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Hindus/Selfishness Vs Selflessness


Sir should we be selfish or selfless in life and why?


No one can be selfless without understanding the meaning of the word self. Even those who claim that they are doing selfless service are in fact selfish. I am not talking about politician type of people who practice pseudo selfless service. I am referring to even those who honestly serve others like Mother Theresa.

Everyone is always selfish. The only exceptions are enlightened people.

People always do action for gaining happiness and satisfaction of the self only. Let us take an example of a poor mother sacrificing her meal for the sake of her son. This act appears to be a pure selfless action born out of love. But the fact is she is highly selfish. She had the option of eating the food herself without feeding the son OR feed her son and go hungry. Between these two options, she chose the second one because that is the one which will give her more happiness.

Self is the most important and dearest to every living being. Even those who risk their lives for the sake of others are doing so because it gives them a sense of pride/ satisfaction/ happiness.

A military solider who is ready to die for his country is doing so because he has a strong feeling 'This is MY country and I have to do everything to protect MY country'.

Religious people are doing selfless service to gain punniyam (merits) for themselves.

All actions are motivated by this sense of I, MY, MINE and therefore everyone is always selfish.

The first step to be really selfless, is to acknowledge the fact that presently we are selfish. As long as we are under the wrong assumption that we are being selfless, others will appear more important than self. Once we recognize and acknowledge that we are in fact selfish, we will develop an interest to know about the self. Once we gain self-knowledge, we will realize that there are no others.

Every living being is me. The whole universe is mine. Once we attain this stage, we can be truly selfless.

So the short answer to your question is: We should be selfless in life because the world is not different than our self.

In order to come to this stage one has to recognize that one is currently selfish.

Thanks for asking this short and important question. If you need more clarifications please do not hesitate to ask. You may also read my earlier answer on this topic at

Best wishes,
Raja Subramaniyan  


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Raja Subramaniyan


Explanation based on Vedanta / Gita which will answer any questions on life leading to Joyful Living


25 years of spiritual studies and written following text books. Gita for Joyful Living ( Path to Joyful Living - I based on Jeeva Yatra ( ) Path to Joyful Living - II based on Sadhana Panchakam( ) Joyful Living based on Panchadashi ( ) Parama Ragasiyam (Tamil) based on Brahma Sutra (


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