The word Satsang is the combination of the two syllables, ‘Sat’ and ‘Sang.’ ‘Sat’ means absolute truth, or the God Principle. ‘Sang’ literally means company. Being always in the company of the Lord, or to be established in God, is the literal meaning of the word Satsang.
It is said that if we live in the company of Saints; hear their invaluable instructions and follow them implicitly; we are in the Satsang of a Saint.
Since Saints represent God in human form, to be in Satsang with, or in the company of Saints is one of the superior types of physical Satsang.
2. God and Saints
Saints are the medium through which God reveals Himself; hence Satsang with Saints is the same as Satsang with God. Saints are fountains of wisdom so if we go to them with a learning attitude we will surely benefit.
One of the missions of a Saint is to guide people towards experiencing their true Divine nature or Bliss. However, the God Principle or Divine principle in Saints is too subtle for most seekers to recognise, as a seeker’s power of subtle perception is not evolved enough to recognise a Saint. Thus, most seekers tend to focus on the gross characteristics of Saints, such as their behaviour, appearance, oratory skills, etc. Since the gross characteristics of various Saints naturally differ, seekers often end up comparing various Saints and think of some Saint as superior to the other Saints. However, to be able to give each one of Them due reverence and ensure the maximum spiritual benefit from visiting Them or following Their guidance, it is essential to realise that the God principle manifesting in all Saints is the same.
3. How to behave in the presence of a Saint
The company of Saints is the highest type of physical Satsang that one can have. One derives benefits of the Satsang in proportion to one’s attitude and behaviour towards the Saint.
3.1 One should approach a Saint with the spiritual emotion (Bhav) that He or She is a form of God Himself. Accordingly, one should behave with reverence towards Saints. For example, on meeting a Saint one should pay obeisance by placing one’s head at Their feet, denoting surrender of self. Further, by doing so, frequencies of Bliss that are emitted from the Saint’s feet can enter one’s body to the maximum extent through one’s Brahmarandhra.
3.2 We may chant the Name of The Lord as much as possible in a Saint’s presence. Saints are interested only in our spiritual practice and the efforts we are putting in to reach God.
3.3 One should talk with humility, not loudly or forcefully in the presence of a Saint.
3.4 One should never ask questions to test Them. If one tries to test Saints, it indicates a feeling of superiority on the part of the seeker, thus, blocking the attitude of learning something from the Saint or receiving His grace.
3.5 Saints teach through various ways, such as Their words, actions, quotes, humour, tests, spiritual experiences, etc. Hence, one should maintain an attitude of learning so as to imbibe as much of their teachings as possible. Also, one should make sincere efforts to study, understand and put the teachings into practice. Saints only guide those, who will practice the teachings.
3.6 Sometimes Saints may reprimand or abuse us, but we should not feel hurt or offended, and instead feel grateful that They have bothered to correct us. We should realise that Their correction is done with the intention to teach and often to destroy our ego, and accordingly, we should study the correction to learn from it and see how we can improve. A Saint reprimands a seeker only for the seeker to grow spiritually.
3.7 When visiting a Saint one should go without expectations of any kind, especially of the worldly nature, even if some Saints may respond to or give blessings on worldly issues. It is important to go with a spiritual attitude when visiting Saints, so as to receive guidance and grace for undertaking spiritual practice rather than to receive blessings merely for material gains.
3.8 One should take every opportunity to serve a Saint, as it is an opportunity to serve the manifest form of God. Just like spreading Spirituality (which is serving the unmanifest form of God), serving a Saint is important for one’s spiritual progress.
4. Benefits obtained from Satsang with Saints
4.1 Receiving grace and individual guidance for spiritual practice
Saints are the epitome of love without expectation and their only concern is the spiritual progress of the seeker who has intense desire for attaining God. Saints individually guide seekers during Their Satsang. They know exactly what a particular seeker requires to progress and hence gives guidance on the appropriate spiritual practice. The seeker who obediently puts into practice all that is told by the Saint, is showered by His/Her grace and progresses on the spiritual path.
In Spirituality, to progress faster it is very important to carry out whatever task a Saint gives, immediately and unconditionally. Obedience means instant, complete and unconditional acceptance and execution of the guidance given. Maximum benefits are derived if obedience is complete. A seeker in the initial stages of spiritual practice may not be able to practice complete obedience; therefore, he should try to obey as much as he can. Even if one does not understand or agree with the guidance or feels that one cannot do it, one should still do it only because the Saint has asked one to do it. This way, the mind of a seeker undergoes dissolution, thus enabling the seeker to connect to the Universal Mind of God and experience more Bliss.
4.2 Imbibing Divine consciousness
Saints are storehouses of Divine consciousness (Chaitanya). Due to their mere presence the people with whom they come in contact with, the surrounding atmosphere and objects coming in contact with them get suffused with sattvikta. Many objects used by the Saints of SSRF are showing subtle positive changes.
During Satsang with Saints, the atmosphere is charged with sattvikta, so seekers who are present imbibe sattvikta and Divine Consciousness emanating from Saints and consequently the sattvikta in the seeker increases by being in a Saint’s company.
4.3 Spiritual healing
It has been noticed that during the Satsang with Saints, seekers who are affected or possessed by negative energies start manifesting. This occurs due to the fact that the negative energy cannot tolerate the increased sattvikta emitting from the Saint. A fight ensues between the sattvikta of the Saint and the Raja-Tama of the negative energy and this results in the manifestation of the possessing entity. When a possessing entity manifests, it loses its black energy, which in turn helps the seeker.
4.4 The accumulated account and destiny gets nullified by the grace of Saints
Whenever we visit a Saint, we should take the opportunity to make an offering. Since Saints are the manifest form of God, offering wealth to Saints or their mission of spreading Spirituality reduces one’s accumulated account (sanchit) and increases the ability to withstand destiny (prarabdha). Hence, one should offer to Saints whatever is possible, with a feeling of gratitude for being given the opportunity to do so and without ego that one is helping the Saint or His mission.
4.5 Spiritual progress happens
The most important thing that happens when we have regular Satsang with Saints is that our spiritual progress takes place due to all the points discussed above. Accordingly a seeker should put in maximum efforts in practicing Spirituality so that one can obtain the grace to be in the company of a Saint.