Devotee: Sometimes we have the idea that sadhu-sanga means anyone who is chanting Hare Krishna, performing devotional activities, and following the morning programs very strictly. We say that person is a sadhu. But then there is also a deeper definition of sadhu?
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja: Sadhu means one who is a manifestation of svarupa-sakti. That is sadhu — one who has developed krsna-prema. The sadhu-mukhya-laksana, the chief symptom of a sadhu, is one who is completely surrendered. That surrender is based on pure love, otherwise there is no question of complete surrender. Without love your so-called surrender is either artificial, partial or conditional.
Devotee: What if we are associating with a devotee who has anarthas and is therefore not so advanced?
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja: As long as anarthas are there, what is there?
Devotee: What is the benefit of that kind of association?
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja: One should associate with a bhakta who is more elevated than oneself, then there will be benefit. Otherwise there will be no benefit. You are surrounded by anarthas and he is also surrounded by anarthas. What benefit will you get by associating with him? You are both on the same level.
When we speak of a sadhu, what does it mean? You should understand. Sadhu means a soul completely surrendered, not artificially, partially or conditionally surrendered. Complete surrender is based on prema. Without prema there is no question of complete surrender.
krsna-premera ei eka apurva prabhava
guru-sama-laghuke karaye dasya-bhava
Do you understand? If you analyze it clearly and very deeply you can understand. You cannot become krsna-dasa without krsna-prema, because you have to render loving service. It is not just ordinary service. Srila Prabhupada stresses on this. Loving service, loving service, loving service. Not ordinary service! Without love, Krishna will never accept your service.
Surrender Incomplete without Prema By HH Goura Govinda Maharaj