Selfless vs Less Selfish

Once a man was walking along the road. He came across an old lady who was begging on the streets. His heart melted and immediately, he went to the nearest store, bought a packet of biscuits and handed it over to her. The good samaritan had done a good deed for the day. All day long, he kept thinking of the good deed he had done. Once he reached home, he told his wife about it. Then, his parents, brothers, sisters - all of them were in praise of the 'selfless' act done.
Now, this brings out a deeper aspect. Should this act be called 'selfless'. Wasnt this done in expectation of recognition of a good deed done. Moreover, even if this man hadnt told anyone about it, would it still go down as 'selfless'.
Here is what Swami -Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says: Any act done without the expectation of return doesnt make it selfless. It is only a less selfish act. A SELFLESS act is one in which the 'doership' is absent.
In other words, it means that even the feeling that 'I did this' shouldnt be there. The only feeling should be that it is God who is working through me.That is a truly selfless act.

Give up the doership and take refuge in Me

Swami often says that this is the true difference between Karma and Karma Yoga. While Karma would have a consequence attached, Karma Yoga would not attract any consequence for the work done simply because there was no feeling of having done the work at all. This is what Lord Krishna says to Arjuna in the Bhagawat Gita where He exhorts Arjuna to fight by giving up the doership, " Sarva DharmaanParityajya, Maamekam Sharanam Vraja, Aham Tvaam Sarva Paapebhyo Mokshaishyami Maa Shuchah." Simply put, it means give up the notion that you are doing any act  or following any code of conduct, and take refuge in Me alone. I will then grant you liberation by wiping out all sins.
I remember once Swami was telling us that first the coal has to come near the fire. It is only then that the coal will itself burn as fire. Swami was the fire, we were the coal who came close to Him physically. But, it was not enough to be 'near'. Only when we are close to Him mentally do we become 'dear' to Him.
Swami beautifully punned by saying, "First physically you come 'near', then mentally you have to become 'dear'. Only when you are near and dear will your desires 'disappear'."
So, what exactly is mental closeness? Its not just about thinking of Swami and chanting His name. It is when every act of ours can become His. When we come out of this false notion that we are doing something. Only then can we become worthy instruments in His hands.
Meera loses herself in bhajan
Recently, we were planning to do an activity in one of the areas in our city. I had a beautiful dream a week before the activity where I was explaining to Swami about the activity and seeking blessings. It turned out to be a two part dream since I woke up in between and went back to sleep. This time I had another dream where I was trying to tell Swami about how successfully the activity was completed. I said, "Swami, by Your blessings, we were able to successfully complete the activity. Everyone was happy." Swami smiled and replied, "You say it is by My blessing. Yet you say that 'you' did the activity?"
Meera had once said very beautifully in one of her bhajans, "The path to the Lord is so narrow. If I walk, He cannot and if He walks, I cannot." She meant that if her ego was in the way, the Lord eluded her.
Swami conveyed exactly the same thing to me through that dream and this is what prompted me to write this article. Thank You Swami for making me realize the difference between being 'Less Selfish' and 'Selfless'. May we evolve to become Selfless like You and live life in Your likeness.
Samasta Lokaa Sukhino Bhavantu (May all the worlds be at Peace)


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