Satsang is a Spiritual Practice – 1987

Originally published in ‘Crazy Wisdom’ 

July/August 1987 — Vol6, NO 4


“The cult of pseudo-Satsang must be eliminated”


Recently the editors sent Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda a question about Satsang:
“In The Method of the Siddhas the term ‘Satsang’ seems to apply even from the beginning of one’s relationship to the Guru, since it means ‘the Company of Truth’, and this definition seems to describe the honorable relationship to the Teacher. However, Love-Ananda equates Satsang with Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga, and He calls Satsang a Spiritual practice. Would Love-Ananda like to continue to reserve the term ‘Satsang’ for the devotee’s relationship with the True Heart-Master rather than use it in the more generalized sense as He has in the past?”
Following is a summary of Heart-Master Da’s consideration of our question, which was sent to us on June 27, 1987.


Satsang, which literally means “the Company of Truth”, is the relationship to the person of the True Heart’ Master whereby one enters into direct association with His (or Her) Samadhi, or Realization. Satsang implies Communion with the Realizer and His Samadhi. If Satsang is to be real, therefore, people must have contact with Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda.

Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda does not have a direct association with students and practitioners at practicing stage one. Students and beginning practitioners are preparing for Satsang, but they cannot yet make use of it. When students and beginning practitioners presume anything other than a formal relationship to Heart-Master Da, they tend to play out with him their games of conventional religiosity and their oedipal games. They make Him their “teddy bear” or their imaginary companion, in one moment expressing their affection for Him, and in the next moment abusing Him. The Communion has created a tremendous cultural problem through such wrong use of the opportunity of Satsang in the past. Heart-Master Da is not here to be abused. Thus, Satsang is not offered until people are prepared for it.

In the years of Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda’s Teaching Work, and for the sake of that Work, practitioners did enter into a relationship with Him in the process of Satsang. At this stage of His Work, however, that same contact is no longer offered to students and beginning practitioners. Students and beginning practitioners prepare for Heart-Master Da’s Spiritual Company by studying the Teaching Word and listening to the leelas of His Sacred History, but they do not practice in or resort to Heart-Master Da’s personal Company. They are not yet prepared to be Awakened to the Truth by personal association with Heart-Master Da and contemplation of His Realization.

Therefore, to call the practice of the student and the beginning practitioner Satsang is to misinterpret the term and to give people an excuse to create a fantasy relationship with Heart-Master Da. Students and beginning practitioners like to be entertained by Heart-Master Da, and they tend to exploit and indulge in His human energy. When they become reactive, they also become abusive. They have the capacity to use Heart-Master Da only in the human sense.

Satsang is a Spiritual practice. In the context of The Free Daist Communion the opportunity for Satsang is offered at practicing stage two. Before that, practice is about the process of growing up and becoming human in the context of listening to the Teaching Word. Prior to practicing stage two, people are developing the foundation for a Spiritual relationship with Heart-Master Da. As listeners, they honor and make use of the Teacher and the Teaching Word, and at some point they “hear”. But only when hearing becomes the capacity for “seeing” does the individual practice in the context of Satsang. Until then, people cannot make use of Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda’s Spiritual Transmission.

The listener’s relationship to the Teacher is a sadhana, or practice, but it is not a personal relationship with Heart-Master Da, and it is not Satsang, because it excludes the Spiritual practice of seeing. Beginning practitioners and students are served by Heart-Master Da’s Teaching Word, and they are growing in the first three stages of life. They can comprehend Heart-Master Da only in a human sense, and their vision is limited to the first three stages of life.

If the Communion were more stable and the situation auspicious, Heart-Master Da could have contact with students and beginning practitioners. He could perhaps visit the Regional Centers and respond to questions, expounding the Teaching Word for the sake of listeners. This form of relationship would not, however, be called Satsang. In any case it is unlikely that Heart-Master Da will travel, because the Communion is not mature and stable.

Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda has been treated with disrespect, abuse, and neglect. If our treatment of Him changed for the better, He could have contact with students and beginning practitioners. But we have shown no evidence of change. We have not responded, and Heart-Master Da has been reduced to a character in people’s imaginations, a conventional human figure. Without a culture of Satsang, there is no purpose to Heart-Master Da’s contacting people, except perhaps to answer questions.

Heart-Master Da is supposed to have retired from His Teaching Work, not from Satsang. Since there are no devotees and no culture of Satsang, He is isolated, and Satsang is only potentially possible. Even so, whatever contact students and beginning practitioners have with Heart-Master Da, it should not be called Satsang, nor should people presume that they resort to Heart-Master Da in a personal sense. They should simply consider His Teaching Word, and when hearing becomes seeing for them, they will enter the real practice of Satsang.

Our claim to Satsang has been an alternative to our real practice, and we have maintained a cultic relationship with Heart-Master Da as an alternative to practicing the Way of the Heart. No one must lean on Heart-Master Da, presuming a wrong relationship to Him or misinterpreting the relationship to Him. And we must develop a new language. The language of Satsang does not belong to The Laughing Man Institute, nor does Heart-Master Da belong to The Laughing Man Institute, except in the form of His Teaching Word and the Leelas of His Spiritual Work.

Heart-Master Da does not invite students and beginning practitioners to abuse the Great Process that is Satsang by exploiting their fantasies. Students and beginning practitioners must not pretend to live in Satsang. In the past, this pretense became such a profound abuse that Heart-Master Da was excluded from any kind of association with practitioners. The cult of pseudo-Satsang must be eliminated. Heart-Master Da has never communicated the process of Satsang in the cultic terms whereby we have misinterpreted it. A respectful and serious approach to the Teaching Word does not presume a casual or cultic association with Heart-Master Da. □