Meanwhile, in North India, there was a severe drought and thousands of poor people were starving (Sept. 1964). The newspapers were full of descriptions of their plight. In the hall each morning, after attending to the correspondence and pending matters, and if there was time, Baba would state, “Now let’s have some bogus news,” meaning Eruch should read out the headlines or some interesting article from the newspapers.
When Bhau heard about the drought, he thought about those starving and felt helpless about doing anything to relieve the terrible suffering. One day, he read that a well-known industrialist had opened free kitchens and was supplying food to many of the poor. He felt happy about reading this news, and the article was also read to Baba. In reaction, Bhau thought: “Here is an example of true selfless service. It is good that God has given this man wealth because he uses it for the benefit of others.”
The same night when he was with Baba, pressing his feet, all of a sudden the thought of the industrialist came into his mind. Again he started thinking what a wonderful man he must be and how generous. Baba suddenly asked, “What are you thinking?”
As usual Bhau said, “Nothing.”
Baba persisted, “Tell me the truth.”
So Bhau revealed his thoughts – about the plight of the poor in northern India, the selflessness of the rich businessman who had opened free kitchens, and so forth. In response, Baba commented, “He is not doing selfless service; he is doing most selfish service! Though what he is doing is good.”
Bhau was shocked, and Baba explained, “Behind his ‘service’ is a selfish motive – he is doing this for the sake of name and fame, to get his photograph and name in the newspapers. He wants to become popular; he wants people to think that he is kind and generous. He also wants the government to see that he is giving so much money in charity, for which he can claim a tax exemption.
“But here you are. You are serving me with all love, without any motive. The whole universe is in me. That capitalist, even if he becomes truly selfless, can never serve the whole universe. So there is a world of difference between his service and yours. Through me you are serving the whole universe.”
Although Bhau was thirty-eight years old at this time, he was rather inexperienced and naive in the ways of the worldly-minded.
Lord Meher American ed. Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 19, p. 6280.