Verse 4.15: All the liberated souls in ancient times acted with this understanding of My transcendental nature. Therefore you should perform your duty, following in their footsteps.
"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."
When I initially heard this quote from one of my bhakti mentors a few years back, it left a deep impression in me. How true those words ring!
It is also reminds me of a time when I asked another of my favorite bhakti practitioners a question. Younger and full of enthusiasm, I asked how I could become a better practitioner of bhakti yoga. With great compassion and a lot of love, he replied, "It will take patience and time. You are still young. With age comes many experiences which will help solidify your knowledge and deepen it into realization."
I remember meditating on that answer for quite some time. However, it is only years later that I gained the realization that those experiences don't necessarily have to be my own. By following in the footsteps of my teachers, inspirations and role models, I could also learn from their own experiences - whether they be positive or challenging.
The Gita is reminding us that first class intelligence is highlighted by learning from the experiences of others. Just like an aspiring entrepreneur will read and try to absorb the knowledge that was gained from the experiences of expert businesspersons, similarly the aspiring yogi observes and adopts the methods practiced by those successfully and steadily practicing the path of bhakti.
One of the traits of such advanced practitioners of bhakti yoga is humility. Such inspiring role models seek no recognition for themselves. Therefore, the price to get their company and hear from them is not money but a deep desire. Simply by desiring and making the effort to seek out such personalities, it's astounding how opportunities unfold to learn from them.
So go ahead and seek out the company of such wonderful personalities. After all:
"One's desires and ambitions develop according to the company one keeps."