Off The Record
Zen Master Explains Why Men and Women Can Never be Friends
No matter how much we might want to disagree with it, fact remains that it’s indeed very difficult for men and women to remain just friends.
Earlier, the society was so stringent that any form of open communication between men and women was frowned upon. There were separate groups for both genders and people were supposed to adhere to it. The stigma was so strong that its impact lasted very long.
Thankfully, with time the society and its rigid mindset changed. As a result it’s normal to find men and women hanging out freely now, with no eyebrows raised towards them. However, according to some recent studies it has been suggested that even during this era, a man-woman relationship cannot be purely platonic. This time it’s not the society separating them into groups, but rather our own mind acting on its impulses.
When enquired about the same, spiritual guru Osho had some very interesting thoughts. According to him men and women face this quandary for the same reasons that back up the fact that there could never be a friendship between a jailor and a prisoner.
To elaborate the point, here are Osho’s views regarding the same:
Marriage is an ugly institution invented by men for the sole purpose of monopolizing women. Reducing women to ‘things’, men have proceeded to treat them like a commodity itself. The one thing men forget is that by doing so they reduce themselves to that status too, for communication to take place both the parties should be on the same plane.
Marriage is an institution based on lofty lies. The only time we can be sure of is NOW, and marriages ask for a promise of your whole life. It asks you to be together and love and respect an individual till your dying breath. Citing the lore that marriages are made in heaven, this institution overlooks the possibility that there might not even be a heaven. Thus we never try and look towards nature to find the actual solutions to our problems.
Biologically speaking, it’s completely natural to feel attracted to an attractive person. The fast heartbeats and flushed cheeks are simply a natural instinct. It’s a good enough feeling to make people believe that they would like to spend their lives with the person who caused it.
What needs to be understood is that change is the only constant, thus it’s impossible to be attracted to the same person for a whole lifetime. Marriage tells us otherwise and forces people to stay together or face the society’s judgment. Osho elucidates:
It’s not that lovers lie when they declare that they can’t live without each other. The only thing to consider is that while their feelings are genuine, that genuinity and truth belong in the moment. People are never aware of the flow of life, the person who seems beautiful today might not look the same after a few years. Once the initial excitement and love wears off it becomes bondage.
This bondage leads people to cheat on their partners or else simply stop responding with any enthusiasm. It’s only natural, inherent in the human psyche. Whereas binding people in matrimony is an act that is unnatural to a great extent.
Friendship will be possible once people let go of these bonds. If and when they feel the love ebbing away, they should be free to say so and move on. Only when they will give equal respect to each other will the society be truly free of false ideals and wear its authentic colors.
Due to man’s efforts the society has become unnatural, to the extent that we have to answer to a court of law for our private affairs. This is another way of strengthening the ownership of one over the other. Marriages that become a burden could never raise better children. A child borne out of love would always be better bred than a child borne out of duty.
Absolute freedom should be granted to each individual for his/her life, that alone would lead to true friendship. Love is ever evolving, so when a person you love falls in love with someone else, bear it with a strong self. Your ego gets hurt, but don’t let it ruin your bond with that person.
If you truly love someone, don’t cling to them. Even if they go to someone else, be happy for them. They just might come back to you after getting a fresh perspective, and the same freedom is granted to you too.
We should enjoy life with no restrictions and man-made rules. When we start living it in its true essence, we’ll start appreciating the people around us, and that will lead to true friendship.
Must-Read: A Zen Master Explains Why “Positive Thinking” Is Terrible Advice