It's all in the company we keep

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Uncle Jay. He loves football, English football. While reading in my room I could hear Jay watching football in the lounge. His favourite team were playing--Manchester United. He told me two days prior that the match was coming and now it was live, all the way here in South Africa. 
I could hear the excitement building but remained determined to finish my book. Concentration became more difficult, I think Rooney had scored a goal. I was now reading to finish the last chapter and not out of interest. Chapter finished and I was drawn to sit with him.
I have never been a football supporter, sport has rarely held my interest. But there I was absorbed in the excitement, gradually joining in until I was running my own commentary. As Persie scored the second goal I felt myself rising from the chair. For 50 minutes or so, nothing else existed in the world except for Uncle Jay, the match and 'G', as my family call me.
Krishna consciousness comes through the association of enthusiasts. The medieval Kaviraj Goswami writes that in the beginning such association is the root (janma-mula) of devotion to Krishna and in the advanced state it remains a principal part (mukhya-anga) of it. In simple--it's all in the company we keep.

As my dear uncle's love for the game was infectious, so is the love of advanced devotees of Krishna. As I was drawn from my reading and into football euphoria, we are delivered from the mire of worldliness and towards spirituality by the wise words and enthusiasm of devotees. Even a moment of such association is therefore eulogised in scripture.
Where insightful words create the watershed moment from external to internal life, progressing onwards to special heights in devotion comes through time spent with connoisseurs (rasikaih saha). When a true lover describes the object of their love--in this case Krishna, embellished by expressed symptoms, the effect is infectious. Even a worldly person may experience the same just by their company (bhava-abhasa). As I moved from disinterest in football to passionate participation, so too the disinterested soul can be awakened again to Krishna--it's all in the company we keep.
Uncle Jay is extremely loving to me. I hear him asking for me, where I am and if I'm okay, it's very endearing. What to speak of when we, our saints and leaders exhibit the same, just think of how we will grow.

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