The self and the Self
"the letter unravelling the truth of each of us, addressed to the students on Janmashtami, Lord Krishna's birthday:
In the world of today, so full of people who are selfish, unloving and unloved, the brand of atheism known as 'self-love' has spread to the extent of almost becoming a universal religion.
What is the Self? It is the Self that says 'not I', for if it says 'I', then it is the unreal self. The real Self is selfless, and has no thought either of or for itself. It is the Self that has now forgotten itself, because somehow, it can visualise itself only in others. It is the Self that loves selflessly, because pure love is but selfless affection. It is the Self that seeks the truth with selfless determination, because truth is selfless wisdom. It is the Self that is quiet, because in silence lies cessation from all worldliness. It is the Self in wordless meditation, because wordless meditation is the conquest of the mind through union with the Divine. It is the Self that does not judge, but evaluates. It does not compare, seek security, or even see itself. It is the Self that has completely absorbed itself and yet, in a strange and mystical fashion, it is more itself, more complete and more real than it has ever been. This is the real Self.
God is love, and love is selflessness. Selflessness is the abolition of all sense of the ego and separativeness, of all spurious identification with the isolationist life of that counterfeit thing called 'self'; self is separativeness, and separativeness is the denial of wholeness, holiness, God.
The denial of God is known as atheism. As can now be understood, atheism is not the denial of this or that religion or of this or that concept of God. It is rather the denial of a life of love, which is the nature of God, and the assertion of the life of the egoistic self. In short, real atheism is the denial of love and the assertion of selfishness.
The Godward process called 'self-sacrifice' is, in its essence, love. For God is love, and love alone can lead to Him. As the most godly act is one of love, the most godless act is one of hate.
But hate, which is separativeness, can arise only when there is selfishness. Thus it comes to pass, that the most godless, loveless, atheistic act, is the act of selfishness.
Love must be totally selfless to be Godward, to be Divine. Its criterion must be, 'the Beloved, first'; its technique must be 'your happiness before mine'. The way to happiness is to forget oneself and to remember God, Sai Krishna."
With Blessings and Love, Sri Sathya Sai
Kasturi - Sathyam Sivam Sundaram