"Devotee association is not just a matter of being together in the same environment. Actually, some devotees even avoid each other because they do not want to have to look at themselves honestly. Some find it more peaceful to avoid interacting with others. However, we do not just want peace. We want realization, and the unfoldment of realization is not always a peaceful process. It is peaceful to be in ignorance; it is peaceful to be in denial; it is peaceful to avoid dealing with issues by living a cloistered lifestyle, but the real challenge arises when we have to interact with people because it tests our genuine level of realization. Our associates give us the opportunity to look at ourselves in a mirror so that we get a clearer vision of our strengths and weaknesses. This reflection on ourselves allows us to introspect more authentically and evaluate our proficiency as we follow the process of devotional service."
Taken from Bhakti-tirtha Swami's Reflections on Sacred Teachings, Volume Five: Srila Bhaktisiddhanta's Sixty-Four Principles For Community.