A company or an association that a person keeps plays a pivotal role in shaping his/her personality. Association with evil persons produces evil effects. Those who associate with honorable and saintly people acquire virtuous qualities and achieve a noble position in the society. This is very clearly brought out by Indian scriptures, to quote from Sikh scriptures ( verse by Saint Kabir recorded at page 1369 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS)) the effect of company is very clearly stated;
“ ਜੋ ਜੈਸੀ ਸੰਗਤ ਮਿਲੇ ਸੋ ਤੇਸੋ ਫਲ ਪਾਏ “
“ A person gets rewarded as per the company/association he/she keeps.”
Association with a fool, corrupt, untruthful and evil person leads to one acquiring similar traits and becoming self-centered, wicked and unrighteous. Therefore we must be careful with whom we associate. Association with good people would always produce good results. We all know about a famous quote, “A person is known by the company he/she keeps.” Similar sentiments are expressed in SGGS (Page 219);
“ਸਾਧੋ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਮਾਨ ਤਿਯਾਗੋ , ਕਾਮ ਕਰੋਧ ਸੰਗਤ ਦੁਰਜਨ ਕੀ ਤਾ ਤੇ ਅਹਿਨਿਸ ਭਾਗਯੋ “
“ O good (holy) people, forsake the pride of your mind, stay away from Sexual desire, Anger and Association with Evil people, ( in fact run away from these).”
Let us see what are the views of 19 th century great Indian reformer Swami Vivekananda on Association who offers a beautiful explanation taking example of rain .
“ The rain drops from the sky:
If it is caught in hands, it is pure enough for drinking.
If it falls in a gutter, its value drops so much that it can’t be used even for washing the feet.
If it falls on a hot surface it vanishes.
If it falls on lotus leaf, it shines like a pearl,
And finally if it falls on oyster, it becomes a pearl.
The rain drop is same but its existence and worth depends on whom it associates.”
Therefore be careful with whom you associate.