Satsang in Advaita Vedanta | Structure, Aim, and Spiritual Benefits

Published: Oct 31, 2023
Edited by: Team TB

Satsang and Advaita Vedanta

Satsang is a well-known phenomenon in the world of Advaita Vedanta, notably in contemporary Neo-Advaita circles. Nonetheless, Satsang is not only given (or attended to) in the Advaita world, but an event carried out in various Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Tibetan, and other religious and philosophical lineages.

The activity of Satsang basically involves the gathering of an audience — the disciples, devotees, students, and/or laymen — with a Guru (also called the Satguru i.e. Sadguru), that is, with an enlightened (or awakened) spiritual teacher whose life’s purpose is to guide others on the spiritual path and the realization of the True Self.

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The word Satsang comes from the Sanskrit Satsanga, which is a concatenation of the two words Sat and Sanga. The word Sat we know from the phrase Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being-Consciousness-Happiness), which in the context of Satsang means “being,” “existing,” “virtuous,” “right,” “proper,” “good,” “real,” “essential,” and/or “true.”

The word Sanga means “coming together,” “joining,” “meeting,” “association,” “company,” “contact,” or “friendly intercourse,” among other but rather similar meanings.

In general, the complete phrase Satsang (or Satsanga) is interpreted i.e. translated as “association with the good,” “being with the wise,” “good and true connection,” “a group gathering for the truth,” or “being with the truth.” It’s thought that participating in Satsanga and “sitting at the feet of the true Master” benefits the spiritual upliftment and eventual spiritual awakening of the student (i.e. disciple).

In any case, during the Advaitic Satsang meeting various activities can take place, typically consisting of Yogic instruction, questions and answer sessions, chanting, mantra recitation, spiritual discourse, playing music, meditation, and/or sitting together in silence.

Satsangs, which may be open to anyone who wants to join or — by contrast — only available for a private group of people, may be held every week, every month, or on any other (regularly) scheduled occasion, and may each take a few hours to a complete day or even longer. Some Satsangs are held on a basis of a voluntary financial donation, but others may have a fixed price set for attendance.

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