Because you are my Friend
"Because you are my Friend" is an essay on friendship written by Rene Daumal. In "Letters on the Search for Awakening 1930-1944" this essay is refered to as "reflecting in part" lessons learned in his relationship with Roger Gilbert-Lecomte. Click the link to read the essay.
René Daumal was born March 16, 1908 in the Ardennes mountains in France. René was close with his grandfather, who had a strong interest in the spiritual and established his own esoteric Masonic lodge, and was a beekeeper.
When René was younger his family relocated several times. When he was 13 he entered the lycée in Reims, there meeting Roger Gilbert-Lecomte, Roger Vailland and Robert Meyrat, whom he would become great friends with. He brought a depth of understanding and a higher aim to the group who would become Le Grand Jeu.
René was very intelligent, had strong psychic sensitivity and a wonderful sense of humor. René learned Sanskrit while still a teenager in order to translate the ancient Hindu texts. When René was 18 he had a dream of a woman whom he was completely in love with and he did not yet know. After this dream, he did not have a relationship with any woman until he met Vera Milanova, the woman from his dream.
In October of 1930, René Daumal met Alexandre de Salzmann and was introduced to the Work. He tried to bring along his friends from Le Grand Jeu, but they did not follow. He and Vera worked closely with Alexandre de Salzmann and after his death became students of his wife, Jeanne de Salzmann. Jeanne de Salzmann said of René "he was an extraordinary man, second only to Gurdjieff himself. She felt Daumal, even before he met her husband Alexandre, had an innate understanding of Gurdjieff's ideas." (Voices in the Dark, by William Patrick Patterson, p.197)
René Daumal wrote prolifically and with great understanding and insight from a young age and throughout his life. In April 1944, René died, leavingMount Analogue, a symbolic allegory of the spiritual pilgrimage, not quite finished. In one of the last letters he wrote to Vera, he summarized what he would like for those who work here with him to understand:
"I am dead because I have no desire,
I have no desire because I think I possess,
I think I possess because I do not try to give;
Trying to give, we see that we have nothing,
Seeing that we have nothing, we try to give ourselves.
Trying to give ourselves, we see that we are nothing,
Seeing that we are nothing, we desire to become,
Desiring to become, we live."*
*Mount Analogue by René Daumal, Afterward by Vera Milanova p119