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Saadh Sangat

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by arshi, Oct 2, 2009.

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  1. arshi

    arshi United Kingdom
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    SAADH SANGAT


    (Rajinder Singh ‘Arshi’)


    Literally saadh sangat means a gathering (congregation) of saintly persons. The main objective of the congregation is to meditate on Naam and also seek the Truth. Regular meditation will lead to self-realisation and enlightenment. The actual process of this activity is sometimes referred to as sat sangat (a gathering of persons in search of Truth).

    saadhsang mil naam dhiaavahu pooran hovai ghaalaa (Sorath M: 5 – SGGS 617).

    Meditate on the name of the Lord (Naam) in the company of the Holy and the Lord will reward your efforts.

    In Sikhism the concept of saadh sangat is crucial to the process of developing humility as achieving self-realisation is impossible without it. Humility has to be nurtured. This is done by constant adherence to Shabad Gurbani and the company of gurmukhs (persons attuned to Guru’s teachings). You cannot meet gurmukhs in pubs and clubs. This is why saadh sangat is so crucial for the road to self-realisation and moksha (spiritual liberation, freedom from the cycle of life and death – transmigration).

    It is essential that a seeker of self-realisation and enlightenment meets people who will facilitate his progress towards this goal. He will want to meet noble souls who will create self-awareness as to the real purpose of this mortal life, a yearning to immerse his soul in the ambrosial pool of Shabad Gurbani. You do not easily come across such people in ordinary walks of life. A special effort has to be made to develop an inner eye to recognise noble souls whose mere sight will banish ‘manmukhta (wayward inclinations of the mind).

    The sight of those who banish my evil-mindedness are my true friends. I have searched the whole world; O servant Nanak, how rare are such persons! (M:5 - SGGS 530)

    Humility is thehallmark of the House of Nanak. The company of saintly persons (saadh sangat) brings the devotee in contact with people from across the spectrum, from the lowly labourer to the head of a commercial empire.

    However, it is literally possible for a Sikh congregation to just meet in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, attend the service and then disperse without any other socio-religious interaction. This would allow some to deliberately avoid those they perceive as the lowly (materialistically) members of the sangat. Guru Amar Das Ji, the Third Nanak, was well aware of that and to promote integration and equality amongst his Sikhs he refused an audience (‘sangat’) unless the person concerned had first eaten from the common kitchen, ’pangat’ (literally meaning a row or queue of people). He put up a notice proclaiming: ‘pehaley pangat paachai sangat’ (sacramental food before congregation). This would automatically ensure all would sit together and eat the sacramental food (Guru’s langar) without distinction of a person's worldly caste or status. EvenAkbar, the Mogul emperor, when visiting Guru Amar Das, had to comply with the terms and being a staunch believer in justice and secularism, he commended the system.

    Even today the access to the congregation therefore must be through the common kitchen. The individual must, therefore, first share the same food from the same kitchen, seated at the same level as everybody else, thereby denouncing the caste system and acknowledging the equality of status, before proceeding to join the congregation.

    The Sikh Gurus did not impose on their Sikhs what they did not practise themselves. Their humility was exemplary, so much so that they awarded the saadh sangat a higher status than themselves (Guru 20 visvay sangat 21 visvay).

    Sikh Gurus firmly rejected asceticism and penances to appease the Lord. There is no need to run to the forests to mediate or to perform any penances to attain ridhis and siddhis (occult powers). One can mediate on Lord’s name and achieve maximum benefit by just being in saadh sangat. Guru Arjan Dev Ji instructs the mind: “Renounce all modes of gimmicks and tricks. The true wealth can be obtained in the company of saintly people (Chhaad siaanap saglee manaa. Saadhsang paavahi sach dhanaa – SGGS 289). Saadh sangat is instrumental in generating spiritual glow and excitement within (upjay chaao saadh kay sang – SGGS 289).

    Guru Arjan emphasies the importance of saadh sangat in overcoming ego and worldly attachment when hesays:

    saadhsang chint biraaee chhaadee; ahanbudh moh man baasun dey kar gad-haa gaadee (M: 5 – SGGS 671)

    In the company of the Holy, I have renounced all my cares and anxieties. Subsequently, I have succeeded in digging a deep pit in which I have buried my ego, worldly desires and emotional attachment,

    Some Sikhs claim they do not go to the Gurdwara because of politics. True these do exist and there are innocent people who may have experienced the bitter end of political disputes in Gurdwaras but the vast majority use this as an excuse not visit the Gurdwara. Do you always walk out or opt out of your work and social activities because of politics? No you persevere. So why not do the same where the cause is noble.


    For simplicity, the masculine gender is used throughout this article, but, wherever appropriate, this should be read as including the female gender.

    The author most humbly regrets any inaccuracy or errors in interpreting Gurbani or quoting facts.

    Copyright: Rajinder Singh ‘Arshi’ (8/08)
     
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  3. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਹਰਿ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਭਾਗਹੀਨ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਚੋਟਾ ਖਾਵਹਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਾਗਾ ਸਤਸੰਗੁ ਨ ਲਭੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਭਰੀਜੈ ਜੀਉ ੪ ੯੫

    Those who are fortunate get to join holy congregation; the unfortunate go through painful wanderings. One does not find holy congregation without good fortune and without it remains under the influence of evil (SGGS, p 95).


    ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਕੈ ਬਾਸਬੈ ਕਲਮਲ ਸਭਿ ਨਸਨਾ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸੇਤੀ ਰੰਗਿ ਰਾਤਿਆ ਤਾ ਤੇ ਗਰਭਿ ਨ ਗ੍ਰਸਨਾ ॥੧॥ ੫ ੮੧੧

    Evil flees when participating in Sadh Sangat; one is imbued with the love of God and is not subjected to reincarnation (SGGS, p 811).
     
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  4. arshi

    arshi United Kingdom
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    Many thanks Soul jyot ji for giving us the sight (darshan) of the beautiful pangtian from ਮਾਝਮਹਲਾ (maajh mahlaa 4) and ਬਿਲਾਵਲੁਮਹਲਾ (bilaawal mahlaa 5).

    We are so fortunate, as Sikhs, to have been left a divine legacy by our Gurus (in the form of Jagdi Joyt Guru Granth Sahib Ji) of a fathomless ocean overflowing with countless and priceless gems. Every time we dive into this pool of nectar we come away with new pearls of wisdom. However, only the fortunate ones see this.

    In Raag Goojaree (SGGS 10 and 492), Guru Ram Das Ji explains that those who do not seek the sanctuary of Satguru and Sat Sangat have wasted their lives. Not only have they forgone the opportunity in this life, but may also put their future in jeopardy. However, those who have found bliss in the company of the Satguru have the good fortune inscribed on their forehead. Lord’s sublime essence permeates the soul in the presence of the holy congregation. This fusion of the soul of His humble servant and the holy congregation rekindles and shines the Divine Light within.

    ਜੋ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਰਣਿ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਆਏ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਜੀਵੇ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਜੀਵਾਸਿ ੩॥ ਜਿਨ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਪਾਈ ਤਿਨ ਧੁਰਿ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਲਿਖਾਸਿ ਧਨੁ ਧੰਨੁ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਿਲਿ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਰਗਾਸਿ ੪॥੪॥{ਪੰਨਾ 10}
     
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  5. Ishna

    Ishna
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    What about digital sadh sangat? Does that qualify as true congregation?

    I don't seem to be able to strike up any friendships in the gurdwaras, so although I'm surrounded by people, I feel totally alone. I'm not sure who around me is true and who isn't. I can't speak punjabi so I don't understand the sermons. I have been unsuccessful finding anyone to teach me punjabi. When I sit at langar, peope talk all around me in punjabi. The rare times I've been with someone who has spoken english with me, it has been brief, and rarely about spiritual matters, and they return to speaking punjabi with their friends.

    Online I learn a lot more than I do at gurdwara. Here I can ask spiritual questions without feeling like I'm boring the person I'm talking to. Here a variety of people can discuss spiritual matters, provide references for further reading, and it's generally a good environment for education which I just don't get at gurdwara.

    I get upset and frustrated reading the parts of gurbani which talk about sangat because I can't find one where I feel like part of a conregation.

    At this point I'm even failing to see the point of me even going to gurdwara on a Sunday morning. I would rather go there by myself now. I don't see the point of me participating in langar, sitting uncomfortably by myself. I understand the importance of langar when it comes to caste system and the historical context, but I fail to connect with it personally.

    I'm not sure what's wrong with me, because each time I've tried to make friendships with Sikhs face-to-face I feel rejected. I don't understand, have found no one to teach me, and have been unsuccessful making any friendships with Sikhs face-to-face.

    Sorry to whinge, I'm just feeling lost today, and I guess knowing that I can get up at 4am every morning and meditate on naam, share what I have, live truthfully, have great discussion online, but because I can't figure out how to fit into the sangat at gurdwaras, then this applies to me:

    Those who are fortunate get to join holy congregation; the unfortunate go through painful wanderings. One does not find holy congregation without good fortune and without it remains under the influence of evil (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p 95).

    I guess if I've learned anything thus far, it's that I should just accept that this is my lot at the moment, try to do my best and if I'm lucky one day maybe I'll find a sangat which talks about spiritual matters in a language I can understand.

    Please don't misinterpret my post as being against the sangats in my area as most have always been welcoming and helpful to me. I just feel so alien and alone with people face-to-face.

    Ishna
    Little-Miss-Grumble-Bum
     
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  6. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    ishna ji

    Giving advice is always a dicey proposition. Knowing next to nothing about your school/work/study schedule or whether you have an automobile, here I go giving advice anyway.

    :)

    Please do not give away your current location. I think however I know where you are in Australia. In fact you live not to far from where a very dear friend of mine once lived. In that locale there is at least 1 Gurdwara with very active adult Gurmat classes. Some gurdwaras even have Punjabi language classes for English speakers. We often make the mistake of thinking that all Sikhs of Punjabi descent can read Sri Guru Granth Sahib. That is a misconception. So you will meet all kinds of people if you are able to take this route.


    Taking a Gurmat class would be less impersonal, and you would have structured opportunities to meet and converse with individuals who share your interest in Gurmat and the Punjabi language.

    Basically I am suggesting that you contact various sangats in your area. I have a list, and am willing to find out what their schedules look like if they post them online. But I repeat do not post your location here. Send me a private message and I will provide you with information when I find it.

    There are approximately 6 Gurdwaras in your area. Australia is a far-flung place. My guess is that you do need an automobile to get from place to place. :)
     
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  7. sunmukh

    sunmukh
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    Dear Ishna ji, there is nothing whatsover that is "wrong" with you.

    You appear to have a sound intention to learn, and you are seeking truth, and the company of sangat to engage fruitfully in spiritual discussions. You are doing all you can, on your part, to follow the Guru's teachings. At the end of the day a sikh is a learner. He/she is seeking absolute truth, and is not necessarily going to reach any particular destination. Sikhs are seeking self-realisation, intuitive awareness, and an ultimate level of consciousness, not understood or comprehended until one crosses the line. They also seek freedom from the cycle of reincarnation.

    I am a little puzzled by your concern that you are unable to engage with attendees of gurdwaras.

    On-line you are able to engage in discussions, you can ask questions, and you can obtain answers that can deal with all your spiritual concerns. On-line you can determine whether the person(s) you engage in are also seriously motivated with respect to liberation.

    You can benefit very much from participating in digital/saad sanghat. Many, and probably most, people engaged in religious forums are quite obsessed with seeking something or another from a spiritual perspective. What they are seeking depends on their own ideas. You can analyse their posts, compare them with Gurbani, and see if the person is on the same track as Gurbani. If so you can decide whether the person is likely to be someone to read the posts of, or whether it is likely to detract you from your own goal. The same happens in the physical world.

    When the physical forms of first 10 Guru Sahiban were here in this world, this digital tool was not available to them. Had it been available, we cannot say whether they would have used it or not.

    Even if the language used in your local gurdwara was completely comprehensible, then this does not imply all are spiritually motivated in the same manner as you are, that you will be able to provide input, and that your particular concerns will be addressed by the members of the sangat. The fact they are punjabi speaking or english speaking is irrelevant, other than from a social aspect. I can speak/understand punjabi but there is no room for discussion. Spiritually it is all one-way, and the engagement with fellow satsanghis is only social. There is no two-way spiritual engagement.
    Then, even knowing common punjabi, we know punjabi speaking sikhs require kaatha. This implies the language of Gurbani is not directly comprehensible by most, although kaatha also serves to expound meanings further than first sight. So even if you knew how to read/write in Gurmukhi script very well it does not mean your understanding of Gurbani will be any better than it is. You will still have to learn meanings of words with sanscrit/prakriti/pali roots, some of which have been modified to ensure the poetic flow is maintained, and some are used in a metaphorical way (which is one of reasons why kaatha is required).
    Furthermore, Guru Amardas ji recognised many of those who came to pay obseiance to him, came, offered gifts, listened, and left. Then they continued to act as previously. They did not practice what they learned from the Guru, even though they were respectful. I cannot remember off-hand the exact page in SGGS ji, but if necessary can find it, if required.

    Attending a building which is physical gurdwara is not necessarily the only place to meet and engage with a saad sanghat. References to gurdwara in SGGS ji are to do with the "Guru's gate" It is a gate in the mind. The holiest shrine is the temple of the mind where one bows to SatGuru. Satguru is always there. SatGuru is resident in that temple, hidden in the mind due to external attachments. Open the gate, and join the saad sanghis there. They will all be pure and will all be helpful, and there will bo no deficiencies in any of your understanding. SatGuru can then take you to the dasma douar (10th gate).

    P153:
    P919:​

    Continuing on your learning curve, will yield fruits that are unimaginable. You will not be worried whether you know punjabi, can chat with attendees in physical gurdwaras or even attend the physical gurdwaras. The gurdwara is in your mind, the Guru is there, and becoming detached will remove your concerns as to whether you go or not.

    P922:

    This shabd, anand Sahib, to me is very beautiful and very deep meaning. It commences on p917. I encourage you to read the whole of it.

    You are never alone. SatGuru is always with you and so is the watchful Lord.

    Himmat Singh

    Sat Sri Akal
     
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  8. Ishna

    Ishna
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    Himmat ji, thank you for such a comprehensive response. It opened my eyes when you said that even when you do know the language, it's no guarantee that people will be interested in speaking about Sikhi.

    I think sometimes I get an idea in my head that I'm missing out on Sikhi discussion at the gurdwara, but I think the reality is that langar is for socialising and gurmat class is for Sikhi.

    I feel much better about this now! Thank you very much!

    Spnadmin: I've got my car, I just need to get the courage to go to gurdwara again. My old gurdwara is about 30 minutes away from my home. I went there regularly about a year ago but was getting self-conscious as I only have 2 salwar kameez. I stopped going abruptly a while ago and I'm worried what they might say if I go back. I think I need to go back there and stop trying to go to the one which is closer but not as familiar.

    Ishna
     
  9. findingmyway

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    Ishna Ji,
    I don't always wear salwar kameez. As long as I'm decently dressed and have a chunni it doesn't matter. I frequently use public transport or go straight from work so western clothes are more practical. Nobody minds.

    Generally when you go back to a Gurdwara after a break people are welcoming and welcome you back. I went to the Gurdwara from my student days 3 years after leaving uni and was still recognised and welcomed!

    I would say its better to go to a Gurdwara that you're more comfortable in. Go to the place where you connect more with the people as its easier to fit into the sangat that way. Unfortunately this isn't always easy to do! People often don't talk about Sikhi at langar time as its not fashionable. Do you have any gurmat camps in your area? If you do they can be a great place to find like minded people who you can then arrange to go to Gurdwara with.
    All the best,
    Jasleen.
     
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  10. ravneet_sb

    ravneet_sb India
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    :khanda3: True Arshi Ji,

    Sat/Sadh Sangat is must.
    Congregation of people who are attached to TRUTH,
    always remember death while doing actions which is ultimate "TRUTH",
    which will protect them from evil doing.

    In all religions "sangat" has effects, but sadhu or sant has no effect, as he washes his soul, daily with Namm,
    even the cruel, evil looses there bad, in Sat Sangat or Sadh Sanghat.

    The true Sat Sangat is with the root thoughts for which all humans are longing i.e security, happiness, peace. People who have secure feelings, tanscend to next levels.

    PEACE is not found outside, but PEACE is "silence of mind" can be achieved through fullfillment of desires, either as a physical process (very long route , but through mental upliftment, through service and SAT sangat.



    Regards
     
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