Liberation through Satsaṅga
By the fond association of the Wise, who are free from desires, by lovingly serving them with food and drink, desire for liberation will suddenly dawns.
Points for Introspection
Mostly people feel that life has been lived well if one has acquired wealth and comfort, has a good family, lineage, fame, etc. For most of us, the purpose of human life is nothing more than this. We do not even enquire whether there is any higher purpose in life.
Although life is full of unhappiness, anxiety, tension and fear, people still cling on to the set pattern and rarely seek liberation from the bondages and the frailties the mind suffers from. Rarely someone starts thinking whether there is a higher purpose in life, a better way of living. These fortunate rare people seek to know how to remain unaffected in the midst of various pleasant and unpleasant events that take place in life; how to be contented and peaceful in life, no matter what happens.
All our scriptures unanimously declare that the highest purpose in human life is to realize the Self as different from the body; to realize it as one’s own identity, and to find the same Self in everything around. Out of ignorance, one gets identified with the perishable body-mind-intelligence and undergoes suffering. Only by realizing the supreme Truth, one gets liberated from all misery and bondage. So, for a seeker to be ever-blissful, he must strive to realize his own Self – the one, changeless, eternal Soul.
Intense yearning for liberation is known as ‘mumukṣā’. Mumukṣā is very rarely had. How does ‘mumukṣā’ get born in a seeker’s mind?
Mumukṣā dawns when one constantly introspects on the real nature of the world and our life in it. The world is transitory and the source of all misery is its changefulness. Repeated introspection generates dispassion towards the world. For some rare few, yearning for liberation arises quite naturally and spontaneously. But for most others, easiest and fastest way to generate mumukṣā is “Satsanga”.
What is Satsanga? Satsanga is association with the Sat – the real, changeless and imperishable. How do we associate with the Sat? Most effective Satsanga is through the association with holy people, the Mahātmās or Sadgurus who are always established in the Sat, i.e., established in the eternal Self or Brahman or God. They are the ones who dwell unbrokenly in the Knowledge of the Self and keep speaking about ‘That’ which is taintless, changeless, and eternal; knowing which one transcends pleasure and pain.
Now, what kind of association with the Mahātmā will generate mumukṣā? This shloka explains in great detail how the association should be. First of all, one must go to a Mahātmā who is well-versed in the scriptures. Not only the Mahātmā should have scriptural knowledge about Brahman, but must have direct realization of Brahman. Our scriptures say, ब्रह्मवित् ब्रह्मैव भवति (brahmavit brahmaiva bhavati) – the one who knows Brahman becomes Brahman himself.
Also, such a Mahātmā is completely free of desires. His mind is absolutely pure. In the pure heart alone, Self gets revealed. A seeker should seek the company of such a holy person, approach him with all humility and fondness. He should also lovingly serve the Mahātmā in all ways, being extremely attentive to all his needs.
When one serves a holy Mahatma with fondness, being in his constant association, the śloka says, mumukṣā develops in the seeker unexpectedly or suddenly without effort. A seeker then aspires for liberation from all shackles of the mind.
Here, certain points are very important and should be well noted.
First, for mumukṣā to grow, the seeker should seek the association with great fondness and love. He should crave for this association considering this to be the supreme in life. His fondness for the holy company should excel the fondness for any other association or possession.
Second, not only the seeker should be fond of the Mahātmā and his association, he should lovingly serve him too. He should be ready to serve him with full mind and heart at any time of the day and night, sacrificing whatever necessary, foregoing even sleep and rest, if needed. By his loving service, he should look after the personal needs of the Mahātmā – like food, clothing, dwelling place, etc. and also help in his mission.
Service to a Mahātmā or Sadguru, is indispensable in spiritual path. In Bhagavadgeetā (4.34) also, it is mentioned that a seeker, in order to be instructed for Self-realization, must go to a Knower, prostrate humbly, serve him and ask questions regarding the supreme Truth.
As one fondly serves the Mahātmā, the Mahātmā too becomes increasingly pleased with the seeker and spontaneously showers his grace and blessings on him. How does the grace and blessings work in the seeker?
The Mahātmā, being established in the Sat, the Real, all his thoughts, words and actions help in removing from the seeker’s mind the worldliness – the mind’s clinging to the likes and dislikes, to the fleeting situations and possessions.
When a seeker chooses to be in such a holy company with extreme fondness and when he directly observes how the Mahātmā is free of all desires and impurities of the mind, how he is ever-cheerful, his mind too becomes cheerful and free of desires. He understands how desires cause all bondage and constriction. Being in the association of a liberated person, in his mind too arises a yearning for liberation, which never arises in the company of worldly people. The seeker experiences an intense urge to transcend all bondage, all the shackles of the mind, and reach the ever-free, ever-blissful state of the Soul.
Chanting this śloka focusing on the meaning of the words, develops an intense wish to be in holy company of a Knower whom one can be fond of. A prayer arises in the mind to be able to get an opportunity to serve the Saint.
विदुषां (viduṣāṃ) = of wise men; वीतरागाणाम् (vīta-rāgāṇāṃ) = of those who are free from desires; अन्नपानादिसेवया (anna-pānādi-sevayā) = by serving food and drinks; सङ्गत्या (saṅgatyā) = by their association; प्रणयेन (praṇayena) = with fondness; अपि (api) = also; मुमुक्षा (mumukṣā) = desire for liberation; आकस्मिकी (ākasmikī) = suddenly; भवेत् (bhavet) = shall be.
वीतरागाणां विदुषां अन्न-पानादि-सेवया सङ्गत्या प्रणयेन अपि (च) मुमुक्षा आकस्मिकी भवेत् ।
vīta-rāgāṇāṃ viduṣām anna-pānādi-sevayā saṅgatyā praṇayena api (ca) mumukṣā ākasmikī bhavet.
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