What Is Satsang?

H.W.L.Poonja, Popularly knows as Papaji

by Papaji

Let me offer you this hint. Wherever there is name and form; that is not the truth. Whatever has name and form begins and ends. And whatever begins and ends is not eternal, is not real, is not atman. You will have to search for the atman. To remain with the atman is satsang, to be in continuous association with the Atman as the atman itself.


Why do so many people come here for satsang from all over the world? Since time immemorial this area has been a source of knowledge. The East has been guiding the whole world in spirituality. For scientific knowledge you have to go to other countries - that is clear, but spiritual knowledge has always started from here. It is estimated from the position of the stars mentioned in the Vedas that this knowledge existed 25,000 years ago. There is no record of any other sect or religion existing before that time. It may be even longer than 25,000 years but that is the estimate in the Vedas - the book of knowledge. It is from that period that Vedic Dharma and all great religions have originated. Vedic religion has no founder. It did not begin at a specific time. It is the eternal religion. Religious leaders have been coming to this area since then to have some rest from the processes of the world and the psyche.

In the Vedas it is said that we pass though a cycle of 8.4 million species, taking about 35 million years, to have this human form. Today there are about 5.8 billion people on the face of the earth, which is nothing compared to all the other species, to all the fishes and the insects. Out of less that 6 billion people on the earth how many are there who need freedom? We are only a finger count. You represent your countries, gathered from all over the world for freedom. Out of your city or your state or even your country you will not find many who are here for satsang. And even out of these few who are here very few will be successful, because you come with a rope still tied to past attachments. With a rope still tied this is not satsang. When you draw water from a well, you throw the bucket into the well but you keep a rope in your hand to bring the bucket out. Even in satsang people keep ropes tied to concepts of the past. When we meditate together for 20 minutes judge for yourself how many minutes or even seconds are spent free from the past. It is for this reason that freedom is not available.

Freedom will happen when you outgrow all your desires and only then. You do not spend a second of your whole life on your own account, from your birth to your death. You were born for others, right from your birth. You belong to your parents; you are their child. Next you are baptized to this religion or that religion; you are possessed by a priest. You are told to go only in a certain direction; you are told to go to church. If you do you go to heaven, if you don't you go to hell. It is all based in fear. Where is religion without fear? If you take away fear and hell from any religion there is no religion left at all. They are founded in fear and hell. If you live in fear and hell, how can you be free?

You are never free of the past. Even here you are not willing to devote even one second to what this is about. Many people come to me in trouble. They say that they do not understand. They come from different backgrounds where they have been told to do this and that. Religions teach you to do this and that. Teachers preach to you to do this and that, but I do not call this a teacher; I call this a butcher. Anyone who tells you to do this or that is a butcher. He is destroying your life.

This is the time for you to be free. You have come here to remove your burden, but what is that burden? It is just the past. You have been carrying this past of 35 million years on your shoulders.

Freedom is Here and Now! It is to be found in the very second of your life span which you spend devoted to your own nature. You have not been told this before. Freedom is not the outcome of any exercise or of any sadhana that you have to perform. If it was it would be contained within that sadhana. How could that which is free be bound within your mind, within your sadhana?

I do not impose any such burdens on you. I only offer you this advice: When you come to satsang devote one second to find out who you are. You will have to steal this one second at some point from one birth or another. You have already spent 35 million years moving from species to species, and now you have arrived in the blessed temple. This is the temple of God.

Why not spend this one second in inquiry and see what happens? What is this one second that I speak about? It is satsang. What is satsang? Satsang is association with the Truth. And where is the truth to be found? To be truth it must be Eternal, it must be Omnipresent, it must be Omniscient. This is the very nature of truth. So where is the Truth to be found?

Let me offer you this hint. Wherever there is name and form; that is not the truth. Whatever has name and form begins and ends. And whatever begins and ends is not eternal, is not real, is not atman. You will have to search for the atman. To remain with the atman is satsang, to be in continuous association with the Atman as the atman itself. This will be accomplished by not doing anything; neither by thinking, nor by making any kind of effort at all, nor by postponing.

When I was a young man my friends used to say, "I will do this after my retirement." They used to tell me, "Poonjaji, you are still young. This is the time to earn money and save up for your rainy days. If you are spending all your money now like this, going to pilgrim places, going from saint to saint - if you don't even open a bank account, who will look after you in the evening of your life when you have retired?" But all those people who used to give me this advice are no longer alive! \

Association with the saints has paid me very well and I am very happy. I want to share with you what I have received. You are all here. I welcome you, so let us share together. Knowledge is the only thing which you cannot keep. You can hide wealth. Rich people with many bank accounts are all suffering. They have no place to hide their money; they are afraid of income taxes raids. Everyone is in fear. You only need to eat. You can't eat more than a certain amount or you will end up in hospital, so what is the use of accumulating a lot of money? The peace you are longing for you will find in satsang. Money will only bring you trouble when you try to accumulate it.

You will have to be wise, you have to work. I am not telling you to run away - you have to be active. Soldiers have done it even on the battlefield. Arjuna was a soldier. There were nine military divisions on each side and the war was about to begin, and who was his charioteer, his guru, his teacher? It was the Lord of the Universe himself, driving him. Arjuna pulled him out of the battle. He was lost and he received knowledge from Krishna in the midst of the battle.

This was a great battle fought in this part of India 7034 years ago. As a soldier he received this knowledge and he also won the war! Knowledge and war are not incompatible. If you first know yourself - know who you are - you have won the whole world. If you have not conquered you own self you will end up empty-handed despite your riches. Alexander the Great wanted to conquer the whole world and his tutor, a student of Socrates, told him first to conquer his own mind. Alexander did not listen and had the man arrested and thrown in jail. He went to conquer India. He met a great yogi, and before he died he realized his foolishness.

In satsang you will have to devote time to not touching the past or the future. This instant can be called satsang, but really it has no name. If you enter into this you will discover the nature of peace, which is known as shanti. You will discover the nature of Light, of Wisdom. This will be the end of all suffering for the whole world, the end of the cycle, the end of hitchhiking from womb to womb. This is in your hands. You are here and it does not take any time - it takes just a moment. And this moment has to be exactly now.

Whether it is now or next year or next birth doesn't matter. You have to return home. Everyone has to return home, all of us. Whenever it happens it will always be just now. It will always be the same moment - no moment - which gives you satsang, which indicates freedom, which is Here, Now. Freedom is already here.

The concept, "I am bound." is only a notion. The concept, "I have to become enlightened after retirement." is also a notion. Get rid of all these notions and you will return to this. This is called satsang. This will lead you to Freedom, to Moksham, to Liberation, to Emancipation, to the end of the cycle of birth and death. Do this here and now. Why postpone? The mind needs to postpone. This postponement is called mind. The mind is nothing but the past. Discard all these concepts and you are Free.

7 May, 1992

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Source: Reprinted with the kind permission of the Avadhuta Foundation.  The Avadhuta Foundation was established in 1993 to further the teachings of Sri H.W.L. Poonja, affectionately referred to as Papaji, and to make available the archives of Papaji’s talks in India. You may visit their website from here.