by Sri P.C. Lahiri
Satsamga, as commonly understood, means the company of a saint/worshiper of God/an ascetic/holy person. In such company, people generally look forward to hearing Godly talks& stories, singing the glory of God, receiving boons, celebrating religious festivals, learning from ancient scriptures and so on - as per their personal religious faith, belief and understanding. This faith, belief and understanding varies from person to person. Such differences in understanding are fueled & nurtured by the innumerable gurus with their own organizations, preaching their own philosophy, theory, thesis/doctrine - in the name of a past God-incarnate, a well-recognized past saint, or religious scriptures. Thus in the name of God, what has got nurtured are blind belief, rivalries, divisions, hate and chaos, instead of proper education, unification, love and peace. Recently two so-called saints in India, following their own separate paths and boasting millions of followers with hundreds of ashrams all over the country and abroad, were convicted of rape of their own disciples after protracted criminal proceedings in which they tried to use their clout in any which way to delay the legal process and save themselves. Such incidents have happened and continue to happen in the educated and developed world as well, with only the face and qualification of the protagonist changing from a religious guru to a high profile wealthy and powerful celebrity.
Sat means existence - an existence that is eternal. So, the immediate meaning that comes out of the word Sat-samga is the company of the eternal Existence. How is that possible? By the company of that One who is unified and identified with Sat, the eternal Existence. How do I get to know that he/she is unified and identified with the eternal Existence? Also how can I find him/her? You can’t find him/her, nor can you know his/her Supreme State armed with your untrained mind-intellect-ego. So? Master says you can do something which is very much within your control. Create utmost longing/desire for the Supreme One. You can desire so many things during your life which even if they get fulfilled, don’t fulfill you for all time. Fulfillment of one desire leads to the creation of two other desires. So, why not have that one desire which will fulfill all desires for all time. With that one utmost desire the Supreme One will appear of Its own accord before you in one form or the other, gradually reveal His/Her identity, and finally build that absolute faith in you. Armed with that weapon of absolute faith, you will be able to cut asunder all contradictions and many-ness to ultimately discover one and all (including the personified Supreme One) as verily your own Self. Master has described the sword in one of the hands of Goddess Kali as jnan asi (the sword of knowledge) which destroys all ignorance. Absolute faith developed through Satsamga is like this jnan asi which will destroy all our ignorance or ajnan. Master has brought all kinds of ignorance prevalent in this universe under one phrase, the sense of duality/many-ness. One of the hallmark of a Real Master is the spontaneous ability to simplify, present and solve the most intricate and complicated issues in the world in such a way that a common man can also understand. It is a different matter if one does not try to understand/accept them for one’s own reasons. I have seen so many common men as well as men of repute, knowledge and standing saying that it is so difficult to understand Master. Without a basic understanding it is not possible to accept. If acceptance happens without understanding, it is either due to some compulsion or just blind faith. True blind faith (this phrase may sound odd) without understanding is a very rare phenomenon. I have heard from the Master the story of Ananda, disciple of Adi Shankaracharya, who was a blind follower of his Guru and the Guru openly showed His love for him. Ananda used to do all the cooking, cleaning, washing etc. for the Guru. Other disciples, who were studying very hard to really understand and imbibe the advait (non-dual) philosophy of Guru, felt very jealous. One day they could not contain themselves and asked the Guru why Ananda could get so much of His love despite having scant knowledge of His teachings. Guru said you are right and immediately called for Ananda who was washing Guru’s clothes sitting on the other side of the river to avoid disturbance in Guru’s class. Ananda immediately responded to Guru’s call. He was told openly about the complaint of all his fellow Guru-brothers and was ordered to speak about his understanding of Guru’s philosophy. Ananda spontaneously spoke non-stop for a few hours. It turned out that his understanding was way beyond that of all others. He was so honest that when questioned later on by fellow disciples he openly declared that he did not know what he spoke, it just happened. He was a totally surrendered soul and Sadguru had taken charge. We heard Swami Vivekananda say something exactly like this regarding His Chicago speech but some argue that Swamiji was highly erudite and so could do it. There may be very few such exceptions and these exceptions prove the law that we first need an intellectual understanding to move further with any idea.
Right education is that which completes one’s education cycle once and for all. We are taught that there is no end to learning. One keeps learning throughout one’s life; so say the intellectuals, peers, elders and all educational institutions of the world. True spiritual Masters who have discovered God, universe and humanity within their own Self as One Absolute Being say that there is an end to learning when witnessing starts. The pinnacle of learning is the unification and identification with the Witness Self within all of us. Why should one lead the life of a struggling agent or an ever learning agent as perpetrated by the mundane education and preached by the so-called religious gurus all over the world who just want to rule over others? The learning that one gets from the True Masters is the technique to rule over our own lower self (not others). This training ultimately leads to the supreme experience of perfect unity within and without. I shall continue with this topic of satsamga in the next piece.