The Sublimity of Spiritual Pleasures
Striving to solve the problem of others and relieving them of their afflictions is not only the duty of every person, it is one of the best and sublimest pleasures of life. The scope of one's love should be so wide and inclusive that there should be room in it for everyone. Such a love can illuminate the soul and purge the heart of all suffering and bring true happiness to man, making him feel that everything that there is in the world is beautiful and lovely. A Western scholar writes
There is a reward for every virtue and a punishment for every vice, but this punishment and that reward do not lie beyond virtue and vice themselves. What can the reward of virtue be except virtue itself? And what can be a worse punishment for vice than vice itself?
In fact, reward and punishment are the natural consequence of our acts. One who puts his hands in fire gets burnt and one who acts in an evil manner and violates his duties receives the direct result of his deeds. You should not ask yourself, 'What is to be gained by goodness?' Be good, for goodness' sake. In the same way as day follows night and light follows darkness, true happiness, which consists of inner peace, will greet us as a result of our virtuous conduct.
One who does some good to others within the limits of his duties feels an unbounded joy within his soul. At such times it is as if he has risen over his ordinary surroundings to find himself on a brighter horizon beyond the confines of this life, and, as a result of this sublime feeling, he attains happiness.
Good intentions are fine, but one must make good deeds one's goal. We have a pleasant feeling when good thoughts cross our mind, but good acts, like shining stars, brighten the horizons of others' souls. We can build the foundations of personal merit by the means of our actions, or can destroy these foundations to build the house of vice and corruption on their ruins. Yes, we are able to accomplish either of these two alternatives, and, hence, our responsibility is truly great.
There are two kinds of people. Those who undertake painstaking efforts for the comfort of others and those who cause hardship to others for the sake of their own comfort. The second kind of people, while they cause distress to others, are not themselves free from wretchedness. Yet the first kind obtains happiness in the course of working for others' welfare. The acts that are performed with the purpose of helping others have great and remarkable results, no matter how small they might be. 1
There is no limit to benevolence and altruism, for the emotional resources of man are vast and inexhaustible. In fact, the more they are tapped the more abundantly do they flow. It is said that "the human intellect is finite but human passions are boundless: they can take everything under their angelic wings." Ultimately, benevolent and altruistic assistance is a virtue that is not attained by everyone.
1. Aveberry, John Lubbock Baron, Dar justojiz-e khushbakhti, pp. 201-203.
Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"
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