Thoughts on friendship

“I’ll get by with a little help from my friends”

Pensive, withdrawn, lonely. The life of the world can be teeming around us, the high decibel sounds can be dinning in our ears and still we can be lonely. It is possible to be lonely in a crowd. Loneliness haunts the places where crowds gather. It is not the presence or absence of people that makes the difference because a person need not be lonely even if he/she is alone. Sometimes it is good to be alone. But that does not make us lonely. It is not a matter of being present with someone. It is a matter of being present to someone. This calls for special communication, special human interaction, special acceptance and understanding. If these are lacking, all we have is lonely people, each encased within his/her own impenetrable shell. No one wants to be lonely. People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.

To dissolve loneliness we need friends. A friend gives warmth, understanding, time, love oneself. A friend stands up to my anger, my selfishness, my short-comings. A faithful friend is a sure shelter. Whoever finds one has found a treasure. In his inimitable way, I suppose Snoopy would cut through the core and say, “Happiness is a friend who lets you be yourself and still loves you.” We need friends because we are social beings, not by choice, but by nature.

“I spent one morning with a friend and wished the day would never end…”

 

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Sensual desires

“… sensual desire is never quenched by indulgence any more than fire is by pouring ghee in it. No object of desire – corn, gold, cattle or women – nothing can ever satisfy the desire of man. (…) We can reach peace only by a mental poise beyond likes and dislikes.”

Yayati explains this to his son Puru after indulging several years in a sensual life.

(Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari – p.38)

Keeping good company

“… it is not proper to live with persons who have no sense of decency or decorum. The wise will not keep company with those who speak ill of their family.”

Devayani speaks about the behaviour of Sarmishta the daughter of king Vrishaparva who by her rude actions had disrespected her father Sukracharya.

(Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari – p.34)

More so now than ever

“You are enchanting – more so now than ever, flushed as you are with anger.”

Kacha says this to Devayani while declining her proposal for marriage, for he believes that by bringing him back to life, Sukracharya is now his parent and it is against nature for a brother to wed his own sister.

(Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari – p.31)

Of wine and virtue

“Virtue will desert the man who through lack of wisdom drinks wine. He will be an object of scorn to all. This is my message to humanity, which should be regarded as an imperative scriptural injunction.”

The Asuras would have killed Sukracharya’s disciple Kacha, burnt his body and mixed his ashes in wine and offered it to Sukracharya, in an attempt to dissuade Sukracharya from reviving Kacha from death. Sukracharya angry at the deceit played upon him by the Asuras, utters the above words.

(Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari – p.30)