Guiding Light: The value of having an enemy

Swami Brahmavidananda SaraswatiUpdated: Thursday, December 08, 2022, 11:32 PM IST
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We all know the value of having friends in our life. What about the value of having an enemy in our lives? Many years ago, I read a spaghetti western by J T Edson who writes the story of this Native American warrior chief, who sends his braves, his warriors to attack this White settlement that is headed by an elderly gentleman, a good strategist and a military expert. Every year there's a nice encounter between the two groups. This goes on for years. Finally, the White warrior chief dies. The Native American chief is in tears. He laments saying, ‘With the old warrior gone, who am I going to send my braves to attack? How am I going to test my braves? How are they going to grow up into warriors?’ For both of them, there was a value in being each other's enemies.

Now, of course the days are gone when we have enemies and we use violence against each other on a daily basis. Unless you're the army and dealing with terrorists. In our daily lives we may feel inimical towards a coworker or a neighbour or a friend-enemy or people who may be behaving with an agenda in an enemy-like manner. None of us want to deal with someone like that in our lives. However, if at all we have one — and I am sure many of us do — it is important to understand the value of having someone like that. The disadvantages, we all know. The value is that the person keeps us alert, makes us aware and keeps us on our toes. We learn to be cautious without losing our trust in human beings. We know whom to trust and whom not to. There is a lot to gain. We need not go looking for one. But, if one is unfortunate enough to have one, make it a learning experience and grow with that. And then you will learn the martial art statement, “My enemy is not my enemy but someone who helps me grow and become a better version of myself.”


The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him at aarshavidyaf@gmail.com

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