[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 19, Issue 7

tatha gat tathagat79 at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 11 13:32:54 CST 2004


I guess what you are really asking is what are self
realized people, who have realized the identity of
atman and brahman thinking when they are helping
someone/receiving help from someone. I dont know what
the shastras say about that.

But for the rest of us,
Vivekananda's approach seems pretty pragmatic - give a
person what he needs, if you can. A hungry man needs
food before he can think about liberation. Very often,
especially in India, we keep thinking about charity
without actually doing anything and that needs to
change. A person who helps another just to get an ego
boost about it soon progresses to a stage where he
helps another out of sheer compassion [and probably,
progresses to a stage where he realizes there is no
difference between the helper and the helped]. So lets
start by helping in whatever way we can.


> ATTACHMENT part 3.2 message/rfc822 
> From: Navin Rajaram <navinr at moschip.com>
> Subject: [Advaita-l] Question on service and our ego
> Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 09:55:39 -0500
> To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
> 	<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> This is a subject I would like to touch upon briefly
> and find out what 
> everyone thinks.
> The word "charity","philanthropy" or
> "help","service" are used among 
> people today. I would like to know what the exact
> nature behind help or 
> service offered is. The reason or motivation behind
> service or charity 
> to humanity is with the notion that a person needs
> help to get him/her 
> out of their misery . However, charity also puts the
> giver in a position 
> where he could use it as an ego booster. An act that
> makes him feel 
> better about himself. The receiver may or may not
> feel obliged (ideally 
> he should not feel obliged) about this help given.
> So the question is whether charity/service is a
> misued term?
> Advaita  tells us that our real nature Atman is no
> different from the 
> true nature of reality - Brahman. However, when we
> offer help or even 
> provide something to someone in the name of service,
> should our thoughts 
> be such that we are helping ourselves. In the
> process of providing 
> service, we are worshipping that real nature Brahman
> and helping 
> ourselves in realizing that this Atman in me and the
> Atman in any other 
> person is no different than the reality - Brahman?
> Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Vivekananda say "help" is a
> wrong term. In fact 
> it is blasphemy to use the word "help". The universe
> is a field where 
> God plays and the sum total of good and evil in this
> world will not 
> change - no matter what we do. This sum is a
> constant because for every 
> high in this world, a low will occur somewhere else.
> Hence, help should 
> be replaced with worship and offering to
> God/Brahman.
> Do put forward your thoughts on this.
> Navin

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