ASSOCIATION WITH THE WISE – The obstacle of egotism

The ego is a great obstacle in spiritual life. Only when we live in the company of holy men will we realize how egotistic we are. Holy company is a great antidote to egotism. That is why in India holy men have been accorded great veneration. Spiritual stories are full of eulogies about holy association. Only those who have had the privilege of serving an illumined soul know the value of such service.

Sometimes in the course of our spiritual progress we are likely to develop a sort of unhealthy introversion. This is to be avoided by going in for holy association. When we are in a mood of depression, when we find it difficult to establish contact, with the Divine, the company of spiritual souls and talks with them are of great help. People with morbid introversion want to avoid the company of even spiritual people. People with morbid extroversion seek the company of holy men just to gossip and kill time. Those who are of balanced nature enjoy the company of pure-souled spiritual aspirants, discuss spiritual matters with them and strengthen their own faith and spiritual fervour. Sri Ramakrishna always encouraged his disciples to meet one another.

The more we come to know of people with all their meanness, their greed, their crookedness and their lust, the less becomes our shallow optimism in the goodness of all. Then we run the risk of becoming pessimistic or cynical. This is a great danger. But fortunately for us, there are very good, pious and spiritual people too in this world. We should seek their company. Spiritual men should seek one another’s company especially in the early days. It is necessary to compare notes with fellow-travellers in the spiritual path. Not only that, we should allow ourselves to be corrected by holy men. We resent being corrected by others. But we cannot detect all our weaknesses ourselves. When other people point out our mistakes we should accept that in the proper spirit.
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