Question: What is selflessness?

Sri Chinmoy: Selflessness means giving something unconditionally to God. I shall give God what I have, but it is up to God to give me whatever He wants to. I shall give Him my soul, my heart, my mind, my vital, my body — but not with expectation. That is selflessness.

Suppose there are two friends. One friend smiles at the other friend. Then he expects the same kind of smile in return. If his friend does not return his smile, then he gets annoyed. But if you have established true friendship with someone, even if he fails to smile at you, your friendship will not be ruined. You will continue to smile at him.

Think of a mother and her son. Right from the very dawn of his life, the mother does so many things unconditionally for her child. Similarly, children also should do things for their parents unconditionally.

God is our Father, He is our Mother, He is our Brother, he is all our relations. When we pray to God, we have to do it unconditionally, and also we have to feel that if we give Him one dollar, He will give us a million dollars in terms of spiritual wealth, inner wealth. If a child finds a penny in the street, he runs and cheerfully gives it to his father. He could have hidden the penny because, after all, it is his money. All kinds of ideas could have entered his mind that one day he will become rich and so on. But he brings his little penny and offers it to his father. The father is so delighted. Because he came to his father with what he had, his father gives him a dollar with utmost pride and joy.

In God’s case, if we give Him a drop, He gives us an ocean. But while we are giving Him a drop, if we act like a businessman who is trying to make a profit by saying, “Oh, since He is the Ocean, if I give Him a drop, He will give me ten drops or twenty drops,” then we ruin the game. We give God what we have and what we are, knowing that He is our most compassionate Father and Mother. Can there be anybody greater or nicer than God? So we offer everything to Him and then we leave it up to Him to decide what He will give us and when He will give it to us. At His choice Hour He will give. Otherwise, if He gives us something now, it may be untimely. The fruit is there. Now the fruit is green, but it will definitely become ripe in a few months or so. If God gives us a green fruit, we will not appreciate it. So let us wait for the ripe fruit.

Selflessness means that we give God what we have and what we are, not with the expectation that because He has Infinity, Eternity and Immortality at His disposal, He will give us something in return. He will definitely give us these riches, but if we start expecting today, tomorrow and the day after, then we are only delaying and delaying our own progress. We shall give God the Creator and God the creation what we have and what we are as soon as possible. Then we shall leave it up to Him whether He will give us anything in return. This is called selflessness.