The Power of Satsang
Satsang: The Path to Salvation
श्रवणं कीर्तनं विष्णोः स्मरणं पादसेवनम्।
अर्चनं वन्दनं दास्यं सख्यमात्मनिवेदनम् ॥
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The first devotion in Navadha bhakti is Shravan. It means listening to the divine discourse, Katha, Kirtan, or anything which leads our attention toward the supreme power god. What we hear with our ears enters our hearts, and then we speak the same. If we will listen well, only good will come out of our mouths.
These are the few main benefits of listening to the Katha-
- Purification of conscience
- Exclusive devotion
- Love for devotees
- Desire less attitude
Desire Less Attitude
If the Katha is told and heard honestly, then there will be no desire to get anything from this materialistic world for both the teller and the listener.
If we are sitting to hear Katha, then first decide that we are not sitting here for entertainment or passing our time but, we are sitting for salvation.
Katha is a mirror that reflects our inner side which usually we don’t present to everyone. A mirror in which we can know how far we have reached on the path of salvation, the normal mirror only shows the colour of the outer form, and the Katha shows the inner feelings or who we are.
Purification of Conscience
Satsang or Katha is like a broom, sweeping dust from time to time makes everything clean, the same way sweeping your mind with Satsang regularly can keep your mind clear.
If we go out somewhere for a few days and on coming back, we see that when we went there all the windows and doors were closed, yet how did the dust come?
Similarly, if someone closes the doors of Satsang, dirt, and dust get accumulated inside him too.
so, listening to Katha every day is a must.
When we keep hearing about someone, then hearing about him, again and again, will create a love for him automatically.
In the same way, when we listen to Katha again and again, our devotion automatically awakens at the feet of God. Just like a person who is greedy for money, will never forget the money. the full day he will be thinking about money only. Likewise, listening to Katha regularly can be supportive to remember god.
Love for the Devotees
By listening to the Katha, our attitude toward the devotee of God also changes, they also seem dear to us like God.
Katha will develop not only love but it will also create kindness and politeness towards all creatures on this earth.
Story of Prahlad
Now, let me tell you a story of how Katha can change a demon clan’s child to one of the best devotees of the whole of mankind whose bhakti and faith example is given even today also. Prahlad the son of Hiranyakashipu was in the womb of his mother kayadhu. Indra kidnaps her, but he encountered Naradji, who persuaded him to release Kayadhu. Naradji took her to his ashram and instructed her to worship Bhagwan Vishnu. During her pregnancy, Naradji read scriptures describing Bhagwan Vishnu’s Lila charitras to her. The child in her womb, Prahlad, became absorbed in the devotion of Bhagwan Vishnu.
After Prahlad was born, Hiranyakashipu made several attempts to kill him because of his unflinching faith in Bhagwan Vishnu. Prahlad tried explaining the importance of performing devotion and worshiping God, but his father, evil in nature, could not understand the glory of God. Hiranyakashipu made several attempts to kill his son but none of them were successful.
Once, Prahlad was explaining the glory of the omnipresent God to his father Hiranyakashipu. He asked, “is your Vishnu present in everything?“ Prahlad reaffirmed that Bhagwan is everywhere. Hiranyakashipu asked, “Does your Vishnu reside in this pillar?“ Prahlad said with confidence “yes, he is” From the pillar, Bhagwan Vishnu manifested in the form of Narsingh Bhagwan, whose upper body was of a lion and lower body was of a man. Narsingh Bhagwan killed Hiranyakashipu and saved his beloved little Bhakta Prahlad. Narsingh Bhagwan gave Prahlad his blessings and crowned him as the king. so, this is the power of listening Katha. Even a demon kid who listens to Katha from his mother’s womb can become a great devotee, then why can’t we??
What to do?
Are we going to suffer as much as Prahlad had to if we do Satsang???, I think none of our parents would say no to taking the name of god. Then, why do we have trouble listening to Katha every day, having Satsang, and chanting the name of The Power of Satsang Shreeji Maharaj?
Piece of Coal to a Valuable Diamond.
At the time when Gunatitanand Swamiji was Mahant of Junagadh, many inquisitive from different parts of India were coming for Satsang and to listen to Swamiji’s Katha. Among them, Lodhika Darbar Abhaysinghji and Jinabhai, Darbar Amra khachar of Gadhada, Darbar Vagha khachar of Sarangpur, Shivalalbhai Seth of Botad, Lalabhai and Arjanbhai of Upleta, Kalyanbhai of Vanthali, Nathubhai Patel of Kariyani and many devotees spend their life with regular Satsang of Swamiji. even there were Muslims also coming. The famous Nawab Saheb of Junagadh and his Wazir Saheb also used to listen to Swamishri’s Katha frequently. Nawab Gajefarkhanji of Manavadar had specially invited Swamiji to build a temple in Manavadar and gave his livelihood to the temple.
like this, many people were coming especially for Swamiji’s Satsang and they became brahmarup and got Akshardham.
Now I will tell you how Gunatitanand Swami’s single Katha can change a piece of coal into a valuable diamond.
Once Swami was passing through the forest with a few saints and devotees, and they came across some dacoits with guns. They were a troop of Valera Varu. One of the devotees told Swamiji how cruel he is and how he robs every village and every marriage procession.
Swamiji told Valera “Please, be seated beside me, I wanted to talk to you.“ he sat there and patiently he was listening to Swamiji. After a few talks with Valera, Swamiji asked him why he is doing all this sinful, immoral, and unethical work. He told the story of how his mother left him when he was four years old, how his stepmother threw him out of their house and didn’t give him anything from his father’s property.
Swamiji asked him to be patient and not to indulge in violence. Swamiji gave him mala and told him to recite Swaminarayan mahamantra for seven days constantly and gave him blessings that he would get his part of the properties back within seven days. But Valera could not even count seven. So Swami tied seven knots in a string of kediya(coat) and told him to untie one knot every day at sunrise Swamiji blessed Valera and moved on. Then exactly on the seventh day Mamiya Varu (father of Valera Varu) called Valera his home and said, “please forgive me, I have done injustice to you I wanted to give you more property than you deserve.“
Valera realized that all is happening as a result of Swamiji’s blessings, his father asked him to follow the rules of their community and told him to be at his ancestral village Mansa to manage all his business and wealth.” but Valera made it clear to his father that “I got this all because Gunatitanand Swamiji and I have surrendered to Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan and I am going Junagadh to have Satsang of Gunatitanand Swamiji.“
Another glorious example of the ecstatic love towards Satsang and Katha was exhibited by King Parikshit when he was at the point of his death.
Although he was king of the whole world, he left it all to do Satsang from a true saint named Shukdevji. he appointed his son Janamejaya as king. he left his kingdom, his family, the people of his kingdom, and all the glory he has for the sake of listening to Katha.
He got a curse from Sage Shringi and he knew that he had only seven days left, on the seventh day the king of snake Takshak would come and bite him and he would die.
So, he thought about how to make optimum use of those seven days to improve this life and the life after death.
He set to listen to Katha until his last breath.
Likewise, we also should have regular Katha Shravan and Satsang of Divine saints of Bhagwan Shree Hari.