Relations are destined by God, but friends are destined by the choice of friendship one makes. Ramayan gives clear examples of the correct choices and what to do and what not to do in friendship. The choices made by Shri Ram and Ravan gives out valuable lessons on the choices and commitments of friendship.
One of the foremost qualities of friendship is to make a good friend. Shri Ram chose his friends on the basis of Dharma and pure love. He chose friendship with a pure heart and hence his friendship with Nishad Raj guh and Sugriv, lasted for a lifetime. Ravan on the other hand was biased on the dictates of power and strength and hence, they were none who could be called as his true friends.
Friendship is accepting. Shri Ram accepts a friend as how he is and never wants them to change for him. While accepting Nishad Raj Guh’s simple hospitality, Shri Ram shows the important aspect of acceptance and respect in friendship. But whomever Ravan chose as his friend were forced on a condition that they do things as he pleases as Ravan never accepted anybody against his favour.
Freindship is righteous. Although Shri Ram had the choice of chosing Bali as his friend which would make things easier for him to get back Mata Sita, he yet chose to be Sugriv’s friend as his Dharma, and in the right way won Mata Sita back. The friendship of Ravan with Bali was more for a sage guard reason for Ravan as Bali was powerful and it would help Ravan, This action of Ravan is more an agreement than a friendship.
Friendship has no expectations. When Shri Ram gives his word to Sugriv that he would make him the King of Kishkinda, it was not out of an expectation that Sugirv would in turn help him search Mata Sita for his help, but it was to uphold what belonged righteously to Sugriv and help his friend gain back his deserved life and kingdom. Shri Ram mentions the same to Bali too that he slayed Bali for his friend’s sake , but not because he expected help.
A friend is the correct guide. When Sugriv forgets his word, Shri Ram sends a warning through Lakshman reminding Sugriv of his promise. Only a true friend guides when walking on a wrong path by good advice or creating a small fear. Shri Ram does the same and corrects Sugriv. But Ravan is advised by his ministers and friends not to give back Mata Sita with great arrogance and pride, and do not warn him of the impending danger as true friends.
Friendship forgives. The greatest attribute of a friend is to forgive the mistakes of the other. After becoming the king of Kishkinda, Sugriv is lost in pleasures. When Lakshman comes and warns him, Sugriv realises his mistake and seeks forgiveness of Shri Ram. But, Shri Ram simply says that to err is human and a true friend always forgives. With this kind gesture of Shri Ram, Sugirv totally devoted himself and his whole army in getting back Mata Sita to Shri Ram.
Shri Ram gained the unconditional support of his friends in his fight for Mata Sita for his just behaviour as a friend and ispires mankind to walk on his principles of friendship. Ravan on the other hand, with his behaviour and choice of friends sets an example as to what should be avoided in in friendship.