परोपकाराय फलन्ति वृक्षः, परोपकाराय वहंती नद्यः |
परोपकाराय दुहन्ति गावः, परोपकारार्थम इदं शरीरम ||
When translated, this verse in Sanskrit means :
The trees bear fruits so that other beings can eat them.
The rivers flow and help both humans and animals and birds to drink water.
The cows provide milk and this body of mine is there to be of use to others.
Another important verse tells us the effect of helping and hurting.
Paropakaraya Punyaya, Papaya Parapeedanam
Where Paropakaaraya punyaya means it is good karma to help others and bad karma or sin to hurt others (peedanam - hurting, abusing)
It is detailed below in the text.
Let this life of mine be useful to others and let me not use this body and its faculties to hurt other beings through thought, word, or act.
We humans interact daily with other beings, be they humans or animals. Some people do not bother whether they cause harm to others knowingly or unknowingly. Perhaps, it is not their fault entirely as they have grown up that way and were fashioned into what they are at the moment. Some may think that it is natural to hurt others' feelings and even encourage others to do so. For example, the patriarchal society in some countries does not allow females to come out of the nest and try out their luck in the world. They believe that the 'ladies' should be protected at all costs and be married off without even giving them the opportunity to study or be employed. Little do they realize that every human being has the 'brains' to think and grow and display their brilliance to the rest of the world. Times have changed and so should they.
People who often cite the scriptures saying that the woman should be suppressed do not realize that the very same woman can be capable of uplifting an entire society by being able to educate not only herself but also her family and friends.
I am not a feminist. I am not one to deny education either. let this be known that whenever you educate a girl child, you are helping educate a future generation as well.
People should also educate their children and make them understand that it is not their birthright to loot the parents in the name of dowry and 'gifts'
Many criminal cases have been registered in my country because the bride's husband and his family kept on demanding dowry and finally hurt the woman when the demands aka needs were not met. They also abuse the newly married woman and treat her as a servant. So, it is high time that the dowry system is stopped, and even if it is not legal, people continue it as a 'gift system' Such people should not be encouraged and punished by law.
The human body is meant to serve others, not to indulge in selfish deeds. As selfishness has become part and parcel of our lives, we indulge in many sinful activities. Eschew selfishness, and take to selfless service. Give up attachment to the body. Become attached to the Self. Understand that the same Self (Atma) exists in everyone. Though you find several bulbs glowing in a big hall, the current that is passing through them is the same. Bodies are like bulbs; the principle of Atma is the current that is present in them. With such a feeling of oneness, make efforts to alleviate the suffering of your fellow beings. Sage Vyasa has given the essence of 18 Puranas in the dictum: Paropakaraya Punyaya, Papaya Parapeedanam (one attains merit by serving others and commits sin by hurting them). So, practice ‘Help ever, hurt never’. There is no higher spiritual practice than this. This is the foundation for self-realization! [Divine Discourse, Apr 14, 2001]