Let us evolve from a Survivor to a Contributor

Author - Chithra Viswanathan

All living beings are programmed with an instinct to survive. Survival implies air, water, food and shelter. Clothing is necessary to protect from the elements. A human being is also subject to this programming. While every animal seems to be self-conscious, only a human being is self-judging and inhibited as well, implying that the self-consciousness in the human being is complete.

But mere survival is not enough for the self-judging human being. He needs to contribute something to transcend, to get beyond being just a survivor. You do become a contributor by being an earning member of the family or just by being a parent. But this is not the only form of contribution. If we have to reach the level of being a contributor, our entire psychology, that is, our way of thinking, our way of looking at ourselves, at others and at the world has to undergo a change.

The gift of knowledge or Vidya Dhanam is considered the greatest contribution because the gift of knowledge is a far higher gift than food and clothes. Any kind of knowledge imparted is good, but if you are able to give self-knowledge (Atma Vidya) to a person, that is the greatest contribution. That is exactly what Vedanta does. He who gives man spiritual knowledge is the greatest benefactor of mankind because spirituality is the true basis of all our activities in life.

Next comes, helping a man physically. It is not only the last but the least, because it cannot bring about permanent satisfaction.

We always perform actions which are compelled by desire. We have to look around us at the vast spectacle of nature. The sun, the wind, the ocean, the trees and plants, every force in nature is ceaselessly active and contribute selflessly! Do we pay them for their service and energy ?

A true contributor responds to the human society and to the environment. He acts at a deeper level, which not only includes the significant others in your life, but is one in which every other person becomes significant to you. He contributes in a constructive manner and does not do anything that hurts people or hurts the environment. He “gives up” his petty self and its narrow boundaries as a survivor and watches the tremendous satisfaction which he gets as a contributor.

Living begins when one contributes something that will bring about more joy, more happiness, more light and more freedom. We must help others we do not even know, except to know that they need help. When a person is able to do something for someone else, he feels an inner expansion, not pride. It is an indication of growth because the essential nature of human being is fullness, wholeness. To live is to be a positive contributor, regardless of whether the recipient is known to him or her. 

A man engaged in contribution is welcome everywhere in the world. He is a follower of
Vasudeva Kutumbakam
The whole world is our family.

He enjoys happiness and “peace that passeth understanding” – a great sense of fulfillment.