By: Lalit Garg
International Friendship Day is celebrated every year on the first Sunday of August in many countries of the world. The spirit behind it is the same everywhere – friendship and respect for friendship. The philosophy of friendship is very vast; it is the most important part of human’s life. One who establishes friendship without any insistence and selfishness, he aspires for the welfare of all sees him in the emergence of all and new dimensions of development keep opening in his life. Life seems beautiful. In this, there is no distinction between one’s own alien, there is no competition and there is no boundary line between big and small.
Despite being such an ideal situation and its importance, the question arises why there is so much lack of friendship between human beings today? Why is there so much mutual animosity? Why is there ideological animosity? Why is publicity sparring with differences? Even after being wise, prudent, sensible, why does man fight every day? Why does the tense stand entangled in the midst of controversies? He neither sees with the eye of reason, nor listens with neutrality and balance, nor thinks and decides with relativity. This is the reason why individual creativity is dying out. The feelings of family co-operation and participation are breaking down. Social disintegration is coming to the fore. Religious beliefs are starting to weaken. Man has been counting the links of the chains of selfishness in the captivity of words, holding the accepted concepts. In such times, the bond of friendship infuses new energy in relationships.
Well-known American author Dale Carnegie has written many books on the art of making friends and they sell in millions. He has written in a book – ‘Take all my wealth and give me a true friend.’ Giving the example of American Richie Henry Ford, he has written that – he was once asked by journalists – you have immense wealth, pleasures are available, what do you miss in life when you have all this? Friends were found a lot, but that friendship was only about eating, drinking and having fun. I have not found a single friend who truly wants me and I want him. This is a huge gap in my life.
International Friendship Day has more relevance today, this festival started in South American countries on July 20 in Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, on July 30 in Paraguay, while in other countries of the world including India, Malaysia, and Bangladesh etc. South Asian countries. It is celebrated on the first Sunday of the month of August. Friendship is a relationship that you decide for yourself, whereas all other relationships are made by you. Just imagine how restless you get if you don’t meet your friends one day and try to know their well being as soon as you get a chance. You can understand how special this relationship is.
The technological age we live in today has brought people very close to each other. But at the same time this technology has taken away from us that time of relaxation which we can share amongst ourselves. Today we have imprisoned the whole world in our fist, but with this we have become so engrossed in ourselves that in a way we are cut off from the whole world. Celebrating International Friends Day is a worthwhile undertaking to give new energy to such human sensibilities in a new civilization and new culture.
Friendship is such a relationship that in the present environment, when the ground of human sensibilities and mutual relationships is drying up, in such a time, staying connected to each other is a powerful medium to make life happy and to awaken magical feelings in the heart. Friendship based on momentary and selfishness is not really friendship, it is only an identity, such friends sometimes become very dangerous too. For whom a thinker has written – “Earlier we used to say, O Lord! We have to be saved from enemies but now we have to say, “O God, save us from friends.” Friends are more dangerous than enemies. Friendship day is an undertaking to make friendship a blessing, not a curse. This day provides a rare opportunity to develop the attitude of sharing happiness and sharing positive thoughts to others, keeping personal interests aside. The basic heart of celebrating this day is that even though there may be differences of opposition or thoughts between friends, there should not be any differences of their feelings because difference of opinion brings revolution whereas difference of feelings brings rebellion. Revolution is the knock of construction; rebellion is a sign of destruction.
The feeling of friendship is the protective shield of our self-development. Acharya Shri Tulsi directed seven sutras for this. Friendship requires trust, self-sacrifice, non-attachment, tolerance, forgiveness, fearlessness, coordination. This Saptapadi Sadhana is the background of the meaning and success of life. It is an indicator of development. This Day of Friendship is inviting us, with outstretched arms, to run away and hold on to the trail of friendship without hesitation. Life is colourful, it is white and it is also black. Sometimes this gamut of friendship dissolves in the ears as a rage of life, and then somewhere the noise of doubt arises. Makes friendship strong, our resolve, our life expectancy, our compassion, but it requires dedication and warmth of belonging. It teaches to live, gives life a colourful look. Inspires to live in such a way that you go beyond yourself. If you can do this then every feeling, every step and every moment will be beautiful and life will become beautiful together.
We need a companion of loneliness, a ruler of happiness, and someone who reprimands us with love for mistakes. If all these qualities are found in any one person, then surely he will be your friend. The same friend, in whose relationship there is no selfishness or deceit, but for your interest, your development, your happiness, in which there will always be a passion and intimacy. Although there is a rich tradition of festivals in Indian culture and history, now in our country it has increased due to the increasing attraction and trend towards International Days. Now every day there is some festival or day. We have made many new or imported festivals and days like Friendship Day a part of our culture and lifestyle. Friendship Day means forgetting all the grievances and strengthening the relationship of friendship with the strings of trust, affinity and harmony.
In fact, only those friends are called friends, in whom there is a passion for affection, instead of selfishness, there is a feeling of selfishness, such friends are confined in the flute of breath, and such friends are very rare in the world. The friendship of Shri Krishna and Sudama, Vibhishana and Shri Ram is an invaluable heritage of history. Joseph Fort Newton said that “people are lonely because they build up walls of enmity instead of building bridges of friendship.” Friendship day is an undertaking to make friendship a blessing, not a curse. We have to create new values-standards of friendship, establish friendship in a meaningful way in life. Friendship should be synonymous with compassion; not love. Because in love there is selfishness, there are rites of attachment and aversion, whereas compassion becomes synonymous with charity. (The author is a writer, journalist, and columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)