The scriptures say the nature of self-interest or selfishness is a person who thinks he alone should be comfortable and enjoy all the material benefits. Sri Ganesa Sarma said in a discourse that general or public welfare implies that through one’s deeds, one extends comforts and benefits to others. Evil-minded people will create trouble for others. We should at least refrain from causing harm to others. The peak of selfishness leads to the development of ego.
The easiest way to shun ego is to follow the guidelines enshrined in the sastras. The sastras are the basis for legal enactments in a society. Following dharma, as in the sastras, will not only remove our whims and fancies but also bring peace and happiness to society. How can a person understand whether a deed he has undertaken is correct? The sastras alone can decide, and they are the witness to our actions (‘Tasmaat sastram pramananthe karya karyow vyavasthithow’). In His manifestation as Lord Rama, God shows this to us by His conduct and behaviour (‘Ramo vigrahavan dharma’). Lord Krishna established this by protecting the pious people (‘Parithranaya sadhunam’).
Various acharyas lived by dedicating their lives for the benefit of ordinary people. The acharya in recent times is the Kanchi Mahaperiyava Sri Chandrasekara Swamigal, who lived for a century, guiding, helping and blessing all people. Their lives are the best examples worthy of emulation for us to become selfless and valuable to society.