While growing up, we often heard the words like 'sadhu-sanga' or 'sat-sanga'. Parents often stress on the importance of good association to their children. But we still don't understand it's true importance in our lives. In one of his lectures, Srila Prabhupada very clearly explains 'sat-sanga'. He says, "Sat-sanga means association of devotees. Sat means a devotee. Sat also means God - om tat sat .... sat also means spiritual.. .. asat means temporary. This material world is temporary. Sat-sanga means spiritual association. Sat-sangan mukta-duh-sanga - The more one associates with sat - with devotees - the more one becomes liberated. Duh-sanga means bad association. We are in the material world means we are
simply in bad association - duh-sanga. And if we want to get rid of this bad association, we must associate with the devotees."
Because of this asat-sanga every living entity is struggling hard for existence in this material world. As long as we are seeking to gratify our mind and senses, we will undoubtedly become frustrated and suffer. One of our great acaryas, Srila
Narottama Dasa Thakura laments and says that when one deviates from the association of pure devotees, one immediately entangles oneself in the material bondage namely - birth, old age, disease, and death. He says - "sat-sanga chadi' kainu asate vilasa, te-karana lagila mora karma-bandha-phansa - I have given up the pure state of consciousness because I wanted to enjoy in the temporary, material manifestation; therefore, I have been entangled in the network of actions and reactions."
Under the shadow of asat-sanga the jiva always hankers for material enjoyment and in search of that happiness he becomes entangled in the cycle of birth and death. Sadhu and sastra teach us that is we want real happiness we must stop trying to find it here. We must engage in our natural propensity i.e. to serve the Supreme Lord in the association of devotees. All the Vedic scriptures advise that one in human form of life should take the association of a saintly person to know the true meaning of this human form of life and why are we here. The first aphorism of Vedanta-sutra is - 'athato brahma jijnasa', which means one must inquire about Brahman, the Absolute Truth. In order to inquire about the ultimate goal of life, the Vedas encourage us, 'tad vijnartham sa gurum evabhigacchet [MU 1.2.12] - In order to understand the transcendental science, one must approach a bona fide spiritual master or a saintly person.'
Each one of us has a loving propensity towards the Lord which is covered by ignorance, in the conditioned state. Just
as wood possesses the propensity to burn which is brought forth the moment it comes in contact with fire. Similarly, each one of us needs to make contact with someone who is Krsna conscious so that our spiritual spark may be fired up. To have association of a true and surrendered devotee of the Lord is the greatest boon for mortal beings. It is stated in Srimad - Bhagavatarn:
tulayama lavenapi na svargam napunar-bhavam
bhagavat-sangi-sangasya martyanam kim utasisah
The value of a moment's association with a devotee of the Lord cannot even be compared to the attainment of heavenly planets or liberation from matter, and what to speak of worldly benedictions in the form of material prosperity, which are for those who are meant for death.
In the purport of this verse, Srila Prabhupada elucidates about the position of a devotee, "One cannot compare the association of a pure devotee to anything material. Men who are addicted to material happiness aspire to reach the heavenly planets. When one becomes frustrated with all kinds of material advancement, one desires the opposite type of liberation, which is called apunar-bhava, or no rebirth. But the pure devotees of the Lord do not aspire after the happiness obtained in the heavenly kingdom nor do they aspire after liberation from material bondage. In other words, for the pure devotees of the Lord the material pleasures obtainable in the heavenly planets are like phantasmagoria and because they are already liberated from all material conceptions of pleasure and distress, they are factually liberated even in the material world. This means that the pure devotees of the Lord are engaged in a transcendental existence, namely in the loving service of the Lord, both in the material world and in the spiritual world."
Just by coming in contact with these kinds of devotees of the Lord one's real fortune arises immediately and the attitude
of service towards the Lord gets established in the heart of a sincere living being. Therefore, one should always associate
with devotees to attain the perfection of life. The Supreme Lord Krsna appeared as Lord Caitanya, in the role of a devotee, to teach pure devotional service. Lord Caitanya's greatest gift to these conditioned souls is His surrendered devotees. Each one of His devotees has the power to deliver the whole universe. And one of His senapati-bhakta, Srila Prabhupada, did that by delivering the most wretched and fallen people of this planet.
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