Satsaṅga – the Rare Fortune
By the fortune acquired over a number of lives in the past, when one gets the association with a Knower (satsaṅga), then alone viveka (discrimination) rises having dispelled the darkness of delusion caused by ignorance.
Points for Introspection:
Out of deep-rooted ignorance, man identifies himself with the body, mind and intelligence, and considers these to be the ‘I’ or the Self. Because of this mistaken identity where man thinks ‘I am the body’, ‘I am the mind’, and ‘I am the intelligence’, he suffers the miseries which the body, mind and intelligence suffer.
He suffers from delusion, attachment and possessiveness. He is always anxious, tense and fearful. Although he sees that life in the world is transitory, he runs after short-lived pleasures, not introspecting over the fact that all those pleasures are transitory and do not give permanent happiness. Man has unending desires. Possessiveness towards more and more acquisitions make him feel bound always. He suffers from doubts and delusions, which surrounds him as darkness all around.
He does not understand or know how to transcend that bondage. He thinks life is like this alone – to be born, to grow, to get educated, to get a good job, get married, raise a family, bring up children, make a house, acquire wealth and property, grow old, and then die. The thought does not come to the mind that, “What of all the possessions? All are transitory. I feel bound by everything. How to transcend this bondage? How to have permanent happiness?”
This Shloka says, when by the fortune acquired in many lives one gets Satsanga – i.e association of a holy Mahatma – then viveka or discrimination arises in the mind to remove the darkness (lack of clarity) and delusion created by ignorance of not knowing one’s true identity. The mind is then able to discriminate between what is real and what is unreal, what is perishable and what is imperishable, what is true and what is false, what is supremely good and what is superficially pleasant or attractive. Understanding that life is impermanent and anything impermanent cannot give permanent peace and happiness, the mind looks for something by which it will feel liberated, it will remain unaffected and peaceful in any situation.
How does satsaṅga bring about discrimination in the mind? Satsaṅga means the association of Knowers, the saintly people. The Knowers always dwell on the “Sat” – that which is real, eternal, unchanging, imperishable. They realize the ‘Sat’ as the unchanging substratum over which dances this changeful transitory world.
A Knower, after realizing the ‘Sat’ – the Soul or Brahman or God – speaks only about it. He explains that the world is fleeting and transitory and that the highest purpose in human life is to develop dispassion towards this impermanent world and strive to realize the Self or God. Listening to his words of wisdom, the seeker’s mind gets filled with love for God, eagerness for God-realization.
One is really blessed and fortunate to have satsaṅga. When a seeker gets an opportunity to be in a satsaṅga, by constant listening and reflection, he understands that the cause of all suffering is desire and possessiveness which emerges from the ‘I’-ness and mine-ness. When association with the holy or noble is not possible, then one must have association with holy books.
With the time spent in satsaṅga, discrimination arises in the mind and one understands what is supremely auspicious for him. He develops more of dispassion towards the worldly pleasures and deeper yearning for the realization of the supreme knowledge of the Self or God. He is able to introspect and discriminate between pure and impure traits of the mind and endeavours to purify the mind.
Such is the power of satsaṅga. Just as the Sun rises in the sky dispelling the darkness, similarly through satsaṅga, viveka arises in the mind removing all delusion created by ignorance.
Repeated chanting of the shloka reminds us to look for satsaṅga as much as possible. For seekers who are already blessed with satsaṅga, chanting of the shloka reminds them how fortunate they are, and fills their mind with gratitude and blessedness. Repeated chanting also gives the mind a resolution to avail of satsaṅga to the exclusion of all worldly saṅga.
भाग्योदयेन (bhāgyodayena) = by the rise of fortune; बहुजन्म-समार्जितेन (bahu-janma samārjitena) = acquired over a number of lives; सत्सङ्गम्, (satsaṅgaṃ) = association of a Knower; एव (eva) = alone; लभते (labhate) = gets; पुरुषः ( (puruṣaḥ) = man; यदा (yadā) = when; वै (vai) = indeed; अज्ञानहेतुकृत-मोहमहान्धकार-नाशम् विधाय (ajnāna-hetu-kṛta-mohamahāndhakāra-nāśaṁ vidhāya) = having dispelled the delusion of darkness caused by ignorance; हि (hi) = indeed; तदा (tadā) = then; उदयते (udayate) = rises; विवेकः (vivekaḥ) = discrimination;
पुरुषः यदा बहु-जन्म-समार्जितेन भाग्योदयेन सत्सङ्गम् एव लभते वै, तदा हि अज्ञान-हेतु-कृत-मोहमहान्धकार-नाशं विधाय विवेकः उदयते ।
puruṣaḥ yadā bahu-janma-samārjitena bhāgyodayena satsaṅgam eva labhate vai, tadā hi ajnāna-hetu-kṛta-mohamahāndhakāra-nāśaṁ vidhāya vivekaḥ udayate.
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