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Selfishness and Self-Giving

Monday October 25 2004 09:30 IST

By Karmayogi

The opposite of selfishness is unselfishness or selflessness. Self-giving is of a higher order.

Life exists in the grades of survival, growth, development and evolution. An agriculture society changing into an industrial society is evolution. A famine stricken population avoiding extinction by its brave struggle is survival. A middle class family that faces a slide down into a lower class fighting back successfully is also survival.
An empty house of a middle class family acquiring all consumer durables is growth. A self-employed person having moved into that position from salaried employment is development.

Till 1950 the majority of the population struggled to survive. But all selfish people who are capable SURVIVED. I would consider every such person a patriot in the sense he prevents a family from slipping into poverty. I salute him and disregard his selfishness.

It does not mean I advocate selfishness. In a poor country like ours where 30 crores are below the poverty line, anyone who raises one family above that line does a cardinal patriotic service.

Among those, there are people who extend their personal selfishness into the selfishness of their family. It is a first positive step towards a great ideal. As a rule, unselfish people will accomplish more than selfish persons.

The exception to this rule is a substantial portion. They are those who are unselfish without the capacity to accomplish. Often they end up as dismal failures. It is not because of their unselfishness, but because of their incapacity.

Selflessness is more positive than unselfishness. But Self-giving is the ideal.

Parents who raise their children are mostly unselfish. A good many love to practise self-giving to their children. Giving one's all to the OTHER person because he is a Self, is Self-Giving. Such parents will not find their children falling a victim to social evils such as drinks or drugs.

In their minds, the thought of whether their children would take care of them in old age will not arise. Also, they will not financially need such a support. Mental Peace, which is the desideratum of many, will be theirs by virtue of the self-giving.

This is a general rule, not confined to family. Selfishness is capable. It can even raise a nation to great prosperity, but Self-giving will make an individual, family or a nation spiritually rich, economically strong, and socially great.
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