Sri Chinmoy: It can be very good — like an old friendship. If I have been friends with someone for a long time, then we have shared so many things. That individual is aware of all the things that have happened in my life and I am also aware of his life-story. So we are getting a chance to help each other and be of service to each other. In this sense, the longer we maintain our friendship, the better.
Again, friendship can be progressive. On earth you can call somebody your friend and he can call you his friend, but when the time comes for you to make a request of that person, he will say he is busy or not feeling well or give some other reason not to help you. This kind of friendship is useless. Many times it happens that a friendship lasts for forty or fifty years, but during these fifty years neither person helps the other in any way.
Real human friendship should be based on self-offering. When you are in need or when you want something, I will give it to you; and when I am in need, you will help me. That kind of friendship is good. Again, there is another kind of friendship that is established by God, the Inner Pilot. This friendship is not like human friendship at all. In this case, I am not somebody's friend because I have done that person a favour or that person has done me a favour. No, here the message of friendship is coming from a higher authority. God Himself is commanding me to be the friend of so and so. That friendship rests on a totally different basis.
Again, the same Highest can tell me to withdraw my friendship. It is not because the other person has become bad. The Highest wanted to have a special experience in and through me with regard to that person, and when that experience is over, He does not want me to maintain my friendship. For spiritual people who are very advanced in their inner life, friendship is on another level — not a human level but a divine level.
For instance, I have many students. On the one hand you can call them my spiritual children. Again, they have established their eternal friendship with me, and I have established my eternal friendship with them. It was they who wanted it, not I; and it was the Will of the Highest Absolute Supreme, who made us one. Our oneness He will keep either throughout Eternity or for as long as He wants.
This is very different from human friendship, which lasts for twenty or thirty years and then ends after we leave the body. If two friends are not of the same spiritual level, after they leave the body they will not be together. Each will go to a particular plane of consciousness according to his own inner development. If one is on a very high branch of the tree and the other is on the lowest branch, on earth they may be able to work together and stay together, but in Heaven they will go to different places. In Heaven, only souls of the same standard remain together.
Again, when someone is connected with a spiritual Master, even if the Master is infinitely higher than the student, they can be together in Heaven. There spiritual Masters have their own realm, and if they are fond of their students and their students are fond of them, they can remain together. It is like a family. Even if the parents have very great wisdom and depth, whereas the children are quite undeveloped, still they stay together. But if two friends do not belong to the same spiritual family, then after they die each will go to a different plane of consciousness according to his own spiritual development.