Satsang / Satsanga / Satsangam is a word which comes from Sanskrit, meaning to associate with true people, or to be in the company of true people. It is also related to sitting with a sat guru, or in a group meeting seeking that association.
Satsang is a Hindi term derived from the Sanskrit सत्सङ्ग or satsangha based on the following root words:
- Sat (Sanskrit) = true; see also Sacca, Sacha and Satyagraha
- Sangha (Sanskrit) = company or association
Satsanga can be translated as an association of the good and is usually employed to denote a group of pious individuals and, in common usage, a devout audience receiving religious instruction.
According to Liselotte Frisk, satsang is:.
... a traditional activity in the Indian spiritual context, meaning "being with good/righteous companions." Satsang is a sitting together with an enlightened person who usually gives a short speech and then answers questions.
This typically involves listening to, or reading scriptures, reflecting on, discussing and assimilating their meaning, meditating on the source of these words, and bringing their meaning into one’s daily life. For adherents, satsang becomes a way of being and a practice that governs actions and interactions with others. It has been likened to being part of the universe and contributing to it in their best capacity while learning and getting support from it at the same time.
Needleman: [...] I was reading a book the other day which spoke of something called "Sat-san".
Krishnamurti: Do you know what it means?
Needleman: Association with the wise.
Krishnamurti: No, with good people.
Needleman: With good people, Ah!
Krishnamurti: Being good you are wise. Not, being wise you are good.
Needleman: I understand that.
Krishnamurti: Because you are good, you are wise.
The idea behind satsang is that a favorable environment such as the presence of holy people, listening to holy scripture or music, allows an individual to elevate his mind from one that is worldly towards a higher level of thought. It is said that Satsang constitutes one of the four ways - along with contentment, the spirit of inquiry, and self-control - by which people who are "drowning" in samsara (repetitive history) can be saved.
- Taylor, McComas (2016). Seven Days of Nectar: Contemporary Oral Performance of the Bhāgavatapurāṇa. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 187. ISBN 9780190611910.
- Frisk 2002.
- Dalmia, Natasha (2014-07-31). Practice of Satsang: Conscious Living – Celebrating the Truth of Who You Are. Partridge Publishing Singapore. ISBN 9781482824438.
- Prabhakar, Arundhati Rishi (2015-04-23). Divine Satsang: My Divine Encounter with Guruji Rishi Prabhakarji. Partridge Publishing. ISBN 9781482848090.
- Krishnamurti & Needleman 1971.
- Amartyananda, Swami (2016-01-04). Effective Life Management. Advaita Ashrama (A Publication branch of Ramakrishna Math, Belur Math). ISBN 9788175058088.
- Supreme Yoga. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. 2003. p. 30. ISBN 8120819640.