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Selfishness, Selflessness, Self-Giving

Friday May 13 2005 10:02 IST

By Karmayogi

To be selfish is essential for survival is the conclusion of selfish people. They are right from their point of view. Recollect every selfish person you know. If they are also capable, they will continuously succeed in life and rise. What succeeds is capacity, not selfishness. Capacity succeeds in spite of selfishness. That rule will not hold good for ordinary men who are shy of being selfish.

Such people can see they are a success whenever they are selfless and fail whenever their selfishness peeps out. Sri Aurobindo said man is selfish and mean. The Supreme wants everything to be done His way. He is the supreme egotist. All that we can do is cure the selfishness and meanness in ourselves. Others are not our concern. If they become our concern in our relationship with them, we must know a selfish man enters our life reflecting our own inner hidden buried selfishness. Those who are desirous of Self-Perfection will find that yogic rule very rewarding. There is one further step.

It is the step when one begins to practise self-giving. Sri Aurobindos yoga is also known as the yoga of Self-Perfection. Its one instrument is self-consecration. The consecration of selfish people, however deeply felt it is, is to self, the ego. Yogic consecration is consecration to the inner Self, the evolving soul in us, the Psychic Being. The English gentlemans various qualities include the attitude of giving. He behaves while giving as if he is the receiver. Our own proverb about giving is what the right hand gives is not known to the left hand. To remember what I have once given to another, maybe help, support, sympathy, valuable objects or money is to mentally INSIST on a sufficient return. It is NOT giving. It is a bargain that subtly demands a recompense. Such an attitude vitiates the act of giving. Such people always complain, I have helped this man so many times. He is not grateful. The other mans ingratitude is not justifiable. But a higher truth is he does NOT remember your help because you REMEMBER it still.

An affectionate voice comes and envelops the hearer as a cocoon of peace, sending the hearer to blissful sleep. It is said that to be in the presence of one whom you love from the depths of self-giving, one feels sleep overcomes. That is not sleep. It is the meditative atmosphere that descends on the loving heart. After listening to all shades of such opinion, Man still feels, A touch of selfish interest is necessary to survive in this mundane world of ours. This is practical worldly wisdom. It may be right for him, if he wants to be what he is. Should he choose to swing to an utterly Selfless attitude for a short period, he will meet with all the wonders of this same mundane world whose known misers act towards him with rich generosity, narrow-minded people offer broad-minded compliments. Doing is experiencing, not arguments advanced. To live for a short while, even if it is a day, in the poise of self-giving is to know Life Divine.

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