In the book Passage Meditation, Easwaran describes the value of spiritual fellowship as follows:
The Buddha would say that most people throw themselves into the river of life and float downstream, moved here and there by the current. But the spiritual aspirant must swim upstream, against the current of habit, familiarity, and ease. It is an apt image. We know how the salmon fights its way along, returning at last to its original home. Those who set out to change themselves are salmon swimming against the relentless flow of the selfish life. Truly, we need every bit of support we can get; we need friends, loyal companions on the journey. We have to do the swimming, of course; nobody else can do it for us. But there will be an easier and swifter passage if we can swim with those who encourage us, who set a strong pace and will not stop until they reach their destination. The burdens are shared, easing them; the joys are shared too, multiplying them.
In Sanskrit, this sharing is called satsang. The word derives from two smaller words: sat, meaning “the good” or “truth” or “reality,” and sanga, meaning “group” or “association.” Thus it signifies the seekers of the highest, banded together.
At the BMCM, there is a long history of in-person satsang groups. Growing out of the tradition set by Easwaran and his early students, groups have formed around the world meeting regularly for meditation and spiritual inspiration.
However, what about meditators who don’t have any other meditators living nearby? What about meditators craving more satsang than the once-a-week offering in their city? Out of the growing use of technology to connect, communicate, and build community, the eSatsang was born.
The Early eSatsang
In 2003, the BMCM’s first electronic satsang began as a weekly email group with 18 people. The format was simple – each week eSatsang members would receive an email with a prompt to reflect on an Easwaran article or video. Participants sent their thoughts back to the BMCM where we’d bundle up all the responses and send them out with the next weekly email.
The eSatsang grew to have over 1,000 members in over 45 countries and has been an invaluable resource to meditators around the world. Here are a few of their stories: