Episode # 70 – “Friendship” vs. “Opportunism” – How do we differentiate? An important discussion!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed the commencement of yet another important discussion pertaining to “friendship”. As established yesterday, friendship is extremely important for our day-to-day life and life becomes miserable without friends! We’ve witnessed Vidura’s explanation that true friendship is a priceless gift. He illustrates it with a simple mathematical formula of a beam balance – Even if three important things such as a “Opportunity to obtain a Boon”, “Opportunity to be a parent” and an “Opportunity to be a great king” are placed on one side of the balance, these three cannot equalize the aspect of “True Friendship” that is in the other side of the balance. From this we can understand how important is friendship in our every day lives.

So how important is friendship in today’s scenario? How do we differentiate true friendship from opportunism? Let us try and answer these two important questions in today’s episode. We can see innumerable instances in the Ramayana and Mahaabhaarata wherein friendship is specially highlighted. In the Ramayana, we’ve seen the tales of Guha, Sugriva, Hanuman, Angadha, Jaambhavaan, etc. who were extremely devoted to Lord Rama and Mother Sita at all times. Due to their exceptional and selfless service, Lord Rama even went to the extent of accepting all of them as his own brothers apart from Lakshmana, Bharata and Shathrughna. In the Mahaabhaarata, all of us would know the tales of Karna and Duryodhana. Although Karna knew that Duryodhana was into the path of destruction, Karna decided to sacrifice his life too, just for the sake of his friendship with Duryodhana. Such is the importance given to friendship in our “Sanaathana Dharma”.

Now having said that, we would immediately ask the question, “How applicable is true friendship in this present day?” “In this world of opportunism and competition, can we still believe that true friendship exists?” Of course we cannot give a definitive answer for these questions but let us try to analyze the modern day scenario a little bit with some practical insights. As all of us might know and agree that today’s world is extremely competitive in the professional setup. Hectic competition is literally driving people crazy! For instance, if there are 10 job vacancies in an organization, there are minimum thousand people who are competing for the ten posts. Such is the level of competition we are talking about today! Given this scenario, we obviously would tend to see the rise in opportunism wherein people try to use others, cheat and ditch them in some way or the other so as to succeed. We might call this “selfishness” as a blanket terminology, but what else can be done to beat such heavy competition? Here is where the threat comes! Nowadays we hear people say, “Oh! In today’s world we find it extremely difficult to trust someone for something!” Unfortunately, this is the fact too! For instance, why do we see innumerable and stringent security measures for anything and everything? Even if it is an online banking or a simple money withdrawal from an ATM, etc. we see frauds happening! There are innumerable instances wherein people lose so much of money to bank frauds and cheating! Apart from these, there are people who hoard enormous amounts of unaccounted money by cheating the tax laws of the country!

Why are all these incidences happening? The main reason is that, nowadays we people have developed a sense of “insecurity” amongst ourselves. We tend to forecast our life for the future and if we get a gloomy picture, we tend to resort to “short-cuts” to earn money! In that way, we tend to go to any extent such as cheating, dumping people, using people in an unethical way so as to achieve our “monetary target”. This is the reason why our elders always advise us on choosing the right people to be in our close circles. When we meet people for the first time especially in our workplace, we need to be double careful to check their character, credibility, etc. and only then allow them get closer to us. Of course I’m not saying that we should refrain from talking to anybody at office. Of course we need to interact with our colleagues at work. All what I’m saying here is that, we need to make an understanding within ourselves if the other person is credible or not, before moving them into our close circles. This is extremely important because, if we end up blindly trusting people, we would have to sometimes feel sorry later on when things go out of hand! Thus in a nutshell, “trust” is important between people, but at the same time, “blind trust” should be avoided! We can see innumerable instances wherein people might just get together for purposes unwarranted and get away when there is a potential problem.

Thus from today’s discussion the message for all of us is that, friendship is extremely important in our everyday lives, but we need the right companions for a fruitful and a sustainable friendship. For that, we need to analyze the other person, judge them and then take a step forward. We shall ponder on this important point for today and wait for the next episode for the next important discussion! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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