Who is your real friend? Who is your worst enemy?

Acharya Prashant
8 min readSep 18, 2021

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

Acharya Prashant (AP): (Reading, Salok Mahalla 9 Guru Teg Bahadur)

“One who is not affected by pleasure and pain, who looks upon friend and enemy alike, says Nanak, listen mind, know that such a person is liberated.”

(Hindi- “harsh, shok vyape nahin bairi meet saman”)

~ Salok Mahalla 9, Guru Teg Bahadur

AP: (Reading question) “If friendship and enmity are the results of unfulfilled desires, then the reactions towards them also come from a point of unfulfillment. Does this realization enable someone to look upon friend and enemy alike?”

These are not the matters of speculations Shubhankar, first of all, you are terming an assumption as a realization, and then you are asking me, “If I assume that I will have this realization then will I be able to look at friends and enemies alike?”

This is not how these things are done. You do not say, “If I know this or if I realize this then will my behavior become like that?” The one who looks at friends and enemies alike is a different being, is a different ‘I’ altogether. He has not just freshly learned some principles. He is not enacting some code of conduct. He is somebody else. He is at a point where friendship and enmity do not carry the same meaning as they do usually to most people.

Do not forget that two dualities are being mentioned in the same breath. (Hindi- harsh, shok vyape nahin bairi meet saman). Happiness and sadness neither of them dominate me and for me, enemies and friends are the same. That should give you a hint. Who is a friend for us? Because we are pleasure-seeking beings, so our friends are those who give us pleasure, simple. And that is the grave danger associated with being someone who is captivated by pleasure. Are you getting it?

That pleasure-seeking instinct will decide everything in your life. We have often said that the greatly transforming force is that of the company, that if there is one thing that can totally transform and liberate…

Acharya Prashant