Definition - What does Satsang mean?
Satsang is a Sanskrit term derived from two roots: sat meaning "true’"and sangha meaning community, company or association.
It can be translated as "associating with good people" or simply "being in the company of truth," and refers to the act of gathering with like-minded, uplifting people, especially those on a spiritual path.
Satsang may also refer to a group of people engaged in a spiritual dialogue. Although the term is generally used to highlight the importance of community on spiritual growth, by definition satsang can additionally be considered as a lone relationship with truth.
Satsang is associated with the inner quality of sattva (goodness or purity), which is one of the three gunas (natural attributes) alongside rajas (passion) and tamas (inactivity).
Sattva manifests as thoughtfulness, wisdom, contemplation and a peaceful demeanor. A sattvic person makes a natural satsangi, or "seeker of truth."
Yogapedia explains Satsang
Traditionally, satsang referred only to a gathering in the presence of a true enlightened being, or satguru. In modern times, satsang has evolved to mean any gathering in which spiritual reflection, discussion, meditation or teaching takes place; for example, chanting in kirtan or philosophical debate in dharma talks.
Generally, a satsang gathering must meet the following requirements:
A shared intention between group members
Context or theme to spark spiritual insight
An agreement regarding ground rules and inclusivity
Satsang in a group can have a profound effect on the ego, since entering into a shared space of support and unity encourages selfless emotions to arise.
Satsang is believed to dissolve any sense of separation, allowing the inter-connectivity of all beings in the universe to become more apparent. It is believed that in the company of those who are committed to bringing out the best in one another, extraordinary awakening can occur.
Satsang can also be practiced alone by cultivating truth within one’s inner self or remaining centered on thoughts of the Divine. As such, within Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, satsang typically refers to individual spiritual and devotional activities such as meditation or chanting.
Satsang may also include reading or listening to spiritual teachings, before reflecting on their meaning and assimilating them into daily life. In a broader sense, satsang can also include the guidance of the inner voice awakened as the potential of the higher Self is realized.
Satsang is an aid on the yogic path to moksha (liberation from suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth). It helps to remove the negative thoughts, material attachments and mental obstacles that block this path. As such, satsang helps to keep people engaged in spiritually-centered thoughts and to maintain focus on their spiritual path.
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