Man is a gregarious animal. He want associates; he wants companions; he must have society. Rare is he who can live by himself. Why? Because man has been made so, created so. The Lord created man with the senses going outward therefore he perceives, seeks things outside, says the Kalhopanishad. His delights are outside of himself. Alone he is afraid of several things - of robbers, if he has money; of life, if he has enemies; of himself, if he has a bad conscience and so on. A man with a tormented concience likes to lose himself in a crowded place, crowded with activities as well as people.
Again, man wants to share his thoughts, his sorrows, his joys with others. For where is the man who can say that he will not share some good news, that gives him happiness, with another who is likely to appreciate his talents, or envy his success? In sorrow and in disease man really needs somebody, who would smpathise with him, who would feel for him; for want of this succour sometime, men have been seen to lose all faith in humanity and turn unfeeling, unappreciating brutes, nay they may even be driven to insanity or may become hardened criminals. History has a number of incidents which go to prove this.
Psychological investigations, in which America has fairly advanced, show that even babies languish and die for want of sympathy and love. They instinctively feel though their minds may not have developed to grasp intellectually what they feel that they are not wanted. The very atmosphere, perhaps, becomes oppressive to them. This is not merely a conjecture. It can be inferred by your own experience in life. In our everyday life we meet with such situations. You are invited to a party because you happen to be in some way related to the people, who are giving it, but in reality they will be glad if you abstained from attending. You do not know it yet you go to the function and immediately you regret your action, for you instinctively feel that you are an unwanted person there, though you came not uninvited.
Perhaps a dead silence of a minute or two at your entry, in the otherwise gay atmosphere, tells you that; or something like it happen and you become aware of the true state of affairs. It may sometimes be suffocating for you and perhaps you wish you were not there at all. On the other hand others at some other place would, probably, wish that you went to them even uninvited and felt yourself at home with them. Such instances show that an atmosphere is not merely physical but something more. And this other atmosphere acts on the psychic being of man as the outer climate and atmosphere acts on his body. The psychic being in man can be and is influenced by the environment he lives in, by the company he keeps. 'Tell me with whom thou art found, and I will tell thee who thou art,' said the German poet-philosopher Goethe. This has been the verdict of not only him but also of others before and after him. So, it has been a universal experience, all through the ages, all through the climes and all throughout the world that, but for a few exceptions, all men desire company ; and that association influences them as sure as milk acted upon by acid transforms itself into curd. That being so it behoves all to take good care with what type of people they associate.
(Activity : During the day, can you note your feelings when a person enters in your home, karyalaya?)
…….from Holy Company and Spiritual Life