(Understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talk to Yuva Veers of Youth Empowerment Program 6th batch)
Verse 9: From Satsang (company of good people) comes detachment. From detachment comes freedom from delusion. From freedom from delusion comes abidance in the Truth. From abidance in the Truth comes liberation in life.
Verse 13: In all the three worlds, company of the good people (Satsang) is the only boat that can take you across.
Verse 27: Lead the mind to the company the wise / seekers.
To reach certain places, there are different routes. But there are some places to which there is only one way that can lead us there.
The meaning of Satsang does not limit to association with good people. It has a broader sense. It refers to whatever aspects we connect to in our lives. Right from the food we eat, air we breathe, water we consume, locality we live in, our school, country, friends, TV programs that we watch, types of books we read, kind of music we like to listen to, types of discussions we engage in, etc.
As the thoughts, so the mind. As the mind, so the man. As the man, so the world.
As long as the quality of thoughts does not improve, neither the mind nor man nor the world can improve. What decides the quality of the mind? It’s like asking the colour of fire. If we look at camphor burning, we can see different shades of yellow, orange, brown and black in it. Fireworks produce different kinds of colours depending on the material used in it. Colour of fire is different produced by a welding machine. So is the case with fire produced by kerosene or LPG stove. Hence, we can say that the colour of the fire is determined by the object that is burnt. Similarly, the quality of mind is determined by the thoughts we entertain which again is depends upon that which we provide ourselves as food for thought.
Mahabharata war was the result of Duryodhana’s greed. But what was the cause of Duryodhana’s greed? He was strong. His father was the king. He had all power and wealth. Still he always felt insecure. This sense of insecurity was there in Dhritharashtra also. And the cause of this, if we analyse, was Shakuni. Shakuni’s intention was not the killing of Pandavas. When Bheeshma asked Gandhari’s hand for Dhritharashtra, Shakuni felt deeply insulted. He thought, his beautiful sister could have got a handsome and able king but now she has to marry a blind man. From that time, his mind will full of revenge towards the Kuru dynasty. His aim was the destruction of Dhritharashtra, Duryodhana and every other Kuru. Keeping that wretched thinking in mind, he kept pouring negative thoughts into Dhritharashtra’s and Duryodhana’s mind. He kept reminding Dhritharashtra again and again how helpless he was being a blind man. Shakuni was successful in his ill-plans of instilling low self-esteem in both the father and son. The whole war was a result of Duryodhana’s bad company with Shakuni.
Most of the anti-social elements have come up from the slums. Why is it that it doesn’t happen that way from a locality near the temples? The family value system of Americans is very weak. The children there don’t respect their parents very much. In the teenagers of USA, there is so much drug, alcohol and sex-abuse. Why is it that we don’t see that culture in countries like India or Japan?
Wherever we see that majority of the people are not engaged in good actions or don’t have a proper value system, the whole society rots. If we are not in association with the good, we become a victim to our own negative actions that are a result of our negative thoughts. Thus we become slaves of our own desires of the mind and we lose the freedom to choose our actions.
As Swami Chinmayananda pointed out – Not to do what you feel like doing is true freedom. Apparently, it looks like a confusing statement. We think, freedom is doing something what we feel like doing. That is only freedom from the outside world. But are we free from our own minds? Satsang is the way where we can train our mind and keep it under our control and gain Freedom in the Truest sense.