Selflessness in Action

Selflessness in Action

No one in this world does anything without thinking of the benefit it brings to him. In other words, even when someone is performing the noblest action, there is a fulfilment of his own purpose in it. We can take any example of a good or noble deed that someone wants to perform. Serving the hungry with food is a very noble action. Of course, the giver has good intentions and wants to feed the hungry to provide relief to him. Let us assume that the giver is not motivated by popularity, fame or political goals. Let us also assume that he is not expecting anything in return from the hungry, not even blessings. There is still an element of satisfaction that the giver gets from doing this act. In other words if he would not be happy about doing this act, he would not have done it. Like this, each and every action performed by someone is based on satisfying his needs, however much he is concerned about satisfying or pleasing someone else.

As we will be celebrating Holi on this Phalgun purnima, I would like to address the significance of joy in this festival as people come together to celebrate. We all know that Holi is a time when everyone leaves aside his ill-feelings and joins with one and all to play and be merry. I am not going to go into the legends and significance of the festival, but I want to underline the aspect of joy and harmony as everyone comes together to celebrate. The benefit of being happy together is attained by thinking of the warmth of friends, relatives, people you know as well as people you don’t know. For a moment, people forget that someone is a stranger or an enemy. Although the benefit of being happy, of being content is the main driving force, the overall effect of the celebrations is contagious. If we are not being selfless, at least we are not being selfish either. More joy comes to us by making others happy. How contagious is that? Satguru Kabir Saheb says :

“Nij Swaarath Ke Kaarane, Sev Kare Sansaar;
Bin Swaarath Bhakti Kare, So Bhaave Kartaar.”

(see transliteration and pronunciation guide here)

Everyone in the world does service with the purpose of benefitting themselves. But those who do devotion selflessly are the ones whom God loves. Being a devotee means that you have to devote yourself fully. If you are making others happy – by helping them, by supporting them, by giving to others, by donating, by expressing love to them – and that makes you happy too, it does mean that you are devoting yourself. You being happy at the end or not is only a result of your action. Therefore, what matters is your intention, your determination to perform the action. Satguru Kabir Saheb says :

“Aur Karam Sab Karam Hai, Bhakti Karam Nihakaram;
Kahain Kabeer Pukaari Ke, Bhakti Karo Taji Bharam.”

(see transliteration and pronunciation guide here)

In other words, if someone has doubts as to whether he should do service to others or no, because he may not obtain the reward of such an act, then he is binding himself to the worldly attachments. Doing devotion should not be out of an expectation. Because the consequences of doing devotion can only be good, nothing else. The following story illustrates how performing a good action automatically results in you reaping the benefits.

There once was a farmer who grew corn and always won the competition of growing the best quality corn. One day a reporter wanted to research and find out what was his secret. What was it that he was doing differently that he was winning the competition year after year. First of all the reporter tried to observe what this farmer was doing differently; so he researched his techniques of planting, fertilising, watering and so on. As he could not find anything different, he decided to interview the farmer.

So, he asked the farmer what was his secret of harvesting the best corn and winning the award year after year. The farmer told him that every year, he would share his best seeds with his neighbours. The reporter was surprised and asked him how come if he is in competition with them he would give them his best seeds. The farmer explained that the wind picks up pollen from ripening corn and swirls it around from field to field. Which meant that if his neighbours grew inferior corn, his fields will receive pollen of inferior grade and cross pollination would degrade the quality of his corn. So, for him to have a good corn, his neighbours must also have grown good corn.

Our intention may be to be successful, to be the best, to always win… But only if that intention is motivated by good actions will one benefit from good results. If someone uses bad practices, like harming others or back-biting, then that can never be beneficial to anyone. As much difficult it is to be selfless, we shall be on the right track if we perform good actions, and leave everything else to God.

Satyavaani message delivered by Mahant Jay Jaggessur on March 11, 2017

Author: admin


  1. Great leanings/updation
    Thanks and regards
    Badri Parsad

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