Adi Shankara stressed the importance of spending time in good company (Satsanga). He taught that for liberation, Satsanga is the first and important step. Here is a small example: if a piece of black charcoal is kept in the proximity of a bright red fire, the area along which this black charcoal is in contact with the bright fire, begins to glow. In this analogy, the black charcoal is your ignorance. The bright red fire is the good company. By the two coming together, only the portion of your ignorance that is exposed to the effects of good company will be dispelled. But if you employ sadhana or spiritual practice as a fan to increase the area of contact, then the entire region of ignorance will be illumined. It is thus not enough if you are merely in the company of good people. You should also develop the sadhana of love, and be loved by the good people. It is necessary to be near and dear to the good people.