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Free to befriend and free to offend || Acharya Prashant, on Saint Kabir (2015)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
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Questioner (Q): In the morning we were listening to Saint Kabir. There was one of the doha which said, “ Na kaahu se dosti, na kaahu se bair (No friendship with anybody, no enmity towards anybody).” This reminded me of something that you said earlier, that a really real man is bound to be dishonest sometimes, that he would not always be the same. Doesn’t this mean that he would be an unreliable friend?

Acharya Prashant (AP): His friendship, dosti , would be real. It would not be a carryover from the past. Similarly, if he offers resistance or resentment to something, even that would be real, born by the fact of the moment, not carried ahead as a tradition. Why do you oppose people of that particular country? Because traditionally they are our rivals. His resentment would not be like this. Yes, he would support a few things; yes, he would oppose a few things; to somebody he would say kind words, to somebody he might say harsh words. But all of that would be as per the situation, as per the realization, not as per tradition.

That is what is meant when Kabir says, “ Na kaahu se dosti, na kaahu se bair .” That does not mean that Kabir is incapable of friendliness, and of course that does not mean that he is incapable of resistance. Kabir, in fact, resisted like nobody else. Sitting in the center of orthodoxy, he resisted stale, harmful, dogmatic beliefs coming from all communities. He made enemies from all sides; he did not discriminate.

And when you are prepared to make an enemy of everybody, it only means that you have found the real friend. When you are in the company of your real friend, then you can easily afford to have as many enemies as the enemies would like. And Kabir was truly a friend; you cannot find a better friend than Kabir. He says, “ Na kaahu se dosti .” He says, no friendliness with anybody. But you cannot get a better friend than Kabir, provided you are not obstinately sticking to your beliefs and concepts. Then Kabir cannot be your friend; then he is a destroyer.

It is such a strange thing. When you try to be friends, then you become the worst enemy possible. A wise man has said that husbands and wives are intimate enemies. A wife finds no worse enemy than the husband—and it is a fact. Ask the husband. He is henpecked, always troubled. He might have to act nice out of social pretense, but wherever there is an obligation to be nice, there is internal violence and sooner than later that violence will erupt. But when you really have no obligation to be siding with somebody, to be good to somebody, then you can be really good.

Look at your festivals. It is almost mandatory to act as if you are enjoying, and that is why nobody ever enjoys any festival. What kind of stupidity is this? A pre-appointed day comes, and you are supposed to feel blissful. Is this the way bliss descends—on readymade dates? But when you get past the tyranny of the calendar, then you really know joy. At present our celebrations are all nothing but dictatorship of the calendar. The anniversary comes and it dictates; the birthday comes, and that is the authority of the calendar. The new year comes, the religious festivals come, and then what do you get? It’s just inner turmoil, boredom, and suffering.

Kabir says he will have none of that. And then he has real religiousness, real celebration—continuous. A Diwali or an Eid would mean nothing to Kabir. How can he be especially festive on that day? How? Because that would only mean that on the other days there was something missing in his devotion, his religiousness, his festivity. When he has been at the climax of his festivity throughout, then what is the point in celebrating one particular day or night? He has always been at the maxima; he never came down. “ Shunya shikhar par anhad baaje ji (On the summit of nothingness vibrates the unstruck sound).” He never descended from the shikhar (peak); how is he going to climb again? And he doesn’t want to pretend to climb.

Look at this contradiction. The ones who are there already are just there, and the ones who are not there do not want to even reach there; they just want to pretend that they are climbing. What do you think, you really experience some religious bliss on particular days? Does that happen? You just pretend. Not only are you not there, but you are also actually not even moving towards being there.

Anybody who ever really felt anything important on his or her birthday? Yes, superficially you may feel so many things, and there are all these trivial excitements. But does that day really bring anything substantial to you? Ask Kabir; he himself would give no importance to dates or to people or to anything else, because he has given importance to the really important. Now, “ Na kaahu se dosti, na kaahu se bair .”

Q: There are days like Environment Day, Hindi Divas, etc., which aim to promote certain causes. Are they any good or not?

AP: They can be celebrated, like you celebrate an Aids Awareness Day. Because awareness is missing, so on this particular day we will try to educate people about this. But there this realization must be there, that this day is coming only because awareness is missing.

You know you need to celebrate a Hindi Pakhwada. Why do you need to celebrate that? Because this generation is losing touch with that language, right? That realization must be there then, that it is not out of some great attainment that this day is being celebrated. This day is being celebrated as a warning; it is not a celebration at all. It is some kind of a notice, that on this particular day we will sensitize ourselves to the dangers of what we are doing and how we are. You can have a Climate Change Day—probably there already is. You are not celebrating climate change that day, are you? That day is being used to see how ignorant we are, how deep in suffering we are, and how we have plunged ourselves in misery out of our own selfishness.

That is the way days can have some relevance and significance and utility, but that is the only way. You cannot have a day for celebration. You can have a day to issue warnings, notices. You can have a particular day when you are going to be operated on the surgeon’s table, but you cannot have a day for health. You can have an operation day, but you cannot have a health day.

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