As I shared the information on the Social media (Facebook and Twitter) that we are headed to our 61st Gurupuja and Satsang of 2013 this evening, I received a few queries (I assume they were genuine ones) primarily centered around 2 questions:
- What is in it for you?
- What is in it for others/Society?
Though we never thought about this on lines of question above, I was pleasantly surprised to find that each one of my co-passengers in this blissful journey, pretty much had same reasons for the above questions when I spoke to . This blog is a summary of Why we do what we do 🙂
What is Satsang?
Googling for technical definitions of Satsangs will give you many descriptions: And I found this one pretty close to what has been our experience. Satsang is a Sanskrit word that means “gathering together for the truth” or, more simply, “being with the truth.” Truth is what is real, what exists. So all there is, is Truth.
A few quotes on Satsang from the Founder of The Art of Living Foundation, His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji who is the inspiration behind this journey of ours:
- “Satsang, the company of the Truth, is the resting place for the mind and the spirit.
- Give quality time to the divine, it will be rewarded. Give satsang and meditation your highest priority”
- “Why do people need homes? Can they live like animals in the forest without shelter? Even intelligent animals make their homes. Man needs protection from changing nature. So he builds a shelter for physical comforts. In the same way, for spiritual and mental comfort – Satsang is the shelter”
- “Satsang is the nest in which you can rest”
If we were to define experientially, On the outside, Satsang is the worldly version of an e-group, an opportunity & platform for us with some common interest to gather, enjoy, share and care.
Considering what a Satsang has done for each one of us, this is a very simplistic (and too limited definition). It is those moments when we just get together, sing, dance, meditate, share knowledge “SPONTANEOUSLY” Yes, the key here is “spontaneous”. We have never have a template (except the Sampradayic/ traditional sequence, though not prescribed has become a feature), we never plan or design a Satsang. It just Happens, the theme or mood gets set spontaneously based on needs of “that moment” A fellow Satsangi added, this clarity and overtness happens due to dissolution of Ego.
It is an expression of the inner joy that we experience, our way to share and show that we care. To summarize, we often refer to such Evenings (we do have Satsangs during the day too) as an evening of Gaana, Dhyana, Gyaana and “Khaana” – a time when it touches our heart and douches our mind, fills our heart and stills our mind.
This also answers “What is in it for us”
Everything” 🙂 is a single word answer. We do it for our own joy and growth. On the material level, an opportunity for whole lot of us to hone our talents, improve confidence – we have been in Satsangs with participants from 30 (at homes) to 2800+ (Brahma Chaitanya Mandira in Chintamani on Vaikunta Ekadashi day), enhance our state of mind when we are able to give those moments of smile and joy to others, better our public speaking skills, network with like minded individuals and groups and the usual perquisites of Gossip (no vile ones though) and of course, the Food 🙂
It is pertinent to also touch upon a question that someone asked – Isn’t this a Hero Worship or Vyakti Puja? Even for a moment assuming that this argument was true, our answer was “So what? Why not, if it enhances our state of mind, does it matter?” It anyway is an essential part of our culture, revering and honoring those who have added value to our lives. Our Satsangs or Gurupuja is not about worshipping the photo or any individual, it is an expression of Gratitude and acknowledging their role in our spiritual quest from a state of fullness.
A few words on the significance of Gurupuja (almost always an essential part of our Satsangs these days) maybe pertinent here. Guru Puja is a thanksgiving ceremony remembering all the ancient rishis, seers, sages in the Holy tradition of Masters, who have brought this knowledge of self. Puja means that which comes from the fullness and the five elements, which are used & one of the highest expressions of devotion and gratitude to the Master. Chanting the Guru Puja unites our minds with the Holy tradition of Spiritual Masters.
Let me also add another important thing here. In more than a decade & a half that I have known and got inspired by this Master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, there has been no attempt on His part to create thought-clones of Himself. He keeps emphasizing that everyone is equally endowed with the capacity to discriminate the Truth and the true teacher, or satguru, is within us. Guru Puja thus is more, a recogntion of the Guru Tatva or Essence of Master that is within us than a chant in praise of anyone else. In any case, Praising is a quality that we should nurture because that broadens our thinking – we always praise that which we aspire to become (or which we value)
What is in it for Others?
Nothing that we really plan for. We do it for our joy, our growth and our well-being. Anything else as the goal of our Satsang would be a lie 🙂
While there, I would like to also mention that many things in life is infectious. Benefits of Satsangs like our Joy, Growth and General Well-Being (both physically and mentally), we believe is infectious too. It rubs off on those around us. A time when everyone turns inwards and realize the temporary nature of our temporal pursuits. A time to realize that real Joy is within us, A time to disconnect our Joy from the Events. Do we need any other benefits that we can be to others and society through this route!
Incidentally,we do also address “Annadata Sukhibhava, Godaaana/Goraksha, Organic Farming, Education, Cleanliness/Hygiene, Women empowerment and Self help Groups, Rural-Urban partnership (on equal terms) and so on. But then these are mundane stuff compared to the Unerasable “Smile” that we put on peoples’ face.
We Share…. We Care….
Updated with the 61st Satsang 🙂