Param Krupalu Dev: As a Friend Param Krupalu Dev’s Divine Life is a mine of exemplary qualities. Digging deeper and deeper into His life, we unearth the hidden jewels. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of His advent on this earth, let us view His life from various perspectives throughout the year, marvel at His unmatched virtues and draw inspiration to walk on His footsteps. Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection, trust, cooperation, and support. When the tide doesn’t seem to be on our side, a friend is someone who fills courage and confidence in our heart. It is important to have such a friend in life whom you can trust wholeheartedly. A person rooted deep within extends himself to the entire world unconditionally. He empathises with all and strives to alleviate their sufferings. Thus, a spiritual person is an ideal friend. Needless to say, with the spiritual heights Param Krupalu Dev had scaled, He was indeed a true friend of one and all. Like all His other roles of life, He perfectly executed His role as a friend too. Firm Roots of Friendliness The beauty of Param Krupalu Dev’s facet as a friend was that He was full of friendliness towards everyone. He did not restrict Himself to just a few friends but had the feeling of friendliness for all. Thus, He was always open to help anyone who needed Him. Expressing His philosophy of friendliness, He has written that do not be friends with one person, if you want, befriend the entire world. Mahatma Gandhiji shared in a lecture in Wardha that Param Krupalu Dev used to meet everyone with a feeling of equanimity. His behaviour wasn’t such that He would flatter someone prestigious and disregard someone unimportant. Param Krupalu Dev’s friend Popatbhai Manjibhai Desai, whom He referred to as ‘Vavania Times’, states that owing to His virtues and personality, people used to love Param Krupalu Dev right from His childhood. He was a favourite amongst His classmates. The virtue of friendliness was evident in Him. An Empathising Existence A good friend is one who is always ready to help without expecting anything in return. He is selfless and ensures the well-being of his friends. Param Krupalu Dev, whose personality oozed with unconditional love for everyone, exemplified this. He was extremely caring and helpful as a friend. Once, Popatbhai Manjibhai Desai had contracted fever since a month which stayed at 102-103 degrees. When Param Krupalu Dev arrived from Mumbai, He immediately went to see him. He sat on the bed, caressed him and enquired how was he feeling? Param Krupalu Dev also asked him whether he would like to eat something. Popatbhai expressed his wish to eat pomegranate. Param Krupalu Dev called for pomegranate, broke it open and gave him the seeds to eat. Param Krupalu Dev told him to go out with Him. Popatbhai said that he didn’t have enough strength. Param Krupalu Dev asked him to come and Popatbhai did not face any discomfort or pain, rather had a happy time. Param Krupalu Dev told him to accompany Him to Morbi. Popatbhai pleaded weakness, but He said that there would be no difficulty. He went with Him to Morbi and experienced relief. Along with such empathy, Param Krupalu Dev also instilled values in him. He had told Popatbhai that if he didn’t get anything for sustenance, eat lowly jowar rotis but do not resort to unethical means. Miles Apart, Yet Always Available True friends are always available whether they are next to each other or miles part. Distance can hurt a lot of relationships, but not if it is true friendship. As a friend, Param Krupalu Dev was available for those who needed Him. When He was not physically near His friends, He was still their support system through constant interaction and guidance in the form of letters. Mahatma Gandhiji instantly developed a liking and respect for Param Krupalu Dev when they first met in the year 1891 in Mumbai on Gandhiji’s return from England. Subsequently, Gandhiji would regularly meet Param Krupalu Dev in the two years that he spent in Mumbai. Even after Gandhiji moved to South Africa, the meetings continued, though not in person, but through correspondence. This close association with Param Krupalu Dev contributed a great deal in moulding Gandhiji’s character. While he was in South Africa, Gandhiji turned to Param Krupalu Dev for help in moments of his spiritual crisis and Param Krupalu Dev, as a true friend, gave judicious, direct, and pertinent answers that helped Gandhiji resolve his doubts. Generally friendship just benefits each other, but the friendship between Param Krupalu Dev and Mahatma Gandhiji was such that it is significant not just in their lives, but it is also a resplendent chapter in the nation’s cultural, political and spiritual history. A Guide to Divinity A unique friendship existed between Param Krupalu Dev and Shri Sobhagbhai. Though 44 years older to Param Krupalu Dev, Shri Sobhagbhai shared a friendly bond with Him apart from considering Him as his Sadguru. Param Krupalu Dev opened up His heart and gave a glimpse of His extraordinary inner state in His letters to His soulmate Shri Sobhagbhai. In times of financial crisis, Shri Sobhagbhai sought Param Krupalu Dev’s guidance. Always ready to help, Param Krupalu Dev counselled Shri Sobhagbhai to keep his thoughts pure in the midst of financial difficulties. He encouraged him to maintain his calm and achieve spiritual progress even in testing times. Truly, Param Krupalu Dev was not a worldly friend but a friend for higher purpose in life! It was at His friend Shri Sobhagbhai’s sincere request that Param Krupalu Dev composed Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra. Through his spiritual bonding with Param Krupalu Dev, Shri Sobhagbhai attained Self-realisation. Infinite salutations to the One who offers His love fully and unconditionally to each and every being!