Are you in good company?
If the people around me are not good, will it affect my spiritual growth?
The company you keep matters a lot, especially on the spiritual path. For e.g. if a group of people is sitting and laughing, you are passing from there and decide to just join them. You suddenly start laughing, you don’t even know why they are laughing, hasn’t this happened with you? Similarly, if a group is gossiping, you also join in the gossip. Fire catches fire! Mind catches mind. That is why all masters and scriptures say that the company you keep will always affect you.
Now, what to do if the company is not in knowledge. All you can do is some seva of sharing the importance of spirituality and how it has changed you. That might help some people start thinking about their spiritual side which they might have ignored. This is the best SEVA you can do – bring a soul into this beautiful wisdom! Never push them, just kindly nudge them towards spiritual topics rather than gossip and politics.
Remember, we may be in knowledge but our feet are not yet firmly established in wisdom yet. Yes, there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is what you get from a true master. it may also be acquired from scriptures like Ashtavakra and Bhagavad Gita. But still it is from an external source. Wisdom is self realization, it comes from within! Until, you reach self-realization, keeping a knowledgeable company is absolutely critical for a seeker! So encourage your friends and family to move together with you in knowledge! Most importantly, you keep moving.
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