Faith

Friendship

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Nature's way of binding people is through blood ties. We have aunts, uncles, grandparents and a host of relatives, none of whom are part of our lives due to our choice. But our friends are the ones we choose to include in our lives, and here we must choose wisely, said Malayaman, in a discourse.

We should weigh the pros and cons of making friends with a person, and make a proper assessment of a person's qualities before we make friends with him or her. But once we decide that a person's friendship is worth having, we must be unwavering in our attachment to him.

A true friend is one who points out our mistakes to us. One who always sings our praises cannot be a good friend. A true friend can sense when we are in difficulty, and comes to our rescue when we need help. Thiruvalluvar compares this readiness to help, to the involuntary action of one's hand, when it rushes to hold in place a garment that slips off and which, if not held in place, could shame us in public.

Friendship is based on mutual trust. An episode in the Mahabharata affords an excellent example of what true friendship is. King Duryodhana's wife played a game of chess with Karna. When the Queen was on the verge of losing, Duryodhana entered the palace. Since it was the norm to rise when the king entered, she got up, when her husband entered the room.

But Karna thought that she was trying to get away to escape defeat in the game. So he pulled at the jewelled belt that she was wearing. The belt broke and the pearls in it scattered all over the room. Duryodhana saw Karna tug at his (Duryodhana) wife's belt. Anyone else in Duryodhana's position would have been furious with Karna. How could he pull at a woman's waist belt? Besides this was no ordinary woman. She was the queen. Any other king in Duryodhana's place would have been suspicious and angry. But Duryodhana had such faith in his friend Karna that he harboured no suspicions in his mind. He looked at his wife and asked, “Shall I just gather these scattered pearls? Or shall I string them together too?” This was a friendship based on unshakeable trust and such is true friendship.

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Printable version | Nov 13, 2018 9:16:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/friendship/article2296494.ece

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