The Sunlit Path|Mar 16, 2010 9:05 AM| by:

Friends and Yoga

Man is gregarious by nature and constantly strives to find his place within a social context. Forging friendships is something we begin to do from the earliest years and continue to engage in till the very end. But does our outlook to friendships change while on the path? Sri Aurobindo provides some guidance for those who are unsure.

Friendship or affection is not excluded from the yoga. Friendship with the Divine is a recognised relation in the sadhana. Friendships between the sadhaks exist and are encouraged by the Mother. Only, we seek to found them on a surer basis than that on which the bulk of human friendships are insecurely founded. It is precisely because we hold friendship, brotherhood, love to be sacred things that we want this change—because we do not want to see them broken at every moment by the movements of the ego, soiled and spoiled and destroyed by the passions, jealousies, treacheries to which the vital is prone—it is to make them truly sacred and secure that we want them rooted in the soul, founded on the rock of the Divine. Our yoga is not an ascetic yoga: it aims at purity, but not at a cold austerity. Friendship and love are indispensable notes in the harmony to which we aspire. It is not a vain dream, for we have seen that even in imperfect conditions, when a little of the indispensable element is there at the very root, the thing is possible. It is difficult and the old obstacles still cling obstinately? But no victory can be won without a fixed fidelity to the aim and a long effort. There is no other way than to persevere.


If you expect a return for your kindness, you are bound to be disappointed. It is only those who give love or kindness for its own sake without expecting a return who escape from this experience. A relation also can be established on a sure basis only when it is free from attachment or when it is predominantly psychic on both sides.


All attachment is a hindrance to sadhana. Goodwill you should have for all, psychic kindness for all, but no vital attachment.


As for turning all to the Divine, that is a counsel of perfection for those who don’t care to carry any luggage. But otherwise friendship between man and man or man and woman or woman and woman is not forbidden, provided it is the true thing and sex does not come in and also provided it does not turn one away from the goal. If the central aim is strong, that is sufficient…. When I spoke of personal relation, I certainly did not mean pure indifference, for indifference does not create a relation: it tends to non-relation altogether. Emotional friendship need not be an obstacle.

Sri Aurobindo