ASSOCIATION WITH THE WISE – Don’t seek the company of fools
There is a well-known saying in Sanskrit: ‘It is far better to roam in the forest with the hill tribes than to live with fools even in heaven.’ [Bhartrhari, Nitishatakam, 14]
If we cannot get the company of people who are good, pure, deeply spiritual and wise, during the period of our sadhana, we need not seek fools, i.e. worldly-minded people, and be in their company. Their impure immoral vibrations affect us in our present state, though we may not know it and think nothing has happened. When some young disciples of Sri Ramakrishna complained to Swami Vivekananda at the Baranagore Math that as they had not yet succeeded in realizing God they had better go back to their families and live like householders, Swamiji replied: ‘If I cannot find Rama, should I go to Shyama (i.e. woman) for that reason? If I cannot realize God, does not mean that I should go back to the world? No, never!’ This is the attitude everyone has to maintain. But ordinarily, people want somebody’s company even if it is bad. They do not want to be alone. That is the whole trouble.