Now, my work upon you….
I was telling you about a certain relationship that happened between a child of about nine years of age and an old man of perhaps fifty. The difference in age was great, but love can transcend all barriers. If it can happen even between a man and a woman, then what other barrier could be bigger? But it was not, and cannot be described as just love. He could have loved me like a son, or like his grandson, but that was not it.
What happened was friendliness, and let it be on record: I value friendliness higher than love. There is nothing higher than friendliness. I know you must have noticed that I have not used the word friendship. Up till yesterday I was using it, but now is the time to tell you of something greater than friendship – friendliness.
Friendship can also be binding, in its own way, like love. It can also be jealous, possessive, afraid that it may be lost, and because of that fear, so much agony and so much struggle. In fact people are continuously fighting those whom they love – strange, just strange…unbelievably strange.
Friendliness rises higher, to all that man knows and feels. It is more a fragrance of being, or you can say a flowering of being. Something transpires between two souls, and suddenly there are two bodies, but one being – that is what I call flowering. Friendliness is freedom from all that is small and mediocre, from all that we are acquainted with, in fact, too acquainted with.
I can understand why my Nani shed tears for my being friendly with Shambhu Babu. She was right when she had said to me, “I am not bothered for Shambhu Babu – he is old enough, soon death will take him over.” And it is strange, but he died before my grandmother, exactly ten years before, and yet my grandmother was older than him.
I am still amazed at that woman’s intuition. She had said, “He will die before long, then what about you? My tears are for you. You have to live a long life. You will not find many people of such quality as Shambhu Babu. Please don’t make his friendship your criterion, otherwise you will have to live a very lonely life.”
I said, “Nani, even Shambhu Babu is below my criterion, so you need not worry. I am going to live a life according to my vision, wherever it may lead. perhaps nowhere, but one thing is certain,” I told her, “that I absolutely agree with you that I will not find many friends.”