sadhu-sanga, sadhu-sanga — sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya
“The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.”
The importance of Sadhu sanga cannot be stressed enough. As mentioned in the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, even a moments association with a pure vaishnava can bestow upon one all auspiciousness, for the devotees of the Lord are always eager to share with others the transcendental bliss that they experience in their service to the lotus feet of Sri Krishna. One is said to take on the qualities of the people with whom one associates. Just as by association with a thief, one is prone to eventually start stealing, similarly, when one associates with the devotees of the Lord, whose hearts are saturated with intense loving attachment for Vrajendranandan Shyamsundar, then one will undoubtedly develop similar attachment to the lotus feet of the Lord, having been purified by their association and having received their mercy. In glorification of the Vaishnavas, Srila Narottam das thakur has written in one of his songs:
gańgāra paraśa hoile paścate pāvan
darśane pavitra koro-ei tomāra guṇ
After bathing in the waters of the sacred Ganges many times, one becomes purified, but just by the sight of you, the fallen souls are purified. This is your great power.
After thus purifying the sadhaka, who may have many anarthas, the sadhus then water the seed of Bhakti in the heart of the devotee with sweet nectarian discussions about the glorious names, forms, qualities and pastimes of the Lord, which are all transcendental and the embodiment of sweetness. Being thus blessed by the Sadhus, the sadhaka can attentively chant and remember the Lord. Since the external energy of the Lord, Maya, is extremely powerful and is very vigilant in executing her responsibility of not allowing unqualified people go forward in the path of Bhakti, it is very difficult for a sadhaka to make steady progress on the path of Bhakti and not get trapped in the allure of the material world, and therefore, it is utmost important for the devotees to always remain in the association of such pure devotees, who are the gaurdians of this path of Bhakti and can lead us straight to the lotus feet of Sri Krishna. Understanding the importance of Sadhu Sanga, one should always pray to the Lord to be blessed with such blissful association, and when with great good fortune one comes into contact with a pure devotee, that blessed person should catch hold of the lotus feet of the Vaishnava and consider them to be dearer than one’s own life. Having such firm faith in Sadhus, one is sure to make rapid progress on the path of Bhakti.