Question: Is friendship important in the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Some people are striving for friendship, some need friends for their daily fun and amusement. But the best thing for you is to strike a balance. Have a few friends. Two or more are enough. Even if you don't have two friends, inside me is a friend who is more than enough for you. You can talk to that friend and that friend will talk to you, whereas, if other friends are sleeping or someplace else, then you can't talk to them. And even if they are with you, their mind is roaming; so you can't call them friends. If you don't have many friends you are not a loser. So you don't have to go out of your way to make friends; it is not necessary. But if you are ready to make somebody your friend and if that particular person wants to befriend you, then you should not be afraid of mixing with him; that is wrong. It is wrong to avoid someone.

If the disciples are not communicating or not mixing, even though they are members of the same family, then they have to remember that their common root is God. The Source is God, the Supreme. If you don't talk to somebody you are not going to lose your reality and he is not going to lose his reality. But if you don't try to talk to the Supreme within you, then you are losing everything. Your brother and sister disciples didn't come to the Centre for you, and you didn't come to the Centre for them. You and they both came for the Supreme in me. What is important is to go deep within and see if the Supreme cares for you or not. You came to school for the teacher, to please the teacher, so why worry about the students sitting beside you? What matters is how much connection you have established with me in your inner life. Even if you are the worst student and you are sitting beside the best student, you will be examined by the teacher according to your own merit. It doesn't matter who you are sitting next to. The best student may inspire the other students, but he may also create jealousy in them. Or it may happen that the person who is beside you is insecure. He will write his examination and then he will be scared to death. You are jealous of him because he is better than you are, and he is insecure because he feels that you will surpass him. So the best thing is not to look around you. Be responsible for your own spirituality only.

Here you stay in a group. Others may not mix with you the way you want them to, but still you are on speaking terms with them. More than that is not necessary. But there is a bad effect from too much mixing. Let us say you have taken a shower and are about to meditate. At that time you get a phone call from your friend, who asks you to go out to dinner. So you go. But if you hadn't been so close to your friend, it would have been a real blessing for you to meditate.

Here some of the disciples mix too much, but others don't mix at all. It is not because they are afraid of losing something; it is not out of fear. It is because they feel it is not necessary. When you do not want to make friends because you have a feeling of superiority or inferiority, then it is a mistake. But if you feel that you want only inner light, then why should you remain on the surface? In this case it is always advisable to have the inner friend. Outer friends will disappoint you when they are needed. Even your own body, vital and mind will disappoint you. As soon as you get a shock, your mind and your intelligence go away. Your only real friend is inside you and that real friend won't disappoint you.