As explained in our article on ‘What is satsang’, satsang is being in the company of Truth. We can be in the company of Truth through a variety of mediums. The various types of satsangs are given ahead.
2. Satsang with God
A person not doing any spiritual practice remembers God and talks to Him during times of difficulty. A person who is on the spiritual path talks to God not only during difficult times but also shares with Him every little detail that goes on in his life. He shares with God all his mistakes and innermost thoughts. After sometime the seeker realizes that he starts getting answers from within. As the seeker advances in spiritual practice he tries to maintain this conversation with God all the time and thus tries to remain in communion with God. Talking to God is equivalent of having satsang with Him and is the highest form of satsang.
3. Satsang with Saints, Guru’s and evolved seekers
For rapid spiritual progress, we should regularly have satsang of evolved seekers or one’s spiritual guide. Besides giving the benefit of satsang, it gives an opportunity to correct our actions, improve spiritual practice and receive guidance on removing any obstacles.
We should plan the satsang in advance so that the time spent with the evolved seeker is utilized properly, to achieve specific goals. For example, before calling or visiting the evolved seeker, a plan should be made about the day and time to call or visit. We should note down the spiritual experiences, obstacles, questions and improvements to one’s spiritual practice to be discussed.
We should note down the points and the underlying principles that we have learned from either the conversation or the time spent observing the evolved seeker, and then put them into practice. While the specific incident or conversation helps to explain the principle better, the emphasis should be on understanding the underlying principle. For example, if the evolved seeker cites an example of keeping the telephone clean and in the correct position, then we should practice the underlying principle of cleanliness and perfection, as a part of one’s spiritual practice. We should also understand that the same principle should be applied to everything and not only to the telephone. We should then make a plan to put one’s learning and any guidance received into practice since knowledge without practice is a waste.
We should note the experience each time we are in satsang with the evolved seekers. For example, did the chanting improve quantitatively or qualitatively, did any doubt get resolved without being actually discussed, did any physical ailment, like a backache, decrease or vanish without treatment, after the communication, did one feel good, bad or nothing? Since the aim of spiritual practice is to achieve Bliss (Ānand), gradually the experience of Bliss should increase in satsang. If this is not occurring, then one should analyze what one is doing incorrectly and take measures accordingly to prevent its recurrence. Also if one has felt good, one should also analyze what one has done correctly and focus on that in the future.
4. Satsang with co-seekers
This can take place either physically, over the internet or over the telephone. SSRF holds regular satsangs in English and many European languages for seekers around the world. Since seekers may be in different parts of the world these satsangs are conducted using ‘Skype’. In these satsangs a spiritual topic is discussed and doubts about spiritual practice are clarified.
Discussing about Spirituality with co-seekers over the phone or in person is also a type of satsang.
These satsangs can be further classified depending on the topics discussed –
Informative satsangs – information about Spirituality is given and discussed
Guidance satsangs – Guidance regarding individual spiritual practice and the spread of Spirituality is given in these satsangs
Spiritual emotion (Bhāv) satsangs – for increase in spiritual emotion of the attendees
5. Reading the holy texts written by Saints
This is a type of satsang where the reader derives Divine consciousness (Chaitanya) from the words written in the book. This is because the author is a Saint or highly evolved spiritual soul whose resolve works through His written words. Some SSRF seekers have described spiritual experiences where just having a book written by a Saint in their vicinity results in spiritual healing happening on them.
6. Other types of Satsang
Attending spiritual discourses
Visiting religious places such as Churches, Temples, shrines of Saints, etc.
Staying at places of pilgrimage
Listening or singing devotional songs, holy hymns
Now that we know the various sources through which we can remain in the company of Truth and its importance in our spiritual growth we can strive to constantly be in satsang throughout the day and derive its benefits.