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Chapter 4: Selfishness: The Only Unselfishness

The first question:

How can a man with love in his heart be selfish?

Love is the most selfish thing in the world. Love is basically love of oneself. If you love yourself, only then can you love somebody else. If you don’t love yourself, to love anybody else is almost impossible. The quality of love has to grow within you, only then can the fragrance reach to somebody else. If you don’t love yourself you can only pretend that you love others. Your love will be pseudo, false, a deception. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred this is what is happening - because humanity has been debarred, conditioned. Every child has been conditioned not to love himself but to love others. That is impossible. That cannot happen; that is not the way things are. Every child has been taught not to be selfish, and that’s the only way of being.

If you are not selfish you will not be altruistic, remember. If you are not selfish you will not be unselfish, remember. Only a very deeply selfish person can be unselfish. But this has to be understood because it looks like a paradox.

What is the meaning of being selfish? The first basic thing is to be self-centered. The second basic thing is always to look for one’s blissfulness. If you are self-centered you will be selfish whatsoever you do. You may go and serve people, but you will do it only because you enjoy it, because you love doing it, you feel happy and blissful doing it. You feel yourself doing it. You are not doing any duty; you are not serving humanity. You are not a great martyr; you are not sacrificing. These are all nonsensical terms. You are simply being happy in your own way. It feels good to you: you go to the hospital and serve the ill people there, or you go to the poor and serve them. But you love it. It is how you grow. Deep down you feel blissful and silent, happy about yourself.

A self-centered person is always seeking his happiness. And this is the beauty of it: that the more you seek your happiness, the more you will help others to be happy. Because that is the only way to be happy in the world. If everybody else around you is unhappy, you cannot be happy, because man is not an island. He is part of the vast continent. If you want to be happy you will have to help others who surround you to be happy. Only then - and only then - can you be happy.

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