Children, until recently self-sacrifice and simplicity were considered two of the most important aspects of life. However, today the primary aim of most people is simply to make as much money as possible and to accumulate as many material possessions as possible. Tragically, people think success is taking the maximum and giving the minimum.
When we take something from nature or from society, it is our responsibility to give something back. If we make sure that we give more than we take, then there will be permanent peace, prosperity and unity in society. But, today, people are maintaining a business relationship with society and nature. They even have a business relationship with God. We are supposed to try to cultivate an attitude of surrender towards God, but instead, even when people pray, they try to make a profit.
Amma is reminded of a story: A rich businessman was sailing on a ship. Suddenly the ship encountered a terrible storm. The captain announced that the chances of survival were slim. Everyone started to pray. The businessman started praying, “God, if I survive, I will sell my five-star hotel and give 75 per cent of the money to you. Please protect me!” Amazingly, as soon as he said this, the sea calmed down. Soon, all of the passengers, including the businessman, were safely on shore. But now the businessman was in agony. He started thinking, “If I sell my hotel, I will get at least one crore rupees, and I will have to give 75 lakhs to God. How horrible!” He started trying to think of way out. The next day an advertisement appeared in all the newspapers. It said: “Five Star Hotel for Sale for Only One Rupee.” Hundreds of people came out to try to buy the hotel. The businessman stood up and said, “Ok. It’s true that I’m selling the hotel for one rupee. But there is one condition. The person who buys the hotel must also buy my puppy. And the price of the puppy is one crore rupees.” Eventually a buyer came forward, the sale was completed and the businessman offered 75 pisa to God.
This is the attitude of many people in today’s world. To get what we want, we are even ready to cheat God.
Today, we look at everything through the eyes of a businessman. Our only concern is our own selfish interests—whatever be the field. Because of this, many people think they are growing. But such growth is like a form of cancer—an unbalanced growth that ultimately leads to both the destruction of the individual and the society. Individual growth that fails to take into consideration the growth of society cannot be called true growth. Our growth should not prevent others from growing. On the contrary it should help others to grow.
Children, whatever we give to the world, will come back to us. If we sow one seed, the earth will return it to us 100-fold. Whatever we give will come back to us as blessing both in the present and in the future. Our lives become richer not by taking, but by giving.
Amma – Sri. Mata Amritanandamayi Devi