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“Convince yourselves that life cannot continue long without others serving you and you serving others. Only those who have humility to regard themselves as "servants of servants" can become true servants of God. You must render service out of spontaneous urge from within, with a heart filled with love...

When you grasp the significance of the word, Service, you will find that it is not so much the service of others, but, service for yourself! Once you feel the distinction that the other person is foreign, then, service becomes patronage; it loses its savour and fosters the evil of egoism. Such service is quite against the spiritual practice called Seva. Serve man, until you see God in all men; then, what you do will be elevated as Worship.”

This is what Bhagavan Baba said in a beautiful discourse while delineating the value and virtue of service. In innumerable discourses like this, Bhagavan has elucidated on this supreme human value of service. The present quiz is designed to help you recapitulate these precious tenets from the Divine Master


1. In a Divine Discourse delivered in November 1988, Swami reminds us: “It is the sense of dualism - of "mine" and "thine"- which accounts for all the joys and sorrows, likes and dislikes experienced by man. This dualism is rooted in selfishness, which makes one think that as long as he is all right, it does not matter what happens to the world. Such a self-centered person, who regards his body, his wealth and his family as all that matter to him, looks upon truth as untruth and the false as true. To get rid of this deep-seated malaise, men have to engage themselves in service. They have to realise that the body has been given not to serve one's own interests but to serve others. Service should proceed from an awareness of what one owes to society.”

According to Swami, with what spirit should one serve society?

2. In a Divine Discourse delivered in November 1987, Swami guides us as to which category of people we should focus on to serve the most: “One should be prepared to serve others than choose to be served by them. There are three levels of people in the world. At the highest level are those who may be placed in the category of Lakshmi-Narayana. Those who are in the same stage as ourselves are in the category of Aswatha-Narayana. Those who are poorer than ourselves may be described as Daridra-Narayana.”

According to Swami, then on which section of people should our efforts be directed to?

3. During the 1973 Summer Shower discourses, Swami corrected us: “You should be prepared to do selfless service. You should never think of being served by others. You have the strength of the body, mind and spirit at this age and therefore you should do service to others right now. You should serve old, hungry and weak people. Such service should be regarded by you as service to God. On the other hand, if you are anticipating that someone will serve you, your life will be going along a dark path.”

So according to Swami, what will be the end result of getting accustomed to only being served by others?

4. In a Divine Discourse given in November 1987, Swami reminds us that: “We must consider that we have taken birth only to render service to society as a sacred duty. Whatever small service we may do, if we do it in the right spirit, serving with no thought of self, we shall be doing something commendable and worthwhile. An act of service by itself may be a small thing. But it must be done wholeheartedly. Just as a cow transforms whatever it may consume into sweet, wholesome milk, any kind of service rendered with a pure heart will result in great good. You should not have any returns in view in rendering service. "This is my duty. I am born to serve" - it is with such an attitude that you should take up service.”

According to Swami, what should be taken into consideration when allotting service?

5. In a Divine Discourse given in May 1984, Swami describes how true seva should be done: “How is service done presently? Doubtlessly, there are persons who undertake service with love. But for whose sake are they doing it? It is for their own sake, not for others. It may not be done to achieve name or to gain something. It is done for the pleasure derived from it. To engage in service activities with pleasure and to regard a day devoted to service as a good holiday is not enough.”

So according to Swami, when can service be considered as true service?

6. In His Divine series “Vidya Vahini”, Swami shares His Wisdom: “The parrot talk, “Service to Man is Service to God” (Manava seva is Madhava seva) does not extend to all men. Those who reel off this axiom do not inquire who are the men to be served. They are eager only to fill their own stomachs; for this purpose they restrict their mental horizons to the uplift of their own people. Thus, they lay waste the valuable education they have received.”

According to Swami, besides serving not only those who help us, who else should educated persons serve?

7. In a Divine Discourse delivered in December 1967, Swami propounds on how each one can share their talents and skills within their own society in the form of service: “The doctors among you can serve the poor by treating them without insisting on payment; give the poor all the attention and care that you lavish on the rich, paying patients. Do it for the sake of God; feel that it is the Puja you are offering Him. The lawyers among you can help those, who for want of a skilled advocate, have to go undefended or have to suffer at the hands of unscrupulous men.”

According to Swami, how can the sevadal empower destitute ladies?

8. In a Divine Discourse delivered in November 2000, Swami expounds more on the Divine act of service: “The hands do the work, the tongue performs the task of talking and the head enquires. All these limbs of the body may be different from each other but the divine power that exists in them is one and the same. Likewise, the same divinity exists in all beings. Once you understand this truth, the service you render will become divine. One should not become egoistic thinking that one is doing great service. Actually, service is meant to ___________.”

9. In a Divine Discourse given in November 1987, Swami guides us: “A peaceful mind is the abode of love. Love is inherent in man, but like a seed that has to be nourished by manure and water, love in man has to be fostered by shraddha and prema (dedicated service and love). Love is a sacred quality. It is like nectar. A man who has tasted the immortal sweetness of Divine love will not desire anything else in the world. Life must become a constant manifestation of love. Today love is manifested in a constricted, selfish manner. It needs to be expressed in service to society. It has to be offered to others and shared with them. Thereby love becomes a reciprocal, ever widening experience.”

According to Swami, how does the sacred act of service change our lives?

10. During the 1979 Summer discourses, Swami expounded on the ultimate of all seva. “We should undertake today what is known as nishkama karma, or action performed without any desire for the fruit thereof. Service of the downtrodden, the disabled and the diseased also constitutes an obligation in one’s daily life and cannot be described as being nishkama karma, or motiveless work. This is because man’s love for the universe is not without selfishness. If man loves any object, he does so for his own sake and pleasure. Similarly, if a man conceals an object in a secure place, it is not on account of his love for the object, but because of his love for himself. Thus, in the world, all kinds of love are born of love for oneself and not out of love for others.”

According to Swami, how should one regard the opportunity of doing selfless-service?

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- Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 7 Issue 01 - JANUARY 2009
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