A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness who is fully devoted to the transcendental loving service of the Lord develops all the godly qualities of the demigods. There are many divine qualities, but Lord Caitanya describes only some of them to Sanātana Gosvāmī. A devotee of the Lord is always kind to everyone, and he does not pick quarrels. His interest is in the essence of life, which is spiritual. He is equal to everyone, and no one can find fault in him. His magnanimous mind is always fresh and clean and devoid of material obsessions. He is a benefactor to all living entities and is peaceful and always surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. He has no material desires. He is very humble and is fixed in his purpose. He is victorious over the six material qualities such as lust and anger, and he does not eat more than he needs. He is always sane and is respectful to others, but he does not require respect for himself. He is grave, merciful, friendly, poetic, expert and silent.
There is also a description of the devotee of the Lord in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.25.21) wherein he is said to be always tolerant and merciful. A friend to all living entities, he has no enemies. He is peaceful, and he possesses all good qualities. These are but a few of the characteristics of a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
It is also said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that if one gets an opportunity to serve a great soul—a mahātmā—his path to liberation is open. However, those who are attached to materialistic persons are on the path of darkness. Those who are actually holy are transcendental, composed, peaceful, friendly to all living entities and not subject to anger. Simply by association with such holy men one can become a Kṛṣṇa conscious devotee. Indeed, to develop love of Godhead, the association of holy devotees is needed. The path of advancement in spiritual life opens for anyone who comes in contact with a holy man, and by following the path of the devotee, one is sure to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness in full devotional service.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.28), Vasudeva, the father of Kṛṣṇa, asks Nārada Muni about the welfare of all living entities, and in reply Nārada Muni quotes a passage from Mahārāja Nimi's discussion with the nine sages. "O holy sages," King Nimi said, "I am just trying to find the path of well-being for all living entities. A moment of association with holy men is the most valuable thing in life, for that moment opens the path of advancement in spiritual life." This is also confirmed elsewhere in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.25.25). By associating with holy persons and discussing transcendental subject matters with them, one becomes convinced of the value of spiritual life. Very soon, hearing of Kṛṣṇa becomes pleasing to the ear and begins to satisfy one's heart. After receiving such spiritual messages from holy persons or pure devotees, if one tries to apply them in his own life, the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness naturally develops in faith, attachment and devotional service.
The Lord then informed Sanātana Gosvāmī about the behavior of a devotee. Here the main point is that one should always stay aloof from unholy association. That is the sum and substance of a devotee's behavior. And what is unholy association? It is association with one who is too much attached to women and with one who is not a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. These are unholy persons. One is advised to associate with the holy devotees of the Lord and carefully avoid the association of unholy nondevotees. Those who are pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa are very careful to keep aloof from the two types of nondevotees. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.31.33-35) it is said that one should give up all association with a person who is a playmate 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 and 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.
In this regard, Lord Caitanya also quotes a verse from 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."One is also advised not to even look at the faces of persons who are irreligious or who are devoid of devotion to the Supreme Lord. Lord Caitanya recommends that one should scrupulously renounce the association of unwanted persons and completely take shelter of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa. This same instruction is given to Arjuna in the last verses of Bhagavad-gītā in which Kṛṣṇa says:"Just give up everything and surrender unto Me. I will take care of you and protect you from all the reactions to sinful activities." (BG 18.66) The Lord is very kind to His devotees, and He is very grateful, able and magnanimous. It is our duty to believe His words, and if we are intelligent and educated enough, we will follow His instructions without hesitation. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.48.26) Akrūra tells Kṛṣṇa:
- kaḥ paṇḍitas tvad aparaṁ śaraṇaṁ 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 Yourself? Who is as dear, truthful, friendly and grateful as You? You are so perfect and complete that even though You give Yourself to Your devotee, You are still full and perfect. You can 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 to the shelter of Kṛṣṇa. In this regard, Lord Caitanya recites a verse spoken by Uddhava in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.2.23): "How can one take shelter of anyone but Kṛṣṇa? He is so kind. Even though Bakāsura's sister planned to kill Kṛṣṇa when He was an infant by applying poison to her breast and offering it to Kṛṣṇa to suck and thus die, still that heinous woman received salvation and was elevated to the same platform as Kṛṣṇa's own mother." This verse refers to the time when Pūtanā planned to kill Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa accepted the poisonous breasts of that demonic woman, and when He sucked the milk from her, He sucked out her life also. Nonetheless Pūtanā was elevated to the same position as Kṛṣṇa's own mother.