The same is the situation in this question. You are saying, “I have heard you say that the friend will not change a person, but that the enemy will. Another time I heard you say that love will change both.”
In your mind you think you have made your point – that both my statements are contradictory, because I have said “The friend cannot change you” and then I say “Love can change both.” And friendship is, of course, an experience of love.
But you have forgotten the context in which I had made the statements. I had said the friend will not change you but the enemy will, in the context that you have to fight with the enemy, and when you have to fight with someone, you have to use the same methods as the enemy.
If America is going to fight with Russia, they both have to go on creating nuclear weapons. You have to watch the enemy continuously, what he is doing. India continuously watches Pakistan – what, and how many weapons they are purchasing, and from which country. And immediately India goes to purchase the same weapons from some other country. You have to keep your eye continuously on the enemy. And you have to use the same strategy, the same method, the same language as the enemy.
The enemy changes you without your knowledge; he brings you down to his own level. With a friend, the situation is totally different. You are not fighting with the friend. You can be a friend of Gautam Buddha; then, too, it is not necessary that you will become a Gautam Buddha. But become an enemy of anybody, and you will see that by and by you have become his imitation – you have to, just to survive.
In that context I had said that one should choose one’s enemy very carefully. Choose an enemy who is higher than you, so that even your enmity becomes a growth – you have to be higher than you are to face your enemy. Don’t choose an enemy who is lower than you.
For friends, you can choose anybody; it is not that important. But the enemy is very important. This was the context…that one should choose great enemies because that gives you a great opportunity to grow. You should never choose enemies below your status; otherwise they will pull you down to their state, or even lower.
And when I made the second statement, it was in a different context. When I said love will change both…When you are in love – it is a very rare case…what you call friendship is not more than acquaintance. Are you ready to die for your friend? What can you do for your friend? Your friendship may be nothing but a familiarity, perhaps a coincidence that you have been born in the same neighborhood, or perhaps the coincidence that you have been in the same class.
How deep is your friendship? How much can you sacrifice for the friend? And if the friend is in misery, can you share misery with him? Or is the friendship only of happy days? This is a well-known fact: when you are rich you have many friends, and when you are poor, all friends turn their backs towards you.