Q: Beloved Master,
I have many friends, but the question: who is a real friend? This always arises in my mind. Will you say something about it?
Satyam, you are asking from the wrong end. Never ask, "Who is my real friend?" Ask, "Am I a real friend to somebody?" That is the right question. Why are you worried about others - whether they are friends to you or not?
The proverb is: A friend in need is a friend indeed.But deep down that is greed! That is not friendship, that is not love. You want to use the other as a means, and no man is a means, every man is an end unto himself. Why are you so worried about who is a real friend?
A young honeymoon couple were touring Southern Florida. They stopped at a rattlesnake farm along the road. After seeing the sights they engaged in small talk with the man that handled the snakes.
"Gosh!" exclaimed the young bride, "You certainly have a dangerous job! Don't you ever get bitten by the snakes?"
"Yes, I do," answered the handler.
"Well", she insisted, "just what do you do when you are bitten by a snake?
"I always carry a razor-sharp knife in my pocket, and as soon as I am bitten I make a deep, criss-cross mark across the fang wound and then suck the poison from the wound."
"What? Ah! what would happen if you were to accidentally sit on a rattler?" persisted the bride.
"Ma'am," answered the snake handler, "that will be the day I learn who my real friends are!"
Why are you worried?
The real question has to be: Am I friendly to people? Do yo know what friendship is? It is the highest form of love. In love, some lust is bound to be there; in friendship, all lust disappears. In friendship nothing gross remains, it becomes absolutely subtle.
It is not the question of using the other, it is not even a question of needing the other, it is a question of sharing. You have too much, and you would like to share. And whosoever is ready to share your joy with you, your dance, your song, you will be grateful to him, you will feel obliged. Not that he'/she is obliged to you, not that he should be thankful to you because you have given so much to him. A friend never thinks in that way. A friend always feels grateful to those people who allow him to love them, to give them whatsoever he has got.
Love is greed. You will be surprised to know that the English word 'love' comes from a Sanskrit word Lobh; lobh means greed. How lobh became love is a strange story. In Sanskrit it is greed; the original root means greed. And love as we know it is really nothing but greed masquerading as love - it is hidden greed.
Satyam, making friendship with the idea of using people is a wrong step from the very beginning.
Friendship has to be a sharing. If you have something, share it - and whosoever is ready to share with you, is a friend. It is not a question of need. It is not a question that when you are in danger the friend has to come to your aid. That is irrelevant - he may come, he may not come, but if he doesn't come, you don't have any complaint. If he comes, you are grateful, but if he doesn't come, it's perfectly okay. It is his decision to come or not to come. You don't want to manipulate him, you don't want to make him feel guilty. You will not have any grudge. You will not say to him that, "When I was in need you didn't turn up - what kind of friend are you?"
Friendship is not something of the marketplace.Friendship is one of those rare things which belong to the temple and not to the shop. But if you are not aware of that kind of friendship, you will have to learn it.
We have seen wars happening in the recent past, in the twentieth century; it doesn't seem to be very grown-up in that way. Adolph Hitler repeated for twenty years that "Jews are the cause of all misery," and a very intelligent nation like Germany started believing in him. What to say about ordinary people? - Even people like Martin Heidegger, one of the greatest philosopher Germany has produced in this century, believed that Adolph Hitler was right. He supported Adolph Hitler.
A man of the intelligence of Martin Heidegger, supporting a stupid, mad person like Adolph Hitler! What must the secret be? The secret is: repeat, go on repeating. Even Jews started believing that it must be true: "We must be the cause; otherwise how could so many intelligent people believe it? If so many people believe it, there must be something in it!"
You should have been brought up with such beliefs, such ideas, which have no foundation in reality. And if you go on living according to them, you will live in vain. You have to go through a radical change.
Ask question about yourself, don't ask about others. It is impossible to be certain of the other, and there is no need either. How can you be certain of the other? The other is a flux. This moment the other person may be loving, and the next moment he may not be loving. There can be no promise. You can only be certain about yourself and that too only for the moment. There is no need to think of the whole future. Think in terms of the moment and the present. Live in the present.
If this moment is full of friendship and the fragrance of friendship, why be worried about the next moment? The next moment will be born out of this moment. It is bound to be of a higher, deeper quality. It will bring the same fragrance to a higher altitude. There is no need to think about it - just live the moment in deep friendship.
Friendship need not be addressed to anyone in particular; that is also a rotten idea, that you have to be friends with a certain person - just be friendly. Rather than creating friendship, create friendliness. Let it be a quality of your being, a climate that surrounds you, so you are friendly with whomsoever you come in contact.
This whole existence has to be befriended! And if you can befriend existence, existence will befriend you a thousand fold. It returns you in the same coin, but multiplied. It echoes you. If you throw a stone at existence, you will get back many more stones. If you throw flowers, flowers will come back.
Life is a mirror, it reflects your face. Be friendly, and all of life will reflect friendliness. People know perfectly well that if you are friendly to a dog even the dog becomes friendly to you, so friendly. And there are people who have known that if you become friendly to a tree, the tree becomes friendly to you.
Try great experiments in friendship, Try with a rosebush, and see the miracle: slowly slowly, it will happen, because man has not been behaving with trees in a friendly way; hence, they have become very afraid.
But now scientist say that, when you come with an axe to cut down a tree, even before you have started cutting it, the trees goes into a shiver, a cold shiver. It goes into a great fear panic. You have not even started, but just the intention - it is as if the tree becomes aware of your intention! Now they have sophisticated instruments just like cardiographs, which can make graphs on paper showing what the tree is feeling. When the tree is feeling joyous, there is a rhythm in the graph; when the tree is feeling afraid, the fear is shown on the graph. When the tree sees a friend coming it rejoices, it jumps, it dances; the graph immediately shows a dance. When the tree sees the Gardner coming.........
Have you ever said hello to a tree? Try it, and one day you will be surprised: the tree also says hello in its tongue, in its own language. Hug a tree, and one day will come soon when you will feel that it was notonly you who were hugging the tree - the tree was responding, you were also hugged by the tree, although the tree has no hands. But it has its own way of expressing its joy, its sadness, its anger, its fear.
The whole existence is sensitive. That's what I mean, when I say that existence is God.
Be friendly , Satyam, and don't be worried whether anybody is friendly towards you or not - that is a businesslike question. Why be worried? Why not transform the whole existence into a friend towards you? Why miss such a great kingdom?
Lovely Thoughts for Lovely People Just Like You