Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!
The Narada Bhakti Sutra is our guide for a while… the nature of Love (with the capital 'ell') and a full exploration of it. As always, you are encouraged to seek out the full text from Chinmaya Publications (links in side-bar); but for those who prefer e-readers, this version is recommended. Whilst awareness and interest can be raised by these posts on AV-blog, they cannot substitute for a thorough reading and contemplation...and practice!
We progress; Chapter Three; section 3.
du>s'g> svRwEv TyaJy>.43.
dukhaH-sangaH sarvathaiva traajyaH ||43||
Evil company is only fit to be renounced by all means.
Keeping good company aids graceful living and keeps us on the straight and narrow; keeping company with those who have the philosophy and faith that we share, or compliments our own, aids our spiritual path and enheartens us. Conversely, keeping company of those with low morals, mean methods, selfish attitudes and such like can draw us away from the path of shreyas. Here the Guru states very clearly, just as any parent might to their child, "be careful about whom you call friend". Teenagers in particular can fall prey to the lure of the flashing lights, the late nights, the indulgences which seem to be on offer from life. Many an adult has tumbled this way also.
In doing so, how can such a person be expected to sit focused in meditation? Where is the desire to improve, to sit with the wise and learn with an open heart and mind? Where is the harm in a little 'play', such a one may ask… and there is a resounding warning in the following sutra.
For is the cause for creating lust, anger, delusion, loss off memory, loss of discrimination and, ultimately, utter ruin.
There was a fellow who tumbled downstairs. At the bottom his wife leaned over and asked if he had missed any of the steps. "No. All steps were hit and every one of them I felt!" At least he was still alive and could pick himself up to try and ascend the stair again - but it would surely be a bit harder this time.
We may think that a little 'rock and roll' will take no toll. It grabs hold of us however and it is not long before it is more 'rock and roll' and then a bit more. If more and more 'rock and roll' is filling our time, then less and less satsang and meditation and japa is taking place. We are descending the spiritual stair, and a good deal more quickly than we ever ascended it, we shall find!
Keeping the company of those who wheedle and cajole us to "c'mon, it's only one night, only one drink, only one…." we will find that, having invested some expectation of happiness from their company, that we find it ever more difficult to say 'no'. We start desiring the things they do (kaama), we may become overtired and tetchy, even angry (krodha); we start to daydream about 'what if…' or worse still, start to believe things are present in life which are not there at all (moha)… and so it goes on. A consequence of this inattention is that we begin to lose our thoughts, the memory plays tricks, we make ever more poor choices and before we know it we lying crumpled at the foot of that stair.
We shall look at this a little more next week. For saadhana, think on what little things are making themselves a habit in your life but in the negative way of preventing full spiritual congruity.