There's a reason why we are not to eat partly-eaten food. The qualities of the person who took the bite earlier influences the latter. Precisely why food is offered to the divine before partaking it, leaving us with prasada that builds divine qualities or satva (quality of sat).

satsangatve nissangatvam nissangatve nirmohatvam
nirmohatve nischaltatvam nischaltatve jivanmuktiih

... said our Adi Shankara. Why it is important to have the right company is said in just the right words in this shloka from Bhaja Govindam. I was thinking some time back how easy it is for one to fall in bad company, get influenced, lose perhaps an era, with or without regret later, and then possibly blame it on others in the end! Whoever it is responsible, we've lost that era!

There are still others who say that a person with will-power won't get spoilt in wrong company giving examples such as "lotus in the dirt", et al. However, that may well be true for a lotus; but being a lotus in itself is a tough thing. How that happens is being in constant company of the good; yes, thats satsanga. Its not about attending a spiritual discourse and walking out into the routine... it needs the follow-ons of thinking and contemplation in a repetitive -- nay, endless -- cycle till the subject feeling is firm.

One may agree with all that I blabbered above, but think that s/he's not in bad company. Then why bother at all? Fine, I say... but here's more blabbering for describing other types of companies, not necessarily bad.

They say that even a lie repeated a lot many times feels like truth. Consider schooling, for example, the physics we studied; it left us in a whole world of atoms and molecules. I'm not saying that it was a lie, but I feel that it has caused us to be somewhat narrow-minded in that it doesn't let us escape to take a non-scientific viewpoint, even for a moment. For everything within or without, we search for a scientific explanation, in vain, more often than not. Even so, the world we believe in, after being fed all sort of inputs through our senses since childhood, is just one-sided viewpoint... bad or good company, thats all!

Satsanga helps us *see from* the other side of the shore if not *see the* other side of shore, slowly at first, steadily next and firm at last. Else its just getting stuck in bad company, the non-sat, the unreal, the Maya, the anirvachaniya, the loop of lives and deaths!
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