After stating that the association of pure devotees is as good as being with the Supreme Lord, Nārada informs us of the destructive effects of bad company. As we mentioned previously, Lord Caitanya once defined a Vaiṣṇava as one who gives up the association of worldly people and nondevotees:
Lord Kapila states, "The infatuation and bondage that accrue to a man from attachment to any other object is not as complete as that resulting from an attachment to a woman or to the fellowship of men who are fond of women" (
The statements about women should not be taken as a criticism of women as a class. Just as woman is often the symbol of
When Lord Caitanya says that one should avoid the non-
When the demon Hiraṇyakaśipu sarcastically inquired from his son about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Prahlāda explained why the demons cannot possibly know about Kṛṣṇa:
matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho 'bhīpadyeta gṛha-vratānām
adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ
"[Prahlāda Mahārāja said:] Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Kṛṣṇa are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both" (
Those with uncontrolled senses can never know Kṛṣṇa themselves, and if an aspiring devotee associates with them, he will also lose his ability to know Kṛṣṇa.
Association with nondevotees takes place in many ways, aside from face-to-face encounters. Through books, movies, gathering places—the possibilities of contact are unlimited. Especially nowadays, a person may apparently live alone in a city apartment and yet be completely immersed in bad association through mass media and technological entertainment. It takes deliberate cultivation, and a fight, to remove oneself from bad influences.
One may object to these injunctions and claim, "God is everywhere! Why say that certain people are bad?" The topmost devotee, the
The great majority of devotees have to make an effort to come up from the lower (