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Swami Radha talks of the power of selflessness

February 20, 2008 by Lightwaves

power_19.jpgYasodhara Ashram is celebrating its 45th anniversary with karma yoga. Throughout the year, we’ll be offering you articles from Swami Radha’s talks on this practical and expansive practice.

Selflessness is an enormous power. It radiates from a person. It is like a light. It draws people to such an individual. Before we seek Self-realization, we have to get rid of that selfish little self, that grabs at everything, that seeks constant gratification, and is ever-ready to scheme the fulfillment of its own desires.

Selflessness can be cultivated if it is on our list of ideals. Even though in the first stages we are not able to avoid the ego, which takes delight in patting itself on the shoulder, if we are sincere in our efforts we will try again and again and loosen the grip of the ego’s desire for self-gratification. When the physical or mental power_eriko.jpgpain of another person strikes a cord of compassion in oneself, when the only concern is to help, regardless of any return or recognition, then we have truly helped selflessly. We have acted from our Higher Self.

To understand or even assess the mysteries of selflessness, we have to act and think of the many daily functions, that every small part is some bit of ones whole life, even the mistakes. We need to stop the background noises of the mind that keep mental conversations going with someone who we think has offended us, or will not agree with us. Most of these mental conversations are meaningless accusations. Much precious energy used this way could be used to benefit ourselves in a way that would help us to get over the first hurdle.

Why can we not meditate? It is because of the mental background noises of aggression, defense, backbiting or self-gratification. A mind that is ever engaged in scheming without practicing surrender to the Divine Will is so completely out of balance that no amount of preparation will do it for the individual. Serving others selflessly, losing oneself and taking delight in serving and helping others, is the best preparation for meditation.

There are other mysteries in selflessness to be found. The more we become capable of acting from a less selfish point, the more we come into harmony with the divine law, as we shall call it. Things begin to happen. Things come one’s way. Bad habits seem to drop off. Intuition takes a new depth. Communication smooths out, good will strengthens, understanding grows.

One of the great joys selfless service brings is the great love and compassion for people of all walks of life, for all creatures big and small, and even for the pebbles on the beach. Yes, the pebble, too, experiences your love when you hold it gently in your hand, looking at it in loving admiration. The pebble does not talk in human words, but there is more communication than words.

power_susan.jpgOnce an individual has started to peel off layer after layer of selfishness it becomes easier. And there is no one who would not enjoy the bliss and delight that comes with the victory over one’s selfish motives. An incredible power is developed by men and women. This power in each one will unfold beautifully in the joy of serving others selflessly.

It is selflessness that must govern the action. Why? Because otherwise we create new samsaras (The eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth). If we are attached to the action and to the fruits of the action, then we will be reborn. So, when my Guru, Swami Sivananda, said, “Selfless service makes you divine,” he knew what he was saying. And we can know this just by reflecting and recognizing its importance.

The highest knowledge is the inner Self, the inner Light. And once you recognize this, then the greatest good that you can do is to help others find it. Do not strengthen the weaknesses in others so that they may like you better, or be nicer, or give you gifts, or smile at you, or accept you, all those things. That is like an indirect stealing from the Divine.

A sincere aspirant needs no advice. The unselfish desire to serve, to help others, will pave the road. The divine force, God, will then work through us. Repeated experience will bring about the awareness that this energy, God, the Light, works through us. Service of others then becomes worship. Selfless work becomes love manifest.

Photos by Amy Chilton, a 2008 YDC participant.

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