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Ordinary perception allows us to see only the separateness. It takes extraordinary perception to see oneness.
If a drop of water falls on a hot surface, it will instantaneously evaporate. Similarly, if you come into intimate contact with people who are hot with anger, jealousy, hatred, and the negative feelings of lust and greed, you and your peace of mind will vaporise. That is the effect of samsarga, association.
The effect your companions will have on your persona is comparable to the effect your food has on your person. You attend all those parties marked by excessive eating and drinking without bothering what kind of people the other party makers are. You may be as pure as a dew drop, but their samsarga is enough to pollute you. This is called the adhama samsarga, friendship with the base-minded. Of course, the opposite is also true.
Imagine the same dew drop on the petal of a lotus flower. The dew drop will glitter like a shining diamond as the rays of the morning sun fall on it against the lotus petal. The lustre of the lotus too increases in the play of light on the dew drop and the lake surface.
So, if you have contact with people of more refined tastes and sensibilities, both you and they will gain in many aspects of life. This is madhyam samsarga, middle-level association. It is only middle level because the stay of the dew drop on the lotus leaf is quite unstable.
A small gust of wind that passes along the lake surface is enough to shake the leaf, causing the dew drop to fall into the water and lose itself completely. When you listen to a discourse, you feel empowered, and complement the speaker on her powerful message.
Swami Sukhabodhananda

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