Never ask, “Who is my real friend?” Ask, “Am I a real friend to somebody?”…..OSHO
I HAVE MANY FRIENDS, BUT THE QUESTION: WHO IS A REAL FRIEND? ALWAYS ARISES IN MY MIND. WILL YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
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?
Why are you worried?
The real question has to be: Am I friendly to people? Do you 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 a 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 is obliged to you, not that he should feel 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.
Making friendships with the idea of using people is taking 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 does not come you don't have any complaint. If he comes you are grateful, but if he does not 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 you are not aware of that kind of friendship, you will have to learn it.
Friendship is a great art. Love has a natural instinct behind it; friendship has no natural instinct behind it. Friendship is something conscious; love is unconscious. You fall in love with a woman…. Why do we say "falling in love"? That phrase is significant: "falling in love." Nobody ever rises in love, everybody FALLS in love!
Why do you fall in love? — because it is falling from the conscious to the unconscious, from intelligence to instinct.
What we call love is more animalistic than human. Friendship is absolutely human. It has something for which there is no inbuilt mechanism in your biology; it is nonbiological. Hence one rises in friendship, one does not fall in friendship. It has a spiritual dimension.
But don't ask, "Who is a real friend?" Ask, "Am I a real friend?" Always be concerned with yourself. We are always thinking about others.
The man asks whether the woman really loves him or not. The woman asks whether the man really loves her or not. And how can you be absolutely certain about the other? It is impossible! He may repeat a thousand times that he loves you and he will love you forever, but still the doubt is bound to persist: "Who knows whether he is speaking the truth or not?" In fact, repeating something a thousand times simply means it must be a lie, because truth need not be repeated so much.
Adolf Hitler in his autobiography says, "There is not much difference between truth and a lie. The only difference is that truth is a lie repeated so often that you have forgotten that it is a lie."
That's what the experts in advertisement will say: go on repeating, go on advertising. Don't be worried about whether anybody is listening or not. Even if they are not paying any attention, don't be worried; their subliminal minds are listening, their deepest core is being impressed. You don't look at advertisements very consciously, but just passing through them in the movie, on TV or in the newspaper, just a glance and there is an imprint. And it is going to be repeated again: "Lux toilet soap" or "Coca-Cola"….
Coca-Cola is the only international thing. Even in Soviet Russia: "Coca-Cola…." Everything American is banned and barred, but not Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is the only international thing! Go on repeating it!
In the beginning electricity was used for advertisements — static electricity was used. It remained "Coca-Cola." But later on they discovered that if you put it on and off it is far more effective, because a man passing by will read it only once if the light remains static. But if it changes, goes on and off again and again, by the time you pass it, even in a car, you will have read it at least five to seven times: "Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola…." That goes deeper. And sooner or later you become impressed.
That's how all the religions have lived up to now: they go on repeating the same stupid beliefs, but those beliefs become truths to people. People are ready to die for them! Now, nobody has seen where heaven is, but millions of people have died for heaven.
Mohammedans say that if you die in a religious war you will immediately go to heaven and all your sins are forgiven. And Christians also say that in a religious war, in a crusade, if you die you immediately go to heaven; then everything else is forgiven. And millions of people have died and killed others, believing that this is a truth.
We have seen such things happening even in this twentieth century; it doesn't seem to be very grown-up in that way. Adolf Hitler repeated for twenty years continuously 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 philosophers Germany has produced in this century, believed that Adolf Hitler was right. He supported Adolf Hitler.
A man of the intelligence of Martin Heidegger supporting a stupid, mad person like Adolf 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 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 questions 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. And 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.
And 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 become 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 thousandfold. It returns to you in the same coin but multiplied. It echoes you. If you throw stones at existence you will be getting back many more stones. If you throw flowers, flowers will be coming 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 are friendly to a tree, the tree becomes friendly to you.
Try great experiments in friendships. 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 much afraid.
But now scientists say that when you come with an axe to cut down a tree, even before you have started cutting it, the tree goes into a shiver, a cold shiver. It goes into a great fear, panic. You have not even started, but just the intention — 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 the friend coming it rejoices, it jumps, it dances; the graph immediately shows a dance. When the tree sees the gardener coming….
Have you ever said hello to a tree? Try it, and one day you will be surprised: the tree also says hello in her tongue, in her own language. Hug a tree, and a day will come soon when you will feel that it was not only 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?
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 6
Chapter #2 (fourth question.)