Written by 9:21 am Learning Chronicle

Be Selfish

Once, Gautam Buddha was passing by a high cast Brahmins’ village that was against Gautam Buddha and his philosophy. They all gathered outside the village to condemn and abuse him. He was there listening to their abuse, their allegations and their lies. His follower Ananda – who has been with him all these years- felt angry but controlled himself; otherwise he, would have killed one or two people then and there. 

Gautam Buddha said, “As you know, the sun is going to set soon and we have to reach the next village before the sun sets. If you have not finished all that you wanted to say, I will ensure that when I return after two days, to set aside enough time to listen to you again. It’s my promise.” 

During this time an old man had been watching them. He could not control himself. He came forward and asked, “You don’t seem to be distressed at all. These people are not just saying things to you; they are abusing you, insulting you. Why are you not replying them?” 

Buddha said,” they are very lucky. If they had come 10 years ago, they would not have gone back alive. I am also a warrior. But they have come a little late. The people of the village I just visited came with food, sweets and fruits. I said ‘I eat only once a day, and I have taken food for the day, so it would be very kind if you would take these back with you. I am grateful; what do you think they did with those sweet and fruits?” The old man said,” they must have distributed them amongst themselves; they must have eaten them.” “You are right. Do the same: whatever you have brought, I don’t accept; take it back,” said Buddha to all the Brahmins. “Because unless I accept your insults, you cannot insult me; it is a two –way affair. It is your mouth, you can say anything- but unless I accept it, you just keep talking into the air. Just go home and say all these things to each other and enjoy yourselves. I will be coming again after two days, so be ready.” They were shocked they could not believe the kind of man he was. 

When they moved on, Ananda said to Buddha, “this is too much. There were moments when I was going to hit those men! Just because of you, I tried to control myself.” 

Buddha said “what those people were saying has not hurt me. What you are saying hurts me. You have been with me for so many years, and yet you are not aware enough to know what to take and what not to take? Can’t you discriminate? I want you not to become missionaries; I want you to become messengers. And that will be possible only if you are utterly selfish. So before you start helping others, you have to help yourself; before you start enlightening other people you have to enlighten yourself. That is what I mean by being selfish. Whatever you want to spread must be your life’s experience.” 

Today, our society needs more good selfish humans, one need to be selfish; selfish to be more knowledgeable, selfish to be more intellectual; selfish to be more human being and just not people. Be selfish – स्वार्थी बनो – ‘स्वयं का अर्थ  निकालो ’ 

-Makarand Bhatt

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