Chapter 10: When You Give of Yourself
Then said a rich man, Speak to us of Giving.
And he answered:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the over-prudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?
There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors.’
Almustafa is entering into the world of man, and particularly the man who is rich. Before I say something about his magnificent statements, a few remarks are absolutely necessary.
Life up to now has been corrupted by ambition. There is no other poison which is more potent than ambition because it kills you and yet keeps you breathing. Ambition turns you into vegetables, and the lure of ambition is given to every child with the mother’s milk. From the very first moment his whole life is being based on principles of destructiveness. Nothing destroys more than ambitiousness.
You have all been told - by parents, by teachers, by priests, by neighbors, by all these so-called well-wishers - that you have to become somebody special, important, powerful. And money gives more power than anything else, because even the politicians are commodities in the market: you can purchase them.
In fact, every politician is sold into the hands of the super-rich. But the super-rich person is the poorest on the earth. He has succeeded in being important, in being powerful, but he has lost his soul. Inside, there is just emptiness and darkness.
Why does it happen? What is the mechanism of its happening? Ambition is a ladder, and you always see somebody ahead of you. It is competitive. Your whole mind is continuously thinking of ways and means, right or wrong, to reach higher than others. And if you are cunning enough you may succeed, but in the world of ambition, success is the ultimate failure. A man becomes alert and aware about the failure only when he has reached the last rung of the ladder. He has wasted his whole life in search of being higher than others, holier than others, richer than others. And now his desire is fulfilled.
Cursed are those people who reach the final stage of their ambition. Their ambition has been their dream day and night - and it is not easy, because everybody else is also trying for the same success. But by the time you have reached the last rung of the ladder you are in for a great surprise and a shock, because there is no longer anywhere to go and your whole training in life has been just to compete, to fight. It is no ordinary competition, it is cutthroat; it does not matter how many people you destroy. Your eyes are fixed on a faraway fulfillment.