Sadhguru looks at how a satsang is not a get-together of some kind. It is a powerful opportunity to be in communion with the source of creation.
Sadhguru: When we say “satsang,” we are not talking about a yoga club, an association or any other kind of meeting place. “Sat” means “truth,” “sang” means “to be in communion with that.” What is needed to be in communion with truth?
What we are referring to as “truth” is that which makes everything here work. Something is spinning the planet, something is making your heart beat, something is making the whole cosmos work. That is truth. You don’t have to go to the core of the galaxy to be in touch with this. The core of yourself is also the same thing. Then why is it that we are not constantly in touch with it? Why do we have to come to a certain space or presence to even feel that? This is because the mind, which should be a mirror to show life with absolute clarity, is functioning in prejudice.
Instruments of Prejudice
Whatever kind of mind one has, it is a certain kind of prejudice. You may think you are broadminded, but that just means you have a broad prejudice because the mind cannot function without identification. The moment you are identified with something, the mind becomes prejudiced. Some people are very rigid about their prejudices, others are a little flexible, but there is a prejudice. If you say “I am a man,” you have a masculine prejudice. If you say “I am a woman,” you have a feminine prejudice. If you say “I am Indian,” you have an Indian prejudice. Every single thought, emotion and action that human beings commit is coming from this variety of prejudices.
The problem with humanity is that prejudice has established itself in so many ways and is being celebrated. Prejudices have become so concretized that people think looking beyond that is sacrilege. Once you have identified yourself with something, you cannot think, feel or act beyond it. Everything will be within that ambit. And the greatest problem is you will think you are perfectly right.
A satsang is not about just trying to wipe out one line of prejudice. We want to stay beyond the instrument that manufactures prejudice. You keep all the prejudices down – you are not identified as a man, a woman or anything for that matter. You don’t pay attention to your body, mind, thoughts, emotions – nothing. The mind is going on, the body is saying “This hurts; I want to go to the bathroom,” but you simply sit – like a sack, but alert.
You may think many things about yourself, but after all, your body is just a sack of soil. If you put it into the earth, it becomes soil once again in no time. So if you simply let the body sit there and maintain your alertness, the rest will happen. Nothing else needs to be done. A spiritual process is not something that you do. If you just keep your body and mind aside, you are spiritual. If you take attention away from body and mind and just keep yourself alert, something else comes into your perception. The more importance you give to your body and mind, the more prejudiced you become because the very nature of body and mind is prejudice. For example, let’s say an automobile is coming at you, the body will want to escape. At that moment, only this body is its interest, not the other bodies. But suppose you have fallen in love with someone, you will dive to save that body.
Love is made so important in the spiritual process because it helps you cross the line of prejudice – which is so rigid and concretized that you usually never break it – and act in irrational ways. It is these irrational ways that make your life beautiful. Knowing this, somewhere deep inside, you keep a little bit of your life irrational and sensible. Everything else is analyzed, rational and utterly life-stupid. There is a lot of smartness and social sense in it, but there is no life sense in it.
When the Creator is Your Friend
Satsang means ultimate life sense. To be in communion with this ultimate life sense is of utmost significance to your existence. Isn’t the source of life within you of utmost significance? But if you look at your life, your teeth get attention first thing in the morning; your body gets attention, your nails get lots of attention, and your hair gets two hours of attention. But how much attention does that which is the source of your life get in a day?
If the creator within you turns against you, you are finished. But people are trying to live without paying any attention to that, hoping everything will be okay. Life does not work like that. If you do not pay sufficient attention to it, it will begin to take its toll. When the burden becomes unmanageable, people think, “Oh, I want to die…” But if you kept the core of creation or the creator as your friend, whether you hang around this earth for a thousand years or leave the next morning is no big deal. That is how life should be.
It is so simple, but it takes so much pain and suffering for people to realize this. Does something have to go drastically wrong with your life before you do the right things with yourself? You must do the right things when everything is right with your life. If you wait for things to go horribly wrong, then, even if you intend to do something, your body or mind may not have the strength, or situations around you may not cooperate. Unfortunately, most individuals and humanity as a whole are handling situations this way.
Look at the whole issue of climate change. Does it take enormous scientific knowledge or any great understanding about the planet to see that we are on a disastrous path? The way we are handling the earth, any fool can see things will go wrong. But we see it only when something goes horribly wrong.
Stacking the Odds in Your Favor
If you remain in satsang, you will do what is sensible before things go wrong with life – before it is too late. If the core of your existence becomes a part of your day-to-day life, not in imagination or belief, but as a living thing, the odds are very different for you.
Once, Shankaran Pillai went to the bar with his pet parrot. With great effort, he had taught this parrot to repeat the whole second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita verbatim. So he ordered a few drinks and with a loud voice said, “Is anybody in for a wager? My parrot can repeat the second chapter of the Gita for all of you.” The whole crowd in the bar said, “Boooooo, you’ve had too many.”
Shankaran Pillai said, “Whatever you guys offer, I’ll pay back twice if my parrot fails.” He was confident about the parrot’s capabilities. Everyone knew this was easy money, so they pulled out whatever they had and put the money on the counter. All counted, it amounted to 54,000 rupees. If the parrot speaks the Gita, he gets it; otherwise he has to pay 108,000 rupees. Then Shankaran Pillai told the parrot, “Come on, Kiki.” The parrot simply said “kik kik.” Shankaran Pillai said, “Come on Kiki, the Gita. Go!” The parrot squeaked “kik, kik.” Whatever he did, the parrot did not say anything more than “kik, kik.” People just laughed and Shankaran Pillai had to pull out his cheque book and write a cheque for 108,000 rupees.
When he came home, he yelled in fury, “You idiot! Why didn’t you speak? For so many months I trained you, why didn’t you speak?” The parrot just said, “Can you imagine the odds tomorrow?”
If you keep your mouth shut for five minutes, you can’t imagine the odds tomorrow. That is what satsang means.
Editor’s Note: Isha Foundation conducts monthly satsangs at many locations around the globe. If you have completed any of the Isha Yoga programs or Inner Engineering Online, the satsangs provide a conducive atmosphere to have your practices checked and deepen your experience. Use the link below to find a convenient location.