The incident relates to the year 1984. In the month of January, I had gone to Varanasi where I visited the DIG of Police in his home. There I met an elderly person, Mr. Kejriwal, with whom I later spent about an hour in Bombay at his residence. His flat was quite big but his lifestyle appeared to be quite simple. During our talks, I asked him about his friends. To this he gave a very unusual reply. He said that he didn’t know the number of his friends but definitely he had no enemy. Though impressed by this reply, I was not able to understand the depth of his answer.
First of all I am of the view that friendship as well as enmity are only the states of mind. There are different qualities of them which depend upon the growth of mind. Generally the quality of friendship or enmity is determined by the motive we have in mind. The lower motive leads to lower quality of friendship and vice versa. There are different degrees of this quality. As we grow internally and expand our vision, the feeling of enmity starts disappearing and a time comes when one reaches the state Mr. Kejriwal had attained.
At this point an incident of Shri Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar’s life comes to my mind. He was a very learned person and at the same time very humble. He always tried to be helpful to others. Most of us must have read about the incident when he worked as a coolie for someone who considered it below his dignity to carry a small suitcase at a railway station. Once a well-wisher of him brought to his notice an adverse comment made by someone about him. Shri Vidyasagar responded in a very strange manner. He said that he was unable to understand the cause of the adverse comment because he had never helped that person. The message was that only those whom we help criticise us and it is up to us how we respond to that criticism. A person with a lower mind will immediately develop a feeling of enmity towards such a person and the friendship will turn into enmity. Naturally such friendship is of a lower kind where the motives are selfish. In order to avoid such situations, one has to rise higher and develop a friendship without any motive. Nothing should be expected in return. Only such a friendship can stand the test of time. In fact, from the worldly point of view also such a friendship is very rewarding. The only difference is that a selfless friendship always gives joy and the situation of pain does never arise.
Friendship being a state of mind has no physical connotation. Others may consider you as their enemy but you will not do so. In such a state of mind, even killing becomes a friendly act. We all know that when Lord Rama killed Ravana, he had no feeling of enmity towards him. This was proved by the reverence shown by Him towards Ravana during his last moments. Our target should be to reach this ‘No Enemy’ state in order to enjoy life. Perhaps Mr. Kejriwal had reached it when he said ‘I have no enemy’.
Well, if this becomes the criterion of our friendship where is the question of enmity? Thus we can say that only a lower kind of friendship or relationship changes into enmity. Numerous examples can be given to establish that most of the enemies were good friends at one time. It was only the lower nature of their friendship that turned them into enemies. Therefore, the best way to avoid such a situation is to develop only a higher kind of friendship where the motive is only to offer and not to receive. Having reached this stage, one not only enjoys the joy of friendship, one also gets rid of the pain of the enmity. A single thought of enmity may give us more pain than many thoughts of friendship. From this point of view also it becomes more important to have no enemy than to have many friends. Therefore, a ‘no enemy situation’ automatically means a state of universal friendship.
Golden Rules of Friendship l Be slow to give your friendship, but when you have given it strive to make it lasting. l Counsel of good friends is useful when your own self-love impairs your judgment. l Friends are made by many acts, but are lost by one act. l It is chance that makes brothers but hearts that make friends. l Success depends on your ability to make and keep friends. l The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.