Association of the devotees is of utmost importance

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Time and time again the previous acharyas have instructed the serious practitioners of the path of Bhakti to except what is favourable to Bhakti and reject what is unfavourable. Srila Rupa goswami, in the second and third verse of Sri Upadeshamrita, also mentions six practices which are favourable and six which are not favourable for the sadhakas aspiring to make advancement in their spiritual lives. One most important instruction given by the acharyas, that nourishes the seed of bhakti in the heart, is associating with like minded devotees who are affectionate towards us, or swajatiya snigdha bhaktas. This instruction is of utmost importance, for without associating with the devotees, there are all the possibilities of one falling into the numerous alluring traps of Maya devi. The analogy has been given that just like it is easy to break on stick but very difficult to break a big bundle of sticks, similarly, it is easy for Maya devi to trick a devotee who is trying to practice bhakti all alone, however, it is very difficult for her to catch hold and make a devotee, who is in constant association with the devotees of the lord, fall down from the path of Bhakti. Therefore, considering oneself completely incapable of overcoming the mind and the senses, which are indeed very difficult to overcome, one should tightly grab hold of the lotus feet of the devotees and ensure to always remain in their association, perform sadhana bhakti under their protection. Being the knower of all spiritual truths and the secrets of how to attain Krishna bhakti, Srila Prabhupad, by establishing temples through out the world, provided an opportunity for all the devotees to take each others association and in this way perform sadhana while staying safe from the onslaught of Mayadevi’s illusions. We must therefore be forever indebted to Srila Prabhupad and all our fellow devotees, whose association is our sole hope of being safe from the material energy and being able to make some progress on the path of Bhakti.