There is a lovely song based on a poem by Paramhansa Yogananda. The words are:
I have nothing to offer Thee,
For all things are Thine.
I grieve not that I cannot give,
For nothing is mine, nothing is mine.
Here I lay at Thy feet, O Lord,
My limbs, my life, my thoughts, and my speech,
For they are Thine. For they are Thine.
The heart of a devotee naturally overflows with the desire to help others. In fact, this yearning is one of the first signs of a refined consciousness. In a sense it is that impulse that brought this world into existence in the first place. God, the only thing that really exists, is ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new bliss. That bliss is ever expanding and, as Swami Kriyananda put it so simply and beautifully, “It is the nature of joy to want to share itself with others. So God created a multitude of seemingly separate souls so that He could share His bliss.”
Each soul, being an extension of God, shares this impulse. But what do we really have to give? The first things that pop into our mind are tangible offerings: our service, our possessions, our wealth. Even a rank materialist is willing to share these, but usually just with his immediate family. This limitation is a condition that Paramhansa Yogananda called, “Us four, and no more.”
Master taught that one pathway to liberation is continually to enlarge the circle of those whom we think of as our own: first to friends and loved ones; then to neighbors; then to our country. But we must keep expanding our sympathies in wider and wider circles, until we see the whole world as our very own family. Ah, what a different planet this would be, one filled with peace and abundance, if people could follow that simple advice.
Alas, this ideal won’t become worldwide during our present materialistic age. But you and I don’t have to be caught by the delusions of mass consciousness. We don’t have to wait for others to change. We, ourselves, can live that way now. To do so will put us in alignment with the will of God, and will bring light into the world.
And yet, for final liberation, a still higher way of giving is needed. We need to break the delusion of the ego, that we are this body and this personality. We need to express our eternal, soul qualities. Not long before his passing, Swami Kriyananda gave some invaluable advice to a friend, Nayaswami Aditya, one of the leaders of Ananda’s work in India. Aditya trained as a medical doctor, having grown up in the household of a physician who was always eager and willing to help alleviate suffering. And this attitude of service was passed down in his children, all of whom became in time doctors themselves.
One day Dr. Aditya, still active as a surgeon at the time, asked Swamiji what more he could do to help people. Swami told him, “The greatest thing you can do is to give people your bliss.” What deep and precious advice.
As long as we think of ourselves as physical beings, we should act in such a way as to expand our consciousness. It is important to share with others. But anything we give on a physical level is ephemeral and will pass away sooner or later. If, however, we give the gift of God’s eternal qualities, those offerings will last forever. No matter whether we are rich or poor, young or old, we each possess as our very own inheritance an endless supply of bliss, and love, and peace. When we connect with those in the silence of meditation, and then give them away to others, God sees that we are acting as His channels and gives us even more to distribute.
Ultimately, we become that which flows through us. Then, we can say in all sincerity, “I have nothing of my own to give, but through me YOU can give all the priceless gifts for which every soul yearns.”
In the light of God,