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Chapter 17: Of the Bestowing Virtue, Part 1

The strange tradition that I was going to tell you about is that when you give something to a monk, then you have to give him something more. That something more is called your gratefulness, because the monk received your gifts. He could have refused. Because he has received your food, you have to offer him something else to show your gratitude, that you came to my house, you begged food of me - you accepted my food. I was not deserving enough to give, and particularly, to you. Still you were generous enough to receive, so please, as a symbol of my thankfulness, receive something more.

When I first became aware of this, it looked very strange. Ordinary logic will say that the monk has to be thankful; you have given him food, you have given him clothes, you have given him medicine, or anything that he needed - he should be thankful. But on the contrary, the tradition is that you should be thankful, and not just verbally, you have to give something symbolically, to show your gratitude.

That very ancient idea has a relevance to what Zarathustra is saying. You share yourself, you share your love - do not discriminate, who are you to discriminate? Existence does not discriminate. You should not pretend to be wiser than existence itself. All that you can do is show your gratitude, too, because he allowed you to share your being with him, he allowed your raincloud to shower on him. It is up to you to be grateful to the thirsty earth, to the rosebushes; they have made you richer by receiving. And as you are giving from your innermost sources, you will find new waters are coming and filling your cup; your cup is never empty.

Truly, such a bestowing love must become a thief of all values.

Love is enough, all other values can become shadows to it.

Such a bestowing love must become a thief of all values; but I call this selfishness healthy and holy..

Perhaps, after twenty-five centuries since Zarathustra, I am the only man who has used the word selfishness as the foundation of all spirituality. Otherwise, all the religions have been talking about selflessness. And nobody bothers how you can be selfless; you don’t even know what your self is. You have never entered into yourself.

One of the great Christian missionaries, Stanley Jones, used to come to India; six months in India, and six months in the West - that was his every-year routine. And I had many chances.because he used to stay very close by where I was teaching in a university, and we often met on our morning walks, or on our evening walks. The one thing that was continuously a question mark between us two was that he continually said that compared to Christianity, all Eastern religions are selfish, because their emphasis is on meditation; and meditation means going inwards, in your aloneness, to the very center of your being, while Christianity teaches you to go to the poor.

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