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When you are 64...

Individuals are limited in scope and must fit in with the rest of the universe, of which we are part.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 12:53 IST

A man I knew was very successful professionally. But as he grew older, he began to isolate himself with very strong likes and dislikes. Ultimately, having given away all his possessions to his favourites, he died alone, such favourites having no further use for him.

How can someone be so foolish as not to recognize his or her true friends? Why do we surround ourselves in our prime with selfserving people? Is professional success enough to have a genuinely good life?

Individuals are limited in scope and must fit in with the rest of the universe, of which we are part. Asset creation in the bank is important, but so is creating space in the hearts of other people, of God. After all, we cannot exist well or even die properly without help. Each friend created is an investment in our future. But how do we develop this universal consciousness?

Beginning with one’s family, intelligent sacrifices are required. With others, we should win them over by serving their needs. With God, we obtain His favour by obeying His commands, as contained in the bonafide scriptures. We need to aim big by spreading ourselves as far as is practical. Routine should include interaction with many. The aim should be more long-term than short term.

One needs to be very sober but very warm too; passion should be used in the service of others. There are enormous benefits in doing so. God, through others, then sustains us whenever we need help, which is always. We may not get what we require from a particular person, as sought, but someone else steps forward; universal consciousness ensures that.

The opposite is also true. Isolation does not pay; social behaviour does. I have personally seen far too many narrowly selfish people shunned in their old age. Only a strong force of obligation or gratitude spurs others in such times. Universal consciousness rewards as well as punishes. Since we, as souls, live forever, our consciousness should also be long-term, merging with the universal consciousness. One attains immortality this way.