Path to Siva: A Catechism for Youth

58 What Is the Value of Spiritual Friends?§


Five friends take a selfie to share online. Friends are important & worth cultivating. They encourage our ideals & goals in life. They provide fun & keep us safe from the world’s negative forces.§


As Saivite Hindus, we know this life is precious and are thankful for it every moment of every day. Appreciating the gift of life makes us want to do the best we can, improve our character, serve others and live a spiritual life. Knowing life’s purpose, we hold firmly to dharma. Like a marathon runner, we must stay on the course to finish the race. Having good, religious friends helps us stay on the path. If we mix with a worldly crowd, we may lose our way. The Tirukural tells us, “As water changes according to the soil through which it flows, so a man assimilates the character of his associates.” Friends who are good Hindus will help you most of all. If you befriend a person who is dishonest or mean, his example will lead you into trouble. If you befriend someone who studies hard and is kind and helpful, their example will inspire and uplift you. Some people poke fun at religion or make mischief and resist authority. They do not know the real purpose of life. They waste their time and cause pain to others. Wise teachers advise us to be nice to everyone, but make close friends only with those who will help build good character and set positive patterns for the future. The Tirukural tells us, “Purity of mind and purity of conduct, these two depend on the purity of a man’s companions.” Following our religious path is made easier when we are part of a satsang group with shared values and goals. Such companionship helps keep our sadhana strong, especially during difficult times in life. As Gurudeva often said, “The group helps the individual and the individual helps the group.”§


GURUDEVA: Make friends with those who are on the path. Be with fine, positive people. Don’t be with negative, complaining people who have no relationship to what you are doing on the inside, or who are criticizing you for what you are doing.§