Saturday, 3 July 2010


As I began packing up my belongings to move across a sea to another land Iit dawned on me that I had grossly undervalued most of my belongings. I have moved twelve times in the last ten years always with two or three suitcases carrying all of my personal possessions. However the acquisition of a family and the possession of grown up stuff like furniture and other grown stuff led me to think of how far away I have strayed from the yogic principle of “Vairagya” or detachment.

Strangely what I failed to account for to the shippers were all the presents I had been gifted by my family and friends. As each item was padded in paper and put in a box I remembered the energy of love and giving in which I had received them. There is something very special when you receive a gift from a good friend not just because you are receiving a gift, but because the giver is so very excited and happy to give it to you.

The present giver has put thought, money and time to attain whatever it is that they thought would make your face light up with a smile. There is a whole process of love, which is expressed in giving a gift to a loved friend, which is actually more valuable then the actual gift itself. What people call “sentimental value” is priceless and even if the gift is broken, lost or stolen when you remember the gift you remember the love with which your friend gave it to you.

I have always been very attached to my friends and I even have a lot of the same friends I did in nursery school. The one thing I always felt I would never be able to master is detachment when it came to relationships especially with my friends.  As silly as it sounds I always felt rather ashamed when I thought of the attachment I had towards my friends.

Now as I watch the things my friends gifted to me over the years, I think of the friends I leave behind and feel very sad at the thought of moving away from many good friends. I have been thinking of my friends a lot this last week of my departure honestly they have not given me a single opportunity not to think of them. I have been spoiled rotten with lunches and dinners, presents, flowers and cards. All this love and attention has got me thinking of past friends whom I have left behind in other lands, places and in some cases times.

Then I had my Eureka moment. It came to me out of the blue and became crystal clear to me that the concept of friendship and detachment are not mutually exclusive. If one is a friend one does need to practice detachment. Actually in order to be a good friend one does need to practice a great deal of detachment. Not detachment in the sense of detaching your feelings of love and care towards your friend.  On the contrary one needs to be consistent in the love for their friend however this is most successfully possible when one can detach from all the things they don’t like or appreciate of their friend.

Friendships tend to last for a season when we are not wise enough to discount or detach from the characteristics and habits we don’t like or cant tolerate in a friendship. After all a true friend is one who does not abandon their friend at the first sign of trouble, or a disagreement or something that irritates you about them.

I have always believed in the principle that friends are for a lifetime and true friends last no matter what. Unfortunately as we age most of us tend to grow cynical and less patient and tolerant with our friends. Instead of letting friendships develop we put up obstacles in the path of any relationship that is likely to bloom. The concept of “unconditional friendship” is almost extinct these days most of us have expectations from our friends.

Lots of people tend to seek friends with an ulterior motive, in the days gone by people with an intellectual or artistic background tended to seek other intellectually or artistically inclined people to be friends with.  These days it is not uncommon to hear of people seeking to cultivate friendships with those that socially and financially considered their equals, people who wish to mutually assist each other in their business ventures, people who one perceives can help them get ahead with their profession and in some cases even people who they consider as physically attractive as themselves.

Under these circumstances how can such friendships possibly last a lifetime when social status, wealth, fame, business ventures and physical beauty are all transitory and fade. How can a friendship based on something that does not last have a chance of survival?

I have had friends whom I have loved and lost touch with for many reasons. Today I look back on those friendships and the only regret I have was my own lack of wisdom to discriminate what I considered things I did not quite like about them. The previous statement I made was with reference to friends lost not those relationships that were insincere and based on some ulterior motive cultivated to incur some financial or other gain. I like anyone else have felt nothing but relief for the termination of such relationships. However even these unfortunate false friendships teach us a valuable lesson, of gratitude for the true friends one is blessed with.

There is nothing I can think of then the last few lines of St Franscais of Assisi’s prayer, which sets the criterion of a good friend:

“…may I not seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive and;
it is pardoning that we are pardoned…”

God bless all my friends who have stood faithfully by me, and my family when we take these next uncertain steps into the unknown. Your prayers, love and kind wishes and eternal friendship makes us leap forward blindly to the future. I love you all so very much and want to tell you today that each and everyone of you are blessings from God.



  2. Really appreciate all of your kind thoughts and advice since I've known you. Very best wishes for your move back to India!

    Take care,
    Jason :)

  3. archana bansal13 July 2010 at 00:44

    hey Ashish...very well written..i read your blof for the first time and its simply amazing..

    take care