Life in this world is very calculative. Before we give something we calculate what we’ll get back. Before we take a risk we calculate what we could lose. Before we invest in a relationship we calculate what benefits it will bring us. Before we extend ourselves for someone else we calculate how worthy they are of our help. While such an approach seems sensible in a world where efficiency, effectiveness and practicality are the buzzwords, in the realms of spirituality it falls short. The spiritualist has the quality of magnanimity – ‘big hearted.’ As an ambassador of goodwill, the spiritualist is always looking for opportunities to benefit even the ‘undeserving’ souls. The great saint Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur prayed for the boon that he would “always desire the greatest good for even his worst enemy.”
Saintly persons like Srila Prabhupada were incredibly practical people. They formed institutions to broadcast the spiritual message; they dealt with finance, government laws, resolved conflicts and mediated relationships. Interestingly however, they never became calculative ‘managers’ who just made the evenhanded decisions based on what was fair and reasonable. Since their consciousness was always firmly anchored in the spiritual world, they carried the greatest asset possible - the overflowing spirit of goodwill. Here is a nice poem from Mother Teresa as a further reflection on this point:
Do It Anyway
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and sincere, people may cheat you;
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.