Keep Good Association
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
It is very nice to meet you all, I am very happy and very grateful to see you all.
Devotees: How are you? Is everything ok?
Yes, I am ok, I am always ok. I want to be a devotee, that is only my desire. I want to be a servant of devotees, and I am always at your service.
অপি চেৎ সুদুরাচারো ভজতে মামনন্যভাক্ ।
api chet suduracharo, bhajate mam ananya-bhak
"If even a very sinful person serves Me exclusively with devotion, he should be regarded as saintly, for his resolve is perfect."
ক্ষিপ্রং ভবতি ধর্ম্মাত্মা শশ্বচ্ছান্তিং নিগচ্ছতি ।
ksipram bhavati dharmatma, sasvach-chhantim nigachchhati
 "He swiftly becomes a person of virtuous practices and attains constant
peace. O son of Kunti, declare to the world that My devotee is never
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 9.30-31)
Actually, if a very fallen soul, a very low-cast person, who has done so many bad things previously, can surrender to the Lord, Krishna removes all his offences and accepts his service.
You must always keep good association. Even if somebody is doing pious activity or any good works—if they are not a devotee, always avoid their association. On the other hand,
ক্তেন ভক্তিযোগেন ভজতো মাসকৃন্মুনেঃ ।
proktena bhakti-yogena bhajato masakrn muneh
"When an intelligent person engages constantly in worshiping Me through loving devotional service as described by Me, his heart becomes firmly situated in Me. Thus all material desires within the heart are destroyed."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.20.29)
Somebody can be a great sinner, somebody may be doing some wrongful works but if this person is a devotee, you can accept their association.
Moreover, Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu composed Sri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu and there he writes a very good sloka about it,
বরং হুতবহজ্বালা-পঞ্জরান্তর্ব্যবস্থিতিঃ ।
baram hutavaha-jvala, panjarantar-vyavasthitih
"One should endure the pain of being locked in a cage surrounded by blazing fire, rather than keep the distressing association of persons averse to Krishna consciousness."
What is the meaning of this sloka? If somebody ties you up with a rope and throws you into fire, you can tolerate this, but the association of a non-devotee is much more harmful to your life than that—such association is unbearable.
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