Satsang

सत्सङ्ग - ˈsætsæŋ

Wholesome and uplifting company. (1) Good company, especially on the spiritual path. (2)

Satsang derives from the Sanskrit words sat (“being,” “essence,” or “reality”) and sanga (“association”). Sri Yukteswar named his hermitage association Sat-Sangha meaning “fellowship with truth.” (3) The word satsang refers to fellowship with other human beings with similar (spiritual) aspirations, as well as fellowship with God in meditation. (4)

Paramhansa Yogananda teaches that fellowship between people strengthens the magnetism of their association. If company is spiritual, such as in the presence of saints and devotees, then the aspirant will be more strongly magnetized along the spiritual path. If the association is material, then the individual will feel the pull of material attachments. Satsang, therefore, is an important principle for spiritual seekers to abide by in a monastery or spiritual community. (1)

Swami Kriyananda writes that asatsanga (“non-satsang”) is the “greatest hindrance to spirituality.” Only in the community of saints and seekers can people aspire to greatness and realization within themselves. (5) However, Kriyananda also cautions against association with saints when a person is not ready to commit to the spiritual endeavor. For example, a fickle person may not see the unity behind all spiritual paths and therefore hesitate to commit himself to one. (6)

By committing to a community of aspirants, the spiritual seeker fulfills an essential need for direction. With guidance in the form of good company, he may finally reach a place of inner communion with God. (7)

References

  1. a b Revelations of Christ, by Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 18, “The Serpent Power.”
  2. The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, explained by Paramhansa Yogananda. Glossary.
  3. Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. p.155.
  4. Whispers from Eternity, by Paramhansa Yogananda.
  5. “What Is the Importance of Spiritual Community? (2011)” by Swami Kriyananda.
  6. Religion in the New Age, by Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 3, “Inspiration vs. Instruction.”
  7. “Kriya and the Evolution of World Religions (2011),” by Swami Kriyananda.