There are certain things that anyone can do. Living on food and water among friends is one such. But it is a totally different game to live without food or without water or without friends. Some people consider it almost impossible to lead a normal life without friends. But is it the real truth? In most cases, such conclusions are misplaced and are arrived at by weak personalities in an emotional environment. If we can analyse carefully and objectively, it can very easily be concluded that living without friends is a distinct possibility though it is almost impossible to exist without food and water. We can stretch the argument a little further and consider the possibility of a life among enemies and that too in an inimical environment. Again we find it is plausible, and possible it is for those individuals and even nations with strong moral fibre and intrinsically strong cultural roots. If living among friends is emotional and artful, it is more demanding and scientific to survive in enemy lands.
One of the most misunderstood concepts in our country is that of Brahmacharya. Literally it means progressing towards Brahma (the ultimate reality). But in practice, almost all of us take it as abstinence from sexual activities alone. One of the primary requirements in gaining knowledge of Brahma is development of the ability to abstain from anything, especially those which we want or love most. I am sure friends and friendship are something that all of us want. Naturally abstinence from friendship will also form part of the requirements for Brahmacharya that is required for evolution within one’s own lifetime. Thus we can even interpret that the ability to abstain from friendships and even living among enemies form a definite part of the Brahmacharya that will lead us towards God. It would be interesting to explore about how difficult (or easy) it is to live without friends as an individual and as a nation.
As an Individual
For succeeding in any venture, the first and foremost is to understand the subject matter and then reach an understanding with the parties involved. Our enemy is one who cannot agree with us on basic issues and who will always be hostile towards us. He or she will always be looking for ways and means for our defeat and destruction. Friends often take us for granted but enemies do not. Any enemy worth his or her name will never take us for granted, but will always be interested in knowing our stand on any issue. Our destruction may not be our enemy’s primary or only aim but it will always be at the back his or her mind whenever anything is done regarding us. If we can understand and digest all these matters, then it is very easy to deal with our enemies and even live with them.
Success or failure of any individual in a society depends to a large extent on the ability to identify his or her friends and enemies. Not all those who smile at you are your friends and not all those who ignore you are your enemies. It would not be untruthful to say that our enemies are easier to identify than friends. An enemy will always remain one unlike friends. Once you have identified an enemy, you can always believe in his intentions of defeating and destroying you. Without sounding sadistic and masochistic, one can always conclude that complete patch up with an enemy is an unrealistic possibility. Moreover it would be a complete waste of time to patch up with anyone who has been confirmed as an enemy. Our time is better utilised if we can spend it for defeating and even destroying the enemy. Defeat and destruction of enemy should be one’s dharma and Lord Krishna’s advice to Arjuna should become the guiding principle.
As a Nation
The basis of nationhood is a feeling of oneness and close identification with something common. So whatever is applicable for individuals becomes applicable to nations also to a large extent. Let us take the case of India for an analysis. India and Pakistan were carved out of a single entity on the basis of two diametrically opposite ideologies. While one stood for theocratic religious statehood, the other was firm on a secular statehood. The difference is basic and never the two parties can become friends at any time. It is foolish and unrealistic to think of friendship except some joint efforts at times of natural calamities or epidemics that do not respect man made borders. But this should not worry us at all. We had war with Pakistan four or five times and each time we emerged stronger thanks to the intrinsic infallibility of our basic national beliefs. All that is required is to understand and accept Pakistan as an enemy.
Similar is the case with China. From time immemorial, India and China had maintained cultural ties, and we never had any reason to feel jealous about them. But we never realised that it is not so on the other side of the Himalayas. The words of a famous Chinese philosopher diplomat Hu Shih (1891-1962) revealed this in no uncertain terms when he said “India conquered and dominated China culturally for two thousand years without ever having to send a single soldier across her border”. In their heart of hearts, China was never our friend and they exposed themselves with their attack on India without any provocation in 1964. Except for the Communists in our country there is no trace of any friendship with anything Chinese now. Indian nation has learned to live with another enemy neighbour the hard way. It is much easier to live as a neighbour to a confirmed enemy than an unconfirmed friend.
So it is not at all impossible to co-exist with our enemies in a common environment. In fact it is a very fundamental aspect about this universe that everyone should realise. This universe is so vast that there is space for all types of co-existence. There is amble space for all types of creatures, all schools of thought, all shades of opinion, all types of nations and all types of individuals. Those religious and political ideologies that are striving to conquer the whole world by conversions and revolutions must understand the inherent dislike of our universe towards uniformity. Instead they should learn how to live with friends and enemies in the space available. All that is needed is truthfulness about our own beliefs that would also help us to identify our friends and enemies.