(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 08 March 2015, Stockholm, Sweden, Srimad Bhagavatam 3.1.4)
Transcribed by Nama-rupa dd
Question: Guru Maharaj, you mentioned that in the material world, there is no love. I am thinking about friendship, is there friendship in this material world and what is the nature of friendship?
Love, friendship, society, togetherness, one-for-all and all-for-one, does not exist. Kavi Karnapura describes friendship in the Caitanya Candrodaya Nataka and he points out that for friendship to exist, there is a need for certain conditions to be met.
First, one has to receive the mercy of the Lord so that he gets in touch with transcendental knowledge, Krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 19.151). You have to get in contact with devotees otherwise where else is there real friendship!?
Materialistic friendship is always mixed with some material motive, some personal motive so real friendship must be based on receiving the mercy of the Lord. When you receive the mercy of the Lord then you come into the association of devotees and attachment to devotees must develop, and from being in that association, gradually you evolve.
Then Kavi Karnapura explains the next level that you get – it is the level of thoughtfulness and discrimination. You begin to kind of reflect on the meaning of life and in that way, you mature as a person and you don’t just respond with outbursts and this and that. NO! You respond more thoughtfully and in a deeper way. Then you get to the non-envious platform.
After this thoughtfulness and discrimination becomes strong, in the association of devotees, then you get equanimity – a state of mind which becomes balanced. You become balanced in the mind. At that state, you can realize non-envy and it says that then you can actually be a friend. Then friendship is possible!
Kavi Karnapura explains it like that. So it is interesting; he gives conditions before real friendship can develop and to the degree that these conditions are not met, to that degree we are lacking in friendship.
Sometimes even when you are married, you wonder, “Is this person actually my friend?” You are married but you are wondering, “Are we friends? Are we at least friends? What to speak of love! I mean friends! Is this person actually my friend, through-and-through, you know, through thick and thin… Is this person really my well-wisher??”
There are different Sanskrit definitions for friendship. Maitri is a word used which is more general. Another word that is used is suhrit, close to the heart. That gives a higher aspect, very intimate. So among vaishnavas, it must become like that.
But before we can have friendships, we have to go through these stages: we need the mercy of the Lord, we need to develop attachment to serving the devotees, and we need to be with devotees in proper etiquette. Then we become thoughtful and then we get discrimination from these devotees.
In this verse (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.1.4), it says sadhu-vada, things approved by the learned circles, so that we understand what is approved by saints and sages and then it becomes our second nature. It is happening. Like certain foodstuffs are obviously not approved by saints and sages, and we don’t even think of touching them. We don’t have to tell ourselves, it becomes a part of our second nature.
So this discrimination and thoughtfulness becomes a part of our nature, and when we have absorbed it to that extent then you have non-envy and equanimity, a balanced state of mind. Then, you can be a friend all the time!
Like that, friendship takes some time. When you are dealing with someone under the modes of nature, today he is your friend and tomorrow not so much because tomorrow he is the friend of his mind. Tomorrow he is controlled by his senses, tomorrow he is riding on the back of that inner boar and then he is maybe not your friend.
When I had a Vedic marriage, it was done by Bhavananda and he made us promise, he said to me, “You must always bring your wife to devotional service, to Krsna.” And he said to her, “But when he deviates then you become like a lion, like a tiger and you just somehow or other pull him back.” So that was something I remembered.
So friendship also means that with our weaknesses, we are still trying to help each other and that is nice but Kavi Karnapura takes it to a higher level for friendship to really flourish.