NAMAH Journal
Moving Forward
New Issue
About us
Peer Review
Contact us
Publication Ethics
Other Publications
Print version

Namah Journal


Cultivating a Sense of Interconnectedness: Rejoicing and Sharing Merit

Dr. Monica Gulati


When we live identified with a separate self, this ‘little me’, most often we live with a sense of not feeling oneness or interconnectedness with others around. We are shut in our own little cage, and often feel alienated from the rest of the world. Among many other possibilities, two that come from Buddhist practices, can be a very helpful antidote to this feeling of littleness, and also an antidote to jealousy. These two are rejoicing in the good deeds of others and ourselves and sharing the merit of our good deeds with all the sentient beings. Both the practices find support in theMother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s words too, and are very expansive and widening and joy giving in nature. This article explores both of them, with references from Buddhist texts and words of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

The Problem

Owing to the fact that we mostly live a life identified with our separate sense of self, it is no wonder that we feel alienated, disconnected, and judgmental towards our own self and the rest of the world. It is a bigger problem than it may seem, because out of this little sense of me, which is always feeling ‘not enough’, arises all the endless greed, endless craving and grasping, endless desire to accumulate, wanting more power, more money, more name, fame and position, and all these are a bouquet full of violence towards oneself and the world. It is imperative then, that as a human being, we must look to address this seemingly little problem, which is the root of virtually all the problems in the world. Trying to address the root of this human misery, not only develops a sense of peace in oneself, but also creates a sense of harmony and interconnectedness with the world around us.

Paving a way towards resolution

Buddhist practices often are replete with many good practices, which we can begin to cultivate before we have reached any true practical realisation in our being, which may take a long time, and transformation of the nature, still longer. In the meantime, while we are yet not ‘self-realised’(if one may use the word), looking at our non-beneficial thoughts and feelings, and sincerely trying to transform them into something expansive and joyful, is something which we all can practise, irrespective of our laymanship. Two of these practices are an antidote to the feeling of littleness, narrowness, and a sense of lack, which then lead to jealousy, ambition, and aggression against the rest of the brigade. We will explore these two, one by one.

Rejoicing in the happiness and goodness of others

Rejoicing can be defined as: feeling joy at the good qualities, constructive deeds and positive accomplishments of oneself and others and is called Anumodana in Sanskrit.

Since the ‘little me’ is always feeling limited, lacking and not enough, it is very well implied then that it doesn’t feel very happy when the other ‘little selves’ like itself get success, happiness or are doing well and feeling joyful. And hence comes the feeling of being jealous of others’ success, prosperity or good deeds, which in its effect further depletes one of good energy, and makes one feel more lacking, not good enough. Then the being can become full of poison, not wanting the well-being and happiness of others around. So, cultivating goodwill and wanting the wellness and true happiness of others, in other words feeling happy that others are happy and content, is a beautiful way to shift one’s consciousness from a sense of littleness to a sense of joy, wideness and interconnectedness and oneness.

A little exercise/experiment

Whenever you find yourself feeling jealous of someone in your life, instead of focussing on what the 'little me' doesn’t have, and the other has, try shifting focus to, ‘How nice, that the success or achievement, or prosperity is making the other feel good, joyful, content! How nice! Yes, I may not have what the other person has, but how beautiful that the other is feeling good and joyous, enjoying what I personally could not enjoy!’

The others may be doing good deeds, and helping others through their service, and one can feel happy to see the goodness in the world — how nice that there are little seeds of goodness and selfless service all around the world! May we have more and more seeds like that, sprouting everywhere, spreading light, and love. We need to experiment with this, to see how, from narrowness and constriction, this little practice and shift of focus makes us feel expanded, relieved and joyful.

When someone shares how wonderfully the other peer may be doing in your field, instead of comparing one 'little me' with another, we can say to ourselves, ‘How nice that the other’s work is benefitting so many! May all the good work keep spreading.’

We shall also see how this practice makes us come back to our own sādhanā, rather than spending lots of energy in comparison and endless futile chatter of the mind.

Sharing our merit with all sentient beings

If living identified with a false superficial self, even when on the path of goodness and virtue and sādhanā, we at times may feel again separated from others and may inwardly want all the merit of our rejoicing, our good deeds and actions and sādhanā for our ‘little me’. This narrows us, makes us ambitious, violent and aggressive — let ‘me’ get enlightened first! I want to be at the top of the enlightened persons list! I don’t bother about others, wherever they may be.’ This may have a spiritual garb on its face, but it is again the limited sense of self, the ego-consciousness, in operation. A very helpful antidote to this sense of ambition, vanity and narrowness is sharing our merits inwardly with all the sentient beings. When you are in Indian temples or gurudwaras, the temple priest or caretaker gives you something sweet, called prasad — like a gift from the Divine, a divine Blessing.

Usually, it is said that the more you distribute your prasad, the better it is, saying that we must share our prasad, our blessings from the Divine to as many people as possible. As if you are sharing and spreading Divine Light and Love and Blessings. It is the same for accumulated merits. As a matter of practice one can say inwardly, ‘May all the merit that I may have accumulated via good deeds, good thoughts, good feelings, satsang or virtuous company, may all that merit be shared with all the sentient beings. May all the sentient beings be joyful and progressive in their lives.’ The moment we genuinely are able to touch this intention within, we will feel an expansion, contentment, unburdening, and joy within. It tells us that this is the right way to go; we feel empowered.

Cultivating goodwill

When we look into our thoughts and feelings, we see that there are negative movements in us, narrow thoughts, feelings that are suffocating, ill-will. All these can make us very miserable, and let us know that this is not the right way to go. These wrong movements take away joy, content and happiness from our life. So the first step is to become conscious that these disturbing and disempowering movements are present and then to keep rejecting them by cultivating goodwill instead of ill-will. Without true and genuine goodwill for all, including ourselves, true harmony and fraternity is not possible.

A few words of the Mother on goodwill, in response to a despairing message from a sadhak:

(The disciple wrote about a woman who continued to live in the Ashram even though the Mother had asked her to leave. No one in authority would insist that she go. The letter ends:)

I do not know who is to look after all this or perhaps this is a period of anarchy. X, Y and Z, all the three know about her case, but are doing nothing.

“Well, the best is to take it with a smile! as it seems unavoidable — at least for the moment .

"It is when things are going wrong that it is the best opportunity to show one's goodwill and spirit of true collaboration (1)."

“Substitute the spirit of rivalry and competition by the goodwill of collaboration and mutual understanding (2).”

“Since we have decided to reserve love in all its splendour for our personal relationship with the Divine, we shall replace it in our relations with others by a total, unvarying, constant and egoless kindness and goodwill that will not expect any reward or gratitude or even any recognition (3).”

Always moving forward

To cultivate goodwill, to cultivate rejoicing in the happiness, progress and wellness of others and to keep sharing our merit with all sentient beings keeps us grounded, consciously interconnected, peaceful and progressive. Like this, if we move on, we can all grow and progress together in fraternity towards a genuine life.

Let us try these simple things, for which we really do not need any sophisticated philosophy or degree!


1. The Mother. The Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 17. 2nd ed. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 2004. p. 242.

2. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 14; 2003, p. 186.

3. The Mother, Collected Works, Volume 12; 1999, p. 58.

Recommended reading

Dr. Monica Gulati, a learner and a seeker, is based in Gurgaon, India and an editor of NAMAH.

Share with us (Comments,contributions,opinions)

When reproducing this feature, please credit NAMAH,and give the byline. Please send us cuttings.