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Who is a friend? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
5 min
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Questioner: To what extent is friendship important in life?

Shri Prashant: What is friendship? What do you mean by friendship? You are lonely and you get somebody to cling to, and then the two of you hang out together, and you call this as ‘friendship’. What do you mean by ‘friendship’? What kind of friends do we have around us? When do we call somebody a friend?

We say, ‘*A friend in need is a friend indeed*’, so that makes friendship a trade. ‘*When I am in need, you help me and when you are in need, I help you, and then we are friends. Your views agree with mine, my views agree with yours and we are friends. I need to copy assignments and you are always there, then we are friends. In all my rubbish, the one who can partner me, he is my friend.*’

In a lucky moment, aloneness happens to you and you are just sitting still with yourself, fully contented, not excited, not sad, but completely with yourself. You are sitting still, and the other fellow comes and says, ‘*Hey, you are sitting quietly. Are you sad? Come, let’s go for a drink.*’ And you call him your friend. You call him your ‘friend’.

( Some listeners sitting in the audience start whispering to each other )

Even right now, see what is happening. Even at this moment, none of you are talking to your enemies. Even at this moment, this commotion is created because you have a ‘friend’ sitting next to you.

So, the one who helps me in getting more and more disturbed, is my friend. Of course your enemies cannot come to you and disturb you. Right? Because they would not come near you. Who comes near you? Your friend!

What kind of friends are these? And what are they doing to your life? Have you any distinction between friends and enemies? You do not require enemies; you have such ‘friends’. You have such friends!

Remember, a conditioned mind hates to be de-conditioned. It looks for those people and those situations that can reinforce its conditioning.

A terrorist will not hang out with a monk, if he wants to remain a terrorist. In order to preserve his identities, his beliefs as a terrorist, it is very important for him to make friends with another terrorist. If he makes friends with a monk, his terrorism will vanish. So he cannot be friends with a monk. That’s how our lives run. We make friends with those who are as deeply conditioned as we are, so that we can remain conditioned slaves. That is how we choose our friends. That is the truth of our relationships and friendships.

You will never make friends with someone who really shows the Truth to you. You will make friends with someone who will keep you in illusion.

And that’s what you call friendship- a bond of mutual deception.

Arjun too had a friend, by the name of Krishna. But Krishna was a friend who brought the Truth to Arjun. And Arjun found it highly discomforting. He wanted to run away. But that is a friend, a real friend, who can hold mirror to you, who can really help you see yourself, not the one who makes you more and more unconscious. Not one who helps you in keeping a dream world around you.

So, what is friendship?

Friendship is nothing; friendship is a state of being in which you are concerned not with what you can get from the other person, but in the real advancement of the other person. And the real advancement is, discovering the Truth.

So, a friend is a friend only if he brings you closer to the Truth; in whose presence you become less agitated, in whose presence a silence comes. Not the one who keeps gossiping with you.

Find out such friends, and then there will be real magic. But you cannot find them if you keep yourself occupied with friends of this kind. You will first have to create space. You will first have to throw the dirt away. You will first have to create a space in which that real friend can enter.

Till the time you are so occupied with these kinds of friends, the real one will not come. He cannot enter. Even if he comes there is no space for him. So get rid of all this that is around you. It will be a little painful in the beginning, because you have become used to living with these people. But bear that pain, pass through that pain.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

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