Should I take care of myself, or help others first? || (2021)

July 22, 2021 | Acharya Prashant

Questioner: Pranaam Acharya Ji. First of all tonnes of gratitude, Acharya Ji. I never thought that there would be such deep knowledge in the Upanishads. Thank you so much! When you were saying that sages went out and stayed in the forest for self-realization—Is it not selfish?

I also remember a quote of Ramana Maharshi where he says, "Your own self-realization is the biggest service to the world." But I don't understand this statement. How does this really help the world?

Sometimes, I do feel that by putting my Sadhana first, I am being selfish. So, I am not getting the clarity on that part, Acharya Ji.

Acharya Prashant: See, at the root of your confusion, is the belief that by staying where you are and by doing what you do, you are of some use, some service to other people. That's your basic assumption. Do you get this?

What you are saying is, “Right now, the way I exist, where I exist, the people I live with, the way I live with those people, I am of some use, some good, some service to them.” This is your current position, this is your current thought.

Based on this thought you say, "Now currently I am of use to them therefore if I start doing something else or start living in some other way or at some other place, physical or psychological, the service I am currently providing to them will cease."


Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More