Human beings have this peculiar habit of validation, which animals don’t have.
The moment a hungry animal sees food that it can digest, it will eat it. The animal will not think of bizarre things since it just knows one thing – this is food and I will eat it. No need for validation.
Humans, however, are constantly looking for validation from others and the world which ironically, doesn’t care about their validation. This world has no consideration for your validation, it will continue to work exactly the same way it is working, irrespective of what you validate and what you reject.
A small incidence
A few days back an old beggar was passing through my neighborhood and my mother requested that I donate some rice to her, since she considered it is “Holy” to donate rice on a Saturday afternoon. I took a handful of rice and donated it to the old woman, she took the rice in a strap of her robe, tied a knot and moved on.
A friendly shopkeeper was watching this from a distance. He called me and inquired why I donated rice and not money. I said had I donated money, she would have spent it buying the rice. The shopkeeper countered that had I donated money, she would have the freedom of buying whatever she wants and not the rice which I forced on her as an offering.
My objective here is just to satisfy the old woman who might be hungry. The shopkeeper however wants me to donate money and not rice, so that this woman can take that money to him to purchase rice so that he can earn a profit, out of my donation.
The shopkeeper rejects my “idea” of donation on the ground that I am being selfish to the beggar and concludes that my donation is incomplete. The beggar might also reject my “idea” of donation on different grounds that is relevant to her. Both of them are correct from their point of view.
However, since I am the person who is making an offering, I seek nobody’s validation. It is me who is offering so I am the “Karta” (karta is someone who takes a call). I am the donator and hence I have the will to choose whatever I may want to donate. Here, I am playing the part of “Prakriti” (nature) which chooses what to donate to human kind and what not to donate to human kind.
In this example, if the beggar rejects my offering, it is not my loss since I am not making an offering for receiving the beggar’s validation. I am making an offering to help myself, not the beggar. I am making an offering to earn “Punya”, this has nothing to do whether that offering satiates the beggar’s hunger or whether the offering is sold in the market. That is not my call, that is the beggar’s call.
You Prove Yourself, Not the World
The world is fixed where it was since the beginning of time, you prove nothing to the world but yourself.
By earning a degree, you do yourself a favor, not to this world or your family. By working for an employer, you are doing yourself a favor, not to your employer. By helping your friend, you are doing yourself a favor, not to your friend. By serving your country, you do yourself a favor, not to the country. By taking care of your children, you are doing yourself a favor and not to your children. By taking care of your parents, you are doing yourself a favor and not to your parents.
The subjects are not waiting for your offering. If not you, someone else will be the “Karta”. And what happens after you have made your offering is not your call, it is the call of the person who has received your offering.
When you help a friend in need, you are the donator. The moment your donation is over, your task is done. You cannot expect the same favor back since it is now the call of the person who has received your offering. He can choose to sell your offering in the market or become a fanatic and forget you. That doesn’t prove anything and neither one should be worried about what happened or could have happened to the offering that was made. You have proved yourself, the objective has been achieved.
One should also not be worried about the validation that comes after making an offering. This craving for validation itself denigrates the cause (“Kriya”) and the do’er (“Karta”).
I helped you in so and so situation and now the time has come to return me the favor.
This is a fundamental mistake most people make in their day to day lives, with the assumption that everything has to be fair and that they should get validation of their offering.
Who are you proving? Are you proving the person who is receiving your help? No you are not. You are proving yourself. You are gratifying your own moral code. Your friend is just the subject, he will move on and might forget your help in due time.
By doing a good “cause”, you are not helping this world. This world is not waiting for your help. By doing good, you are helping yourself. You are helping realize the “Brahman” that is sleeping and waking it up.
I am equally grateful to the beggar as the beggar is grateful to me. Why? Because I am helping satiate the Beggar’s hunger. And the beggar is helping me do good, which makes me a better person and awakens the “Brahman” within.
I am equally grateful to my friend who asked for my help. Why? Because I am helping meet his need while my friend gives me the opportunity to help him, which makes me a better person and awakens the “Brahman” within.
The “cause” is greater than the “subjects” (donator/receiver). It is through this cause the “exchange” happens and illuminates the “Brahman” inside both subjects.
Hence, through your action(s), you are not proving anything to anybody but yourself. To the “Brahman” that is sleeping inside you.