Selflessness or altruism is an ideal to be found in every religion. While each animal lives for itself and its family, man is able to feel the suffering of others and has the impulse to help. Out of love and compassion one is ready to stand up for others without taking it as a burden, but feeling happy while doing so.
Spirituality does not mean secluding oneself in a monastery, or egocentric self-realization. It manifests itself in the fact that one does not only think of oneself and in loveable dealings with our fellow beings. If everyone makes sure that the others are also well off, it will lead to a peaceful coexistence – in the family, at work, between social groups, religions and states.
From a lecture by Sant Kirpal Singh, January 27th, 1964:
Selfless service means to have love for all. If your children are eating and other children in the neighbourhood are dying of hunger, share with them. Share with those who are naked, those who are hungry, those who are thirsty, those who are needy. If you help others, naturally you will be helped.
Help somebody with no compensation, with no consideration of whether you will have anything in return from them. Only give to the God in them. This means that the self expands: first, from yourself to the family; then, from the family to the class to which you belong; then, from the class to the religion; then, that self expands further to the country; and you become a patriot. In all this, your self does expand; but there is also a danger. If your whole love expands to your family, then two families fight. Each one is fighting for his own family: the self has congealed in two different families.
If your love expands as far as love for your class in society or your religion, you will love the men of your religion and hate others: there are religious wars, in which thousands of people die. If your love is just for your country and each man has love only for his own country, then, two great wars in which millions of people were killed, have shown what this causes. So our love should expand for the sake of God in all men. “Peace be unto all the world over.” This is what is meant by selfless service: our selves should expand.
Each man should learn to help others, to share with others. Otherwise, what is the difference between a man and an animal? Animals also care for their children; they fight for their children. If you touch the child of any animal, it will take away your eyes. If you do that, in what lies the superiority within you as a man?
The superiority of man lies in the fact that he helps his own self and others, too: not only men, but even all other creatures, as well. If you learn to live for others, you are, truly speaking, a man. Stand on your own legs, first. Don’t be a burden on others. Then, share with others; the more you can give out for His sake, the more you will advance. This is what is meant by selfless service — our selves should expand.
From day to day, your self must expand. If you see a man dying and you are not caring and enjoying yourself, this does not mean selfless service. There is no need for someone to come and appeal to you that this or that man needs you. If you see it, come by, and help him. It does not matter if others see it or not. God is seeing you. This is to be developed, side by side.
If you don’t care for the hungry gods moving on earth, how can you have love for God? He is not in the heavens; He is everywhere, residing in every heart.
Sant Kirpal Singh: Speech Word Fellowship of Religions