If you are new to this studio, if you brought your friend, your mum, your lover or your kid along to Satsang week at Camelot there’s every chance you’ve mentally short cut the formula as Satsang = Me + 1. It is that. And it’s so much more. The formula is actually Satsang = All + Truth.
Traditionally Satsang is a gathering of devotees in the company of a guru or teacher to receive, share and experience the highest truth. Satsang is not worship per se rather “giving” without attachment to “getting”. It is giving for the joy of creating, extending and nurturing a community of likeminded/hearted people.
Even if we take the term Satsang literally there will be multiple ways of interpreting it. This is often the case with ancient and traditional rituals or teachings. We must be able to evolve and interpret the original without losing its authenticity, yet at the same time make it accessible to our current experiences and needs.
Let’s face it, if you came along this week as the plus one, and had experienced a gathering of chanting enthusiasts, listening to a loin clothed guru with a plaited beard wax on about spiritual enlightenment, well there’s every chance you’d consider it odd. In fact you might even reconsider your relationship to the person who brought you along in the first place. Perhaps “cult” would run through your mind. This form of Satsang is practiced in many cultures and communities; we could say all religions practice a form of Satsang: Sunday Mass (anyone?), if we see it simply as a gathering of people to receive the highest truth.
So how does this Satsang relate to you and your experience coming to yoga as the + 1 or the inviter? Consider this quote from the book Value Based Wellness by S. Srinivasan (2005)
“…. strong individuals associate only with those who have acquired and cultivated positive mindsets and energy fields around them. This is the essence of the Indian concept "satsang"…… an act of synergizing with others in order to fortify and multiply 'sattvic' and positive traits"
Compare to this excerpt/translation from a poem by Shri Adi Shankaracharya an 8 Century philosopher.
"Good and virtuous company gives rise to non-attachment. From non-attachment comes freedom from delusion. With freedom from delusion, one feels the changeless reality. Experiencing that changeless reality, one feels, 'I am not the body and mind, although I have a body and mind'. "
We can see how despite being written in settings more than a thousand years apart, these quotes have threads of similarity in the truths they offer.
Thus Satsang week at Camelot is an opportunity to grow our community, to share in the joy and truth we find in yoga. We come together (gather) in our studio to take part in a practice that helps us access our inner truth. During our practice we move inward but our energy is shared and exchanged with our community. The teacher (guru) leads us through the practice with their knowledge and wisdom. We are therefore gathering in a sacred space to share and extend our community, to access and assimilate the highest truth through the practice of yoga.
And you thought it was just + 1 week.
Namaste Rhy xx
Note: the following texts were helpful in writing this post, for further reading check out these links:
Value Based Wellness - For The Service Sector Executive By S Srinivasan (p.63)