One day, Bush and Rumsfeld were having a drink in the bar. Another man walked in and thought this was a good opportunity just to meet them in a bar like that. He walked up to their table and asked, ‘Hi guys, what are you doing?’ Bush said, ‘We are planning World War III’. ‘What is that for?’ he asked. Then Rumsfeld said, ‘We want to kill 10 million Iraqis and one bicycle repair man’. This man asked, ‘Why a bicycle repairman?’ Then Rumsfeld with a big beam on his face looked at Bush and said, ‘I told you nobody would bother about 10 million Iraqis.’ So that’s friendship.
If you are a friend to somebody, you do not have to nag them with what is wrong with them. But at the same time you must have the courage to be unpopular with people. In just trying to be popular with people, just see how many stupid things you are doing with your life. In just trying to maintain some kind of pleasantness around you, see how much unpleasantness you have buried within you. If you bury unpleasantness, if you put seeds of unpleasantness into the soil, you will reap fruits of unpleasantness. The more unpleasantness you bury within yourself, you will reap a fruit like that. If you really have a friend, you must have the courage to be unpopular with your friend, and still be loving with him. Right now, your friendships are always made on agreements, likes and dislikes. A true friend is somebody who has the courage to tell you what nonsense you are, and still be loving and nice to you.
On a certain day, three generals from the US Army met. They were on a tour of the Grand Canyon, along with their troops in some exercise. The first general wanted to brag about the courage and the spirit of obedience in his battalion and said, ‘There is no other battalion like mine. The level of courage and obedience is so high, let me show you an example of their real courage.’ He boomed ‘PRIVATE PETER’. Private Peter came running, ‘YES SIR’. ‘You see this,’ he pointed at the Grand Canyon, ‘I want you to just take a leap across the canyon, NOW!’ The man just ran full speed and took off, obviously you know where he landed and smashed himself to death. Then the second general laughed and said, ‘That’s nothing. You see this one.’ He said, ‘TROOPER HIGGENS.’ ‘YES SIR,’ he arrived. ‘Now I want you to fly. It is an emergency. I want you to fly and go across the canyon and inform my officer there about this.’ The man flapped his hands and you know what happened.
The third general just kept quiet. They nudged him and said, ‘What about yours?’ And they laughed, ‘no courage!’ Some of his men were loitering around; he said, ‘Hey you.’ One of them came. He said, ‘Now, look at that down below.’ There was a swirling quick moving stream — a river, which was just 200 metres from a steep waterfall. He said, ‘I want you to take this message to the headquarters, take this cannon, and cross the river and go.’ The guy looked down and said, ‘General, it looks like you have been on your whisky once again. I am not going to do such a damn stupid thing.’ The third general said, ‘See this is real courage.’ So be a little more courageous in your friendships. Be ready to lose them, it’s okay. At least if you care, you must do what is good for the other; not for yourself, isn’t it?
You are always making friends among those who support your way of thinking, feeling, understanding, liking and disliking, isn’t it? So all your seeking is some supporting substance for whatever nonsense you have made out of yourself. It is in this way that being with a guru is different. He is your friend, but he is somebody who constantly pulls your ego down and dances upon it. Normally if your friend touches your ego, he turns into an enemy. So now all we have done is set up a condition where we can dance on your ego and still it is okay, still you are a friend.
The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader