Even extracanonical actions are permissible if they conduce to the attainment of God, which, after all, is the highest, the sole aim of human life, and true religion. No act performed with an egoistic attitude is acceptable to God. Benevolence, howsoever great, will yet do no real good if it stems from a desire for celebrity. This only pampers the ego, does not bring God any nearer. Actions prompted by real, selfless spirit of service, alone conform to true religion. Treat yourself solely as God’s instrument, while He is the true doer. This, indeed, is true, utter surrender to Him.
Faith in God can be developed at any age and in any situation. True faith can face any challenge, and not yield to opposition. A person of true faith will never entertain worry or anxiety on any account. Anxiety vitiates the prospects of attaining the goal, and makes us forgetful of duty. Trust in God and do your best, and be content with the result. In worldly matters contentment comes from doing one’s duty; in paramartha contentment is the reward of firm faith. Paramartha is achievable neither by hypocrisy nor by foolish simplicity. In financial matters, we should act with due regard to our capacity, taking care to see that we do not create debts. We should neither cheat others nor be a prey to others’ deceit. One devoted to paramartha should carefully avoid hurting others.
One who is prepared to accept whatever situation comes will never feel the pinch of want. We should neither envy the rich nor scorn the poor. Remember that all are treated by God with justice, equality, and forgiveness. Justifiable distribution of wealth is that which ensures food and such basic necessities to all. If we recover or extort money from others without giving adequate return, such money is tainted with the desires of the owner. It is a funny thing that even one who carefully keeps his word in other matters does not exercise the same care in money matters. In the present state want of money and its profusion both cause us difficulty.
All that a sannyasin should seek to store is one day’s provision. A householder should have enough to serve for three days, and should cease worrying. A person usually starts his life with the notion ‘I am the doer,’ while the first step in paramartha is the belief that Rama is the doer.
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