Monday, April 18, 2016

Satsang - The Transforming Power and Influence of Holy Company ~ Swami Chidananda

Creating  a new Mind through:  1. Satsang, 2. Sravana and 3. Svadhyaya 

Of the three, namely, Satsangha, Sravana and Svadhyaya, Svadhyaya is the most reliable, because it is always available and it can be practised daily.

1. Satsang - The Transforming Power and Influence of Holy Company

The mind is always holding on to a pattern of thinking and feeling characterised by ignorance, characterised by the opposite of Self-knowledge, characterised by a total non-awareness of your real identity and an awareness of only your false changeful human identity.

In order to realize your identity with the divine conscousness (Atman, Brahman) you have to bring about a total change in this state of affairs prevailing in your Antahkarana (the fourfold mind: Manas, ego, buddhi, chitta), prevailing in your mind and intellect. How will you bring about this change? How will you bring about a complete revolution in your thinking, in your identity, in your consciousness?

There are several ways. One of the methods is, try as much as possible to be in the company, to be in the association, of persons who have lifted their consciousness from this body-mind-bound condition into a higher level, into a higher plane, and whose consciousness is always established in that level or plane. Try to associate yourself with persons who have effectively managed to establish their consciousness upon a higher level and not upon an earthly level. Because such persons are in a state of spiritual consciousness, because they have refused to identify themselves with body and mind, when you are in their proximity, there is some power in them, some unknown quality in them, which induces your mind also to go upward into the state in which they are. What it is, there is no scientific instrument to measure. What it is, you cannot say. It is not any known factor. It is some unknown factor. You go into their presence and you also feel a spiritual awareness of yourself. It happens automatically. So, be more and more nearer.

On the other hand, if you are in the company of worldly-minded people, your consciousness also naturally comes down. If you are in the company of eaters, drinkers, merry-makers, people whose consciousness is gross, who have fully equated themselves with the body and the senses and the things of the senses, then your consciousness also comes down. But if you always get into the company and association of those who have created within themselves a new consciousness, who have become a centre of the powerful vibration of that new consciousness, if you remain in their company as much as possible, gradually, that itself becomes a liberating influence and your consciousness also becomes heightened.

This is why in former days, the aspirants were in the habit of going and living with a spiritual Guru. In those days, in India, there was a different pattern of life altogether. For several years, in the most impressionable period of an individual’s life, the individual was taken by their father and mother and placed in the company of a Rishi. The Rishi was always a highly learned being. He was not always a God-realised soul, but at least he was not in ignorance. Theoretically at least, on the intellectual level at least, he knew that he was not the body and the mind, but that he was the Atman. And the student stayed with the Rishi and learnt, got education in the company of the Rishi—student and teacher lived as members of a big family which was called the Rishikula or the Gurukula. And for ten years, twelve years or fourteen years, from the eighth or the tenth year till the twenty-fifth year, the student lived in that Gurukula atmosphere.  That itself was a transforming process.

Those who lived in the Gurukula in this manner were not necessarily spiritual aspirants. They were Jijnasus (seekers of knowledge). They wanted to learn things, they wanted to acquire knowledge. For acquiring knowledge, they went and lived with the Guru. Apart from the Jijnasus, the spiritual seekers who wanted to know their own real nature, who wanted to realise the transcendental reality called Atman or Brahman or Aisvarya or Bhagavan—they also sought to be in such environment. So, that is one way to get spiritually transformed. That way is to be in the constant company of the holy ones. That is called Satsang.

extract from his book :The Philosophy, Psychology and Practice of Yoga.pdf