Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 11 - Chapter 1 - Verse 7


ते नाधीतश्रुतिगणा नोपासितमहत्तमा: ।अव्रतातप्ततपस: मत्सङ्गान्मामुपागता: ॥ ७ ॥


te nādhīta-śruti-gaṇānopāsita-mahattamāḥavratātapta-tapasaḥmat-saṅgān mām upāgatāḥ


The persons I have mentioned did not undergo serious studies of the Vedic literature, nor did they worship great saintly persons, nor did they execute severe vows or austerities. Simply by association with Me and My devotees, they achieved Me.


Study of the Vedic literature, worship of those who teach the śruti-mantras, acceptance of vows and austerities, etc., as mentioned previously, are helpful processes that please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse, however, the Lord again explains that all such processes are secondary to the essential process of associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees. By other processes one may gain the association of the Lord and His devotees, which will actually give the perfection of life. The word mat-saṅgāt can also be read as sat-saṅgāt, with the same meaning. In the reading mat-saṅgāt (“from association with Me”), mat is also understood to indicate “those who are Mine,” or the devotees. Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī mentions that a pure devotee can advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness by his own association, since simply by associating with his own activities and consciousness, he associates with the Lord.