from the book ‘Living with the Himalayan Masters’ By Swami Rama.
My master answered, “An old swami has come. He’s hungry and you must give him your food.”
“No,” I argued, “I’m not going to, even if he is a swami. I’m also hungry and I won’t get any more food until tomorrow.” He said. “Give it to him. But don’t give it just because I am ordering you. Give it as an offering of love.” I said. “I am hungry. How can I feel love towards someone who is eating my food?” When he could not convince me to offer my food to the swami he finally said, “I order you to offer your food!”
My master said to the swami, “I’m so glad that you have come. Will you bless this child for me?”
But I said, “I don’t need your blessings. I need food. I am hungry.”
My master said, “If you lose control in this weak moment, you will lose the battle of life.”
Later I found out that the swami had not had any food for four days.
He took the food and said, “God bless you! You will never feel hunger unless food comes before you. This is my blessings to you.”
His voice still echoes in my ears. From that very day, I have been free from that urge which had so often led me to childish cravings.
There is a narrow barrier between selfishness and selflessness, love and hatred. After crossing it one enjoys doing things for others, without seeking anything in return. This is the highest of all joys, and an essential step in the path of enlightenment. A selfless man trains his ego and uses it for higher purposes. Selflessness is one common characteristic that we find among all great men and women of the world. Nothing could be achieved without selfless service. All the rituals and knowledge of the scriptures are in vain if actions are performed without selflessness.