The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner (Q): Is it love to take care of myself and my belongings?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Yes, it is love to take care of yourself; but to take care of anything you must know what that thing is. Can you take care of a car engine without knowing the engine? Can you take care of anything without knowing what that thing is?
Yes, love is about taking care of yourself; but really taking care of yourself, you must first know what your real problems are, you must know what you really want, you must first know what keeps you afraid, nervous, alert, and then you will be able to take care of yourself. And yes, that is love.
Q: Is it not selfishness to love myself only and not the rest of the world?
AP: What do you mean by ‘myself’?
If your definition of myself separates you from the world, then this self that is separate from the world is anyway not worth loving. If your definition of love is that you and the world are separate entities then this ‘you’ is anyway not worth loving because this is not the real you.
First of all, figure out who you are and what your relationship with the world is, then you would be able to answer the question, ‘Whether it is possible to love yourself while simultaneously being indifferent to the world?’
It is not at all possible!
If you really love yourself while being apathetic to the world, that self-concept that places you as separate from the world is a flawed concept like all concepts.
That concept will only lead to violence.
When you really love yourself then you realize that your welfare and the welfare of the world are inseparable. Then you will not ask, “How do I love myself while ignoring the world?”
Love yourself is to parallelly, concurrently take care of both, yourself and the world.
And these are not two separate things. When you are really taking care of yourself you are doing the service to the world and when you are doing service to the world you are actually taking care of yourself.
The two are one.
Watch the full video here.