Question: You seem to advise me to be self-centered to the point of egoism. Must I not yield even to my interest in other people?
Maharaj: Your interest in others is egoistic, self-concerned, self-oriented. You are not interested in others as persons, but only as far as they enrich, or enoble your own image of yourself.
And the ultimate in selfishness is to care only for the protection, preservation and multiplication of one’s own body. By body I mean all that is related to your name and shape— your family, tribe, country, race, etc. To be attached to one’s name and shape is selfishness.
A man who knows that he is neither body nor mind cannot be selfish, for he has nothing to be selfish for.
Or, you may say, he is equally ‘selfish’ on behalf of everybody he meets; everybody’s welfare is his own. The feeling ‘I am the world, the world is myself’ becomes quite natural; once it is established, there is just no way of being selfish.
To be selfish means to covet, to acquire, accumulate on behalf of the part against the whole.
How can we build – or rebuild – a collective culture that is able to both respect difference and draw us together to work for the common good? Talking to key modern influences and thinkers, and drawing inspiration from the Bible and the historical experience of the Jewish people, Sacks argues that there are eight key factors in establishing, maintaining and passing on resilient moral values within a broad group, among them attitudes of lifelong learning and of thanksgiving, the importance of family life and community, and a culture of positive argument in place of destructive conflict.
“The landscape that you exist in requires transformation. You cannot be the new person standing in the old kitchen looking at the old pots and pans that cooked yesterday’s dinner. Everything is made new in Christ. That is actually a promise in the Jesus teachings. “Behold, I make things new.” This is a promise that you are now in as well. Now the kitchen that you stand in with yesterday’s pots are still there, but they will be perceived anew. And then you will have to decide whether you want to wash your pots, replace your pots, or move to a new city where you have new pots or no pots at all. Your changes will be made clear to you through your own vocation, through your own knowing, through your own requirements for the life that you will live once you have changed into yourself more fully.There is nothing to be done today but transform.”
We must answer the big questions. What are the questions that need posing? Philosophers, theologians, scientists, and great teachers have debated this for ages:
What is real?
What is honest?
What is quality?
What has value?
Whether you are governing a country, running an organization, or participating in a committed personal relationship, your ability to effect change will increase as you become more responsive to your world and to the individuals who are central to your happiness and success.”
The real master never gives you principles he only gives insights. He gives you understanding, not commandments. He simply makes you more aware so that whatsoever the situation is you can always respond to it on your own; you do not need to follow a certain fixed principle. He makes you more fluid , more flexible because life goes on changing and if you’re very very inflexible you will suffer.