The use of friendship for a selfish motive
June 2, 2013 Comments Off on The use of friendship for a selfish motive
The use of friendship for a selfish motive is like mixing bitter poison with the sweet rose-syrup.
Bowl of Saki, May 31, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
A friendship used to carry out one’s aims and objects in life through the love and kindness of a friend is only business. The unselfish friend is the pure one, and it is such a friendship that will last; but a selfish friendship will vanish.
The use of friendship for a selfish motive is like mixing bitter poison with sweet rose-syrup; and it is necessary to be ready, without the least hesitation, to serve a friend attentively, in every capacity of life, not expecting for one moment any thanks or return from him.
A friend, in the true sense of the word, is nearer and closer than our own family, relations, neighbors, nation, and race. The secret of the friend should be kept as one’s own secret: the fault of the friend one should hide as one’s own fault; the honor of the friend must be considered as one’s own honor; an enemy of the friend should be regarded as our enemy; a friend of the friend must be considered as our friend. One must not boast of friendship, but must practice it, for the claimants are so often false. In the despair of the friend, consolation must be given; in the poverty of the friend, support is necessary; in the shortcomings of the friend, overlooking is necessary; in the trouble of the friend, help should be given; with the joy of the friend, rejoicing is right.
To be today friendly and tomorrow unfriendly cannot for one moment be called friendship; the value of friendship is in its constancy. Forbearance, patience, and tolerance are the only conditions which keep two individual hearts united. There is a saying in Hindustani, by Seman, on friendship, ‘Stand by your friend in his time of need, like the reed on the bank of the river.’ When a man is sinking in the water and catches hold of a reed, it will save him if it is strong; and if not, it will sink along with him.
Friendship is a word which we all use in our everyday language, and yet it could take one’s whole life only to realize its meaning. However learned a person may be, however pious, spiritual, or experienced, if he has not learned the nature and character of friendship he has not learned anything. This is the first and the last thing we have to learn. … What is the reason for this? Why is it so difficult to be a friend? One would think that it was the easiest thing there is! The reason is that there is something in ourselves which is always against our being friendly. It is the self, the ego, which the Sufi calls Nafs. As long as this ego is standing and lives, a man cannot claim to be anybody’s friend. … In this world of illusion, where at the end of the examination we find everything to be of little importance, of little worth, if there is a sign of reality, of something that one can depend upon, and in which one can recognize a sign of eternity, it is in the constancy of friendship. … It is not belief in God which leads us to the goal, nor is it the analysis and the knowledge of God that bring us there. It is the friendship of God. For someone who learns the lesson of friendship in this world, this lesson develops in the end into friendship with God.