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Selfless Actions

One must perform one's duties, not for the sake of sensuous pleasure, but out of devotion to God. The scriptures as well as experience indicate that desire is at the root of all action. No desires, no action. If one has absolutely no desires, why should he stir out of his seat? One desires physical cleanliness, so he bathes. One desires to satisfy his hunger, so he eats.

A devotee performs his actions out of love for God, as an act of service to Him. God fills the world. The world is His form. Thus, whatever is done in the world and for the world, is an act of service to God. The devotee performs his duties out of love for the world which is His form and thus worships Him. He does nothing to enjoy the world of senses or to glorify himself. It is a worldly person who labours night and day to enjoy sense objects.

Until the mind becomes perfectly tranquil and transcends all doubt, it will not be free from desire. Desires will continue until then, either for good or for evil. Worship of God is a good action, done out of a good desire. As one worships God with flowers and japa another who follows the path of service worships Him with good actions. His aim is to win the grace of God and reach His presence. This is the ultimate gain. In His eyes. therefore, there is no distinction between a great and small action. Through whatever God has bidden him to perform, whether it is big or small, he worships Him. This is an important truth a householder ought to know.

The absence or presence of selfishness determines whether the action is good or bad. Selfishness causes an action to be sinful and impure. One cannot be affected by success or failure if selfish considerations or motives are absent from one's action.

Eliminate all selfish thought that defiles the mind; make the mind still and fix it upon the feet of God; sit in a steady posture as long as possible and worship Him regularly. Like a child, live in the present without worry about the past or the future; be convinced by proper thought that it is peace of mind that is the highest pleasure. That kind of life is truly spiritual, blessed and blissful. It is coveted even by the gods. There are steps still higher than these.

Daily and intense steady practice enables an aspirant to ascend them.

About the author

Swami Tapovan Maharaj was that pristine glacier of Self-knowledge through whom flowed the Ganga of Vedantic Wisdom of Swami Chinmayananda, the architect of the Chinmaya Movement. Swami Tapovanam was a saint of the highest order, a consummate Vedantin, strict teacher, a compassionate mentor, and a poet whose every thought throbbed with ecstatic awareness, and a sage of unsurpassed wisdom and tranquility.

Story first published: Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 13:06 [IST]
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