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Remeberance / Surati


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The word surati, remembrance, is the quintessence of Nanak's practice. All saints merge into surati. The word comes to us from Buddha, who uses the sanskrit word smriti.

Gurdjieff calls it self remembering, and Krishnamurti refers to it as awareness, a state of complete consciousness.

Remembrance is very subtle. It needs to be explained with an example. A mother is very busy cooking. Her little child is playing around. For all purposes it looks as if she is engrossed in her cooking, but her surati is in the child -- lest the child fall, or go too near the staircase, or pick up something wrong to put into its mouth. She is busy in her work, but in everything that she does there is a persistent remembrance of the child. While the mother sleeps at night, no thunderclap can disturb her asleep, but let the child so much as stir her sleep is disrupted and her hand goes out to the child. Surati persists even in sleep -- remembrance of the child.

Surati involves a continuous remembrance, like the thread in the beads.

Do everything that the world demands of you, but let your mind stay always with Him. Sit, sleep, walk, eat; no purpose is served by running away from the world. Go to work, go to the office or the shop or the factory. Dig pits, because money has to be earned; worry about your kids. All these webs of the material world are there, but through it all keep alive remembrance of Him. Let life go on outside as usual, but within let there be only He! Keep your relationship with Him always fresh and alive.

Nanak says there is no need to run away from the world.

Attain surati and you become a sannyasin. Once remembrance is found, everything is in order. Of what use is your running to the woods if your surati is filled with the world? But this is what usually happens. People leave the world and flee to the forest -- and think of home! It is the mind's way not to worry about where it is, but focus on where it is not. When you are here you think how wonderful it must be in the Himalayas. Then you go to the Himalayas and start thinking: Perhaps I could have been in Poona. Maybe I have gone astray. The rest of the world stayed where they were. They can't all be wrong. What am I doing sitting under this tree?

Even in the wilderness you will count your money and keep your accounts. The faces of wife and children will hover around you. You will be in the Himalayas all right, but your surati will be in your home with your family.

Nanak says: Stay where you wish, but let your remembrance be in God. Nothing is achieved by singing praises; everything is achieved by surati. All singing of praises is superficial, whereas remembrance is within. There is no need to shout aloud: "You are great, O Lord, I am a sinner. You are the redeemer, I am a beggar." Why shout like that? Whom are you telling? There is no need to ring bells and sing praise; what is needed is remembrance. Keep his remembrance; do not forget for a moment. Nurture His remembrance. If you were to find a diamond, you would quickly put it safely away in your pocket. You might even tie it in a handkerchief lest it fall somewhere. Whether you go to the market, make your purchases or meet your friends, your remembrance will always be with the diamond. A faint low sound repeats again and again saying, "The diamond is in the pocket,.the diamond is in the pocket..." Every now and again you will feel it with your fingers to see whether it is still there.

Nurture the remembrance of God within in the same manner. Now and then touch it inside to be sure it is there. While walking on the road, stop and look inside. Is the thread of remembrance intact? Is the flow continuous? While eating stop for a second and check; close your eyes and watch if the remembrance is flowing.

Gradually the experience will go deeper and deeper. Then the flow of remembrance continues in your sleep too. When it flows all twenty-four hours of the day, you will have made the bridge between yourself and Him. Now you can close your eyes and merge into Him whenever you please. The road is now made; the instant you close your eyes you are lost in Him. And when you return to the world from your meeting with Him you will be refreshed, filled with absolute energy, as fresh and light as if you have just had a bath. Therefore Nanak says that bathing in thousands of holy places takes place in surati.

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