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Offering help to others from the perspective of the Karma Yoga system


Love, truth, well-being, detachment, complete bliss, freedom, beauty, equality, in one word: wisdom - this is not only a moral code but ultimately the supreme goal of the human being, because they are containing an extraordinary powerful manifestation of his spiritual force received through ineffable resonance from God.

The huge self-mastery required by the altruistic action done according to the Karma Yoga system is simultaneously the expression and the proof of a tremendous spiritual force, which the yogi can manifest, as he considers necessary according to his free will.

To know to whom should you give help, when and whatkind of help and - very important - to know how should you give it, how much and the ways through which this help will reach its target – so that it doesn’t generate new binding effects or karmic consequences - represents the clear proof of a wise, detached action, completely integrated in the Divine Harmony. Only in this way will your detached action, born out of a deep understanding of the divine necessity, gradually transform into a gigantic freedom to manifest your spiritual force bestowed upon you by God.

Swami Vivekananda says in his book about Karma Yoga: "To physically help others with detachment, satisfying only their physical needs is indeed a great deed; but it is good to know that the most precious help is the one given for an extremely long period of time. If by an hour of detached action you cover the needs of a man for one month -- this is a big help; if this help will cover the man’s needs for one year then this is a huge help indeed. But if the man can be helped forever, in eternity, only this will of course be the biggest divine help which can ever be given to man".

He adds: "The true spiritual knowledge is the only form of help which can annihilate forever all our sorrows. Any other knowledge will only temporarily satisfy our needs. Only with the help of the true knowledge of the spirit will the roots of suffering be forever destroyed. This is why the spiritual help offered to a human being is the greatest help which can ever be offered."

The one who offers to people true Spiritual Knowledge is the greatest benefactor of mankind. And we see that always the most powerful and appreciated men were those who helped mankind in its spiritual needs because the Spirit alone is the base for the activity of the whole creation.

The man who is spiritually healthy and strong can easily be strong in all kinds of ways, if he so desires. As long as a man has not yet obtained the spiritual force neither his physical nor psychic or mental needs can be satisfied in the right way".

These statements lead us to the understanding of the following aspects:

  1. The only true help is that which shows man how to help himself and others to eliminate for good the sufferings and miseries generated by selfishness and ignorance.
  2. This help should always be given by directing man towards a direct knowledge of himself. Only this inner knowledge will allow him to integrate in the right and wise way the play of manifestation. This inner knowledge will confirm the existence of his spiritual nature, and this will help him to break free of the chain of causality by gradually eliminating selfishness and ignorance, which are at the root of his sufferings.
  3. For thoroughly and efficiently giving this help in a detached way, the Karma Yogin must posses this superior divine knowledge in himself, at an experiential level. Only if this condition is fulfilled can the yogi be a true model for the others. "If a blind man will lead another blind man, then there is a big danger of both falling into an abyss" says Jesus.

Sometimes by rigidly trying to apply certain laws or wise principles of action, we arrive at an inner form of inflexibility, which is just a manifestation of a dogmatic attitude. In this way we may hinder ourselves, from a spiritual point of view, by a painful obsession of integrating everything according to the book, unconsciously bringing forth again and again the biblical aphorism: "the letter kills and only the living spirit gives life".

Knowing to detachedly and instantaneously give the right help at the right moment, beyond any endless theories or analysis, represents the living proof of a real inner spiritual realisation. In this state becomes even more clear the idea that "Detached action is clearly superior to inaction".

As such, we should always try to balance our detached help with the concrete circumstances of the moment and of the being involved, paying great attention to the following elements:

  1. What is the most important aspect or problem that must be solved in that given situation when we try to detachedly give help to a person;
  2. What is actually the most urgent problem with which the respective person is then confronted;
  3. How should our detached effort and support (which comes from the Divine) be directed and focused for the removal or at least the diminishing of the cause that generates at that moment the biggest suffering in the respective person.

This detached support, this help coming from God through us, this offering of ourselves as instrument for the divine manifestation (when we have the necessary spiritual level) can even become a complete offering of our being as a divine channel for detachedly helping others. This is mostly the case of the great spirits of this planet, like Jesus, or of some great spiritual teachers like Buddha or Ramakrishna whose entire lives were a continuous sacrifice detachedly offered for helping and spiritually awakening millions of people.

"The only solution for the total and final removal of the world’s sufferings consists of giving to the people the spiritual knowledge through which the spiritual accomplishment becomes possible. Ignorance is the source of all misfortunes. When people will see the Divine Light of the Spirit, when they will be spiritually pure and strong, only then their suffering will disappear for good" said Swami Vivekananda.

This continuous attitude of giving detached help, of altruistically serving others, has at its roots a profound spiritual and almighty reality, which is in fact Love. The profound knowledge of the Self opens the doors to a divine, heavenly realm where everything which is good, true and beautiful becomes possible. "When love becomes infinite, the impossible becomes easily possible", says an Eastern proverb.

When true love exists, our being becomes profound and instantly expanded in the blissful infinite. Then we are embracing the Divine Realm that is permanently embracing us. In those moments of embracing expansion we perceive the surrounding beings as being part of ourselves and then their suffering, transferred to us, is torturing us as well. Their helplessness and powerlessness is calling us to remove it, because in that state we are able to help. Through complete empathy, through a deep identification with the others at the level of Atman, we spontaneously come to embrace everybody at the level of consciousness. We then become simple and natural in everything we do and think. By feeling this way, we realise that the others are becoming a part of us and this makes our giving stronger and our detachment complete because now we realise that in fact God is offering everything through us.

Being most of the time filled with love and compassion, our actions will also be filled with love and compassion. This completely detached action filled with divine love and released from all selfishness will gradually bring us an infinite bliss. The divine, detached help that we are now giving to others is in fact our own happy being, our own existence freed from conditionings.

Becoming in this way a divine triumphant force, loving now in a divine and detached way, our power of action becomes infinite. This is the moment when we feel omnipresent and when everything feels as being in us, because our whole being has already become a divine channel for the force which is surrounding and impelling the one who needs help. In this state we know for sure that this circumstance is favourable both for us and for him and that our divine help which manifests itself in and through us will faultlessly reach its target.

The thoroughly divine, blissful state which we are experiencing when this divine help is manifesting through us and reaches its target, is generating the alchemical miracle of our own transmutation, sublimation and inner transformation. In essence, by detachedly helping others we are simultaneously helping ourselves. In such enlightened moments we understand the words of Jesus: "The one who has will be given more". In this state we experience an amazing inner richness, a feeling of complete fullness and spiritual fulfilment which is overwhelming and which makes us recognise God in everything around us.

To be able to help others detachedly is a divine privilege granted to us only when we fully deserve it. An intense state of gratefulness toward the Divine then grows in us. Blessed is the one who receives the divine help as well as the one who offers that which is offered to him by God.

Be always deeply grateful to the Divine for being able to detachedly manifest love, compassion, charity, generosity and justice. Because you are offering what in fact the Divine, in its infinite kindness, is offering through you a hundred fold, and through it you are becoming pure and perfect.

By thoroughly understanding that in fact the whole manifestation is impregnated by the divine kindness, love and intelligence of the Supreme and by understanding that all external circumstances are generated to offer to man the possibility of knowing God in all that exists, how could we then still hold in us doubt, suspicion, lack of trust, hatred, ignorance and suffering?

By constantly acting this way we realise that nothing in this Universe is dependent on us, because in fact we have nothing. Not even a beggar depends on our charity. Nothing and absolutely no being ever depends on our help; in fact all is coming from God. These ideas will help us remove that painful and subtle form of Ego, which leads us to think that in fact the wellbeing of others depends only upon us and that without our support, love and spiritual force they will continuously suffer.

Especially for the wise one, God is the profound wisdom. God is infinite love in continuous action, which is only manifested in and through us.

Let’s open our mind and soul as wide as we can for letting ourselves be penetrated entirely by the Love and Wisdom of God, for coming to know how we can serve Him in eternity, becoming one with Him for reaching thus the Supreme Liberation.

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