1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

FRIENDSHIP – why it is the ultimate form of any relationship August 6, 2009

image by axinia

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 that nature and
character of friendship he has not learned anything.
This is the first and the last thing we have to learn. We so often use this
word lightly, calling every acquaintance a friend, or professing to be somebody’s friend; but the more we realize the meaning of
it, the less we are able to claim friendship. For everything in life we are tested, examined, and tried, but to pass this examination
of friendship is the most difficult thing in the world.

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 the ego.

As long as this ego is standing and lives, a man cannot claim to be anybody’s friend. And when he is not somebody
else’s friend he is not even his own friend, for one learns friendship by being a friend to another. A selfish man may seem to be
a friend to himself but, it is on the surface, not in reality. He has not yet learned how to be a friend to another, so he cannot be
a friend to himself. In our pursuit of truth we want to learn a great many things: the nature of life, the secret of life, the character
of life; and to understand the meaning of friendship seems so easy and simple that we never trouble to think about it, nor about
the responsibility of being a friend.

It is a simple lesson, and it is a lesson that we have to learn; today when nations are against nations and races against races,
when communities are against communities, and one religion against another, it is now that friendship is so much needed.
Besides, friendship is the first lesson of spirituality that one can learn. One may think that friendship, a personal friendship,
means nothing; that one does not become spiritual through a personal friendship. But one does.

A person begins his spiritual accomplishment by learning how to be a friend.

For one who is really treading the path of friendship need not go anywhere to
learn morals. Friendship itself teaches him sincerity, gratitude, sympathy, tenderness, appreciation; all these things that we must
learn in this world, friendship teaches us.

And once a man begins to learn these things through friendship with one person, he
will naturally show to others the same virtues which, he has acquired by going along this path. Just as someone who has
learned how to sing beautifully will naturally sing every song that is given to him beautifully. The one who has cultivated his heart
through friendship will naturally be inclined to be friends with others.

The meaning of friendship is too sacred to realize. All other
relationships and connections in this life are empty if friendship is not at the back of them to strengthen them. The relationship
between mother and daughter, father and son, brother and sister, husband and wife, teacher and pupil, all these connections
need a spirit behind them; and this spirit is the spirit of friendship.
When a daughter says, ‘I am friends with my mother,’ there
is something beautiful about it. It makes the connection between a mother and a daughter a different thing. It makes it living. In
every relationship it is the same. When there is friendship to bind the relationship it makes it secure, it gives it life.

by Hazrat Inayath Khan (1882-1927), a Sufi Master


22 Responses to “FRIENDSHIP – why it is the ultimate form of any relationship”

  1. axinia Says:

    How true… Just to the point!

    Probably due to my spiritual nature, I somehow always knew that – I always valued friendship as the highest form of a any relationship in life, and wanted to be a friend to everone.
    And I am happy that it works out for me: my sister, my parents, my husband, all my relatives and many people around – they are first of all my friends and then all these other “roles”…
    Only now, reading this beautiful quote of Hazrat Inayat Khan I realized the even greater importance of friendship, and actually the deepest spiritual meaning of it.
    What a blessing!…

  2. Amit Singh Says:

    When Aristote says that friend is single soul dwelling in two bodies, he emphasizes friendship more as a spiritual connection.
    An egoless sense is first requirment for spiritual connection.
    Somehow I feel friendship is an state of being, same as beauty, compassion and love. It is intrinsic nature of our being, appears in egoless heart. Friendship is like a breezy wind where ever it blows it spreads its aroma. Only those who close their nose do not feel it. Visit my blog for more post on friendship day http://amit414voice.blogspot.com/

    • axinia Says:

      what a beautiful adn poetic input on friendship! You know, Amit, it is true – often we take friendship as a matter of fact, and forget about its great role in our life. I ahve a feeling that in the culture friendship always shown as a plyback to some big love story…but actually – it is the freindship which makes the most of it, that gie that special quality of life. And even in a love realtionship a couple should be friends first.

  3. kanagu Says:

    Really true Axinia… friendship has everything in it… without it no relationship will nurture… without that we will fear that what he or she will think if they know this or that about me… but if friendship is there means, there is nothing to hide… trust is the important in friendship and the one you said about ego is really true… it should go from us 🙂

  4. swaps Says:

    So true.

  5. Excellent message from the wise saint, Axinia 🙂 But I wonder how many friends this wise bubble-dwelling saint had, as I guess he would have shut himself in his self-constructed bubble from time to time 😐

  6. volodimir108 Says:

    Good question, An alien Earthling.

    As far as I know in Sufism a concept of friendship is central. Actually Sufis see Gad as Friend too. So either in a spiritual or in a worldly sense, I am sure he had many friends.

    • That’s probably true, Volodimir. Unlike the rigid religions, Sufism is inherently syncretic and tries to absorb the best of all religions. But since he was a saint and mystic, he would have been surrounded by followers trying to get his blessings and wisdom. Though the saint would have seen them as friends, I wonder how many of his followers felt the same way 😐

  7. swaps Says:

    Hmmm…would it not be easier to be friends with God??

  8. CECE Says:

    Beautiful! I love it : ) Very true about the ego being in the way of making friends.

  9. Fatima Says:

    So beautiful. It resonates with me.

  10. Abhinayaraj Says:

    “The glory of friendship
    is not in the outstretched hand,
    nor the kindly smile,
    nor the joy of companionship;
    it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one
    when he discovers that someone else
    believes in him and is willing to trust him.”

  11. Dmitri Says:

    the most beautiful post yet

  12. I think one way friendship is not possible…. genuine inputs should be there from both the side…wise person understand it better and try to balance or nutralise…

  13. Ben Says:

    Great post and points. Any relationship which promotes trust and good has value to me. There is no greater relationship than true friendship.

  14. […] One of my favorite authors explained why friendship is the ultimate form of any relationship –please read this beautiful piece here. […]

  15. Rajkumar Says:

    A beatiful and inspiring article. I have posted it at An Interior Forest | Friendship

    I would like to translate it to spanish if it is possible.

  16. […] Hazrat Inayath Khan (1882-1927), a Sufi Master through 1000 petals by Axinia | FRIENDSHIP – Why It Is The Ultimate Form Of Any Relationship […]

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