Abstract Thinking: [14.07] Bhavana Of Friendship - The Technique of A Thoroughly Enjoyable Life - Ecology

Published: 09.01.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

Lord Mahavira has given us the great maxim of friendship. A Christian priest once said to Acharya Sri, "What a great maxim Lord Christ enunciated when he said, 'Love even thine enemy! Can there be anything greater than that" Acharya Sri said, "It is truly great! But Lord Mahavir goes further when he says: "Why look upon another as an enemy at all? Rather than create an enemy first and then try to establish friendship with him, it is better not to create an enemy at all." The priest was stunned. His ego was imperceptibly hurt. But he grasped the point.

President Lincoln was an enlightened person, a spiritual being. As he went strolling on the road, people greeted him. He, too, would take off his hat and return the greeting. Whoever came before him, white or black, he treated them alike. Some people said, "You are the president of America. Your greeting the common people like that lowers the dignity of the high office you hold." The President said, "In the matter of courtesy, I shan't lag behind any other man." Only a spiritual person can say a thing like that.

Some people said to Lincoln, "You have many enemies. You are yet in power. Why do you not liquidate them?" Lincoln said, "Well, I am doing that," The people said, "We haven't seen anyone being put in jail, nor hanged, nor exiled. How can you say you are wiping out your enemies?" Lincoln said, "I am winning them over through gentleness. In a short time, they will all be my friends. No enemy will be left. All enemies will stand wiped out,”

That is the greatness of the maxim of friendship. Before it, no enemy remains. With the awakening of the bhavana of friendship, many problems get resolved of themselves. Every day all kinds of dirt accumulate in our mind, the most inveterate of these being the defilement of enmity, of malice. It is one of the irrevocable laws of the world we live in that what a man wants does not come to pass. There are to be found in this world, differences in people's interests and ideas, in their conduct and order, in their eating and drinking and in social relationship, in customs and traditions - it is not possible to eradicate these differences People have different tastes and differences on that account cannot be ended. Because of these differences, our mind nourishes feelings of enmity and hatred, which is very undesirable.

Lord Mahavira said: "See that in treating another badly you do harm to yourself. Another person may or may not be harmed, but you are definitely harmed - that is certain. The moment an evil thought crises in your mind regarding another, it is stamped on your brain-ceils and you will have to suffer the evil consequences thereof. That in harming another, one only harms oneself - he who realises the truth of this maxim, will never again try to harm another. Even to think, "I am doing harm to another," is a delusion. One does not know what is really happening behind the curtain What is happening inside? The man, in whose mind the spirit of friendship is awakened, can never do any harm to another.

When you develop an intimate relationship with all, as if belonging to one and the same family, the mind keeps cheerful and gay; it is not afraid of any person or thing. Enmity and fear, friendship and fearlessness - go together; they form inseparable pairs. Only the man, whose mind is full of fear, regards another as an enemy. He, who is free from fear, may regard his ill wisher as an ignorant person, never an enemy. By repeatedly practising goodwill towards all living beings, one has the feeling of friendship well established within oneself.

The chain of man's known relationships is very small and that of unknown relationships very long. The known is clear but the unknown indistinct. That is how the concepts of the enemy, friend, etc. come into being. If we are face to face with the unknown, they dissolve. Who is unacquainted with the long tradition of birth and death? But the common people do not realize its significance. A sadhak is set on the path of self-realisation and it is good for him to understand it clearly. However, very few people remember the past. But this at least is quite evident that "I existed before, I exist now, and will exist in the future too." If I existed in the past certain questions - Where was I? Who were my relatives? etc. crop up. Thus the sadhak comes to develop a spirit of friendship towards all. "I have goodwill towards all; I have no enemy!" As this feeling grows stronger in the inner consciousness, the feeling of enmity gradually dissolves. A mind full of friendship and goodwill towards all is forever happy and a mind filled with enmity is forever unhappy. The mind pervaded by enmity is unquiet, violent, filled with hatred and incomprehensible. The fire of revenge is always burning in it. A mind permeated by goodwill and friendship, is free from these flaws. Such a mind knows no fear.

A sadhak imbued with the spirit of goodwill may at times cause suffering to himself, but he never causes pain to others. In his view, there is no such thing as the enemy, the other. The very concept of the enemy proves harmful. Prophet AN fought his enemy for years together. One day the enemy fell into his hands. He sat on his chest and was about to pierce him with his spear when the enemy spat on his face. Ali flared up at once, but then recollected himself and said, "We shan't fight today." People said, "What foolishness is this? You have got your enemy at your mercy after so many years any you are letting go such a wonderful opportunity to finish him."

Ali said, "It is a tenet of Koran: “Do not fight in anger! I did get angry!" His enemy was stunned. He said, "Why, were you fighting all these years without anger?" Ali said, "Yes!" His foe fell at his feet. For the first time he realized that it is possible for a man to fight without anger. He became Ali's friend. There may be a good reason for fighting. But never fight in anger. This is indicative of friendship. Before the tremendous feeling of friendship, no duality dare persist. "Look upon all living beings as yourself - that is the essential meaning of friendship.

  • Abstract Thinking
    by Acharya Mahaprajna, © 1988
  • Edited by  Muni Dulheraj
  • Translated by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • Edition 1999 compiled by Samani Stith Pragya

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Anger
  3. Bhavana
  4. Consciousness
  5. Fear
  6. Fearlessness
  7. Mahavir
  8. Mahavira
  9. Sadhak
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