What are True Repetition, Austerities and Self-Control?
The teachings of the Saints say that only those repetitions, austerities and services are beneficial which are dear to the Lord. They remove the feeling of selfishness and separateness.
Only that repetition, austerity and service is approved which is dear to the Lord. It is He who forgives and unites to Himself and removes egotism.
Sarang War M3, 1247-16
The Lord is manifested in the Master. Therefore, obedience to Him is true repetition, austerities and self-control. The purpose of all austerities and self-control is to develop the soul (surat). This development can only be achieved through the Grace of the Master. This is dear to the Lord. Such service is fruitful.
Repetition, austerities, self-discipline and obedience to the Master are to be performed by the devotee. Oh Nanak, service is done to develop the soul. This is acceptable to the Lord, and one then finds reality.
Sri Rag M4, 88-6
For this reason the service of the Master is superior to all austerities. As a result of this the Lord dwells in the heart of the seeker and he forgets all hardships.
The Master's service is the best of all austerities. When the Lord's Name dwells in the heart, It removes all sufferings.
Asa M3, 423-13
It is said that remembrance of the Lord and His dwelling in the heart constitute repetition, austerities and self-control.
Remembrance of the Lord includes all repetitions, austerities and worship. Remembrance of the Lord removes the feeling of otherness.
Gauri M5, 262-17
He in whose mind dwells the Lord is the man who practises repetition, austerities and self-discipline, and who is the knower of the essence of things. The life of the disciple who has the jewel of the Name is indeed perfect.
Sorath M5, 615-6
The real austerity consists in finding the Master and practising the Yoga of the Sound Current (Surat Shabd Yoga). There is no other true repetition or austerity or self-control. The Sound Current or Shabd is within all persons and is only obtained through the direction of the Master. Action, duties, purity, self-control, repetition and austerities are all based on the Shabd or inner Sound. The essence of all repetition and austerities is the divine Sound.
He only is an ascetic who leads a life of austerity, meets a Master and gets from him the Shabd.
Ramkali M3, 948
There is no true repetition, austerity or self-discipline unless one practises the Shabd taught by the Master.
Maru M3, 1067-7
Repetition, austerities and self-discipline are obtained when one practises the Shabd given by the Master.
Maru War M3, 1092-11
All actions, duties, true self-discipline, repetition, austerities and pilgrimages dwell in the Shabd.
Parbhati M1, 1332
He who has the Shabd gains the door of salvation. In Shabd is contained the essence of all repetitions and austerities.
Dhanasri M3, 861
The Name or Shabd is superior to all practices such as charities or donations, repetition or austerities. A person may go to Banaras and practice austerities there, or may hang upside down or may expose his body to fire, or may practice ascetism, or may perform the horse sacrifice, or may give gold in charity. He may do various repetitions and austerities. He may study all the religious books (Dharam Shastras and Sumrities). He may do various good acts and duties, observe fasts, and engage in internal introspection and contemplation, he may leave his home and wander in the forests, but none of these can equal the practice of the Lord's Name (Ram Naam):
The Name is superior to donation, charity and austerities. The tongue that remembers the Lord leads one to fulfilment.
Asa M5, 401-3
If one practises austerities at Banaras and dies while hanging upside down at a sacred spot, or sits near fire or rejuvenates himself or performs the Ashumedha Yagna (horse sacrifice) or gives gold in sealed covers, all this does not equal the sacred practice of the Lord's Name.
Namdev, Ramkali, 973-10
Repetitions, austerities, knowledge and contemplation, reading the six shastras and commentaries on them, performing of yoga practices, actions and duties, or wandering in the forests without performing any action, do not equal the remembrance of the Lord. Oh Nanak, it is sufficient for the beloved of the Guru simply to repeat the Name.
Gori M5, 625
Sincere love is the essence of all repetitions and austerities. He whose mind is pure and who contemplates with love and devotion on the feet of the Lord must be considered to have performed all repetitions and austerities.
He whose heart and body are pure who loves truly, and meditates on the feet of the Great Lord (Parbrahm), must be considered as having performed all repetitions and austerities.
Sri Rag M5, 48-13
Love is preferable to all repetitions, austerities, self-discipline, rapture, delight, honour and sacred knowledge.
Repetitions, austerities, self-discipline, gay happiness, glory and pride, oh Musan!, are nothing as compared to love.
Chobole M5, 1364-3
Real repetition, austerities and worship are those which lead to Love for the Lord. Love for the Lord is real. All else is false.
That repetition, that austerity, that fast and that worship is true which increases one's love for the Lord. Without love for the Lord every other love is false and is forgotten in a moment.
Berari M4, 720-13