervading name with your tongue." SGGS|| 1387

As the soul merges with its maker, simran produces a kind of ecstatic state which scripture describes as an elixir of enjoyment.

Bhagat Kabeer wrote:

  • "So simran kar nehee raakh outaar ||
    Embrace the practice of remembrance, and abandon not ever such contemplation ..." SGGS||971
  • "Jaag soe simran ras bhog||
    While awake and asleep, enjoy the essence of meditative contemplation." SGGS||971
  • "Kabeer meree simranee rasnaa oopar raam ||
    Kabeer, my rosary is my tongue, upon which my Lord's name is strung." SGGS||1364

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