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Selfishness is universal. It often goes with meanness. We witness Selflessness often in action. It leaves its expansive touch on the onlooker. To be selfless is good, but to practise self-giving is to be SPIRITUAL. It is said that after creation, LOVE was thrown into the scheme to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. Self-giving expresses love, receiving it as grace from above. We are what our parents and ancestors were and what our soul was in the previous birth. The spiritual destiny couched in the inherited swabhava accepts family training, college education and social requirements.

Jayaprakash undertook a tour of South India in 1973. He visited almost every ashram while he was on his Sarvodaya Mission. While he was at one such sacred place, many visited him and he too visited several of them. In one place, a VIP of the local institution came to Jayaprakash with a very big pile of books. Taking out each book, the VIP presented a succinct summary of it. He told Jayaprakash that he had brought those books as a present to him in honour of his visit. Jayaprakash was charmed by the scholarship that could speak out the central idea of so many books so readily.

Several others were waiting to meet Jayaprakash who switched over to the next person who had a long description of his project to deliver. After finishing the descriptions of the books, the VIP, instead of leaving, waited to listen to the other man's narration. When that was over, the VIP took up all his books with great difficulty and began to depart. Jayaprakash smiled, called the VIP, ‘‘Are you not giving the books to me?'' Startled at this gentle reminder, the VIP handed over the books to the honoured guest.

It is not natural for some people to give, even when the ostensible intention is to give. There are families of landlords who over the generations have been giving to their dependents. There are others who for generations have been receiving. Nurture gives way to nature. One who sees in himself the impulse of Self-giving will do well when his self-giving is directed to the Divine instead of to those around him. Those who discover in themselves an incapacity to give have the opportunity of transforming it, if the Spirit is invoked on that swabhava.

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