Bandhu, Suhrd, Mitram and Sakhá

Posted By: Tapas Dev Tag: Scriptures Last Update: 12/03/2019
Bandhu-Mitram-Ananda-Vacanamrtm-05-anandamarga

Atyágasahano bandhuh sadaevánumatah suhrd,
Ekakriyam bhavenmitram samapránáh sakhá smrtah.


“Bandhu”, “suhrd”, “mitram” and “sakhá” – these are almost synonymous but their meanings are not quite the same. “Bandhu” is one who cannot bear separation, cannot live away. The bondage is so strong that they cannot live away. For this reason they are called “bandhu”. It has not any correct English synonym and so I am compelled to use the word “bandhu”. Those who go together because they have no differences of opinion are called “suhrd”. Now, let us analyse the first term, “bandhu”. Is anybody a bandhu in this world? No, there is none. After death even the people who accompany you to the burning ground return to their respective homes once the cremation is over, they shall not go with you. Hence there is no bandhu in this world. There is only one bandhu and He is Jagat-Bandhu.

One who stays with ones friends because there is no difference of opinion between them is said to be suhrd. In this world everyone has some difference of opinion with others. Even on small matters there is a difference of opinion and these small things become bigger in the end. Therefore, no-one in this universe is your suhrd. Only dharma who accompanies you even after death is your suhrd. None but dharma is suhrd. Whatever you do, will remain with you as reactive momenta. If you have done good work, you will have good reactive momenta. If you have done bad work, you will have bad reactive momenta. Dharma does not leave anybody, Dharma is with you in this world and will also be with you in the other world. This is the rule and so it has been said, “Dharma rakśati rakśitah”. If you protect dharma, dharma will become stronger, and if your fired has become stronger, it will be an asset to you. You will get more help. A wise person should make dharma stronger for, “Dharma rakśati rakśitah,” I will tell you a short story.

Once there was a king. He was a strong spiritualist, a strong dhármik. Whatever he said he did and whatever he did he said. One day the king made a declaration that he would buy whatever remained unsold in the village market. People started coming to the market. One day, a sculptor brought an idol of the goddess “Alakśmii”, which negates wealth. Who would want to keep the idol Alakśmii in their house? Nobody bout it. Finally in the evening the seller of that idol came to the king and said, “Rájá Sáhib, please take this idol and be true to your words.” The king bought it. The goddess Alakśmii entered the palace. At about midnight the king heard a lady weeping. He approached her, asking “Mother, why are you weeping? What is the matter”. “I am the goddess of wealth, Rájya Lakśmii”, she replied. “Now that Alakśmii has enter the palace, how can I live here?” The king said, “Very well, for the protection of dharma I have to keep Alakśmii here. If you do not want to live here, you may go”. Thereupon the goddess of wealth went away. After some time the Raja heard the sound of shoes; “thak, thak, thak”.

“Thak, thak karoti yah sah thakarh.” Those theist people, who did not use leather shoes, used to wear wooden shoes, which made a “thaka, thaka” sound. From this the words “Thakare”, “Thakur”, “Thakkar”, etc., have been derived.

The king, on hearing the sound, went to see what the matter was. He saw an gentleman and asked, “Who are you?” The reply was, “I am Náráyańa.” “What is the matter Náráyańa?” asked the king, “where are you going?” Náráyańa replied, “Lakśmii has left the palace, what shall I do? I shall not live here.” The king said, “To protect dharma, I have to keep Alakśmii, and so if you want to leave the palace, you may go, what I do?” Náráyańa left. After that all the high-class, middle-class and lower-class gods and goddesses left the palace. The king said, “If you all so desire you may go”. In the end a very glorious personality appeared. “Who are you?” asked the king. The reply was, “I am dharma rája, the king of dharma. As all the other gods and goddesses have left the palace, I am also leaving.” The king replied, “It cannot be. To protect dharma I kept Alakśmii. Oh dharma rája, how can you leave me?” Dharma Rája said “You are right. I will not leave.” As Dharma had remained there, Náráyańa slowly entered through the back door, since he did not dare to enter through the front door. The king said to him, “If you wish you may come.” Thus Náráyańa came. Lakśmii followed him, covering her face, because she did not dare to show her face to the king. There was a small gate within the main gate through which the other small and big gods and goddesses started entering. Some entered through the skylights and some of them entered through the drain. They found one or other way to enter the room. They said “Where there is dharma, where there is Narayana and Lakśmii, we shall also go and remain.” In the end the king was victorious. “Eka eva suhrd dharma nidhane api anuyati yah”. “Dharma alone is suhrd and remains with one till the end.”

The third one is mitram. “Ekakriyaḿ bhavenmitram.” People having the same occupation, the same profession are said to be mitram. You will find many a mitram in this world. A doctor is a mitram for another doctor, an advocate is a mitram for another advocate. There are many mitrams in this world. The word “mitram” is neuter gender in Saḿskrta. “Mitra”, in the masculine gender is “sun”. The word “mitram” is neuter gender, and is used in the sense of “colleague”.

The fourth one is sakhá – “Samapráńah sakhá smrtah.” Where the love is so strong that both appear to be identical but the physical bodies are separate they are called “sakhá”. In this world there is no other sakha except Parama Puruśa. Krsna was the sakhá of Arjuna and Arjuna was the sakhá of Krśńa.

If people are to know anything they should only know the One who never leaves them. What is to be gained from knowing those other things which will finally drift away and be lost? “Yah ágacchati sah gacchati”. That which comes also goes away. If today something painful has entered in your life, do not be perturbed. This is the nature of the world. “Yah ágacchati sah gacchati.” What has come, will go. The pain which has come to you today, will leave you after some time. Similarly, if pleasure comes to you, do not lose your control over it, do not be egoistic, since whatever has come must go. The pleasures that come will not remain.

Once, Emperor Akbar asked Birbal, his courtier, to say something which would make a happy man sorrowful, and a sorrowful man happy. Birbal replied, “This day shall not remain.” Whatever comes in this world, goes away. He alone, who neither comes nor goes, lives with you eternally.

You have encountered hundreds of thousands of people who are non-Sádhakas – they will have to live thousands of lives. Those who are Sádhakas will live in eternity after this life. Parama Puruśa will always be with you. That means, neither were you alone in the past nor will you be alone in the future. Always remember that you are not helpless. He who is guiding the stars of the skies, is with you, you are not alone. Under no circumstances should you ever be afraid. Never think that you are alone. Whatever has to happen, will happen, and the One who causes this happening is with you. He is not something which resides far far away. You are not a distant relative of His. He is your Father. So you only have to know the One. Who is He? He is your nearest and dearest One. He is your most beloved. To know Him is to acquire the real knowledge, called “vijiṋána” in the scriptures. In science this is knowledge of substance. Spiritual knowledge is the real vijiṋána. This is the real knowledge and all other knowledge is but a mirage of knowledge. There are tow reasons for this. First, the other things which know will not always remain with you. And thus this knowledge becomes meaningless. Secondly, although you struggle hard to know something, the strength of your mind is limited, extremely limited. With that limited mind you cannot know a thing correctly. But to know the Supreme Entity is something else. Knowing Him means to merge in Him; your small mind becomes one with Him. To know Him is the real knowledge.

Átmajiṋánaḿ vidurjiṋánaḿ jiṋánányanyáni yánitu;
Táni jiṋánávabhásáni sárasyanaeva bodhanát.


To know the self is the real knowledge. Parama Puruśa is hidden in the self. When you know the self, you will know the hidden substance, you will not have to make any additional endeavour for that. So all the other things you know are not real knowledge but brief glimpses or mirages of knowledge. The student of science knows that there are two types of shadow – umbra and penumbra. Knowledge of other things is like that, a mirage of knowledge, not real knowledge. “Táni jiṋánávabhásáni,” not the knowledge of essence. A mango tree and a lichee tree have similar shadows. You cannot distinguish the trees by seeing the shadows. To know the tree you have to look at the tree itself. Similarly knowledge of all worldly things is the umbra and penumbra of knowledge and not the real knowledge. So, to endeavour to know this knowledge becomes meaningless. Parama Puruśa lies in the self, and so the knowledge of self is the real knowledge. By knowing the self you attain everything. There is no need for any additional endeavour.

Dharmasya tattvaḿ nihitáḿ guháyám;
Mahájano yenagatah sah panthá


The essence of dharma is that Parama Puruśa is hidden in your “I”-ness. He is hidden in the “I”-ness which exists in every mind, in every human being, so, know the self, and you will know Him easily. You should remember that this is the true knowledge and not the knowledge of external objects. You cannot get Parama Puruśa without the real knowledge. Imagine you see the reflection of a tree laden with sweet fruit in the water of a pond. If you try to eat the reflection of the fruit you will get neither the fruit nor its taste. What should you do? Climb the tree and eat the fruit. This is the path of a devotee. Devotees do not get satisfaction from the reflection or the shadow, they climb the tree and eat the fruit. What will intellectuals do? They will count the leaves of the tree. What will action-oriented person do? They will jump in the water and try to catch hold of the reflection of the fruit. I hope you are not like those intellectuals or action-oriented people. Be a strong bhakta – devotee – and eat the sweet fruit from the tree.

23 November 1978, Bombay