How to live in a world plagued by selfishness? Radhanath Swami shows the way

Selfless World

Selfless WorldQuestion to Radhanath Swami: Namaste Swamiji.  It is said that we should always associate with selfless people, and that’s very critical.  Then, how should we interact with the people who are selfish?  As you say, we should also love them as they are also part of God. So, if we are surrounded by such people, how should we act?

Radhanath Swami: By being a good example.  Of course, if those people open their minds and hearts for us to speak to them about higher virtues and higher truths in life, then that is our service to them—to offer them that higher ideal, that higher philosophy that’s based on truth.  We should not be egoistically thinking, “I know more than you.”  We should be humbly serving all living beings by sharing a spiritual message that will enlighten them, bring joy in their life, and relieve them of suffering.  So, if we learn the philosophy and the truth nicely ourselves, we can present it in a way that can help convince others of the good way of living.

But if people are unwilling to hear, we can just be good examples. They should see that we are dynamic and successful in whatever we do, as far as possible. At the same time they should see that we do it without greed, without anger, as an expression of our love for God. They should see that we’re actually good, we’re actually spiritual and selfless. That will have a tremendous impact on people.

We live in a world where people have very difficult time trusting one another because they’re exposed to so much hypocrisy.  Most people say one thing and do the other.  But when we act in a spirit of selfless service, which comes by cleaning our own hearts through chanting the names of God and living a service-oriented life, people will feel the radiation of your spiritual energy and they’ll be able to trust you.  They’ll say that this person actually has a simple and innocent heart and I can trust him/her.  And when people trust you, you can do so much good in their lives by your example, by your words.  So we should not hate people that are selfish.  We should feel compassion for them, and we should live in such a way that we can somehow reach their hearts and help them, and if we can’t do anything else, we can pray for them.  You may not be able to change the world, but you could change yourself. And when you access that spiritual potency, you could do your part of making the world a better place.

In building the bridge across the Indian Ocean from Ramesvaram to Srilanka, Hanuman was lifting mountain peaks and putting them in the water, and there was a little spider kicking grains of sand with his little legs.  Hanuman told the spider, “Move aside!” and Rama said to Hanuman, “No!  You move aside!  That spider is doing as much as you.  In helping me in my mission he is doing as much as he can.  That spider’s capacity is to kick one grain of sand at a time, you’re capacity is to rip off mountain peaks and put them, but you’re each doing what you can do; therefore, you are both equally perfect in my eyes.” So, let us be happy just doing our part, whether it’s big or small. And let’s try our best to clean our own hearts to love God and to do actual good in the world.


By Radhanath Swami

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