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
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.