Unselfishness is God. One may live on a throne, in a golden palace, and be perfectly unselfish; and then he is in God. Another may live in a hut and wear rags, and have nothing in the world; yet, if he is selfish, he is intensely merged in the world. — Swami Vivekananda

I don’t understand this quote. If a man living in a hut and wear rags it is quite normal to be a selfish person as he don’t have food, clothes and basic needs of life. If he doesn’t have this, how can he donate/charity some poor people because he is also a poor person and to earn something (money for food /clothes) he have to think himself first then what will you call him “selfish”. As I said earlier I didn’t understand. Please elaborate this.


2 Answers 2


Unselfishness and selfish are not fully depend on how much you give my dear friend , that is depend your mind and how many percentage and which conditions you gave whether it's 10 or 10,000.

Even a single pice of bread can show your unselfishness, say you are very much hungry in a isolated place, suddenly, you got a piece of bread from a god or somebody, you are ready to eat, at that moment few people or animals appears in front of you, ask you to share it, will you do it.

Do you know there is a ancient story, a King spend lot of money to build a big temple , one day he is ready for doing temple initiation ceremony but god appears his dream and said that "today I have no time to come your temple, have to goto another person temple" king search that temple and a person finally he found that it was build by his mind.

Whether it's true or false, this story show us attitude is important.

  • 3
    Can u pls add some references?
    – YDS
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 5:40
  • @YDS I don't think we can give solid references because this is explaining a quote which needs analysis from user . References doesn't help much in this case. Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 17:44
  • @YDS It's a collective reference, from Bhagavad Gita link
    – Kuhan
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 5:22

The quote should be read from a materialistic point of view, behind every action the main essence is your motive not the action. For example consider the two instances first where you may want to do charity because of your ego that you are very rich and can afford anything, but you can not give away your expensive watch or other stuff and second instance is you really don't have much money to donate though you want to help the needy & poor and can even part with your dearest item (if needed) without any hesitation, in the latter case you are being unselfish where as in the former case you are being selfish.

It is the desire that makes a person selfish and keeps him away from the god, whereas detachment from materialistic things makes him unselfish and brings him closer to the Supreme Head.

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Quoting from SB 7.13.27

The actual form of life for the living entities is one of spiritual happiness, which is real happiness. This happiness can be achieved only when one stops all materialistic activities. Material sense enjoyment is simply an imagination.

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