Associates Greatly Influence One's Life
The kind of persons we associate with, greatly influences us. Their influence affects and moulds us very greatly, and almost unknowingly. Persons going by different conveyances travel automatically at the respective speeds of the vehicles. When we travel by a railway train, we cannot control who should take the next seat. If he be a smoker or a tobacco-chewer, we must tolerate him even if we have a nausea for tobacco. Undesirable or bad company is thus troublesome, often even debasing. On the other hand, the company of the good is always profitable, elevating, promoting beneficent desires and noble thoughts.
A sannyasin may be living under the shelter of a tree, and without food. Anyone who goes to him there must partake of the same shelter, and go without food like him. Suppose one went to Saint Ramadas; he would ask the visitor, too, to accompany him with the begging bowl and go to solicit food in the neighbourhood. If, however, a person visits a saint who is a householder, he will see to it that the visitor is fed.
Food carries with it a trace of the desire of the person who provides that food; so we should even request if necessary, for food in a saint's place. It is not easy to keep in constant physical company of a saint, for we may be living away from his residence; even otherwise, busy as we are, working to make a living, how much time can we spare for his company? But one can be assured of beneficial company in the form of nama-smarana anywhere and at any time.
Desire cannot be satiated by indulging it, but only by living in God. Peace of heart will only come when we feel convinced that everything takes place at His will, and therefore, we should not expect or desire for a particular result. Only then can we attain complete surrender to God.
If we repeat the holy name while keeping in the company of the good, we certainly get free from the shackles of 'the-body-am-I' feeling. The food eaten in different countries may vary, but the water needed to digest it is the same all over the world; similarly, whatever the method of worship one follows, it does not come to fruition without nama. Therefore take to nama in all earnestness.
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