What is satsang (सत्संग)?


A simple definition of satsang is devotional speech and chanting programs for the upliftment of the divine love consciousness of a devotee. divine love consciousness is the consciousness of the closeness of Radha Krishna (or any personal form of God), when a devotee lovingly remembers His name, form, virtues or leelas (playful actions). satsang also includes an opportunity for darshan of the Deities of God. A Deity is a statue of God or Goddess specially made and established at an altar or in a shrine for devotion and meditation with Godly feelings ascribed to it.

Sat and sang

Sang(संग) means association, and Sat(सत्‌) means Divine. Sat, asat. What is Sat (Divine) and what is asat (not Divine)? Or what is Divine and what is material? This is an important discrimination that must be made. Our scriptures all describe Sat and asat. They discriminate that this world is maya (asat) and God is Divine. Further more, they state that maya is not yours; Divine is yours. So we are always doing some kind of association twenty-four hours a day. Either we are in association with the Divine (Sat) or with the material world (asat).

Association is also of two kinds: mental; physical. But it starts from physical and goes to mental. Just like you see something, and immediately you think, “Oh, it’s very good.” Then you desire for that thing. So when you see the world, the world attracts you. It entices your mind. You get attracted. You start desiring and loving, so it goes into your mind and develops attachment. Attachment is association. Mental association with the world. We are associating in the world already from uncountable lifetimes. But you must understand that you have to come to Divine association to break this attachment.

You see, when there is a little ice on the water—just a little—anybody can break it, but when it becomes a glacier, it is just like a stone—hard rock. It cannot be broken. Then, if you keep putting warm water on it, no matter how hard the ice is, it slowly melts. If you keep on putting hot water all the time, a time may come when all the ice will melt. If, however, you keep on adding just cool water, it will keep on accumulating more ice, more ice, more ice, more ice, more ice. With the mind, it is the same thing. If you keep on adding worldly things to your mind, there won’t be any place for God left. But if you slowly keep on adding Divine things, it slowly melts. That is Divine association of our satsang.

What is Sat? What is Divine?

Divine is God. But you can’t just see God, find God and grab Him. Not like that. So in the world, there are two things God has sent already. Name and the Saints. That you can grab. Name you can grab in your heart. Tight. Saints, too, you can grab. Grab him in the heart. In the heart…with love.

So name and Saint, both could be grabbed with love in the heart. That’s Divine association. Name is Divine, Saints are Divine, and God is Divine. You will see God after wards, but His name is here. Saints are here. So their association, physical and mental, both help. You are chanting name loudly; that’s physical association of name. You are thinking of Krishna name in your mind; that’s mental association. Chanting loudly, chanting quietly, remembering Krishna name, this is the way, but it must be Krishna name. Not just the word. It should be in the mind—with love. You can grab only with love—not without love.

And name includes everything; leelas, His form, His virtues, His kindness, His abode. All is put in the name. Because everything is in everything—name,leelas, form, virtues, Saints, abode. They are all in all. One for all and all for one. The one in all and all in one. So if just you have one, just name, or leela, or anything, it’s a mental association.

And then Saint-association is the same thing. You can lovingly remember his form in your mind—mental association. Or you can have a Saint’s association with your eyes—physical association. Close your eyes—mental association. You are chanting—this is physical association with the name. Thinking of name is mental association with the Divine name. So physical or mental, any kind of association is fine but it must be loving association—not mechanical. Take the name once with love; it is always better than a million times without love. So love is first in association.

You see, association is what is important—sang. Sang means to join. Not just coming close, but to join. And how do you join? Only with love. Love is the glue that joins two things. Suppose there were two papers, and you put them together. You press hard, but they are separate still. There’s no glue inside. Put some glue and join together—now, they are stuck together. So what is the joining factor? Love. If there is no love, you can’t join with Saint; you can’t join with name; and God is far beyond. If love is there, then you are glued to name and Saint. So love is a must. That is called Sang. So this is Satsang. Sat—Divine. Sang—loving association. सत्संग!


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