The word satsang is the combination of the two words sat and sanga. Sat means existence absolute, which is the essential nature of Brahman, the permanent among all that changes, the only reality that upholds the world of appearance. Sanga literally means company or union. To be always in the company of the Lord, or to be established in Brahman, is the literal meaning of the word satsang. However, as long as ignorance remains, the direct realization of Brahman is impossible, but when ignorance is destroyed by wisdom, one's real nature reveals itself. This is the highest satsang.
Satsang, or the company of the wise, removes darkness and impurity of the heart, leads one to the divine path and causes the divine light to shine in one's heart.
Swami Sivananda Saraswati
In 2012, Swami Niranjanananda's Yogadrishti Satsang Series entered its third year of monthly satsangs.
In the first Satsang Series of 2012, Swami Niranjan described the progressive involvement of yoga in the life of an aspirant: first of all one is a practitioner, then one becomes a sadhak, later on one leads a yogic lifestyle, which ultimately contributes to the creation of a yogic culture.
Throughout the period of the Satsang Series, the yoginis from the Lalita Mahila Samajam Ashram, Thirueengoimalai, Tamil Nadu, conducted havan and the ancient, sacred Sri Vidya pooja in the Yajnashala.
During this Satsang Series, the morning satsangs were held at Baidyanatheshwar Shankarbagh (Shivalaya) where Swami Niranjan spoke in Hindi and in the evenings he gave satsang in English at Ganga Darshan and Paduka Darshan. Swamiji explained the teachings of Sri Krishna on the battlefield, which enabled Arjuna to deal with his depression. Swamiji provided a fresh new perspective on the understanding of the Bhagavad Gita, as he enumerated the yogic sadhanas that lie hidden within the text.
During Chaitra Navaratri, the morning satsangs were held in English at Ganga Darshan and the afternoon satsangs in Hindi in the two temples in Munger dedicated to Devi, Chandisthan and Dashbhujisthan Mandir.
In Yoga Vasishtha, Sage Vasishtha instructs Rama on how to overcome his depression and engage in the world, while remaining unaffected by it. Swamiji dealt with the subject in a clear, step-by-step approach, making it easy to comprehend and applicable to the lives of all. He described the four guards at the gates to heaven, which are peace, reflection, contentment and satsang. It is the task of the aspirant to befriend these guards, and if any one is befriended the other three will follow suit.
From 23rd to 31st March, Chaitra Navaratri was observed at Ganga Darshan with the chanting of Rama Gayatri and Devi stotras. Havan was performed every evening.
On 1st April, Ramnavami was observed with the chanting of stotras dedicated to Rama.
Swami Niranjan spoke on the topic of saurya tantra, a relatively unknown aspect of the tantric science. Swamiji began the discourses with a description of the propagators and practitioners of saurya tantra throughout the ages, including Karna and Sri Swami Satyananda. He explained the philosophy of saurya tantra through mythological stories, science and symbolism. Swamiji elaborated on the practices of saurya tantra and the sadhanas that the different categories of practitioners can undertake.
This satsang series was dedicated to Ganesha. In the morning, the BYMM children conducted the pooja and led the chanting of stotras, bhajan and kirtan. The afternoon sessions were in English with stotras and kirtan led by the sannyasa trainees, and havan performed by the BYMM children.
Swamiji introduced the topic with an account as well as a slide show of his yatra to Mount Kailash in June.
On the first two days, the significance of Ganesha's birth and form as well as the symbols associated with him were explained. The following two days were devoted to describing Ganesha sadhana and aradhana as found in the vedic and tantric texts.
Swamiji initiated 53 aspirants into mantra, 17 into jignasu, 5 into karma sannyasa and one aspirant into poorna sannyasa.
Swami Niranjan introduced one of the most esoteric and academic branches of tantra – the pancharatra tantra. He spoke about the origins of this tantra, revealed by Lord Shiva to Narada, the celestial bard, and went on to elucidate the different aspects: the philosophy behind it, the progression of thought and the recommended practices. Swamiji discussed practical ways in which the essence of these ideas and philosophy can be incorporated and applied in one's daily life so that one can rise above the mundane while actively engaging with the world.
Morning sessions were in English and in the afternoon Swamiji's Hindi satsang was held in the two temples in Munger: Chandisthan and Dashbhujisthan Mandir. At both places stotras and kirtans were led by the BYMM children. Swamiji spoke about the importance of following one's dharma and how to develop the awareness of the abiding presence of divine grace which pervades our lives.
From 16th to 24th October, the Ashwin Navaratri sadhana began with the early morning Katyayani havan in the Akhara, followed by a mid-morning session of mantra sadhana. Mantras and stotras dedicated to Devi were chanted and the session concluded with beautiful and uplifting kirtans. The evening sadhana was held in the Akhara with havan and chanting of mantras, stotras and kirtans, dedicated to Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, the three primary forms of Devi.
On 19th and 20th, the evening sadhana was conducted at Paduka Darshan. Ma Ganga and the setting sun were a perfect backdrop for havan and mantra, stotra chanting and kirtan. There was an international flavour to the worship with a recital of Ave Maria, a devotional offering to the Divine Mother in the western classical tradition, and an enjoyable interlude of music and dance from Hawaii. At Paduka Darshan, Swamiji initiated 48 aspirants into mantra, 17 into jignasu and 10 into karma sannyasa.
Swami Niranjan spoke on the nine different acharas, codes of conduct, prescribed by the tantras as an integral part of the spiritual journey. In order to move ahead on the spiritual path the aspirant must follow a sequence of three bhavas, or natures of man, through the practice of the acharas. These nine acharas have within them elements of the different branches of yoga – hatha, bhakti, dhyana, laya, nada, kundalini – along with clearly prescribed steps in regard to one's social and family interactions as well as the higher esoteric practices on the internal spiritual journey.
Swamiji dispelled many incorrect interpretations of these conducts and explained the true purpose of these practices, and how they can be incorporated into one's life.
Swamiji gave, as the undeniable proof of the veracity of these acharas, the example of Sri Swamiji's life. Sri Swamiji went through all these phases with perfection and his whole life stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration to spiritual aspirants the world over.
On 10th November, Swamiji initiated 15 aspirants into mantra, 5 into jignasu and 7 into karma sannyasa.