Satsang Circles

Satsang Circles have been around in sannyas since Satyam Nadeen published a book called “From Onions to Pearls” in the late nineties. The characteristic of his recommendations was that participants helped themselves, and used their own material within the circles which were free-forming, and basically everyone could “get” it. Music wasn’t a big part of that, but sometimes played it’s smaller part. Below Deval Premal gives her own take, which is much more focused on music and humming, but arguably is based on the same maxim of restoring the energy of grass-roots sannyas.

Satsang Circles
Over the years Miten and I have come to see that music, meditation and community are necessary to nourish and sustain us in our daily lives.
I have been giving some thought as to how people could have more opportunity to meet, sing and sit in silence together without any prerequisites…and this is what came to me:
Let’s create Satsang Circles around the planet!
Satsang, translated from Sanskrit means “Meeting (Sangha) in truth (Sat)” and it can be enjoyed in so many ways. We have found that a one hour silent meditation which includes music and chanting is a blissful door into our own inner sanctuary. The music and chanting help to deepen the silence, no effort is needed, and Satsang happens by itself.
This meditation was given to us by Osho when he first went into silence, back in the early days. It is a doorway to the Heart, and an opportunity for us to connect with our inner peace.
My idea is that you offer Satsang as a weekly or monthly gathering in your living room or meditation room. Invite your friends, family, business acquaintances etc… to come together and meet in a way that is beyond the usual social graces.
Creating a sacred space where you and your friends can sit silently together is a profound practice. It transcends social boundaries because there is no need for polite conversation. It is a time to ‘be with ourselves’ – to give ourselves that extra time that we so easily overlook. Satsang is a great support on our spiritual paths. We come together, in our aloneness, and it brings us closer as friends, because we find ourselves in a sacred space together, without judgement, where all is One.

Here’s my suggestion:
There are basically three sections:
Music – Words – Humming.
These activities arise from, and disappear into, the silence which you and your friends have gathered to enjoy.

Prepare about four or five pieces which create a meditative space. The music can be, for instance, any of our CDs (you can start by simply use the Satsang CD, which is designed exactly for this purpose), or various pieces from your favourite artists, for example: Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Snatam Kaur Khalsa, Karnamrita, Maniko, Ani Choying Drolma, Manish Vyas, Prem Joshua, Devakant, Peter Makena, Maneesh de Moor and Sudha, Ravi Shankar, Kamal, Rishi, Manose, Benjy and Heather Wertheimer, Shyamdas, Hari Prasad Chaurasia… there are many CDs of sacred music around!
Let the music be followed by long periods of silence… some minutes long. Basically, punctuate the silent sitting with sound. As I said, the music is there to deepen the silence, not to entertain. Of course, it’s good to vary the tempo and feeling of the pieces of music you choose..some deep and soft, some more celebrative and up and some to chant with… Be creative, have fun! And don’t forget to use your voice – it is a door into peace and tranquillity… which leads us to the ‘humming meditation.’

This is beautiful to do around the middle of the hour. AND it requires no musical expertise for those who may feel shy to sing!
It is a Tibetan exercise that connects body, mind and spirit. The technique is simple: Take deep breaths and make the sound ‘mmm’ on the out-breath. Let the sound be musical, and travel until the end of the breath – then renew the breath and continue.
This technique creates a circle of energy in the body – revitalising and invigorating the cells on a physical level, and charging chakras and kundalini energy on the meta-physical plane. Simple and effective!
If you play tanpura, this is the perfect situation in which to use it. If not, find music with drone sounds, such as Tibetan Bells etc…

I’d also suggest you find poetic and uplifting ‘spoken word’ to punctuate the silences. Frame the humming section with two readings. A poem or quote that you have found to be inspirational… You can read from Hafiz for instance, or Rumi, Tagore, Buddha, Jesus, Eckhart Tolle, Osho…etc etc..
The music, words and humming will serve to create a beautiful experience for yourself and your friends – and the silence will nourish and sustain you in your daily life.


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11 Responses to Satsang Circles

  1. Heraclitus says:

    What Deva Premal proposes is really the old Osho satsang, which was used in the old days when Osho was alive and was indisposed or in silence. The words used were always from Osho, and usually a tape of him himself speaking.
    Satyam Nadeen suggests something more revolutionary. The words can be yours, the music can be yours, and the satsang is yours.
    It’s what some would see as a maturing of sannyas, less dependent.
    It has one flaw, that basically any seeker can get it, it’s just a stone’s throw away, and the way he used to run, and maybe still does, his satsang circles people seemed to claim they were popping off all the time.
    However mistaken this view, the circles do represent a development of sannyas, and those who have been doing it for a while soon drop the popping off bit.
    What Premal suggests is beautiful, and much better than nothing, but it all seems a bit safe to me.

  2. alok john says:

    “…restoring the energy of grass-roots sannyas.”

    “Sannyas” is not a community. It is a mystery school. It is your choice how deep you want to go into the mystery, but if you do want to enter the mystery, best to use methods Osho left us.

  3. alok john says:

    Nothing wrong with such satsang circles of course. Satsang was generally a late morning sitting meditation with music and silence, sometimes Osho’s words as well. I would have thought you need the more powerful active meditations to create the ‘New Man.’

  4. pankaja says:

    Sounds like a great idea

  5. alok john says:

    “…restoring the energy of grass-roots sannyas.”

    “Sannyas” is not socialism with a bit of religion and hugging tagged on.

  6. Heraclitus says:

    Anyway anyone know what happened to Satyam Nadeen?
    He doesn’t seem to have had a public face since about 2004.
    Is he still alive?

  7. Heraclitus says:

    Yeah, a Mystery School Alok, that sounds good. Certainly not some kind of souped up spiritual dating service – which some of, even early sannyas was. Osho once said in Pune one – the women come here (to Poona) for me, the men come for the women!!
    But a Mystery School needs to actually meet and exist, it cant be all done alone. Hence I feel that Premal is genuine in her call for satsang circles as a means to that. I am sure if asked she would say that what her and Miten do are part of the Mystery school, even though they are somewhat frowned on by the “official” OFI.

  8. Ashik says:

    A sharing in Satsang as proposed is so tender. I’d love to be in a satsang circle .

  9. Heraclitus says:

    Just create one, Ashik. It’s contagious.

  10. Prem Ananda says:

    If there are any sannyasins and friends of Osho living around Oslo and Moss, Norway, you are welcome to join our Satsang in both Oslo and Moss.

    In Oslo we practice 1 hour of music and singing, 30 minutes of silent meditation, and finally sharing.

    In Moss we follow more closely the Deva Premal and Miten formula:

    20 minutes music and chanting
    20 minutes silent meditation
    20 minutes music and chanting

    There after follows and hour of what we call Dharma Dialogue, inspired Krishnamurti and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

    Feel free to contact us:

    satsang (at) neosannyas (dot) net

    Love from Prem Ananda

  11. Archa says:

    It’s happening !!!!!
    Live Music Satsang in St Ives
    with Neera and Raj followed by a short concert
    14th December 2008
    11 am followed by lunch and walk along the coast path into St Ives to muck about! £4
    Booking esential 01736 799231