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The infant does not know the taste of milk. By taking it daily, it develops an attachment for it which is so deep that when milk is to be given up and rice substituted, it starts to protest. But, the mother does not despair; she persuades the child to take small quantities of cooked rice daily and by this process it starts liking rice and it gives up milk. Milk was once its natural food; by practice, rice became its natural food, so natural that if no rice is available for a single day, it becomes miserable.
So, too, though sense-pleasures are "natural" at first, by means of practice and training and listening to the commendation of the wise, slowly the greater and more lasting pleasure derivable from the glories of the Lord and their recapitulation is grasped; thereafter, one cannot exist without that atmosphere even for a minute; one feels that there is nothing as sweet as the experience of listening to the splendour of the Lord. The company of the worldly who chatter about the senses and the sense-objects will no longer attract; the company which exults in praising the Lord will draw and hold.
This is the real hallmark of the good. Sadhakas and votaries of the Lord are to be judged by these, not by external apparel or appearances. If one mixes with men who revel in sensory talks and activities, then, he puts himself out of court. Spend your time in the company of the godly, engaged in godly affairs. Avoid getting mixed with the company of the ungodly. Do not see their activities or listen to their accounts. Only those who avoid them can be called Bhagavathas, or God's own.
Reading and enjoying the stories of the glory of Krishna in some sacred spot or some temple or prayer hall, shrine or hermitage of a saint or sage, or in the company of the virtuous and the good - that is a source of great inspiration and joy. It makes people forget everything else. Else, one can approach pious men and serving them, listen to their exposition of the glories of God. Taste for such wholesome literature is the result of accumulated merit and endeavour. It is that merit that rewards one with such company. Listening will be enough in the beginning; later the stories will arouse interest in the nature and characteristics of God and the aspirant will seek and find for himself the path to realisation.
Listening to expositions by the wise is much better than reading them or, one can be looking into the text while listening. It is preferable to listen in company, rather than alone; of course, it is excellent to listen with a number of earnest aspirants. If the person who expounds has had the thrill of genuine experience, then it is the supreme luck, for it yields best results. For, his face will blossom into joy, his eyes will shed tears of joy at the very contemplation of the glory of the Lord. Those who listen to him will catch that inspiration; they will experience the joy themselves. In the midst of a group that weeps, tears will spring out of the eyes of those who have come in. When an infant smiles, those around will also smile in unison. So too, the words of those who are saturated with devotion to God will saturate the hearts of those who listen. It is impossible to measure the profit that one can derive while in the company of the great.
Through that process of listening, a dirt-laden heart will be transformed into a clean illumined heart, shining with genuine light. To the foul odours of sense-pursuits, keenness to listen to the glories of God is a valuable disinfectant, besides being in itself so full of sweet fragrance. The listening will cleanse the heart through the prompting it gives for good work.