The meaning of Satsang.

Suvrat Muni said, “O King Pratapsinh! The devotees’ mind and sight were fixed upon Shree Hari’s radiant face in anticipation of a divine discourse. Nilkanth Varni did not disappoint His devotees.”
Shree Narayanmuni said, ‘O devotees! You are known as ‘Satsangi’ of our Udhhav Sampraday. You must behave as a Satsangi. According to our guru Ramanand Swami, only ‘Satsang’ can give one Moksha, therefore, it is most important that you understand the correct definition of Satsang.

Let Me elaborate the true meaning of Satsang. The word is made up of two syllables. The first, ‘Sat’ (eternal truth) is used to describe the set of four; Almighty Bhagwan, His devout saints, Dharma as espoused by Bhagwan and the scriptures that establish the sanctity of the first three. The omnipresent Lord Krishna, also known as Lord Vishnu, in a perfect human form is Bhagwan. His human manifestation, His deeds or indeed His forms are all divine,. His acts as an ordinary mortal man are nothing but His divine pretence. The saints, who worship Him exclusively and tread religious path shown by Him are ‘Sat’ (true) saints. Let Me reiterate the characteristics of ‘Sat Dharma’ as espoused by Lord Narayan Himself. Sage Narad has mentioned them (in the Shreemad Bhagwat) to King Yudhishthir at the conclusion of king’s Rajsuya Yagna.”

Sage Narad said, ‘O King Yudhishthira! Bhagwan Narayan, almighty and eternal, is the sole reason people tread a religious path. You may ask who Lord Narayan is
He, along with His alter ego Lord Nar, was born of Murtidevi and Dharmadev and performs harsh austerity in Badrikaashram for the benevolence of His devotees. O, king! I am retelling Dharma as I have heard from Lord Narayan Himself. Shree Narayan is the origin of Dharma and the Vedas. All ethics mentioned in the Vedas are Lord Narayan centric. Sages such as Yagnavalkya and Parashar later wrote extensive commentaries on the Vedas which became known as their Smrutis. A person who follows his appropriate (to his Varna and Ashram) Dharma mentioned in these Smrutis becomes chaste and fit to serve Lord Narayan. This is the ultimate goal of following Dharma. Truth, compassion, austerity, chastity, patience, discrimination of right and wrong, control of mind, control of senses, non violence, Brahamcharya, charity, study, honesty, satisfaction, serving pious, serving elders, withdrawal from mundane pleasures, understanding the reasons of sorrows, silence, knowledge of Aatma and body, sharing, realising the presence of God in all living beings, non enmity towards all humans and remaining engaged in nine pronged Bhakti (listen, sing, reminisce, physical service, worship, servility, friendship and total surrender) of almighty Lord Narayan are thirty elements of Dharma. O, king! Omnipotent and omnipresent Lord Narayan is very pleased with a person who follows aforementioned Dharma of thirty characteristics in its entirety.’

Lord Shree Hari said, ‘O devotees! Sage Narad described ‘Sat’ Dharma as such to King Yudhishthir. Now let me explain the meaning of each of these thirty qualities of Dharma in short. The truth is stating of the facts by which is beneficial to all. Therefore, do not speak, even if truth, which may cause death or harm to others. Feeling the pain of others and endeavour to negate that pain is called compassion. The compassion which binds (like King Bharat to a deer) or tolerates vices of close relative is unacceptable in our Sampraday. Fasting on the days of Ekadashi or to atone and to
observe various Vratts is called austerity. Indeed, following one’s Dharma is an  austerity as well. Chastity is of two types; external and internal. Taking baths to the keep body clean, not touching sinners, not consuming alcohol or meat and not committing adultery is external chastity, while thinking well of others and subduing lust, anger etc. with the help of reading scriptures or listening to the discourse is inner chastity. Patience is to bear destined sorrows with equanimity. The fall from mountains or waylaid in a forest are said to be sorrows of places, the sorrows caused by elements is said to be the detrimental times and incurable diseases are the sorrows of the destiny. To differentiate between right and wrong Dharma of one’s Varna and Ashram and rejecting others is the true understanding. Not to let the mind deviate due to anger, greed, lust etc. is the control of mind while not allowing any of the five senses to indulge in anti-religious deeds is called the control of senses. Not to kill any living being, however small, or cause harm by thought, speech or deeds is called non violence. Not committing suicide at any holy shrine, even for the perceived aim of attaining Moksha or due to anger, fear of infamy or sorrows is non violence as well. Brahmacharya for celibates is to forsake women totally (thought, speech, company etc.). The householders must forsake women other than their lawfully wedded wives and not to indulge in sexual activities even with their wives on the days of Ekadashi and Vratts. Widows should observe Brahmacharya just as celibates while the married women must not even think (let alone associate or touch) of males other than their husbands.’

Shree Narayanmuni continued, ‘To donate cherished things, except one’s wife, to the best of one’s ability and willingly to a suitable person is called charity. One must study the Vedas and other scriptures to one’s ability and chant the holy name of Bhagwan at all times. A devotee must act without any hypocrisy in front of eminent saints. He must appear as he is without any deceit and conceit. The real satisfaction is to accept willingly whatever God has rewarded him for his honest labour without coveting which is not his. One should control his desires as supplementary desires lead to desiring more and more. A person who has no enmity with anyone or who shows equal compassion towards foe and friend is a really pious person. My devotees must respect and serve such pious persons. A devotee must show respect to his elders, especially those who observe Brahmacharya and other Niyams and are devout. He should be more than willing to serve them in whatever ways. Mundane pleasures are the main reason for entrapping a man in the cycle of death and birth. A devotee should realise the negative influences of the mundane pleasures and slowly endeavour to withdraw from them. He should understand that the real reason for sorrows in this world is nothing but the blind race to indulge in mundane pleasures and unrelenting acquisition of objects of pleasures which cause nothing but pain in the end. The silence in a true sense to speak little after due thought rather than speaking relentlessly and unnecessarily.

The true knowledge is to understand that an eternal and knowledgeable soul is distinct from a perishable body and a soul is one’s true self rather than a visible body. Whatever wealth or food one has, it should be shared with one’s dependants and alms seekers. O devotees! A true devotee must always remain engaged in any one of the following nine types of Bhakti of Lord Krishna; Listening to His Katha, Singing His Kirtans or narrating His Katha and virtues, reminiscing His Murti in one’s heart at all times, Undertake His physical services such as massaging His feet and forehead, Bow down to Him or prostrate at His divine feet, Venerate Him with physical artefacts such as sandalwood paste, flowers or imagined artefacts in their physical absence, Undertake menial task just as His personal servant, Think of and love Him as a true benevolent friend and lastly, Total surrendering of wealth, hearth and self with thought, speech and body. O devotees! These are the thirty traits of ‘Sat’ Dharma’.

Shree Hari continued, ‘O devotees! I explained three things that are prefixed
with ‘Sat’; Almighty Bhagwan, His saints and Dharma espoused by Him. The scriptures – long or short – in which all these three are attested are called ‘Sat’ Shastra. I consider these eight scriptures as Sat Shastra; the Vedas, Vyas (Saririk) Sutras, Shreemad Bhagwat, VidurNiti, VishnuSahasraNam, Bhagavad Gita, Yagnavalkya Smruti and Shree Vasudev Mahatmya. Any other scriptures that have the same or similar central theme may be considered as Sat Shastra.

Now the second syllable of the word ‘Satsang’. ‘Sang’ (association) is used in four contexts; To venerate and remain engaged in Lord Krishna’s Bhakti with total faith in His greatness and potency; To serve His saints with food and clothes, venerate them with sandalwood paste and flowers, listen to their discourses and follow their guidance with mind, speech and body; Never to deviate or digress from the path of Dharma, even in detrimental times; Listen to and study the aforementioned scriptures to understand Bhagwan’s greatness and enhance and strengthen one’s Bhakti in Bhagwan and narrate their Katha to others. O devotees! A person who associates heartily with four things prefixed with ‘Sat’ – Bhagwan, saints, Dharma and scriptures – is called a ‘Satsangi’ in our Udhhav Sampraday. These ‘Satsangi’(devotees) are often called with six other pseudo names – Ekantik, Bhakta, Sadhu, saint, Bhagvat and Satvat. With whatever names they are referred to, they invariably go to Golok at the time of death where Lord Krishna eternally resides with Laxmiji and Radha.’

Shree Sahajanand Swami continued, ‘O devotees! ‘Asat’(false or pretentious) is the contradictory term of ‘Sat’. A person who forsakes these four ‘Sat’ (Bhagwan etc.)
invariably gets tangled in ‘Asat’. They are known as ‘Kusangi’, as opposed to ‘Satsangi’.
They venerate Time, Maya, Karma, nature or Tamas Devtas such as Bhairav, mistakenly thinking them supreme. In fact, Maya etc. are subordinates to Bhagwan and therefore are called ‘Asat’ Ishwar. The saints who worship Time, Maya etc. or other inconsequential Devtas instead of almighty Lord Vishnu or act contrary to Dharma attested by the Shruti and Smruti are called ‘Asat’ saints. Greed, lust, anger, hypocrisy, deceit, ego, violence etc. are traits of Adharma. People engulfed in such vices may pretend to be religious, but they are indeed unreligious. Their external behaviour may appear good but it is only a camouflage. The scriptures that do not reflect the true philosophy of Shruti and Smruti and attest ‘Asat’ Ishwar, ‘Asat’ saints and Adharma are ‘Asat’ Shastra.

O devotees! A person who keeps ‘Sang’ with any of these four ‘Asat’ is variably called Nastik, Asur, Pakhandi or Dambhi. They invariably end up with similar minded gurus and remain forever entangled in wealth and women. Such ‘Kusangi’ persons do come under the shelter of true saints sometimes. However, they cannot fathom their religious ways and are unable to follow the strict regime, so they return back to their evil gurus. Such gurus along with their disciples indeed end up in Hell.’

Lord Shree Hari continued, ‘O devotees! I have enlightened you with the true meaning of word ‘Satsangi’. Knowing this truth, you must always associate with these four ‘Sat’. Whoever listens to this discourse will become free from ignorance and the never-ending cycle of death and life.’

Suvrat Muni said, “O king! The whole congregation realised that whom Shree Sahajanand Swami referred to as Lord Krishna, the supreme Bhagwan, is none other than Himself present in the assembly in their midst. Lord Shree Hari retired to His
personal quarters after asking devotees to return to their respective hospices.”

Taken from Satsangi Jeevanam (Download English) (3.22)

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