When you can enjoy the friendship of either a man or a woman, then you know for the first time that love is a cheat, a deception. Alas, then you realize how much time was wasted. But friendship is only a bridge. One should pass over it; one should not start living on it. A bridge is not for living on. This bridge leads to friendliness. Friendliness is pure fragrance. If love is the root, and friendship the flower, then friendliness is the fragrance, unseen by the eye; you cannot even touch it; you cannot hold it in your hand, particularly if you want to keep it in your closed fist. Yes, you can have it on your open hand, but not in your closed hand.
Friendliness is almost what, in the past, mystics have called prayer. I don’t want to call it prayer for the simple reason that the word is associated with wrong people. It is a beautiful word, but to be in the wrong company contaminates; you start stinking of your company. The moment you say “prayer” everybody becomes alert, afraid, attentive; as if a general had called his soldiers to attention, and they have all suddenly become statues.
What happens when somebody mentions a word like prayer, god or heaven? Why do you become closed? I am not condemning you, I am simply saying – or rather bringing to your notice that these beautiful words have been immensely dirtied by the so-called “holy ones.” They have done such an unholy job, I cannot forgive them.
Jesus says, “Forgive your enemies” – that I can do – but he does not say, “Forgive your priest.” And even if he did say it I would say to him, “Shut up! I cannot forgive the priests. I can neither forgive them nor forget them, because if I forget them then who is going to demolish them? And if I forgive them, then who is going to undo what they have done to humanity? No, Jesus, no! Enemies I can understand – yes, they should be forgiven, they don’t understand what they are doing – but priests? Please don’t say that they don’t understand what they are doing. They understand exactly what they are doing. That is why I cannot forgive, nor can I forget. I have to fight to my very last breath.”
Love takes you, it is a step; but only if it takes you toward friendship is it love. If it does not take you toward friendship, then it is lust, not love. If it takes you to friendship, be thankful to it but don’t allow it to encroach upon your freedom. Yes, it has helped, that does not mean that now it has to hinder too. Don’t carry the boat on your shoulders just because it carried you to the other shore.
Don’t be foolish! I mean – excuse me, Devageet, that word I have reserved for you – I mean, don’t be idiotic. But I go on forgetting. Again and again I use the wrong word, foolish, for others, when it is a special word for Devageet. Particularly in this Noah’s Ark – that’s my name for this cabin.
Love is good – transcend it, because it can lead you to something better: friendship. And when two lovers become friends, it is a rare phenomenon. One wants to cry just out of joy, or celebrate, or if one is a musician, play on the guitar, or if one is a poet, then write a haiku, a Rubaiyat; but if one is not a musician or a poet, one can still dance, one can still paint, one can sit silently and look at the sky. What more can be done? Existence has done it already.
Ashu, now look at the time….
“Eight twenty-five, Osho.”
Look at your watch.