The Lord then informed Sanātana Gosvāmī about the behavior of a devotee. The sum and substance of such behavior is that one should always stay aloof from unholy association. And what is unholy association? It is association with one who is too much attached to women or one who is not a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. These are unholy persons. One is thus advised to associate with holy devotees of the Lord and carefully avoid the association of unholy nondevotees. Pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa are very careful to keep aloof from the two kinds of nondevotees. The result of unholy association is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.31.33–35). There it is said that one should give up all association with a person who is a plaything for women, for by associating with such an unholy person one becomes bereft of all good qualities, such as truthfulness, cleanliness, mercy, gravity, intelligence, shyness, beauty, fame, forgiveness, control of the mind, control of the senses, and all the opulences that are automatically obtained by a devotee. A man is never so degraded as when he associates with persons who are too much attached to women.
Regarding remaining aloof from unholy persons, Lord Caitanya quoted a verse from the Kātyāyana-saṁhitā: "One should rather tolerate the miseries of being locked in a cage filled with fire than associate with those who are not devotees of the Lord." Indeed, one is advised not to even look at the faces of persons who are irreligious, or without any devotion to the Supreme Lord. In other words, Lord Caitanya recommended that one should scrupulously renounce the association of unwanted persons and completely take shelter of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa gave Arjuna this same instruction near the end of the Bhagavad-gītā (18.66): "Just give up everything and surrender unto Me. I will take care of you and protect you from all the reactions to sinful activities." The Lord is very kind to His devotees, and He is very grateful, able and magnanimous. Therefore it is our duty to believe His words, and if we are intelligent enough and educated enough, we will follow His instructions without hesitation. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.48.26) Akrūra tells Kṛṣṇa:
- kaḥ paṇḍitas tvad aparaṁśaraṇaṁ samīyād
- bhakta-priyād ṛta-giraḥ suhṛdaḥ kṛta-jñāt
- sarvān dadāti suhṛdo bhajato ’bhikāmān
- ātmānam apy upacayāpacayau na yasya
"Who can surrender to anyone other than You? Who is so dear? Who is so truthful? Who is so friendly? And who is so grateful? You are so perfect and complete that even though You give Yourself to Your devotee, You are still full and perfect. You can therefore satisfy all the desires of Your devotee and even deliver Yourself unto him."
A person who is intelligent and able to understand the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness naturally gives up everything and takes shelter only of Kṛṣṇa. In this regard, Lord Caitanya recited a verse spoken by Uddhava in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.2.23): “How can one take shelter of anyone but Kṛṣṇa? Who else is so kind? Even though Bakāsura's sister Pūtanātried to kill Kṛṣṇa when He was an infant by applying poison to her breast and offering it to Him to suck, still that heinous woman received salvation and was elevated to the same platform as His own mother.” Kṛṣṇa accepted the poisonous breast of that demonic woman Pūtanā, and when He sucked the milk from her breast, He sucked out her life also. Nonetheless, Pūtanā was elevated to the same position as Kṛṣṇa's own mother.