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I value friendliness higher than love. There is nothing higher than friendliness. I know you must have noticed that I have not used the word ”friendship.” Up till yesterday I was using it, but now is the time to tell you of something greater than friendship – friendliness. Friendship can also be binding, in its own way, like love. It can also be jealous, possessive, afraid that it may be lost, and because of that fear, so much agony and so much struggle. In fact people are continuously fighting those whom they love – strange, just strange… unbelievably strange.

Friendliness rises higher, to all that man knows and feels. It is more a fragrance of being, or you can say a flowering of being. Something transpires between two souls, and suddenly there are two bodies, but one being – that is what I call flowering. Friendliness is freedom from all that is small and mediocre, from all that we are acquainted with, in fact, too acquainted with.
I was saying to you that friendship is a higher value than love. Nobody has said it before. And I also say that friendliness is even higher than friendship. Nobody has even mentioned that. I will certainly have to explain.

Love, howsoever beautiful, remains earthbound. It is something like the roots of a tree. Love tries to rise above the earth and all that it implies – the body – but it falls again and again. It is no wonderthat people say somebody has ”fallen in love.” This phrase exists in all languages, as far as I know. I have tried to explore the matter by asking many people from various countries. I wrote to all the embassies asking whether they have a phrase in their language which is exactly the equivalent of”falling in love.” They all replied, ”Of course.” And when I asked, ”Do you have a phrase or something similar to what I call ‘rising in love’?” they either laughed, giggled, or started talking about something else. If I asked by letter, then they neverreplied. Certainly nobody replies to a mad-man who is asking, ”Is there a word in your language for‘rising in love’?”
No language has that kind of word, and it cannot be just coincidence. In one language maybe, even two perhaps, but it cannot be a coincidence in three thousand languages. It is not just by chance that all languages have conspired together to make the phrase in three thousand ways always to mean ”fall in love.” No, the reason is, love is basically of the earth. It can jump a little bit, or rather you could call it jogging….
I was telling you that love, once in a while, jumps and feels as if it is free from the earth; but the earth knows better. Soon he comes back to his senses with a thump, if not with broken bones. Love cannot fly. It is a peacock, with beautiful feathers – but remember, they are not able to fly. Yes, the peacock can jog. Love is very earthly. Friendship is a little higher, it has wings; not just feathers, but the wings of a parrot. You know how parrots fly? From one tree to another, or maybe from one garden to another, from one grove to another, but they don’t fly towards the stars. They are poor flyers.

Friendliness is the highest value, because friendliness has no gravitation at all. It is just levitation, if you allow me to use that word. I don’t know whether the pundits of English will allow ”levitation.” It only means”against gravity.” Gravitation pulls downwards, levitation pulls upwards. But who cares about the pundits? – they are very grave, they are already in their graves. Friendliness is a seagull – yes, like Jonathan, it soars beyond the clouds. This is just to connect with what I was saying to you….
Love is good, just good, but not enough, not enough to give you wings. For that, friendship is needed, and love does not allow it. So-called love, I mean, is very against friendship. It is very afraid of friendship because anything higher is a danger, and friendship is higher.

When you can enjoy the friendship of either a man or a woman, then you know for the first time that love is a cheat, a deception. Alas, then you realize how much time was wasted. But friendship is only a bridge. One should pass over it; one should not start living on it. A bridge is not for living on. This bridge leads to friendliness. Friendliness is pure fragrance. If love is the root, and friendship the flower, then friendliness is the fragrance, unseen by the eye; you cannot even touch it; you cannot hold it in your hand, particularly if you want to keep it in your closed fist. Yes, you can have it on your open hand, but not in your closed hand.
Friendliness is almost what, in the past, mystics have called prayer. I don’t want to call it prayer for the simple reason that the word is associated with wrong people. It is a beautiful word, but to be in the wrong company contaminates; you start stinking of your company. Love takes you, it is a step; but only if it takes you towards friendship is it love. If it does not take you towards friendship, then it is lust, not love. If it takes you to friendship, be thankful to it but don’t allow it to encroach upon your freedom. Yes, it has helped, that does not mean that now it has to hinder too. Don’t carry the boat on your shoulders just because it carried you to the other shore.

Love is good – transcend it, because it can lead you to something better: friendship. And when two lovers become friends, it is a rare phenomenon. One wants to cry just out of joy, or celebrate, or if one is a musician, play on the guitar, or if one is a poet, then write a haiku, a Rubaiyat; but if one is not a musician or a poet, one can still dance, one can still paint, one can sit silently and look at the sky. What more can be done? Existence has done it already”.