Selfish means someone who has found meaning of self
If you want to free the other from suffering, then the first condition is to become free from your own. Because only a man who has bliss can share bliss, and a man who has suffering can share only suffering.
We don't want to see others happy. This can mean only one thing: that we are suicidal, that we are not even ready to see ourselves happy. We have invented the idea: "only when the whole world becomes unhappy can I be happy". But how can one be happy when the whole world is unhappy? when everyone is unhappy, I will slip into deeper unhappiness. But then I will at least have the one consolation that everyone else is also unhappy: It is not only me who is unhappy, it is not only me who is having problems, everyone else is also having problems. This is the only consolation you can have.
A healthy man will desire his own happiness. I want to tell you that a healthy man will be very selfish in this sense. But bear in mind that only selfishness is the foundation of altruism. Selfishness and altruism are not opposites, as your religious preachers never tire of telling you. Infant, if a person is not even selfish yet, there simply arises no question of him becoming altruistic. When someone has not yet understood even his own interests, he cannot take a single step towards looking after the interests of others. But there are two types of sick people on this earth: one who thinks that harming others is in his self interest and another who is busy trying to help others, when he still does not know what is good for him and has never been good to himself how can a man who has not gained anything for himself help another person?
If you want to free the other from suffering, then the first condition is to become free from your own. Because only a man who has bliss can share bliss, and a man who has suffering can share only suffering. He may lecture you and even label his suffering as happiness, But that does not make any difference - He shares only suffering. It is possible that he comes to you to give you happiness, but after sometime you will feel that it would be very nice if now he were to go away and leave you alone. He has started giving you sufferings. He may not know it but he will give you only suffering.
A healthy man will be swarthi, Selfish. It will seem very strange to you because you have always been taught that you should not be selfish, that selfishness is a very bad thing. I will like to tell you that a healthy man will inevitably be selfish, it is very natural.
But have you ever understood the meaning of the word Swarth? It is a combination of two words: Swa, which means Self, and Arth, which means Meaning or interest, a person who has given meaning to himself. And it is not possible that a person who has not yet been able to give meaning to his own life can be of meaning to others. It is only when the lamp has been lit in my own house that its light can filter through the windows and doors to the houses of others. But if my own lamp is unlit, how can it give light to others? the people whose lamps are unlit are out helping others light lamps in their houses. It is more likely that, under the impact of all the to do and nonsense, even if a lamp in some houses almost lit, it will be extinguished. How can a man whose own house is drowned in darkness light the lamp of others?
What is this disease which has gripped man, that he is so eager to see others suffering? he has given good sounding names to it and has hidden the reality behind them. If a man drops his clothes and stands naked on the road, it huge crowd will gather to bow down and his feet. This is worshipping suffering but we call it renunciation, asceticism. We say, this man is a great ascetic, so we are worshipping him. If a man puts himself into suffering on his own, his honour and respectability will greatly increase.
Disclaimer: This article was originally published on HappyHo and is republished here with permission.
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