Satsangh is the company of a good person. ' Sat ' stands for godliness, 'sangh' for company.
Company of the sants (saints, which word came from sant) ennobles, educates (in a higher sense) and 'purifies' us. Purifies means removes from our mind greed, lust, pride, jealousy, vanity and delusion. We generally see these defects in other people. But in Satsangh , I start seeing them in myself, because I am in the Satsangh basically for myself, to correct myself.
Were I totally happy with myself needing nothing, I would not have come to Satsangh . It is this need, a fear of uncertain future, a lacuna in life in spite of having everything, an in explicable void despite being wealthy or powerful, that makes me come of Satsangh . When I am totally happy and contented and need nothing (because of right understanding of the world), then also I will come to Satsangh to share what I know with others.
In Satsangh the prevailing atmosphere is one of nobility, understanding, generosity and love. All noble qualities are to the fore, suppressing the baser instincts and feeling. All satsanghiis (people who attend satsanghs ) seem to like each other and ever willing to help each other. When we first started the fire, most of the logs were wet and only one or two a bit dry; these kept the fire alive and exposed other wet logs to the heat of the fire. Slowly but surely, all logs started drying up and the fire started burning brightly. Any passer-by could come and get the warmth.
Why purification of mind is necessary ? Same reason why we clean our reading glasses; with dust, oilstain and paint marks on my spectacles, I won't be able to read anything, and if I insist on reading through them, you would say that I was crazy; but that's what's the whole world's problem. We just won't wipe our specs clean and see clearly. So too, the mind full of desires (paint marks) and other enemies (stains and dust), is unable to know what is good for it. Tragically, it does not even know that its specs are full of dust & dirty.
In Satsangh , we read the scripture of our choice ( Gita, Upanishad , Bhaagavatam, Ramaayana etc.), read commentaries and either discuss or someone knowledgeable explains the meaning and its relevance in today's world. Invariably the practical day to day living guidance is given.
The duration is generally 90 minutes to 2 hr. First half hour of bhajans, chanting, and the last half hour for mahaprasad (eating what was offered to Lord). The central time is for discourse.
We families have been meeting 4 to 5 times a week since 16 years; This itself is a great miracle. How can one meet, talk, eat with same families week after week without getting tired of each other? Something of an experience.
S A Bhandarkar <firstname.lastname@example.org>