Nest to Rest

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:

  1. What is in it for you?
  2. What is in it for others/Society?

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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 ūüôā

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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”

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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.

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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” ūüôā 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 ūüôā

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.

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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.

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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 ūüôā

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!

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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….
||Jai Gurudev||

Updated with the 61st Satsang ūüôā

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AUM/OM – a beginner’s narrative

This is in response ¬†to two of my fellow bloggers on another discussion forum (which is not functional now) – Ved Vahan and Subash. Cross posting it again to share it with the audience here. While I don’t have access to those blogs wherein those 2 loving souls had brought out concept of OM, I humbly submit that this is an amateurish attempt to¬†complement their¬†indisputable¬†explanations. Wherever relevant, I have made any reference to their writing,I have specifically reproduced for relevance.

So here I go….

For our ordinary minds (and true for almost all beginners on the spiritual path), it is not so easy to conceptualize or comprehend an idea without expressing them in words. If it cannot spoken about or if not expressible we somehow get a  feeling of surreality or unreal.

So this idea of God or Divine, has to necessarily be¬†associated and expressed with Words. Another condition¬†is that since God/Divinity is considered fundamental¬†fact of the Cosmos, the word expressing It needs to be¬†fundamental too. The ancients saints, seers and Rishis¬†struck upon and agreed that this word “AUM” is a¬†fundamental word that can truly express the Divine.

Why is this word fundamental? Here let me begin by¬†exploring deeper purport of one of my fellow blogger on another site – Sri Subashji’s explanation.¬†Representing the “G”enerator, “O”perator and¬†“D”estructor – nature of GOD.

“A” the creative force¬†originating at the lower part (Step on a thorn or when¬†you get hurt on your legs or feet, the natural sound¬†that emerges out is “Aaaah”)

“U”, the maintaining force¬†originating at the middle part (someone punching on¬†your abdomen, the natural sound that is expressed¬†would be “Uuuuuu”).

“M”, the destructive force – of¬†evil tendencies originating at the top part (ask
someone to give a sharp knock on your head, the sound¬†that emerges would be “Mmmmm”).

Sum total of these forces represents the entire universe and hence lends a legitimate expression representing God representing the Trinity РBrahma, Vishnu and Shiva, considered as the Creative, Maintaining and Destructive Forces.

The very construct itself renders AUM a fundamental WORD.

“A”, the root sound is pronounced without¬†touching any part of the tongue or roof of the mouth,

“M” pronounced with closed lips representing the¬†last possible sound.

“U” rolls from the root to the¬†end of the palate, right upto the lips. So the three
syllables together forms the PRIMORDIAL expression¬†called “AUM”, which represents the whole phenomena of¬†sound production (“A” + “U” representing “O”).

Next why 3 times? As Ved-Vahan ji rightly said, “it¬†represents three dimensions of our existence and a¬†honor to all the three dimensions representing the
divinity in us. More importantly someone said, “It is¬†Gurudev’s bidding (referring to His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar ji of Art of Living) , HE knows why :-)” (personally the¬†most important and favourite reason for chanting it 3¬†times).

It is pertinent to remind here that chanting of 3 times is an aspect specific to Sudarshana Kriya and many Art Of Living processes but not mandatory Рit could be more. (As HE keeps saying in various forums, in these busy times,
it is good enough if someone can chant 3 times –¬†anything more and people would simply cite lack of time and discontinue Sadhana).¬†108 time chanting is quite popular too (9¬†Grahas x 12 Rashis).
My personal experience (not to do with numbers, but¬†the very act of Chanting OM) – it clearly demarcates¬†the activities on either side of my chanting. Prior to starting with a Sadhana, I disconnect the pre-Sadhana life with OM.¬†As a rule, our group of AOL’ites whatever be the¬†spiritual practices we embark on (viewing Knowledge¬†Videos, beginning of AOL meetings, beginning satsangs)we chant OM, which clearly separates (mentally and¬†physically) the mundane things from our mindspreparing the ground for our subsequent activities.

ŗ•ź ŗ•ź ŗ•ź