Now and then when I read about young people being brainwashed to doing wrong things, I am pained. A young life lost just because the person was in wrong association, believed that a wrong person was a true friend, sad isn’t it?

Haven’t we heard, ‘A person is known by the company he keeps’. And don’t we mothers act as hawks to check out whom our kids associate with?  A person who is a smoker tends to offer a cigarette to the people next to him or a person dependent on drugs tends to invite his associates to try some and so on. No, I am not going to elaborate on how to avoid such company but just want to emphasise the importance of ‘Saddhu sangha’. Saddhu does not mean that you associate with sadhus but the people who are true and who do not possess bad habits.

Adi Sankaracharya in his popular composition ‘Bhaja Govindam’ says

सत्संगत्वे निस्संगत्वं,
निस्संगत्वे निर्मोहत्वं।
निर्मोहत्वे निश्चलतत्त्वं
निश्चलतत्त्वे जीवन्मुक्तिः ॥

Association with saints brings  non-attachment, non-attachment leads to right knowledge, right knowledge leads us to permanent awareness,to which liberation follows.

In the Bhagvatham two things are emphasized upon:

First is that in this Kaliyug the name of the Lord itself has great potency and there is no real need of doing meditation as they used to do in Satyuga or to perform Yagnas as they used to do in Tretayug and neither is the need for running to the temple for any occasion as done in Dwapar Yug. Just keeping on chanting the holy name is enough.

Secondly the association of saintly persons has to be craved for. Because only by that can we stay on the right path.

Now Narada muni had the doubt as to how a person can succeed or even achieve liberation by associating with a saint. And so he went to Narayana (Vishnu)

Vishnu said fine I will make you understand by example provided you are ready to run about. Narad said he is ready. So Narayana says go to such and such garden in the Himalayas and look for a  bee.

Narad goes, sees the  bee. The  bee also looks at him. After some minutes the bee falls and dies.

Narad goes back to Narayana and tells what has happened. Narayana says, its alright go to such and such place and watch for an eagle. Narada  goes and sees  a beautiful eagle and sees that an eaglet is just coming out of its shell. It watches Narad observing him and after a second dies.

Crestfallen Narad returns to Narayana who sends him to a cow shed where a cow is about to give birth. Narad watches whilst a calf comes out. The calf slowly tries to stand, looks at Narada and falls down and dies.

By now Narad has started considering himself as an ill omen.

But Narayana sends him to a palace. The king is very happy to see Narada and welcomes him as a saint has to be welcomed and then tells him that after many years his wife has borne him a son. Will he not go inside and bless the infant and his mother. Afraid because of his track record, Narada refuses . But the king keeps on insisting and Narada goes inside. The baby opens his eyes just for a second but he notices Narad, looks at him and then……stops breathing.

Narada runs off to Narayana and asks why has He made him into an ill omen. Narayana says…’Haven’t you realized that every time you looked at the baby it died, only to take birth in a higher form. So the bee died to take birth as an eaglet then as a calf and then finally the highest form; that of a human and then because of its association with you left his body and is now residing with me. And out comes the young boy who has been playing behind Narayana.

Such is the effect of ‘Sadhu sanga’ or good association.

24 thoughts on “Association

  1. The benefit of good company has been brought out well in this well known story.Even a gaze by a saint transforms our lives.The message Bhagya puts across forcefully is that one should be in the company of the good and virtuous.

  2. OH YES I beleive in it too that a person is also know for the company they keep .. and it holds true..
    I see it often too at work when although it is known that the person i have stopped is right and is just at the wrong place , yet just by being in company of someone who doesnot havea good track record.. this good person also gets known..

    Recently with a little problem i faced with a fellow blogger, I had to disassociate myself from him because of this , because YOU are known by the company you keep for sure .. I did not want to be known that I also visit this blogger..

    It sounds pathetic but this is how the world works because I obviously have stopped visiting people who go there ..

    • Dear Rahul,
      Much can be said about good association. But here I have taken up the lines from Bhaja Govindam and the story follows ‘that’ A person can have as good a life as one wants but Adi Shankaracharya’s lines tell the path of liberation and the story falls suit 🙂

  3. Its a pleasure reading the blog. Yes, the company of sages and saints is important for spiritual growth. So also when you keep a rotten mango in a basket of good ones can spoil them all. God bless.

  4. I know very little about mythology, Bhagya. thank you for sharing the story. see what a coincidence? I just started reading about Vishnu to my son couple of days back. I agree about good company. It shows a positive effect on us. But sometimes, good people have bad friends and yet these people remain good…

    • For most of us, fed on today’s education system it is like that Latha. The max we know is Ramayan and Mahabharat. When I was in school there were abridged editions of both and now I doubt if that too is there or not. There is so much to learn from our scriptures.
      To remain virtuous even in the presence of bad association is tough and is possible only if one is steadfast. People with weak dispositions cannot.

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