What is friendship according to Panini?
As per Panini, it is साप्तपदीनं सख्यम्॥ – A relation accomplished through seven-steps, seven commitments for each other.Marriage is one form of friendship.
In Atharva Veda, Atharva calls Varuna as his सप्त-पदी मित्र.
आ ते स्तोत्राण्य् उद्यतानि यन्त्व् अन्तर् विश्वासु मानुषीषु दिक्षु |
देहि नु मे यन् मे अदत्तो असि युज्यो मे सप्तपदः सखासि ||9||
समा नौ बन्धुर् वरुण समा जा वेदाहं तद् यन् नाव् एषा समा जा |
ददामि तद् यत् ते अदत्तो अस्मि युज्यस् ते सप्तपदः सखास्मि ||10||
Mahabharata also concurs सप्त-पदी friendship. (Vana Parva 260.35, 297.23)
सप्त-पदी needed to be observe under the witness of Fire, fire of individual, fire of local environment, fire of universe. In Ramayana, Raam and Sugriva friendship was considered Agni-Shakshi friendship)
so.aham sabhaajyo bandhuunaam suhR^idaam caiva raaghava |
yasya agni saakSikam mitram labdham raaghava va.mshajam || 4-8-4
“He who has gained the one born in Raghava-s dynasty as friend, to which sacred fire bore the witness, such a being like me is estimable among his relative, more so among his kind-hearted friends… [Kishkindha Kanda 4-8-4]
What are seven commitments that you must have with all your best friends (सप्त-पदी friends including wife) ?
ॐ एकमिशे विष्णु: त्वा नयतु ।
First step for sap or food.
ॐ द्वे उर्जे विष्णु: त्वा नयतु ।
Second step for strength
ॐ त्रीणि राय्स्पोशाय विष्णु: त्वा नयतु ।
Third step for vows(vrata)
ॐ चत्वारि मायोभवाय विष्णु: त्वा नयतु ।
Fourth step for happiness
ॐ पञ्च पशुभ्यो विष्णु: त्वा नयतु ।
Fifth step for cattle (wealth)
ॐ षड रुतुभ्यों विष्णु: त्वा नयतु ।
Sixth step for all seasons
ॐ सखे सप्तपदा भव ।
Seventh step for Hotra(sacrificial rites)
सखा सप्तपदा भव ।
सखायौ सप्तपदा बभूव ।
सख्यं ते गमेयम् ।
सख्यात् ते मायोषम् ।
सख्यान्मे मयोष्ठाः ।
At the end, be my friend for life. You have walked seven steps with me; be my friend. We have walked seven steps together; let us be friends. Let me get your friendship. Let me not part from your friendship. May you not part from my friendship.