Circular Letter #4 by Sant Kirpal Singh, issued December 1956
This circular letter includes the basic guidelines laid down by the Master for conducting Satsang meetings. Many of the specific injunctions, however, have been modified or clarified by the Master in later writings, particularly “How to Develop Receptivity (Circulars 1-5)” which should be studied carefully in connection with this circular.
Satsang, as the term implies, is association with Sat or Truth. Satsang meetings should therefore be exclusively devoted to the discourses on Sat, which in its broader connotation includes talks on God, Soul, Word, the relation between Soul and God on the one hand, and Soul and the Universe on the other, the God-Way or the path of God-realization, and the Godman or Spiritual Master, what He is, His need and importance, and His teachings. It also includes discourses on allied topics like ethical life, love, faith, compassion, and all that which makes way for the healthy and progressive development of Divine Life leading to efflorescence of spirit in cosmic awareness.
The Purpose Of Satsang
It must always be borne in mind that the actual awakening of the spirit is the work of the Master Power overhead. The talks and discourses are just like refresher courses which may help in the proper understanding of Sant Mat, or the teachings of the Master, on the intellectual level; for theory precedes practice. Both the initiates and non-initiates derive immense benefit from such talks. In these congregations, universal truths are brought home to all alike. A spirit of universal brotherhood on the broad basis of human beings as the children of one Supreme Father is inculcated, so as to link all with the silken bonds of love and amity. For the initiates, these talks serve as cementing factors on the Path, clarify doubts and misapprehensions, if any; and for the non-initiates, ground is prepared for an inner search which may stimulate the inquisitive mind and help the individuals in their innate craving for a Way out.
The Highway of the Masters has been, is, and ever shall remain the same for one and all. It is secular in character and everyone, whosoever, can tread it. There are no turnpike gates of religion, faith, caste, color, creed, nationality or avocation. All are welcome to it, even though retaining their distinctive religious organizations, social modes of life, and use of national language, etc., for the spirit or soul in man is above them all and remains unaffected by outer pursuits.
Satsang Apart From Rituals
The “Science of Soul” is just like any other science, but more exact, more natural, more lasting, and the oldest of all the sciences. It is the Science of Realized Truth directly connected with the soul in man, and should therefore be kept distinct and apart from rites and rituals, forms and ceremonials; the performance or observance of which keeps one tied down to the plane of the senses, and as such must be strictly eschewed. Our discourses and talks in Satsang should be confined only to explaining the Science itself in lucid terms, without any outer embellishment like lighting of candles, burning of incense, offering of flowers, tinkling of bells, exhibiting photographs and the like. Even though these may appear innocent and harmless in themselves, yet the seekers after Truth are likely to go astray by such symbolisms and forms, and may get entangled and lost.
Subject And Scope Of Satsang
For the subject of a talk, we may take up the hymns from any scripture, preferably from the Masters of the Sound Current. It may be supplemented by apt quotations from the parallel writings of other Master Saints. The Holy Gospels themselves are full of such material as may fit in with such a context. The illustrations from various Masters are essential so as to bring out the essential unity in the teachings of all the Saints. We should not, however, discuss the practical part of the Science.
Again, the subject itself should be of a non-controversial type. It must strictly refer to the Spiritual Science. Its exposition should be couched in terms that are loving and create a fragrant atmosphere which may have a universal appeal to the audience, without hurting the feelings of anyone. At the conclusion of the talk there should be no questions and answers in the open congregations. It should not form a debating club. If anyone has to inquire anything or wants elucidation on any particular point, that can be done more happily in private. The thistles of doubt and misapprehensions, if any, have to be weeded out with a tender hand, and nobody should be allowed to remain in suspense, for clearing of the mental ground is absolutely necessary before sowing the seed of Naam.
The Satsang should end with meditation for some time, say half an hour, in which all should take part, except for an urgent and unavoidable reason.
( Note: In His Circular Letters 1-5 “How to develop Receptivity”, Sant Kirpal Singh modified this advise, so initiates and sincere seekers rather should sit in meditation before Satsang. )
Love And Service The Basis Of Satsang
The work of Satsang should be conducted in a dignified spirit of love and service. Our thoughts, words and deeds should radiate nothing but love and sweetness. As “Service‘” precedes the “Science”, our motto should be “Service before self.” We cannot adequately advance the interests of any science, far less that of the Science of Realized Truth, unless we are prepared to devote our heart and soul in its service, like a worshipful votary. The Science will make headway of itself if we are true to ourselves and truly offer to serve it.
In case of disagreement on any important issue among the workers themselves, it is better to immediately refer the matter to the Master for his decision, instead of indulging in controversies that ruffle the feelings, cause unnecessary tensions, and lead to unpleasant rifts. It is all the Master’s work and he knows best how to guide and straighten out things. With friendly love, we can win over even the dissidents to the Great Cause, and avoid defections. Love can surmount all obstacles and is a veritable cure for all the ills of the world. The necessity for love cannot therefore be over-emphasized in the service of the Master’s Cause.
Extracts From Hazur’s Letters
“It is very beneficial for the Satsangis to meet with each other; it promotes their love and faith towards each other and the Holy Master; it also gives stimulus to the spiritual exercises. It helps to clear the doubts and difficulties of other Satsangis. Combined Satsang serves a useful purpose. It gives an opportunity for exchange of ideas. The Satsang time is especially valuable in this: that it increases love for the Master. In a large Satsang there are some advanced Satsangis also who speak from their personal experiences, and this helps in developing faith in others who may come into contact with them.”
“Karmas may be physical as well as mental. The gross karmas are washed out by means of external methods such as Satsang, reading of good books, as well as by the company of the Master; while subtle karmas are removed by internal Sound Practice. Initiation is sowing of the seed, which needs the water of Satsang and concentration for sprouting, while love and faith are necessary for its growth.”
“Meetings with the members will benefit them greatly. Meet them all with love and affection, such that even a dry, withered heart takes courage and flourishes.”
A few words about individual meditation will not be amiss here. A daily and regular practice of the three Sadhnas or disciplines — viz., Simran, Dhyan, and Bhajan — as enjoined by the Master, is of the utmost importance to achieve results. A disciple must do his or her part of the job and the Master does his. It is for him or her to sit and do the Sadhnas in an atmosphere conducive to progress, with a sweet remembrance of the Master. He or she is not to presuppose things or visualize results, for those will follow of their own accord. We have but to sit in loving remembrance, with steady gaze fixed in between and behind the two eyebrows, and do mental repetition of the Five Holy Words, without any exertion or strain on the eyes or on the forehead. Ours is to be an attitude of passivity, for the Doer is One and only One: the Master, who is the best judge of the time and measure and manner of each step on the Path.
Initiation — Recording Of Inner Experiences
Last but not least, I may add that the human memory is very short-lived and in moments of weakness one, under the pressure of ever-assertive ego, is prone to forget the invaluable boon the Master confers, and perhaps begins to think that the spiritual results achieved are of one’s own doing, or due to over-zealousness and over-active imagination. At times one, for lack of practice, either does not make progress or, in the mighty and irresistible whirl of the world, loses contact with the Word and begins to forget the great benefit conferred upon him or her at the time of Initiation.
To guard against all such lapses, it is considered necessary that, in the future, each of the initiates should, at the time of Initiation, be required to record in his or her own hand, the actual inner experience gained, both as to Light and Sound principles. The manifestation from within of these principles, by helping the individual spirit to rise above body consciousness, is the task of the Master; and it is the paramount duty of the disciples to develop the same by day to day practice — the injunction in this behalf being, “Take heed therefore that the Light which is in thee be not darkness!”
The disciples should therefore be encouraged to wholeheartedly devote some time to the practice of spiritual disciplines; maintain regular diaries for introspection, showing lapses in daily life and conduct, the endeavors made and the results gained thereby; and they should be sent regularly, after every three months, for the inspection of the Master so that he may extend all feasible help and guide us on the Path. If an initiate has any difficulty or doubts, he or she should refer them directly to the Master, as and when needed, instead of discussing with others who are as ignorant as he or she is, and making the confusion worse confounded.
Standing at the crossroads of Time, we must make a firm resolve to do better from day to day; at least from the New Year’s Day that beckons us on with a promise of rosy dawn. As there are landmarks on earth, so there are landmarks in Time. The past and future are like sealed books to us: the one is in the limbo of oblivion, while the other is in the womb of uncertainty. It is only the Living Present that is ours, and we must make the best use of it, ere it slips away through the fingers and is lost forever.
Human birth is a great privilege and offers us a golden opportunity. It is for us to make or mar the same, for it is given to each individual to forge his or her own destiny as best he may.
With lots of love and hearty best wishes to you all for a bright and Happy New Year.