tathapi sangah parivarjaniyo
gunesu maya-racitesu tavat
mad-bhakti-yogena drdhena yavad
rajo nirasyeta manah-kasayah
Nevertheless, until by firmly practicing devotional service to Me one has completely eliminated from his mind all contamination of material passion, one must very carefully avoid associating with the material modes, which are produced by My illusory energy.
The word tathapi in this verse indicates that even though the material nature is nondifferent from the Supreme Lord (as elaborately described in this chapter), one who has yet to conquer material desire should not artificially associate with material things, declaring them to be nondifferent from the Lord. Thus one aspiring to be Krsna conscious should not loosely associate with women, claiming them to be nondifferent from the Personality of Godhead, for by such imitation of the most advanced devotees one will become a sense gratifier. A neophyte devotee who presumes himself liberated is impelled by the mode of passion to become falsely proud of his position, and thus he neglects the actual process of devotional service to the Lord. One must have firm and steady engagement in the loving service of the Lord, under the direction of higher authorities; then advancement in Krsna consciousness will be easy and sublime.