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Thoughts on satsangs from Swami Chinmayananda

The immortal tradition among the Hindus to have open discussions between the teacher and the taught, is called satsang (SAT-SANGH). Sat-sangh is not mere company of the wise. The walls of the temple know no God….. but a Mumukshu (one who is focused on attaining liberation, and a seeker of knowledge and truth) gains in spirituality every moment of his stay in his Guru’s presence. He watches every action of his Guru, hears every word he utters and comes to know every thought he thinks. The development of the disciple depends upon his capacity to tune himself to his Guru. This tuning to the wise is sat-sangh.

“Constant association with the wise” becomes a protective armour on the inner-equipments, which are the only armaments with which a seeker has to contend alone with the dire enemies of his own false values and acquired habits of sensuous living.

Role of discussion

Discussion is the heart of sat-sangh. Constant and continuous “association with the good people” who are themselves well educated, self- controlled, men with vision and a mission….by such a continuous association, the mind will slowly take up new channels of thinking and ultimately will come to forget the old habits of thought….this will develop in us a healthy attitude towards things, which, in their turn, will give a new purpose and direction for our thought-life.

“Association with the good” is not only helpful in the elementary stages of spiritual seeking, but also beneficial at the seeker’s all subsequent stages of self-development and growth within. To be in the “company of the good” is to be with those who are devotees of the Lord and are themselves seekers of the Highest. In such an assembly there is a power created which, in the congregation, erects a powerful fortress against the magic of the world outside.

Importance of company/association

Sat-Sangh is the company of believers and listening and reacting to their daily discourses. The company of great souls is itself gained, by His grace alone. Have plenty of the “company of the good” — this is to protect him (seeker) from the rising waves of passions within. In order to fight against the hordes of temptations in the everyday-world, he needs a fortress around him, which is drawn from his association with the good people.

All our efforts at study and worship can be washed down in a single moment’s high tide of passion in the bosom. To protect the fields of our heart from such tornadoes, the “company of the good” (sajjanasangam) is very essential. Good association (sat-sangh) with the spiritual teachers and co-students will help us throughout our pilgrimage…as the “boat” to cross the ocean-of-limitation. To be in the company of noble spiritual leaders, cultured men of inspiring vision, will keep us constantly warmed up in our enthusiasm to live up to our ideals.

Benefits of satsangs

Sat-sangh helps us to walk the path with an assuring self-confidence, where fear and hesitation, despondency and despair have no chance to despoil our sincerity and eagerness. In the constant association with the noble souls alone can our knowledge become clear and the devotion of our hearts can become really deep and firm.

The essence of sat-sangh lies in perfect attunement (at-one-ment). Sat-sangh is a very powerful help to keep us in touch with the spiritual goal. In its highest tempo, spiritual enthusiasm cannot be maintained for long. It sooner or later wanes. Then there is need for sat-sangh.

Bad-sangh we have. We re-convert ourselves by sat-sangh. Sat-sangh has a chastening effect upon all intelligent and interested listeners. The qualifications necessary for a successful spiritual life are easily gained, almost effortlessly, by the mere contact with men of knowledge and by the association of the good.

Mind grows in the direction in which it is engaged. If the ideas and ideals are low and sensuous, the low mind comes to throb with sensuousness, and in the end blasts the life of an individual in lascivious excesses. If the companionship is established with noble hearts, high intellects, moral men of discretion, spiritual saints of integrity, the individual’s mind comes to live in an atmosphere of their inspired ideals and it grows in that direction to discover the treasures of joy and ultimately a fuller and more meaningful contentment in life.

Satsang as a spiritual companion

Mind gets disturbed both from the world-of-objects outside and from the subjective realm-of-desire within. In the “company of the Great”, both get obliterated in our attempt to attune ourselves with the Goal indicated by them, and, therefore, a relatively greater peace of the bosom is experienced by the seekers, when they are constantly in the company of the Good and the Great (Sat-Sangh). The contact with the Truly Great, cleans our misconceptions and brings into our discrimination, a better vision, and, therefore, logically less agitations in the mind.

Continuous God-dedication in all actions, and God-remembrance in the mind are to be achieved. These are easy when we have continuous and unbroken “companionship” with the wise and the good, either directly with a true teacher or indirectly through the sacred books and the scriptures. Companionship of the good (Sat-sangh) brings all else to the seeker. Pursue and try to get these creative contacts which have an infallible influence upon those who are devotees of the Lord.

Sat-sangh has a chastening effect upon all intelligent and interested listeners. The companionship of the good helps us to live gracefully in the spiritual path, and they can, by generating in us a constant God-remembrance, help us to exhaust our negative vasanas, and provide us with a purer heart that will readily invoke His Grace in plenty. The “company-of-the-good” (Sat-sangh) is the antidote and the only positive plan of action is to cultivate the higher virtues that help us in our spiritual unfoldment.

“Contact with the wise” shall automatically come to us if our mind devotedly surrenders to the Lord-of-our-heart.


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