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Can a man and a woman be just friends? || Acharya Prashant, with Delhi University (2023)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
10 min
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Questioner (Q): Sir, can a boy and girl just be friends?

Acharya Prashant (AP): (Acharya jii smiling) A friend is someone in the truest sense you can relate to in a way that uplifts your life, your mind, your thought process, give some clarity, some insight to you. That’s who a friend is. Right?

Q: Yes sir.

AP: Being with a friend turns you into someone better. That’s who a friend is, simply put. So why can’t you be with a girl and find that her presence, her company gives sharpness to your consciousness, your mind, you are able to understand life better. How is it not possible? And vice versa, how is it not possible that lets say there is a girl who is somehow either too afraid or too egoistic or superstitious and she comes in contact with a boy and in the company of the boy she realizes the filth within and is able to clear the cobwebs and emerge as bold, inquisitive and a better individual. Why is that not possible?

Q: Sir but the biological instincts are always there like whenever we are talking to opposite gender and there is a subconscious urges and instincts.

AP: What if you are with a person who is able to point that out to you?

Q: Yes sir.

AP: Because the moment to catch the snake or the rat is when it emerges from its hole. Right?

Q: Yes sir.

AP: So, you are with a girl, an intelligent girl and she is able to point out to you in real time, what’s your name please?

Q: Sir, Varchas.

AP: Varchas. She is able to point to you in real team Varchas. You are not listening to me. You are just staring at me and I am telling you of something very important and yet your mind is elsewhere. Is she not a friend? And this kind of a thing no boy, no male will be able to tell you because the kind of reaction you give to a girl you will anyway not give to a boy.

Q: Yes sir.

AP: The girl will know the animal in your eyes. That animal keeps hiding when you are with your boyfriends. In a group of the same gender, a very important part of your personality simply remain hidden but when you are with a girl that part gets activated and if the girl is wise enough she will be able to point that out and tell you that, “Here, here is your animal! Here is where you are not even a human being.” Maybe you will not like her for that but she will be able to potentially atleast help you out in a big way. You might not accept that help, that’s okay.

So, it’s not whether boys and girls or men and women can be friends. Let me extent it to say something beyond the question. You know, I love to say, I love to quote rather, someone else has said and I quote that often, “That some part of your humanness remains unawakened till you befriend an animal.” If you have never been friends with a rabbit or a dog or a cat or a cow, its difficult to be friends with a tiger or a python practically but you can be friends with a deer or a bird or a monkey. These are the animals that you find in your vicinity, not deers really but something. So, if you cannot be friends with an animal some part of your humanness remains unawakened. Now extend that and I will say, “If you cannot be friends with a person of the opposite sex, an important part of yourself will remain unnourished, unawakened, uneducated, unaddressed.” That’s what happens to people who may move only in same sex groups. They remain boorish. You understand boorish? Uncultured, unsophisticated, undeveloped. So, six dudes are hanging about, chances are that this group lacks in something quite important. I have nothing against same sex groups, please. I want to point out something so I am taking an example. Six of them are just hanging about and doing what boys do. Similarly, six girls coming from a girls only school and girls only college, they have never known what it means to be in vicinity of a boy. An important part of their personality will remain underdeveloped. That does not mean that you have to forcefully intrude into girl gangs. Do not (Acharya jii smiling) construct my thing to mean that.

Q: (Smiling)

AP: You find six girls going and then you barge in. You say, “Something is missing here and I have come to take care of that.” Don’t do that!

There is life, there is the world and your consciousness will not rest in peace till it understands the entirety of it, the wholeness of existence. Women constitute 50% of the world’s population. How will you understand life if you do not understand women. How will you understand yourself if you do not understand women and vice versa. Because the questioner is a man so I am addressing him in this regard. Had the questioner had been a women the answer would have been a bit to the other side. As a women how will you understand the world if you have never been with men or if you have been only sporadically with men.

So, its not whether a man and a woman can be friends. I am saying if a man and a woman cannot be friends then they will be missing out on the wholeness of life. In your circle of friends there must be women and if you are a women then in your circle of friends there must be a few men atleast and you must have a few animals (Acharya jii smiling) and by animals I do not mean men! Not men who are like animals.

Q: (Smiling)

AP: You look quite pleased by what I am saying (Acharya jii smiling)

Q: It was frozen temporarily. Now I guess its back.

AP: So, there can be no logic really in depriving yourself of company of the other gender. I do not know how that can be useful. That only breeds desperation and then perversion.

In my batch at IIT there were 350 of us that included only 13 girls and you cannot even imagine what kind of desperation it fostered. 337 of us boys and 13 girls and we used to sympathize with our seniors. One of the senior batches had just six. Its not just something of a joke. It can have potentially serious repercussions, this gender imbalance.

When you do not see girls around you the mind imagines girls and it imagines them in the worst way possible. The way of lust, the way of unreal, juvenile imagination and same applies to girls as well. No gender discrimination here and then these two get married and this man who gets married at 28 has never been in the company of women and he has become de facto lusty gorilla. How do you think his relationship with his wife would pan out. How do you think he will choose the life partner in the first place. He has never been in the company of women so by the age of 28 he is so starved of the very sight of a female figure that he will make the worst kind of choice when it comes to having a wife or a partner or a girlfriend, something and it’s a very important choice you make and that choice will go all wrong because you do not know the thing called women. You have been starved all your life. You make a wrong choice and that wrong choice then becomes your life. You breed kids, kids have come from a wrong choice. What will you do now? Kids are irreversible. All this because you never had any female friends. When you don’t have female friends then you have female fancies. Hmm.

Q: Yes sir.

AP: Avoid living in fancies. Make friends with a few worthy girls and that’s not exactly the same as having a girlfriend. Making friends with girls is not the same thing as having five girlfriends. I do not mean to say that there is something wrong with having a girlfriend. Go ahead and have girlfriends if that pleases you but that’s a separate matter. Right now the point we are discussing is whether men and women can be friends. Yes, they must be friends. Not just can be, they must be friends.

Do not become one of those macho characters who hangs about in his guy circle and scoffs at women. Six hunks drinking all night and doing all boy stuff! That turns you into some kind of a caricature. There is no special glory in that. Let that not be set as an example. As long as men and women will be treated as two separate universes that will amount to a lot misery in the world. That will amount to a lot of over sexualization. You keep a man very distant from women and he gets over sexualized. You keep a women far away from men and she gets hyper sexualized and that’s what religions have traditionally done. That’s what conservative cultures have done. You create such a chasm in-between the genders that they both start burning in illusion and in lust and there can be no great lustfulness without illusion. You cannot become crazy after women if you really know women. If you start knowing women your desperation will reduce because there is nothing very special in them. When you do not know women then you go totally bonkers. Fancies, imaginations, stories, dreams and then rapes.

It is the mark of a liberal and an awakened society, a spiritual society that men and women will be freely mingling with each other. The more you are body identified, the more you are gender identified. The more you are kept away from the other gender, the more identified you become with your own gender and therefore you become more body identified. Body identification is the route cause of all problems, personal or global.

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