Question: If a friend is suffering from a negative emotion, from hostility or anger, how can you help that person?

Sri Chinmoy: First you have to see how much capacity you have. To help your friend, you can go only so far. You may be near the shore, and your friend may also be very near the shore. Let us say that you have given your hand and you are about to pull your friend from the sea of ignorance. You have to know if you have the capacity to lift your friend and bring him to the shore, or if your friend will take you into the water. You have to be careful. You have to see how much strength you have. Your friend desperately needs your help, but will you succeed, or will he pull you into the water?

When a friend suffers, in your prayers you have to say to the Supreme, "If it is Your Will, then do give me the capacity to be of service to You inside my friend. If it is not Your Will, then please, please, I do not want to be involved. I shall only offer my goodwill. If it is Your Will, I will become involved because I know I will be protected. But if it is not Your Will, then I am only using my self-styled concern and compassion." If your friend is suffering from problems — depression, frustration, emotional problems and so on — the best thing is to pray to the Supreme and get an inner message about what you should do at that point. From your prayers you will get inner guidance, and this inner guidance will tell you what to do. Then whatever help you are supposed to give to that particular person you will be able to give.