A compilation of our blogs has just been released in India in book form, entitled Touch of Light: Living the Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. As we travel from city to city to offer programs here, we’ve been “launching” the book after our discourse with a simple ceremony: a copy is brought to us tied in a bright ribbon, which we cut or untie, and then present to a dignitary. At the end of the program, books are offered for sale, and many of the attendees ask us to sign their copy. We generally inscribe it, “In divine friendship,” above our signatures. This is also the closing that Swami Kriyananda would use to end his letters. Divine friendship is, in a very real sense, the core vibration of Ananda Sangha.
There are two main differences between divine and human friendship. The first is that the Divine, having no ego, has no boundaries. There is no “best friend,” nor anyone excluded from the warm embrace of love—not anyone. When our granddaughter, Riley, was about 10 years old, her two best friends got into an argument, and each of them demanded that Riley “unfriend” the other. This she refused to do. Unwilling to choose between them, she found herself eating lunch alone each day until their little tiff lost its steam.
Human love can be divisive, but the Divine never asks us to be exclusive. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, because God requires that we give love to all. As Paramhansa Yogananda wrote in his poem Samadhi, “The sparrow, each grain of sand, fall not without my sight.” We don’t need to love people’s ignorant deeds, but we still need to love them—the soul.
Secondly, divine friendship is impersonal. One time Swami Kriyananda told Devi, “No one is special to me. I’m not even special to myself.” At first this may seem a bit cold, but the deeper you go, the warmer it gets. Being “special” is a quality of the ego, which separates. When nothing is separate, everything becomes special: every person; every king or beggar; every flower, be it rose or weed. Because Swami Kriyananda had no boundaries to his friendship, many people, even those who saw him only on rare occasions, thought of him as their dearest friend.
“I see all of you as images of light,” Paramhansa Yogananda once said to a group of his disciples. “Everything—the grass, the trees, the bushes—everything I see is made of light. You’ve no idea how beautiful it all is!” Let’s hold this thought in our hearts. We have no idea how beautiful each one of us is to the Divine. And let’s share that precious gift as well as we can. Let’s see the innate beauty in everyone and everything. Then the whole world will become our friend.
In divine friendship,