What is the most desirable trait in man? Earlier studies suggested that physical attractiveness, intelligence and wealth of are most desirable traits in man. However, a new study to be published in the November issue of the “British Journal of Psychology”, suggests that a person’s unselfish tendencies is the most desirable trait in human beings. The lead researcher Tim Phillips, of the Behavior and Ecology Research Group at the University of Nottingham in England said,
“Evolutionary theory predicts competition between individuals and yet we see many examples in nature of individuals disadvantaging themselves to help others…. In humans, particularly, we see individuals prepared to put themselves at considerable risk to help individuals they do not know for no obvious reward.”
This should come to no surprise as we always knew that selflessness is always valued by human race. The people who lay down their life for their country, humanity or for a righteous cause without any selfish interest are often worshipped like God by man. Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi are some examples of such personalities.
However, this open secret of man has always been misused by clever and unscrupulous people. All political leaders promise to their citizen their desire for selfless service as they know that it fetches votes. There has never been dearth of selfish people who have cheated the humanity under the cover of selflessness.
Thus often, it is difficult to identify a selfless person.
Are We Selfless?
While the evolution theory predict that every man is a competitor of others and fights with others in the battle for survival, it is amazing to find people, who even give their life for others.
Why some people give their lives for others?
We all can claim to be selfless. After all we consume only part of what we earn. The father in a typical family spends most of his salary on their children and wife and enjoys only little of his earning by himself. The mother too spends almost her entire time and energy in bringing up her children without any return. Yet hardly anyone consider such acts as selfless.
Doing good for the family is quite normal in human beings and even in animals. The reason is that it is no act of altruism if we serve our self. In a civil society, a family is considered to be the extension of the self as man can not survive alone in the planet. The family does provide love and support to each individual of the family hence man is paid what he gives to his family. Further, every person gets such love, affection and support from his own parents; hence he has to give what he got. The love to the child is extremely natural to the parents; hence doing something for them is not considered selflessness as the children too pay back to heir parents what they received during their childhood.
Why then people help an unknown person knowing fully well that they can’t get anything in return?
Spiritualism: The Root of Selfishness
The answer to this question is that every person is by nature spiritual. In Indian philosophy, the soul of the person is called “Atman” while God is called “Paramatman” (Universal Soul). Hence, in every man lies a part of God. In Christianity too Holy Spirit hat is present in all beings is considered to be another form of God.
However, most people do not have this realization and they see themselves as different from others. Such people can not do anything for others as they feel that such action is a waste as they get nothing in return.
However, a person, who sees God in everyone or see everyone as an extension of the self actually help the self by helping others. Nobody expect anything in return when he serve self.
Thus the root of the selflessness is the awakening of the spirituality in man or woman that enables person to do selfless work. We all want to identify such person as they can be trusted for guidance and help. We too want to become such person so that we can earn love and trust from people.
However, it is not easy to identify spiritual person as many material people disguises themselves in the clothing of spiritual man.
One can easily identify a spiritual person if he or she has the following nine characteristics in their personality.
NINE IDENTIFICATIONS OF SPIRITUAL A PERSON
1. Synergy between Words and Action
The actions of a spiritual person are always in harmony with his words. He speaks only what he truly believes in. If one only observe the lives of most people who call themselves spiritual, he can immediacy notice the different between their words and deeds. While they may be preaching equality, yet they treat themselves as superior from others. While, they may ask people to lead simple lives, yet they themselves live in good houses and wear expensive cloths and ornaments. A spiritual person does not say anything which is impractical. He demonstrates the practicality of his principles by following the words spoken by him.
One has to make a distinction between scholar and spiritual person. Any person with good memory can remember each word of a scripture and prove anything by the strength of logic. A scholar always supports his argument with some reference of other studies or scripture. However, a spiritual person is a self-realized person whose knowledge has emerged from within. Thus he instead of “having knowledge” has “become knowledge” as his persona has become one with Spirit. Thus his explanation emerges directly from his soul and convinces the person rather than asking people to get convinced because someone has said so, or something is written in a scripture or some study has proven something.
A spiritual person is the one whose soul has become one with God or Spirit. Thus he can know the world from a much wider perspective. His mind is in peace like the water in the depth of a sea. He knows that everything that happens in the world has some logic in it. He can know the cause and effect through his intuition. Hence he is always at peace and does not feel disturbed by the mundane things of the world which are like waves on the surface of a sea.
4. Indifference to Physical Appearance
Spirituality is complementary to materialism just like the spirit is complementary to body. One who focuses on body can not focus on spirit. Thus a spiritual person is indifferent for the physical appearance of the self and others. He does not identify the person from his exterior covering but identify from his soul. The appearance is immaterial to him. Hence if a person wears designer’s cloth and keeps focuses in being physically attractive, he has least chances of being spiritual. It is no surprise that most spiritual people keep beard which actually covers the physical attractiveness of the body.
5. Unconditionally Loving
Love is the most important character of a spiritual person. He does not hate anyone including the criminal and terrorist. It may look weird and impossible to ordinary man but not to the spiritual person. Just like we all like everything about ourselves including our not so perfect body, in the same way for a spiritual person there is not “other” so he identify even with his enemies.
6. Equality and Justice
God has created everyone equal even though He has given everyone a different role. However, man put material value on the human being on the basis of demand and supply. For example, the President of a nation is far more valued than the ordinary sweeper because there is only one post of President and large number of applicants. While, there are plenty of sweepers with a few applicants. However, it can not be denied that both are required for the nation. A spiritual person, therefore, never distinguish people based on their religion, caste, economic status or position in the society as he is able to see everyone with the same eye. In Gita, Lord Krishna says,
A wise man, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle Brahman (scholar), a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (outcaste).
7. Devoid of Passion
A spiritual person is never in hurry as he does not have lust or passion for anything. A man of passion always have to do something, thus he feels restless all the time. However a spiritual person knows his role in the scheme of things and does what is in the best interest of the world. He is a yogi, who has complete control over his body, senses and mind. Gita says,
Who sees inaction in action and action in inaction, he is enlightened among men. He is a yogi, he has done all he needs to.
A spiritual person is always humble as he sees God in every person or he considers everyone as the extension of the self. He knows that he is merely a tool in the hands of God and he has been send in this world to perform a particular function. There can never be an element of pride in him.
Can a machine be proud of his function?
Should not the credit of the performance of the functioning of machine go to its designer? Why should a man then feel pride of his achievements?
The need for humility is demonstrated by Jesus Himself when he washed the feet of his disciple. Bible narrates the incident as following
He (Jesus) riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. (John, 13: 4-5)
9. Compassion and Forgiveness
A spiritual man is the most forgiving as he knows that everyone will be judged as per his deeds by God. He never put himself on the place of God and judges a person by his own standards. Thus, even if someone has wronged him or wronged other person, he always seeks forgiveness from God for him. Thus instead of hating a person whose action is not in conformity with his desire or as per the scripture, he shows compassion for all.
Jesus himself demonstrated the act of forgiveness when despite of being crucified by the Jews, he sought forgiveness from God for him. He prayed
“Forgive them, Father, They don’t realize what they’re doing.”
Spirituality is for Everyone
Man is born spiritual. Jesus in his first teaching said,
“It is written: “Man does not live on bread alone, but o every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Man suffers pain when he ignores the need of spiritual awakening in him and tries to live on bread alone like any other animal. Everyone can listen to the words of God if he awakens his spiritual self. Thus a less spiritual person must identify and learn the words of God from the people who have evolved higher in their spiritual journey. The Nine identifications discussed in this article can help a person in identifying the truly spiritual person and undertake the journey that is towards God or Spirit. Development of these Nine characters in self can make a person spiritual and selfless.