s a t s a n g a
The word satsanga is the combination of two words:
sat and sanga. Sat means Truth; Existence
Absolute (i.e., All that Is, Brahman, Self, God). Sanga literally means company or
union. To be always in or aware of the company of the Lord; the Self — to be established in Brahman — is the literal meaning of the word
Company and Transformation:
- The human mind is a very receptive instrument. Some people assert that if you
place the mind in unfruitful company, it might acquire unfruitful tendencies.
Similarly, the theory goes that if you place the mind in holy company, it might acquire divine or fruitful
- Some assert that bright ideas or uplifting thoughts tend to infuse in
others an urge to grow into their
likeness. Converse ideals have the opposite effect... that is, if one is not vigilant, or, already established in Self.
- One theory asserts that just as cold, fear, and darkness depart from one who
approaches fire, so does weakness, worldliness and ignorance depart
from those who are near saints.
- Meditation on the lives of the saints is often considered similar to keeping company with them, as is the genuine study of their teachings. Many people assert that thinking about the lives of saints, as well as living in their
company and receiving their goodwill, essentially draws upon oneself a shower of purity, inspiration and Divine
consciousness. Similarly, many people assert that the company of sages and saints has a tremendous
transforming effect on the lives of true seekers of the Divine, lifting them up to
great heights of spiritual knowledge. Further, some assert that while those with wisdom may speak very little, the words that they do speak often have the tendency to leave a tremendous impression on others; they are inspirational. Further, their company can help generate a love of God, knowledge of Self, or nourish Divine Love within oneself.
How to Benefit from the Company of Saints
- Swami Sivananda asserts that jivanmuktas (i.e. liberated sages or saints) are ever ready to help
those who are still climbing to reach the peak of wisdom, because this is their
work in this world. Swami Sivananda suggests that it is the duty of the spiritual aspirant to seek their aid
and have a receptive attitude.
- Swami Sivananda suggests that to benefit from the company of saints you have to prepare
yourself. Do not go with any preconceived notion or prejudice, he notes. Go
with an open, receptive mind. Go without expectations.
- Assimilate what appeals to you. If some of their teachings
do not appeal to you, do not form a hasty opinion. What may be suitable to another
may not be suitable to you. (Yet, please note that with regard to broad or fundamental teachings, there
is no essential difference of opinion...ie, all Realized Masters or liberated ones, know the same Truth).
- Be aware of your desires. One should possess the right desire in order to cross the
ocean of Samsara (i.e. illusion)
- When you visit with a saint or sage, try not to ask him or her questions
out of mere inquisitiveness, Swami Sivananda suggests. Sit. Observe. Listen without prejudice.
Try to ask only those questions about which you really need
- Also, please do not draw him or her into politics or public bickering.
Reference/additional reading: Swami Sivananda's Satsanga or Holy Company (at about.com).