In this age of Kaljug, its a matter of great pride to boast about how many friends one has. One shows pride in them, one is dependant on them, and one counts on them. However, one is in for a shock when Gurbani says
ਜਗਤ ਮੈ ਝੂਠੀ ਦੇਖੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥
jagath mai jhoot(h)ee dhaekhee preeth ||
In this world, I have seen love to be false.
ਅਪਨੇ ਹੀ ਸੁਖ ਸਿਉ ਸਭ ਲਾਗੇ ਕਿਆ ਦਾਰਾ ਕਿਆ ਮੀਤ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
apanae hee sukh sio sabh laagae kiaa dhaaraa kiaa meeth ||1|| rehaao ||
Whether they are spouses or friends, all are concerned only with their own happiness. ||1||Pause||
ਮੇਰਉ ਮੇਰਉ ਸਭੈ ਕਹਤ ਹੈ ਹਿਤ ਸਿਉ ਬਾਧਿਓ ਚੀਤ ॥
maero maero sabhai kehath hai hith sio baadhhiou cheeth ||
All say, ""Mine, mine"", and attach their consciousness to you with love.
ਅੰਤਿ ਕਾਲਿ ਸੰਗੀ ਨਹ ਕੋਊ ਇਹ ਅਚਰਜ ਹੈ ਰੀਤਿ ॥1॥
a(n)th kaal sa(n)gee neh kooo eih acharaj hai reeth ||1||
But at the very last moment, none shall go along with you. How strange are the ways of the world! ||1||
ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਜਾਨਿ ਲੇਹੁ ਮਨ ਮਾਹੀ ॥
preetham jaan laehu man maahee ||
O dear friend, know this in your mind.
ਅਪਨੇ ਸੁਖ ਸਿਉ ਹੀ ਜਗੁ ਫਾਂਧਿਓ ਕੋ ਕਾਹੂ ਕੋ ਨਾਹੀ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
apanae sukh sio hee jag faa(n)dhhiou ko kaahoo ko naahee ||1|| rehaao ||
The world is entangled in its own pleasures; no one is for anyone else. ||1||Pause||
ਸੁਖ ਮੈ ਆਨਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਬੈਠਤ ਰਹਤ ਚਹੂ ਦਿਸਿ ਘੇਰੈ ॥
sukh mai aan bahuth mil bait(h)ath rehath chehoo dhis ghaerai ||
In good times, many come and sit together, surrounding you on all four sides.
ਬਿਪਤਿ ਪਰੀ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਸੰਗੁ ਛਾਡਿਤ ਕੋਊ ਨ ਆਵਤ ਨੇਰੈ ॥1॥
bipath paree sabh hee sa(n)g shhaaddith kooo n aavath naerai ||1||
But when hard times come, they all leave, and no one comes near you. ||1||
Some people interpret this to mean that one should not bother about worldly relationships. Others say that one should not be attached to worldly relationships. But living in an age like Kaljug, surrounded by Maya, how far is it possible? GuruJi knew that we are human beings, and weak ones. Instead of asking us to stay away from fellow human beings, He asked us to live among them. Instead of asking us not to love them, He asked us not to be attached.
But this attachment is really hard to let go of. It doesn't go no matter how hard you try, unless you have lot of kirpa on you. But what is the other way around? How about changing the direction of these attachments? GuruJi has blessed us with the way to do that as well.
ਹੋਰੁ ਬਿਰਹਾ ਸਭ ਧਾਤੁ ਹੈ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥
hor birehaa sabh dhhaath hai jab lag saahib preeth n hoe ||
All other loves are transitory, as long as people do not love their Lord and Master.
Its not wrong to love people around you, its the base and foundation of that love what matters. If that "love" is worldly or sensual, its not going to survive forever. If your love for your family or friends revolves around Waheguru, its never going to die. Sahib-E-Kamaal Dasmesh Pita Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj loved His father Sahib Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Maharaj so much, that He considered Him to be the only one capable to protect humanity. Kalgidhar Patshah loved all His 4 sons so much, that He didn't hold them back, rather sent them ahead and cement the foundations of Sikhi. This was true love! This was the love that is alive till today. We can enjoy the fragrance and aroma of that love to this day! This was true love as it revolved around Waheguru.
GuruJi has also laid out the qualities of friends, of our true friends, our true companions.
ਸਜਣ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਲਿ ਮੈ ਚਲਦਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ਚਲੰਨ੍ ॥
sajan saeee naal mai chaladhiaa naal chala(n)nih ||
They alone are my friends, who travel along with me;
ਜਿਥੈ ਲੇਖਾ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਤਿਥੈ ਖੜੇ ਦਿਸੰਨਿ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
jithhai laekhaa ma(n)geeai thithhai kharrae dhisa(n)n ||1|| rehaao ||
and in that place, where the accounts are called for, they appear standing with me. ||1||Pause||
See how amazing this is. Gurbani says no one will be with you at the last moment, and so all relationships are fake. At the same time, before we lose hope, GuruJi assures us as to who in fact is our true friend.
What is the best way to find out if someone is our friend or not?
ਓਇ ਸਾਜਨ ਓਇ ਮੀਤ ਪਿਆਰੇ ॥
oue saajan oue meeth piaarae ||
They are my companions, and they are my dear friends,
ਜੋ ਹਮ ਕਉ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਚਿਤਾਰੇ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
jo ham ko har naam chithaarae ||1|| rehaao ||
who inspire me to remember the Lord's Name. ||1||Pause||
We have and will find enough "buddies" and "pals" who will hang around us, talk whatever comes to their mind. But only they are true buddies and true pals who are themselves joined to GuruJi and enjoin us as well.
Next Guru Ji tells us what benefits we reap by having association with such true friends.
ਜਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ॥
jaa kai sa(n)g eihu man niramal ||
Associating with them, this mind becomes immaculate and pure.
ਜਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ॥
jaa kai sa(n)g har har simaran ||
Associating with them, one meditates in remembrance on the Lord, Har, Har.
ਜਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਕਿਲਬਿਖ ਹੋਹਿ ਨਾਸ ॥
jaa kai sa(n)g kilabikh hohi naas ||
Associating with them, all the sins are erased.
ਜਾ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਿਦੈ ਪਰਗਾਸ ॥1॥
jaa kai sa(n)g ridhai paragaas ||1||
Associating with them, the heart is illumined. ||1||
ਸੇ ਸੰਤਨ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਮੇਰੇ ਮੀਤ ॥
sae sa(n)than har kae maerae meeth ||
Those Saints of the Lord are my friends.
So what were we thinking? That our family, friends, companions, associates will lead us away from Waheguru? Well, they can! But if they are the kind of saints as just mentioned, there is nothing to worry about now, is there?
What kind of relationship we can/should have with these saints?
ਹਉ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਸਾਜਨਾ ਮੀਤਾ ਅਵਰੀਤਾ ॥
ho balihaaree saajanaa meethaa avareethaa ||
I am a sacrifice to my pure friends, the immaculate Saints.
ਇਹੁ ਤਨੁ ਜਿਨ ਸਿਉ ਗਾਡਿਆ ਮਨੁ ਲੀਅੜਾ ਦੀਤਾ ॥
eihu than jin sio gaaddiaa man leearraa dheethaa ||
This body is attached to them, and we have shared our minds.
ਲੀਆ ਤ ਦੀਆ ਮਾਨੁ ਜਿਨ੍ ਸਿਉ ਸੇ ਸਜਨ ਕਿਉ ਵੀਸਰਹਿ ॥
leeaa th dheeaa maan jinh sio sae sajan kio veesarehi ||
We have shared our minds - how could I forget those friends?
ਜਿਨ੍ ਦਿਸਿ ਆਇਆ ਹੋਹਿ ਰਲੀਆ ਜੀਅ ਸੇਤੀ ਗਹਿ ਰਹਹਿ ॥
jinh dhis aaeiaa hohi raleeaa Jia saethee gehi rehehi ||
Seeing them brings joy to my heart; I keep them clasped to my soul.
ਸਗਲ ਗੁਣ ਅਵਗਣੁ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਹੋਹਿ ਨੀਤਾ ਨੀਤਾ ॥
sagal gun avagan n koee hohi neethaa neethaa ||
They have all virtues and merits, forever and ever; they have no demerits or faults at all.
ਹਉ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਸਾਜਨਾ ਮੀਤਾ ਅਵਰੀਤਾ ॥2॥
ho balihaaree saajanaa meethaa avareethaa ||2||
I am a sacrifice to my pure friends, the immaculate Saints. ||2||
And how can we meet these beloved friends?
ਜਾ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਵੈ ਤਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੇਲੇ ਜਿਨ੍ ਵਚਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਇਆ ॥
jaa har prabh bhaavai thaa guramukh maelae jinh vachan guroo sathigur man bhaaeiaa ||
When it pleases the Lord God, he causes us to meet the Gurmukhs; the Hymns of the Guru, the True Guru, are very sweet to their minds.
It is true that at the last moment no one is with us. What this kind of Sangat does it takes us to a point that our last moment becomes blissful. It is true that no one stands besides us in dargah when we are called to answer for our deeds and held accountable. What this kind of Sangat does is they motivate and encourage us more into Sikhi, and that way Dharamraj tears apart all our papers and our account is cleared!