(This and earlier teachings Śrīcaraṇ Guru Dev gave in Iṭāvā)
The influence of the environment on people is very great. Association always give rise to vice and virtue. Therefore one should always avoid dealing with sensual people.
Sensual enjoyment through the eyes is not as harmful as repeated association with sensual people. Having had contact with sensuality once, you can avoid further contacts by considering the adverse effect it has on you. But if you form a relationship with sensual persons, there is nearly no hope for repair. Sensual enjoyment is like seeing fire with the eyes, but association with sensual people is like putting tongs in the fire.
You move a glowing spark to another place by brushing it away with your hand and your hand will not be burnt by this momentary contact. Therefore, contact with sensual fire is not as dangerous as association with sensual people. The rays of the sun do not burn as much as hot sand on the feet. The contact with visible sun rays is not so troublesome as the close touch with hot sand. Avoid sensual pleasures, but it is necessary to exercise even greater care not to form relationships with sensual people.
Contact with sensual people in daily life cannot completely be avoided, but you should stay no longer in their presence than you stay in the lavatory. When necessary one visits the lavatory, but stays there no longer than necessary. One leaves when the job is done. One should end contact with sensual people as soon as business with them is completed. Therefore remain cautious. If you spend too much time near such people, the influence of the contact will cling to you no matter how intelligent you may be.
In the socio-religious duties of the classes and stages of life there is very carefully discriminated between touchability (purity) and untouchability (impurity). This is exactly the reason that the radiant sattva atmosphere should not be spoiled by contact of the contaminating influence of rajas or tamas guna. Therefore it is of utmost importance for those progressing on the path of realisation of atman to avoid contact withsensual, vile and base people. Be vigilant to avoid such contact in your daily activities.
¹ the Hindi word viṣayī means one who is living for worldly and sensual enjoyments only