Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

Isn’t there Hidden Selfishness on the Spiritual Path? Let’s see what Radhanath Swami says…

By on November 17, 2010 in Insights with 46 Comments

Real EgoQuestion to Radhanath Swami: When we say prayers or when we do any good deed, it is recommended that we have no selfish motive. But at the back of our mind, we want purification etc. That “I” is coming again. How do you explain that? How do we say that we don’t have a selfish motive?

Radhanath Swami: Because the true “I” is not selfish. The egoistic “I” is selfish, but the spirit “I” is not selfish. Our real “I”, that “I am a servant” is not a selfish conception. That “I am a controller and enjoyer” is a selfish conception. You cannot be free from “I” all-together. It’s impossible.

There are three stages of existence. One is exploitation, the other is renunciation, and the last is dedication. So exploitation means “I am the enjoyer,” but that is a frustrating situation because we are trying to enjoy in a foreign conception to our real self. So, when people become frustrated by this path of exploitation, they may take to the path of renunciation. Renunciation is like a no-man’s land where we try to just negate everything and bring it to zero and eliminate the “I.” But there is no love, there is no ras, there is no dynamic experience there; there is just the peace of existence that comes through renunciation. But through dedication we are actually pursuing the positive side. The positive side is the real eternal “I.”

Take for example this eye that we see with. If the eye is diseased, it is causing us pain. One solution is to pluck it out; then you have no eye. The other solution is to heal it; then it is the real eye and you could see nicely and enjoy with it. Similar is the case with this ego “I.” The false ego is, “I am the enjoyer, I am the controller, I am this body, I am a man, I am a woman, I am Indian, I am American, I am old, I am young.” But these are all designations, upädhis. They have their reality, but their reality is like an automobile for a driver. We use them all. For example, we use this body. This body is a sacred instrument to be used in God’s service, but we should also understand who we actually are. So, through frustration in the path of exploitation, people take to renunciation and they try to make everything zero, but the highest truth is the healthy, real, eternal emergence of “I,” the real “I”: I am for Krishna, I am the lover of Krishna, I am loved by Krishna, I am the servant of Krishna, I am the servant of the servant of Krishna, and I am the well-wishing instrument of God’s love towards every living being, with all humility. The emergence of that realization is the greatest attainment in life.

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