Does one’s company really affect character?
With all his prowess, why did Karna come to a bad end? Because of his association with the evil minded Dhuryodhana. If he had not made common cause with Dhuryodhana, Karna would have become an effulgent star in the firmament. All his native good qualities turned into ashes because of bad association. Your company determines your character. Hence from the outset, cultivate the company of godly men. Without it, all other things are useless.
Divine Discourse 19 Jan 1997
What is the importance of good company?
Students are generally good but change their behaviour due to environments. The famous scientist Einstein invented great scientific truths. But, in the last stage of his life he began realising the Truth and took to the study of Bhagavath Geetha! He used to say “Tell me your company. I shall tell what you are.” What is good company—Sath Sanga? Sath is Truth, that is, God. So this means you should always be with God. Sathsanga does not mean Bhajan participants. If you realise your reality which is Divinity there will be no trouble.
Divine Discourse 18 July 1997
How should one associate with everyone?
Avoid unnecessary and excessive association with all and sundry. Many of you have come here away from your kith and kin. People have come from America or Japan, Germany or Russia, leaving their parents or other relatives. Why, then, should they cultivate new relationships with others here? Keep yourself to yourself as far as possible. Keep your mind pure. There is no need to indulge in talk with people in all sorts of places. Talk less, think more. Cultivate this habit. Unnecessary association with strangers may have unexpected consequences of a serious nature. You might have noticed in the play staged by the students how one person got into trouble because of his association with some undesirable persons. Ultimately he recognised his mistake and felt that his mind had been poisoned by association with bad persons. Others should not be blamed. The mistake was his, in not keeping his association confined to good persons. He cried over his folly in joining bad company. To join bad company and come to grief is a self-wrought calamity. Keep your association with anyone to the barest minimum. Genuine spiritual aspirants should be particularly careful in eschewing bad company. They should create an environment conducive to their spiritual progress and mental peace. That is the only thing Swami want.
Divine Discourse 23 Nov 1997