When some visitors come to my ashram , they are marvel at the nature and calmness that they rarely get in their busy city life. Sometimes they enjoy their discussion with me and some of the bhajans that I sing during our puja. After the puja and meeting when some among them jump with enthusiasm about recording my bhajans, producing some CD etc., I smiling within me, but not discouraging them, will say that I am willing to give my permission for them to do anything with my materials (both written and bhajans). But I will not jump with any enthusiasm about the hope of my materials getting published. Not because I am a samnyasi I keep my calm but knowing their limitation and rush in their Life, I never get excited about any suggestion given by others about publishing my materials. Of course though others have helped me to publish two books and few articles and now one of my shishyas created this blog for me to post all my brain storms, yet most of the time I write to unload my mind and write bhajans for my personal sadhana.
But my moral dilemma is not related with others’ promise about publishing my materials and unable to keep their promise, but using others to keep ourselves busy. I know a person, who is very dedicated and committed to his work. But according to me, his level of involvement in maintaining the relationship with others with whom he involved is not at the level that he has for his work. So when he involves in a particular work, he will do his best both in helping and cooperating with others. But once that particular work is complete, all his personal relationship with them—which also remains as a crucial part according to me, will also disappear. And due to some reason when he has to move to other area and take up another kind of work, he will almost forgot the people with whom he is involved. Nothing wrong in it, as one cannot always keep good relationship and communication with all with whom he engages in a particular work. But after a gap, when, due to some reason when he returns back to the old work, suddenly he will try to contact all those people with whom he involved in that work in the past. Again nothing wrong in it, as it will help both in many ways. But the moral dilemma for me is: does he want to contact people again as that will serve his purpose and also keep him busy? If he is seeking his old contact only to serve them, then without keeping some minimum contact and communication, how can he even think of renewing his relationship with them again?
For me the moral question is: without giving importance to human relationship can one think of serving others? If it is just the question of doing some project or particular task, one need not give importance to human relationship. But when one wants to serve others, maintenance of human relationship at a minimum level is important. Otherwise all kinds of attempt to renew old contact and friendship will end up serving one’s personal need to remain busy than upholding the principle of seva.
Now coming back to my early point of enthusiasm, we should not give a hope or interest in others life to do certain things for them in which we cannot totally involve. Though I never take others’ interest to publish my materials seriously, everyone may not have similar attitude and understanding about our limitation. Giving some hope in others life unnecessarily and then later giving all kinds of excuses with genuine reasons will expose more of our lack of commitment in that task and bring more disappointment and discouragement to the person in whom we raised such a hope.
So the moral dilemma for me is: IS SEVA MEANS SERVING OTHERS OR USING OTHERS TO SERVE ONESELF?
In a profession one can accomplish a given task without giving importance to human relationship (though here too, now HRD plays a crucial role), but in doing seva to others relationship decides the criteria for every service.
I like one statement which I heard in a recent TV discussion in Tamil: DON’T RESPOND WHEN YOU ARE IN ANGER; DON’T TAKE DECISION WHEN YOU ARE IN DEPRESSION AND NEVER GIVE PROMISE WHEN YOU ARE IN HAPPY MOOD.
November 6, 2012.