Mahabharata is a tale I have read a million times. On my last reading, I wondered briefly what it meant to be a friend to Lord Krishna. Can an enlightened person have friends? What does friendship mean to one who is dispassionate, soaked in Vairaagya? I couldn’t figure it out. I stowed the question away as one to be asked to Gurudev. But I also knew that the answer would find its way to me, as all others have.

So it did. Last night, I heard a story from the Mahabharata. The war had ended and the victorious Pandavas decided to reward their loyal charioteers. When Arjuna’s turn came, he looked at Lord Krishna, expecting Him to step down from the chariot and await his reward. But Krishna stayed put, leaving Arjuna with no choice but to step down first. Then Krishna arose, stepped out of the chariot and turned around. The mighty vehicle was reduced to ashes in an instant. Arjuna was stunned. The Lord explained patiently that it was His presence inside the chariot that kept it whole. In reality, it had been destroyed a long time ago, burned as it was under the onslaught of weapons and arrows from the enemy. That was the reason the Lord stepped out of the chariot only after Arjuna, for He could not have allowed his dear friend to perish in the flames.

Such a lovely story, it almost makes me tear up.

My question was linked with Arjuna. What set him apart from everyone else that he was given the Song Divine, the Bhagavad Gita? Lord Krishna called him His friend but what does that really mean? How does one become a friend to the Lord?

It made sense today. Arjuna’s relationship with Krishna was intimate, reverential, playful, personal, no holds barred. Perhaps, that is why the Bhagavad Gita was revealed to him alone. Make the Divine your Valentine, Gurudev said. Beloved, best friend, favorite partner.

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