Swami Chidananda says, “Satsanga is the very salt of life. The power of Satsanga is indescribable. In Satsanga alone you begin to see clearly, think clearly and know things clearly. Satsanga gradually dispels the Avichara and Aviveka. It gives you insight into the real nature of the fleeting phenomenon of this world. It creates in you the sense of reality of God. It brings about dawn of discrimination. The beginning of wisdom is only to be got in Satsangas. Satsanga takes you into an inner quietness, where restlessness subsides and peace prevails. Satsanga gives you new understanding and opens your eyes to your former follies and errors. It throws light upon the path leading to wisdom and perfection. Satsanga is a boat to take you across the ocean of Samsaric existence to the far shore of Immortality and Eternal Blessedness. Satsanga is God’s gift to believing mankind”.
Sri Krishna says, in the Srimad Bhagavatam to Uddhava,
“I am not so easily attainable by Yoga, Sankhya or discrimination, Dharma, study of the Vedas, Tapas, renunciation, liberal gifts, charitable acts, rites such as Agnihotra, fasts, vows, Yajnas, secret Mantras, resort to pilgrimages, Yamas, Niyamas (moral rules), as Satsanga (company of Sadhus) which puts an end to all attachments.
It is only by association with the wise and the righteous, that many who were of a Rajasic or Tamasic nature—such as Vritra, son of the sage Twashtri, Prahlada, the Daityas, the Asuras and the Rakshasas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nagas, Siddhas, Charanas, Guhyakas and Vidhyadharas, many beasts and birds, and among mankind Vaishyas, Sudras, women and outcastes who are the lowest by birth—have attained Me.
Vrishaparva, Bali, Bana, Maya, Vibhishana, Sugriva, Hanuman, Jambavan the bear, Gajendra the elephant, Jatayu the vulture, Tuladhara the merchant, Dharmavyadha the fowler, Kubja the hunchbacked perfume-seller, the Gopis in Vraja, the wives of the Brahmanas engaged in sacrifices in Brindavan and others—all these did not study the Vedas, did not sit at the feet of great men of learning for the sake of knowledge, they did not observe any vows or fasts, they did not perform Tapas but they attained Me through the association with saints and Sadhus”.
Through love alone, developed through the company of saints, the Gopis, and even the cows, trees, beasts, serpents, and others of dull-witted nature, became perfected and easily attained Me whom one does not attain by making great endeavours through Yoga or Sankhya, charity, vows, Tapas, sacrifices, teaching and study of the Vedas or renunciation. When I was taken by Akrura to Mathura with Balarama, the Gopis, with their hearts given to Me through intense devotion, were greatly afflicted at heart on account of My separation. Nothing but Me could give them any delight or interest. For the Gopis, those very nights which they spent like a moment with Me their most beloved one, while at Brindavan, became to them, in My absence, like Yugas. With their hearts and minds fixed on Me, through intense love and attachment, they were not conscious of their bodies or their relatives or what was near or at a distance, just as sages do not know names and forms in the state of Samadhi or superconscious condition like the rivers merged in the waters of the ocean.
The ignorant Gopis, who were not aware of My real nature as Supreme Brahman took Me as their beloved paramour and yet they attained Me, the Supreme Brahman, by hundreds and thousands, through the power of Satsanga or holy association. Therefore, O Uddhava, abandon injunctions and prohibitions, the course of Pravritta Karma and Nivritta Karma, which is yet to be studied or what is already studied, rise above the rules and counter-rules. Care not for Srutis or Smritis, for biddings and forbiddings. Take refuge in Me alone whole-heartedly and with all devotion—the Atman of all beings. Thou shalt have no fear from any quarter from any cause or causes.
The Lord said: “This Paramatman, who gives life to all, is manifest in the Chakras or centres of the spinal column. He has entered the Muladhara Chakra with the Prana and the subtlest form of sound (Para). After passing through less subtle forms, such as Pasyanti, Madhyama, what are perceptible to the mind only, He at last comes out as very gross sound (Vaikhari) consisting of syllable, pitch and letter, Matra (measures), Svara (accents), and Varna (letters of the alphabet).”
[Note: Articulation is the last and grossest expression of divine sound energy. The highest manifestation of sound energy, the primal voice, the divine voice is Para. The Para voice becomes the root ideas or germ thoughts. It is the first manifestation of voice. In Para the sound remains in an undifferentiated form. Para, Pasyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari are the various gradations of sound. Madhyama is the intermediate unexpressed state of sound. Its seat is heart.The seat of Pasyanti is navel or the Manipura Chakra. Yogis, who have subtle inner vision, can experience the Pasyanti state of word which has colour and form; which is common for all languages and which has the vibratic homogeneity of sound. Indians, Europeans, Americans, Japanese, birds, beasts, all experience the same Bhavana of a thing in the Pasyanti state of voice or sound. Gesture is a sort of mute subtle language. It is one and the same for all persons. Any individual of any country will make the same gesture by holding his hand in his mouth in a particular manner when he is thirsty. As one and the same power or Sakti, working through the ears become hearing, through the eyes become seeing, and so forth, the same Pasyanti assumes different, forms of sound when materialised. The Lord manifests Himself through His Mayaic power, first as Para Vani in the Muladhara Chakra; then materialises Himself as Pasyanti in the Manipura Chakra at the navel, then as Madhyama in the heart and then eventually as Vaikhari in the throat and mouth. This is the divine descent of His voice. All the Vaikhari is His voice only. It is the voice of Virat Purusha.
Just as fire exists in the wood as latent heat, which through vigorous friction manifests as a spark with the help of the wind, then as small flame and finally as a big blazing fire through oblation of ghee, so is my manifestation in the form of speech. The heat corresponds to the Para Vani, the spark to the Pasyanti, the small flame to the Madhyama and the big blazing fire to the Vaikhari or audible form of sound.]
Thus the speech is My manifestation. Action, motion, excretion, smelling, tasting, seeing, touching, heating, cogitation, knowledge, the faculties of desire or will, discrimination, judgment, identification, Sutra or the cosmic intelligence or energy, the modifications of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas—all these are similarly My manifestations.
This Isvara is one, unmanifested or undifferentiated in the beginning. But as He is the resort or support of the three Gunas, as He is the cause of the lotus of the universe, He becomes differentiated in time and appears as many, just as a seed thrown into the earth produces many offshoots and exhibits many forms.
Just as a piece of cloth exists in threads, so also this universe rests on the Atman as Its warp and woof. This tree of Samsara is a very old one without a beginning. Activity is its nature. It produces flowers (Karma) and fruits (i.e., enjoyment) and Moksha (the fruits of Karma). It has got two seeds (virtue and vice), a hundred roots (countless desires), three trunks (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) and eleven minor branches (the ten organs and the mind); it yields five kinds of essence (sound, touch, form, taste and smell); it has a nest for the two birds (Jiva and Paramatman), three barks; (the three humours Vatha (wind), Pitta (bile), Sleshma (phlegm) or the nervous, bilious and phlegmatic temperaments; and two fruits (pleasure and pain) and extends up to the Sun. He who goes beyond the Sun’s sphere is not subject to rebirth.
The vultures living in villages (Gridhras i.e., the greedy householders who are attached to domestic life) eat one of the fruits i.e., misery; those who live in the forest (Sannyasins) and who are full of discrimination and wisdom and hence called Hamsas (swans) eat the other i.e., enjoy the eternal bliss of the Atman. He who, through the favour of his Guru, knows the one Lord as becoming many through Maya, knows the Truth and understands the Vedas.
With the axe of knowledge sharpened by the one-pointed devotion acquired by the service and worship of the Guru, do thou calmly and steadily cut asunder this tree of Samsara and on attaining Paramatman do thou lay down thy weapon i.e., stop your endeavour to attain Self-realisation.
What is the need to attain Moksha?
Swami Sivananda, “To understand this you should resort to Satsang and study of scriptures. An intellect that is clouded by all sorts of desires and evil Samskaras will not be able to grasp even the need for Moksha. Such an intellect is Asuric. Read the Gita. Attend Satsang. Listen to the discourses of saints and Sannyasins. Then Viveka will arise in you. You will understand that this world is full of pain and sorrow. The bungalow, the motor-car, the little position and the small salary that you are having now will not then satisfy you. Your aspirations will grow. You will want to liberate yourself.
“What great labour goes into the preparation of the microscope lens? After a lot of grinding only you are able to peep into the beyond. Similarly, after a lot of study and Satsang only will your intellect even think of the Beyond.”
“By Satsang, by repeating the Lord’s Name, doing Kirtan, hearing Kathas, reading the Ramayana, Bhagavata and the lives of Bhaktas— Bhakta Vijayam and Bhakta Lilamrita— Vishnu Sahasranama, Narada Bhakti Sutras and Sandilya Sutras. You must develop Vairagya. This is important. Live amidst Bhaktas. Live in Ayodhya. Respect Rama Nama. You will develop Rama Bhakti. Live in Brindavan. Study Bhagavata. Do Japa of the Dvadasakshara Mantra, “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya”. You will develop Krishna Bhakti.”