To the question, how long one should have holy company, we may answer only in one way; that is as long as one lives. Even God-men and men of God desire the company of pure souls, what then to speak of ordinary aspirants! How fervently did Sri Ramakrishna pray to the Divine Mother! 'Oh Mother' he said, 'where are Thy pure-souled devotees! Bring them here, Mother, bring them. My ears are burning by hearing the talks of the worldly people.' Such then is the desirability of holy company.
Only one class of people need no holy company viz. those who are too much engrossed in the world, whom the Bhagavata poignantly describes as stricken by destiny. With very much pathos the scripture says: 'These miserable people have their intelligence stricken by destiny in a way as to make their senses averse to discourses - the Divine discourses which are potent to destroy all evils. They have their minds completely overpowered by greed and therefore craving for the niggardly little crumbs of desires, engage themselves in unwholesome acts from eternity to eternity.' For them the very atmosphere where the holy ones live becomes stifling, unbearable. How it is so, we shall illustrate from the incidents which Sri Ramakrishna observed and give it in his own words; 'Sometimes I find that the devotees of God are accompanied by worthless people. Their companions are immersed in gross worldliness and don't enjoy spiritual talk at all. Since the devotees keep on, for a long time, talking with me about God, the others become restless. Finding it impossible to sit there any longer, they whisper to their devotee friends : "When shall we be going? How long will you stay here?" The devotees say: "Wait a bit. We shall go after a little while." Then the worldly people say in a disgusted tone: "Well then, you can talk. We shall wait for you in the boat."