Forum February

Friendship Aspects - 1

from: Hazrat Inayat Khan -

In an Eastern Rosegarden

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Developed with Love

Relationship is nourished by contact, kingship is maintained by reciprocity, but friendship is developed with love. There is no relationship that can be compared with friendship, for it is in learning the law of friendship that we understand ethics and morals, and also the relation between a human being and God.

1. Understanding without Words

There are three principal things to be understood in connection with friendship. The first is understanding without words. If there is no understanding between two persons, words are of no use. They may talk and talk, and discuss and discuss, and it will only go from bad to worse, for argument will never end.

As it is said in the Vadan, ‘Why? is an animal with a thousand tails. At every bite you give it, it drops one of its curved tails and raises another.’

Can argument bring about understanding? Never. Argument only increases argument, and so we can go on till two persons turn their back upon each other. Understanding is a gift of God, understanding is a soul's unfoldment, and understanding is the greatest fortune we can have in life. It is with understanding that the foundation of friendship is established, and it is in understanding that friendship is secure. Without under-standing there is no friendship.

2. Selfless Attitude

And the next thing is a disinterested attitude. When a person thinks that by friendship he can get some benefit from the friend, or that the other may benefit by him, that is just burning the roots of friendship. In these material days so few of us understand what friendship means. Whenever there is a question of friendship the first thought is: what shall I gain by this friendship, can his influence be of some use to me? That is not friendship. Whenever a thought of self-interest creeps in, that means the ruin of friendship. Every little thought of profiting by it means destruction; it can never develop into a real friendship, it will only develop into a business relationship. It will last as long as the business relationship lasts, it will prosper as long as the business relationship prospers, and then it will vanish. Such a relationship can never be called friendship.

In this world every individual is helpless in some way or another, and every individual is of use in some way or another. It can happen that a person depends unconsciously upon his friend for his own interest, and even then it will turn out to be a wrong attitude. It cannot bring about fruitful results, for friendship must be built upon a solid foundation, a foundation where there is always a desire to give, to be helpful and serviceable to the friend: no thought of taking, always a thought of giving and keeping back nothing. A real friend holds his life cheap for his friend. The one who considers anything more important, more precious than friendship, has not yet learned the first lesson of friendship. There is no sacrifice too great, if it is made for a friend. If a sacrifice is not made for a friend, then for whom should we make it? A person would never learn how to make any sacrifice if it were not for a friend.

In our daily life we take the word friendship too lightly, and we confuse the words ‘friend’ and ‘acquaintance.’ An acquaintance is someone whom we have met, and he has seen us, and we recognize each other. We may have been introduced at a dinner party. We use the word ‘friend’ so freely and lightly in everyday language that we have forgotten the meaning of it. Generally we call anyone whom we have seen at a reception or party a friend; or anyone that belongs to our club. But even to have one friend in our life is the greatest good fortune.

Indifference! My most intimate friend,

I am sorry I have always to act against thee

as thy opponent.


Gayan - Alankaras

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