Who is a friend?

Acharya Prashant
4 min readNov 11, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner: To what extent is friendship important in life?

Acharya Prashant (AP): 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. 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; when you have such ‘friends’. You have such friends!

Remember, a conditioned mind hates to be de-conditioned. It looks for those people and 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…