The Transformational Power of Satsang

“Satsang”, by definition, means truthful association and is a concept central to the spiritual development of man. The Shri Ramacharitmanas is rife with references to satsang and the power of this holy act. In Aaranya Kaand, Shri Raam expounded to Sabari Mata, the nine steps in building devotion. He postulated a “bhakti” taxonomy or protocol with various nomenclature or terminologies given to the svarious practices. First and foremost amongst the various practices is Satsang. He quotes as follows “Prathama Bhakti Santana Kara Sangaa”.

What is the benefit of satsang and why is this such a powerful practice? Satsang has the ability to transform our lives from one of negativity to one of positivity and to further elevate us when we are on the spiritual path. Whether we are now seeking a breakthrough into the world of spirituality or we are spiritual veterans, satsang remains the practice of choice and the basis of development.

Transformation is defined as a marked change in form, nature or appearance. The greatest testimony to the power of satsang is the transformation of Valmiki from a “paapi” or sinner to Adi Kavi or the foremost amongst poets. Through the power of satsang, his life was permanently changed as his nature and appearance was converted to one of spirituality. Valmiki was trying to perpetrate a crime against a group of saints but, through simple dialogue, the saints were able to bring about this change in the mind of Valmiki.

In the case of the spiritually elevated, satsang remains a tool of choice in maintaining connection to divinity and spirituality. This is evident in Shri Ramacharitmanas where Shri Raam always kept the company of the sages and engaged in positive discourse for self development. Shri Raam stated in Uttar Kaand that satsang is necessary for the attainment of bhakti.

What is the mechanics behind satsang? During satsang, the “gyaan indriyas” (senses of perception) are engaged in positive activity. For example, when we attend yagya, our gyaan indriyas are bombarded by only positive experiences as detailed in the table below:

 

Gyaan Indriya Interacting Experience
Sight Gazing upon the Murtis, bedi and pundit.
Hearing Listening to bhajan, mantras and uplifting discourse
Smell Inhalation of havan smoke and incense
Touch Bowing at the feet of Murtis and pundits; accepting aarti
Taste Consumption of prasad and bhojan

 

The question is asked, if satsang is such a powerful tool and we have an abundance of yagya in the country, why are we still seeing such deterioration in the morality of our citizens? The answer may be simply that the satsang environment, while existing in form, does not exist in substance. For example, it is not enough to have a pundit present, but really a pundit of substance and depth who is filled with spirituality. The environment must be clean and the people must be of clean mind. The prasad offered and bhojan prepared must be done in a clean way where the persons preparing must maintain cleanliness of body, mind and speech. Such substance is needed to accompany the physical form of Satsang to bring about transformation. Therefore when Satsang exists in form and substance, it remains the greatest instrument in the bhakti toolbox. Jai Swaha Mata!

By Pt Jaidath Maharaj

Swaha GDKM Maha Shiv Raatri Celebrations

Swaha Gyaan Deepak Kirtan Mandali invites all devotees to its Maha Shiv Raatri Celebrations on Tuesday 17th February, 2015. Our celebrations would be conducted in two parts at the temple grounds (#19 Chotoo Street Aranjuez) as follows:

Session 1 from 8am to 11.30am: Havan
Devotees are invited to participate in an individual/family havan. The ingredients needed for this are given in the checklist below. Devotees are asked to arrive early and set up to begin promptly at 8.00 am. Gates would be opened from 6am to allow for adequate time to set up. Parking will be available on Chotoo Street and also at the Aranjuez Community Centre car park.

Session 2 from 8pm – 12am: Devotional
Celebrations will continue from 8.00 pm to midnight with bhajans, kirtans and discourses in praise of Lord Shiva. Jal offerings would be made at midnight. Secure parking will be available on Chotoo Street and also at the Aranjuez Community Centre car park.

Devotees are asked to accept this invitation as we celebrate one of the most auspicious and efficacious events on the Hindu calendar.

Om Namah Shivay! Har Har Mahadev!
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INGREDIENTS FOR MAHA SHIV RAATRI HAVAN

1. Shiva Murti/picture/small lingam
2. A fig leaf, large thaali, a piece of cardboard or any other surface material to place the murti/picture/lingam (a puja bedi is not required)
3. Chandan
4. Sindoor
5. Hardi
6. Clove
7. Janew thread
8. Perfume
9. Incense
10. Soopari (2)
11. Cotton wool
12. Flowers
13. Bael leaves
14. Mango leaves
15. Lota filled with water
16. Paan leaves (5)
17. Thaali for Aarti
18. Thaali with prasad, tulsi leaf, bael leaf and flowers (Prasad: fruits/meethai/mohanbhog)
19. Havan Kund
20. Mango wood
21. Ghee in container with havan spoon (approx. 1-2lbs)
22. Matches
23. Camphor
24. 2 deyas
25. Mat and/or sheet for sitting
26. Thaali with the following ingredients: Sugar, Rice, Gugul and Black til

* Devotees could purchase a Puja bag that would contain most of the ingredients listed above.

Radio 90.5FM Maha Shiva Raatri Programmes with SWAHA

Schedule of recorded broadcasts on Radio 90.5FM by SWAHA pundits in celebration of Maha Shiva Raatri 2015.

Date: Tuesday February 17, 2015

Time: 8.00pm to Midnight

Schedule of one-hour programmes

8.00- 9.00pm: Pt. Ishwar Madho Maharaj

9.00-10.00pm: Pt Jaidath Maharaj

10.00- 11.00pm: Pt. Umadutt Maharaj

11.00-12midnight: Pt. Dr. Umesh Persad.

In addition to these programmes, Radio 90.5 will also feature Shiva bhajans from 6.00 to 8.00pm and then continue from midnight to 6.00am.

 

Saraswati Devi mantra for success

सरस्वति नमस्तुभ्यं वरदे कामरूपिणि ।
विद्यारम्भं करिष्यामि सिद्धिर्भवतु मे सदा ॥

saraswati namastubhyam varadé kāmarūpiṇi |
vidyārambham kariṣhyāmi, siddhirbhavatu mé sadā ||

O Saraswatī, salutations for you, O Giver of boons, O Giver of form to desire, I am going to start studying, may success be mine, always.