Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 Let’s think a little bit more about friendship as a spiritual practice. Some say that friendship is simply a feeling. As I mentioned that it’s a good feeling to have somebody around. Others say that this is a state of consciousness – when you approach others, you approach existence in a friendly mood. Do you see the difference? It’s a more profound, it’s a more conscious approach. We can say that the next level of friendship is when this is a spiritual practice. From among all the human relationships Pythagoras appreciated friendship as the highest. And he gave a definition: “Friendship is shared possession of the same assets and the same feelings.” Sounds good. Do you have such friends? And are you such a friend to someone? Don’t forget, friendship is a mutual relationship, it’s in both directions. It’s not only that we are satisfied to have such a friend, but we should be ready to be such a friend.

Can you explain friendship? I think we cannot! It just appears. In that sense this is very similar to love, like a love affair. Can you explain a love affair? No, it just strikes you. Amor comes, pierces you with his arrow and then it is finished. Friendship is something very similar. You cannot explain, it just happens – friendship at first glance. Nevertheless we have to work hard on a friendship. The initial sympathy or affection is there, but to build up and to strengthen this friendship you have to work a lot.

And what is the difference of friendship compared to the servitude? In servitude the position is different – one is higher, the other is a little lower. While the nature of friendship is that ‘we are equal’. If it is good to have a superior, I say it is even better to have an equal. And sometimes if you are a servant of somebody for a long time, he will start to treat you as a friend – almost as an equal. So if we are engaged in service to God for a considerable time as a reliable servant, He might accept us as a friend: ‘All right, his readiness is tested, or her readiness is tested many times. I need his assistance.’

Friendship as a relationship must be very pure and sincere. Material ambitions or misuse in friendship are rejected. Although sometimes you don’t even mind if your friend misuses you. If this enhances the rasa, if this is like a play – not a game, but like a play – then it’s all right. But basically this must be very sincere. And such a real friendship is a real treasure.

Sometimes it is said it’s better to have a real enemy than a false friend. Because then everything is clear-cut – what is what, who is who. They say that in the friendship as a human relationship, the original divine relationship is projected. Therefore we can say that the archetype, the original form is the divine friendship. How come that friendship, such a nice and meaningful relationship, exists on this planet Earth? Because it exists in the spiritual sky? This is the only reason! So hopefully if it exists here on this planet Earth, we should be able to find that over there.


(to be continued)

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