' Friendship '...


He is wise who treats an acquaintance as a friend, and he is foolish who treats a friend as an acquaintance, and he is impossible who treats friends and acquaintances as strangers; you cannot help him.

Bowl of Saki, May 19, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:

Friendship as the average person understands it is perhaps little more than acquaintance; but in reality it is more sacred than any other connection in the world. To a sincere person, entering into friendship is like entering the gates of heaven; and a visit to his friend is a pilgrimage to a true loving friend.

When, in friendship, a thought arises, 'I will love you as you love me,' or, 'I will do to you as you do to me,' this takes away all the virtue of the friendship, because it is a commercial attitude, prevalent everywhere in the commercial world: everything is done for a return, and measure is given for measure. ... One ought to look upon acquaintanceship as the sowing of the seed of friendship, not as a situation forced upon one; for those who turn their backs on a man and look at him with contempt also do that to God. To think, 'That person is perhaps of no value; that person is of no importance,' is impractical, besides being unkind. As all things have their use, both flowers and thorns, both sweet and bitter, so all men are of some use; what position, what class, what race, what caste they belong to makes no difference.

Friendship with good and bad, with wise and foolish, with high and low, is equally beneficial, whether to yourself or to the other. What does it matter if another be benefited by your friendship, since you would like to be benefited by someone else's friendship? He is wise who treats an acquaintance as a friend, and he is foolish who treats a friend as an acquaintance, and he is impossible who treats friends and acquaintances as strangers; you cannot help him.


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