Importance of Right Association

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.11.25 - Importance of Right Association (download mp3)
by Deen Gauranga Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 11.11.25
sat-sanga-labdhaya bhaktya
 mayi mam sa upasita
sa vai me darsitam sadbhir
 aƱjasa vindate padam

One who has obtained pure devotional service by association with My devotees always engages in worshiping Me. Thus he very easily goes to My abode, which is revealed by My pure devotees.

In the previous verses Lord Krsna has emphasized the value of surrendering to Him in loving service. One may ask how such surrender or devotion is actually achieved. The Lord gives the answer in this verse. One must live in a society of devotees, and thus automatically one will be engaged twenty-four hours a day in the various processes of devotional service, beginning with sravanam, kirtanam and smaranam (hearing, glorifying and remembering the Lord). The pure devotees of the Lord can reveal the spiritual world by their transcendental sound vibration, making it possible for even a neophyte devotee to experience the Lord’s abode. Being thus enlivened, the neophyte makes further progress and gradually becomes qualified to personally serve the Personality of Godhead in the spiritual world. By constantly associating with devotees and learning from them about devotional science, one quickly achieves a deep attachment for the Lord and the Lord’s service, and such attachment gradually matures into pure love of Godhead.

Foolish persons say that the various mantras composed of names of God, as well as all other mantras, are merely material creations with no special value, and therefore any so-called mantra or mystical process will ultimately produce the same result. To refute such superficial thinking, the Lord here describes the science of going back home, back to Godhead. One should not accept the bad association of impersonalists, who state that the holy name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord are maya, or illusion. Maya is actually an insignificant potency of the almighty Personality of Godhead, and if one ignorantly tries to elevate illusion above the Absolute Truth, one will never experience love of Godhead and will be cast into deep forgetfulness of the Lord. One should not associate with those who are envious of the fortunate devotees who are going back to Godhead. Such envious persons deride the abode of the Lord, which is revealed by the pure devotees to those who have faith in the Lord’s message. Envious persons create disturbances among the people in general, who should take shelter of the faithful devotees of the Lord. Unless people hear from pure devotees, it is impossible for them to understand that there is a Supreme Personality of Godhead eternally existing in His own abode, which is self-luminous, full of bliss and knowledge. In this verse, the importance of sanga, association, is clearly explained.

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