Saturday, October 19, 2013

Being your own friend says Krishna

The month of August saw a spate of mails criss crossing the internet, avowing friendship. Beautiful images and passages extolling the bond between friends were exchanged. It was a wonderful way of connecting with those who shared happy and sad moments and revive languishing memories. This extended to International Friendship week with more such messages floating around. In short, friendship is a special word held high in ones relationship lexicon.
Who is a friend? Many definitions like ‘one who brings out the best in you… a friend in need is friend indeed…come to my mind but I go by what Lord Krishna, says in the Gita..
uddhared atmanatmanam
natmanam avasadayet
atmaiva hy atmano bandhur
atmaiva ripur atmanah
The self alone is the friend of the self and self alone is the enemy of the self.
bandhur atmatmanas tasya
yenatmaivatmana jitah
anatmanas tu satrutve
vartetatmaiva satru-vat
For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy.
Like charity, friendship begins at home-with oneself. This calls for deep introspection and self talk. This also means enjoying ones own company. Alas! We are constantly seeking acceptance by groups of people we call friends and our joy or otherwise is linked to their appreciation and presence in our life. This also leads to conflict when expectations are not met. There have been many instances of strong friendships breaking over trivial issues and turning into hostility. Misunderstandings arise and communication breaks down. In short, friendship is a fragile relationship that requires very mature nurturing.
On the other hand, as Krishna says, cultivating a close camaraderie with oneself is more permanent and satisfying. How does one do that? Firstly by accepting ones strengths and weakness and dealing with them objectively. Then, cultivate habits like reading and music and any other creative pursuits that can be followed even when alone. Silence and solitude are very good companions if you know what to do with them! Meditation helps in touching base with your inner self which is the secret of wholeness.