Words of Wisdom by Swami Satchidananda
Either You Keep The Basket In The Boat Or On Your Shoulder
Once a man was sailing in a small boat with a few other
people. All of a sudden the boatman said, "The boat seems
to be overloaded. The water is coming up higher and higher,
and we are about to capsize. If we want to stay afloat, we have
to lighten the load in the boat."
Immediately the man said, "Oh, don't worry; I can take care
of it." He had a heavy basket in the bottom of the boat, so he picked it up and put it on his head. "Is it okay now?" It was a
heavy basket; so he thought, "I will just carry the basket
and reduce the weight in the boat."
Whenever you say, "I did it," you are carrying your basket while sitting in the boat.
The truth is, no matter where the basket is, all of the weight is being carried by the
boat. Whether you keep it in the bottom of the boat or on your head is immaterial.
As long as you feel that you are carrying it, you are responsible, you are
doing something, fine, then carry it. The Lord just smiles: "All right, let her carry it."
But, if you decide to put the weight on God's shoulder, God is ready and willing to
carry it. The freedom is there. You can either keep the basket in the boat, or on your
head. Sensible people will keep it in the boat; egoistic people will keep it on their
head, that's all. Ultimately, the whole weight is being carried by God.
Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi
The Right Thing
How do you know if what you decide to do is the right thing? It's very simple. The right thing will not affect your health and happiness. That's all. Anything that would affect your physical and mental peace, your health and happiness, is wrong. Anything. This might bring another question: "Suppose I want to help somebody who is troubled and that affects me. Should I do it or not?" If you are joyfully serving someone, even going through some pain doesn't affect you. You are still happy; you are simply using a little of your energy to help someone. You can't call that unhappiness.
Sometimes when you help somebody, you feel depressed. Why is that? It is because you had expectations. "I am helping that person. The person should accept my help and get the benefit." When you don't see that person getting the benefit you expected, you get upset. That means it's not a selfless act, it's a selfish act. "I did something and I want a result."
That doesn't mean there shouldn't be positive thoughts behind your actions. Certainly send your prayers, think about the welfare of the person. The difference is this: you want him to be happy of course, but you don't demand it. You are not attached to the outcome; you leave that up to God.
In simple words, I would say an action without any selfish expectation whatsoever is a right action. Such an act will never disturb your mind or body.
Om Shanti, Om Shanti, Om Shanti