How to make friends

Next Sûtra says Maitrikaruna muditopekshanam sukhadukhapunyapunyavishayanam bhavanataschitta prasadanam, meaning that “by practising the habits of friendliness compassion, happiness and virtues and by being indifferent to misery and sinful vices, your mind is pleasant”.

Patanjali categorises people into four types. One, those who are happy; two, people who are unhappy; three, people who are engaged in good or virtuous acts; and four, people who are engaged in not so good acts. So, the four categories of people are sinful, blessed, happy and unhappy. Now, how do you deal with them?

He says to have maitri — the act of being friendly with those who are happy. If you are not friends with people who are happy, you will feel jealous at the thought that someone is happier than you. But if you own them, if you feel they belong to you, then you will not be jealous of them. When they are happy it will no longer bother you.

Now what about unhappy people? If you are friendly with unhappy people, what happens? You also become unhappy. So just don’t be friends with unhappy people, but be compassionate towards them.

The second bhava Patanjali has given is Karuna or compassion. Have sympathy or compassion for those who are suffering, but do not become friendly because they will drag you down too. If you have to share your unhappiness with your friends, then share it.

Most people do not know how to be with those who are suffering. We end up strengthening their belief that God is unjust. “Nature is so unkind to you. Why are you suffering? You poor thing”, we keep telling them. We push them further in, instead of helping pull them out.

Do not pity the people who are suffering. There is a difference between compassion and pity. When you pity them, you are putting them down. They are already miserable and you go and make it worse when you tell them it should not have happened to them.

Patanjali says to feel happy with those who are doing a meritorious job. Become one with them and start feeling you are doing the same. Then you will stop finding fault with those who are doing good. People have this tendency to try and find fault with those who are doing a good job. Criticism usually comes from those who do not work. When you become one with those who are doing good acts, it will seem like you are doing them. Share in the happiness of others and feel happy.

Ignore (Upeksha) the people who are doing sinful acts. If someone says something which is not the truth, brush it off. It is not even worth thinking about.

In the newspaper, you will read reports of people murdering and lying and cheating. If you see someone like that educate them and ignore them. You educate them out of compassion and ignore them for your own sake. Otherwise you will take that to heart and start worrying. When you think someone is imperfect and keeping thinking that about them, then you become imperfect yourself.

In this way, the chitta or your mind is pleasant.