The importance of association is repeated umpteen numbers of times by Srila Prabhupada and he even avers that success in spiritual life depends mostly on the type of association we keep. Association creates a strong and many a times lasting impression in our life. Association being contagious, we unknowingly inherit the qualities of the people we associate with. And this is why all spiritual seekers are advised to be in the company of those devotees who are very sincere in their devotional pursuit.
Association assures us that we aren’t alone in the spiritual journey; the fellow travellers’ warmth and comfort make us always feel protected. The material truncheon of the Lord continuously reminds us that in this world it is not easy to be materially happy but simultaneously the ephemeral allurements of this world inveigle us to look for sensual pleasures. But if we continue to be led and guided by senior practitioners and associate with like-minded seekers who care for us and where we feel wanted then the goal of achieving love of God, which may look daunting in the beginning, can ultimately be realized.
Devotees association always positively influences us - grit of the sincere seekers motivates us to become more resolute in our purpose, senior devotees’ life and teachings inspires us and when we come across those practitioners who braved multitude of monumental difficulties in their pursuit for self-realization then we too get enthused to continue with our devotional life tolerating all the challenges fixing ourselves only on the final goal which is attaining Krishna.
While emphasising on association, scriptures and seers do not merely talk of physical association but they also expect that our mind too whole heartedly associate. Or else, it may happen that we may be in the temple, standing in front of Krishna with several other devotees amidst the mellifluous kirtan of the holy names but still we may be contemplating on non- devotional subject matters. Such association will not help us much. We should always entice or cajole or force our mind to accompany us whenever we are in devotees’ company. And when our mind starts enjoying the spiritual ambience then we can reap the maximum benefit of association.