The significance of Sangha for a spiritual seeker

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Wisdom For Seekers


Sangha, or commune is very significant for one on a spiritual path. Almost everyone needs support, especially in contemporary society. To be under the influence where you can walk the path with integrity. If you are in the wrong type of ambiance, negative things can hit you. Sathsang means to be in commune with the truth.


Duration: 13 min


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The significance of Sangha for a spiritual seeker

The following is an unedited transcript of Sadhguru's video. For better readability, breaks and highlights have been added by the editors.

In the spiritual traditions, many spiritual tradition, always sangha or association, or to be in the right kind of company has always been a very important part of one’s growth. Because rarely are there human beings, just a small percentage, who irrespective of where they are, they will still stay on course. All other human beings need support. If they’re not in the right company, there’s very little chance of them doing the right things. Unfortunately, that’s a reality.

In the spiritual traditions, always sangha or association, has always been a very important part of one’s growth

It is not necessarily a misfortune because what this means is, they are open to influence. It is the responsibility of the social fabric to create the right atmosphere for every individual to grow towards what is beautiful for the individual, and for everybody else around him. But not always or rarely, societies conduct this responsibility, in the right sense. Because societies are not let, societies are allowed to go through a metamorphosis. Depending upon what is the influence, in that direction it grows.

I don’t know, I still don’t want to believe it – they’re telling me over eighty percent of the content on the internet is pornography. I still don’t want to believe that it is possible. But people who are in the know are telling me, “Sadhguru, that’s how it is.” That’s a sick world. Eighty percent is a sick world, not a healthy world.

With a weak sense of integrity, nobody is ever going to be spiritual

So to be under the right kind of influence, an influence which nurtures you towards your ultimate truth, an influence which gives you the necessary courage and strength to walk the path of integrity. Because with a weak sense of integrity, nobody is ever going to be spiritual. And this must be understood that for bad things to hit you, it need not necessarily be aimed at you. If you just happen to be in the wrong type of ambience, negative things can hit you.

That reminds me – two terrorists were preparing envelope bombs, postal bombs. After having done quite a few, one asked the other, “Have you filled enough, do you think we have filled enough RDX into the envelopes?” The other said, “Why don’t you open it and see?” He said, “Oh! It will explode, if I open it.” He said, “You fool, it’s not even addressed to you”. It need not be addressed to you. You open the wrong can, it’ll blow up in your face. This is so in the world. This is so within you.

There are lots of bins in your head. You open up the wrong bin, worms will crawl out. You open up another bin, fragrance will come out of it. Have you noticed yourself? Have you yourself noticed within you? If you open certain part of your mind, filth will come out. If you open another part of your mind, fragrance will come out. Have you not noticed?

To be conscious enough, to be in the right company so that filth will not be tolerated, so that you open up the fragrance within you, not the filth, is an important part of one’s growth. Because you don’t have to go looking for a gutter for filth, there is enough in your head, isn’t it? It is just that there is enough garbage in every place. There’s enough garbage in the ashram also, so many people living. I’m sure there’s enough filth. But we sit here with nice breeze and fragrance. We don’t go sit there, where there is filth.

The same goes within you. Within the geography of your body, there is filth and fragrance. Which one do you open up for yourself and everybody around you, that’s a big question. That takes a certain level of awareness and a certain company. This is why sathsang, to be in the company of truth – very important. If you go around the ashram, the geography of the ashram, there must be at least eight or ten very filthy tanks. These are called septic tanks, full of septic. If you every day go sit there, of course you will come to the conclusion Isha Yoga Center is the filthiest place on the planet. If you fall into it, Isha Yoga is the most horrible experience in your life. But you are not supposed to fall into that pit, you’re supposed to fall into this pit [teerthakund – consecrated water pool]. But you got the geography wrong, because you have a wrong history. Your karma is your history, isn’t it?

Shankaran Pillai decided he is going to be a robber, because none of his businesses were working, nobody was giving him a job. So, he decided he will go and rob somebody. So, he got himself a country-made gun. Late night he walked into a 7-11 shop, pointed the gun at the clerk who was there and said, “Give me the money or you are geography.” The clerk said, “Well! What you mean is history, isn’t it?” “Shut up. Don’t try to change the subject”. No, we are not talking about different subjects. There’s only one subject that’s you. But you can either fall in this pit or that pit. That will be your experience of life.

Sathsang means just that – communion with truth

So, to fall into the right place, it’s a certain talent. You have to grow into it. You have to mature into it. You always know how to be in the right place. In a way, sathsang means just that – communion with truth. Or, you’re making a, building a relationship with truth. If you’re in the company of truth, your interiority is pleasant. If your interiority is pleasant, naturally pleasant things come towards you, and you will also have a tendency to move towards pleasant things. If you make your interiority unpleasant, you will attract unpleasant things, and you will also move towards unpleasant things.

In the ashram, when you get a depression, where do you go and sit? But don’t swim in the septic tank because you’re in a bad mood. But usually this is the tendency. When you’re in a bad mood, you will seek five other people who are in a bad mood. No, no – when you are in a bad mood, you must seek five people who are in a good mood, isn’t it? No, no, but that’s not the way. When you’re in a black mood you will seek five other people who are in the same mood, isn’t it? That’s just like going to the septic tank for a swim because you’re depressed. Wrong way to handle life, that’s all. I am not saying you should not do it. Just not in your favour, that’s all. It is just that you have become so self-sufficient, you don’t need any enemies any more in your life. That’s lot of self-sufficiency.

To keep physiological cleanliness and psychological cleanliness is the first thing – otherwise, spirituality will be a battle

So, spiritual process is another thing. To keep physiological cleanliness and psychological cleanliness is the first thing. Otherwise, spirituality will be a battle. It will not be, you know, fragrance of a jasmine upon the spring breeze. No. It will be an uphill task, a battle, all the time a battle. Lot of people experience their life particularly their spiritual life, as a battle because they do not maintain some fundamental discipline about the geography of their body, and the geography of their psychological space. If these two things are not managed, everything will be a battle. Now, you happen to claim that you’re spiritual, so that will also be a battle. That’s the only way life can be.

So, sathsang means to make friends with truth. Truth is your friend, not falsehood. You start at whichever level of truth you know. You don’t have to start at the ultimate truth, you cannot. However you understand truth, you start with that. You understand truth as, let’s say, speaking truth. Please start with that. You understand truth as being gentle to everything around you. You start with that. It doesn’t matter where you start. Whichever way you understand truth, you start from that and see how to take a step every day.

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