Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommended that one learn Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from the mouth of the self realized person called bhāgavatam. Bhāgavata means "in relationship with the Personality of Godhead (Bhagavān)." So the devotee is sometimes called bhāgavatam, and the book which is in relationship with devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also called Bhāgavatam. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommended that in order to relish the real taste of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, one should take instruction from the person bhāgavatam. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is relishable even by a liberated person. It was admitted by Śukadeva Gosvāmī that although he was liberated from within the very womb of his mother, it was only after relishing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that he became a great devotee. Thus, one who is desirous of advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should relish the purport of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam through the discussions of authorized devotees.
In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Second Canto, 1st Chapter, 9th verse, Śukadeva Gosvāmī admits that although he was very much attracted by the impersonal Brahman, when he heard the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from the mouth of his father, Vyāsadeva, he became more attracted to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The idea is that Vyāsadeva was also a self realized soul, and his mature contribution of transcendental knowledge was delivered directly to Śukadeva Gosvāmī in the manner indicated.
The importance of discussing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the society of pure devotees is explained by Śaunaka Muni during the meeting at Naimiṣāraṇya, in the presence of Sūta Gosvāmī. Sūta Gosvāmī confirmed that if someone is fortunate enough to associate with a pure devotee of the Lord even for a moment, that particular moment is so valuable that even those pious activities which can promote one to the heavenly planets or give liberation from material miseries cannot compare with it. In other words, those who are attached to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam do not care for any kind of benefit derived from elevation to the higher planetary kingdoms, or for the liberation which is conceived of by the impersonalists. As such, the association of pure devotees is so transcendentally valuable that no kind of material happiness can compare with it.
In the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya there is a conversation between Prahlāda Mahārāj and his father, Hiraṇyakaśipu, in which Hiraṇyakaśipu addresses Prahlāda in this way: "My dear son, association is very important. It acts just like a crystal-stone which will reflect anything which is put before it." Similarly, if we associate with the flowerlike devotees of the Lord, and if our hearts are crystal clear, then certainly the same action will be there. Another example given in this connection is that if a man is potent and if a woman is not diseased, then by their conjugation there will be conception. In the same way, if the recipient of spiritual knowledge and the deliverer of spiritual knowledge are sincere and bona fide, there will be good results.