Episode # 69 – “A friend in need is a friend indeed” – Vidura’s “Mathematical” explanation of “Friendship”!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed an extremely important activity that we should definitely avoid in our day-to-day life – Going behind “extra-marital” relationships. We had a lengthy discussion during yesterday’s episode as to what are these extra-marital relationships, how do they blossom, why do people in the present day get into such relationships, bad consequences of such relationships and finally how to overcome such things by focusing our mind on the “Dharma” and practicality and engaging our minds into constructive and useful activities like service to the needy, satsangs, etc. Moreover, spending quality time with our spouse is extremely important, despite having a busy work schedule. There should never be a compromise on this factor. Thus from the previous sloka we should realize that going behind one’s property, money, wife, etc. are heinous sins and crimes. Just like how poison enters into our body when a snake bites us, a similar poison called “Sin” enters inside us when we commit such crimes. Ultimately just like the snake poison kills us eventually, the poison called “Sin” also kills us once and for all.

However, there is one more interesting argument here – Even though we emphasize on these kinds of advice repeatedly again and again, ironically our minds would tend to go into those traps! This is because at that point in time we fail to realize that the poison is entering into our body. If a snake bites us, we immediately feel the immense pain because of the poison that enters in to the physical body straightaway. But, sins like these never make us feel the pain because our physical body doesn’t experience it. It is only our “Aatman” or “Soul” that becomes heavily injured and only over a period of time we would realize it. But by that time, things become too late and slip out of our hands.

In Sanskrit there is a beautiful explanation to this concept using two important terms – “Drishtam” and “Adrishtam”. “Drishtam” is what we see and experience every day – the pain that our physical body experiences directly and in most cases immediately as well. Thus in short, “Drishtam” is nothing but our physical body. We are able to see our human body every day. “Adrishtam” is nothing but our “Aathman” or “Soul”. Here, something happens internally and invisibly, yet has tremendous affect on us. Here we should realize that we couldn’t spend our entire life only via the “Drishtam”. Only if we develop the knowledge of the “Adrishtam” will we be able to make significant spiritual progress in our life. Thus as we mature spiritually, we should learn to eliminate the desires pertaining to the physical body and “Drishtam” and instead develop the desire to learn and experience the unknown and the unseen “Adrishtam” or the “Aathman”.

Lord Krishna explains in a similar manner in the Bhagawad Gita, three doorsteps that would push us into the extremely harmful “Naraka” or “Hell”. What are they?

“Trividam naraksyedham dvaaram naashanam aathmanaha!

Kaamaha krodhaha tathaa lobhaha tasmaath etathrayam tyajeth!!”

Here Bhagawan explains that “Kaama” (Desire), “Krodha” (Anger) and “Lobha” (Greed) are those three doorsteps that we should never dare to keep our feet on as these three are the doorsteps to hell!

Now moving on further, Vidura explains a beautiful mathematical formula – In a beam balance, if we keep three items in one side and try to balance them with one item on the other, what would be that one item that would be able to balance those three that are in the other side?

“Varahpradhaanam raajyancha puthra janmatha bhaaratha!”

Looks like Vidura is an excellent Mathematician!! 🙂 If he had written a Mathematics exam perhaps he would have scored full marks in it!! Now which are those three items that he’s talking about? The first one is “Obtaining a boon or a wish”. The second one is being “Blessed with a son or daughter” and the third one is “Opportunity to be the ruler of a kingdom”. If we keep all these three things in a balance on one side, what is that one thing that can balance them out from the other side? It is nothing but that one person who is striving to protect his friends or family from the clutches of an enemy.

Thus Vidura talks about “Friendship” in this sloka. We have a proverb in the modern day – “A friend in need is a friend indeed!” Now who is a real and a true friend? A true friend is that person who not only shares lighter moments, jokes and happy things with us, but also a person who tries meticulously to pull us out of danger at a critical juncture in our life. Such a person is considered to be a true friend. This is exactly what Vidura is saying here – A true friend is a priceless gift that we can get in our lives!

So for today let us understand and appreciate the importance of “Friendship” and acknowledge and recognize our friends’ valuable contributions for the betterment of our lives. There are a few important aspects that need to be discussed with respect to friendship in the current day scenario. We shall take this discussion forward in tomorrow’s episode! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at International School of Business & Media, Pune, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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