Selfishness and selflessness are two phases of the life of the personal ego, and these two phases are continuous with each other.
Selfishness arises when all the desires are centred around the narrow individuality. Selflessness arises when this crude organisation of desires suffers disintegration and there is a general dispersing of desires with the result that they cover a much wider sphere.
Selfishness is the narrowing down of interests to a limited field; selflessness is the extension of interests over a wide field.
To put it paradoxically, selfishness is a restricted form of selflessness, and selflessness is the drawing out of selfishness into a wide sphere of activity.
——-AVATAR MEHER BABA
[Discourses by Meher Baba, volume-I, p-29-30 (Copyright ©1967 by Adi K. Irani, King’s Rd., Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India)]
A chance encounter in a fertilizer dealer shop reminds me of this caption always. I met a group of Guntotting Ex Dacoits who had spent 7 years in Open Jail as punishment and surrendered in front of Late Shri JayPrakash Narayan.
This Ex Dacoit was a Farmer and political leader now. When introduced as the sales person who was selling his favorite brand of fertilizer – He had asked in HINDI whther “Ye Saheb swarthee hain ya parmarthee”. A Deep question about whether this person I am being introduced is Selfish or Selfless? Even an Ex Convict chooses to know this beforehand. Why I wondered?