Volume 11 - Issue 01
january 2013
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Posted on: Mar 03, 2015

Sathya Sai Speaks - 90th Birthday Special


Selfless Service for Individual and Societal Progress

- 3rd Sevadal Conference, 15 Nov 1975

When the Lord comes in our midst there are two important aspects to His descent that stand out among others. One is His powerful and enchanting presence, which has the potency to transform and raise all who comes to Him. Everyone who comes to Him benefits, some considerably and few immensely, depending on one’s receptiveness. The other aspect is the message that He brings, and this has some unique benefits of its own. Adherence to the message has the power to manifest the Lord in one’s life. A tryst with Divinity could be a blessing for good acts of the past, but it is in loyalty to the message that one completely benefits and finds redemption, and also a means to express one's devotion to the Lord. So it is indeed of paramount importance for each of us to dwell on His message.

As part of the 90th Birthday offerings, we will begin every month from the present one with excerpts of a discourse from the Golden Jubilee Birthday Celebrations of Bhagawan. During the grand 50th Birthday celebrations, Baba gave discourses specific to the Seva wing and the Bal Vikas wing, apart from discourses revealing His own message and mission. The excerpts presented below are from the discourse Baba gave on 15 Nov 1975, during the 3rd Sevadal Conference. Let us listen and re-listen, read and re-read even as we imbibe the essence contained.



There are people who are able to cross the river of life happily. On the other hand there are lot many people who are actually suffering and sinking in the ocean of life. Is it right and humane on the part of former to enquire them about the depth of the river while the latter is sinking?  One cannot experience the Essence (Tattwa) without giving up sloth (Tamas); without giving up passion and anger (Rajas), you are not going to obtain devotion. The quality of Sattva is the true path of devotion (Bhakti Sadhanam). This is the fact, listen to Me.



Duty without love is deplorable; Duty with love is desirable; and Love without duty is Divine! Not recognizing such sacred and divine love, merely doing activities as good actions, and hoping that these would take us closer to God is mere foolishness. This morning the sevadal conveners from different states have described in many ways the kind of activities which the sevadal are undertaking. It’s a blind path or blind imitation for any one state to imitate another state or for any individual to follow and imitate another individual. We talk of imitation being human and creation being divine, but this is not the kind of imitation we should adopt. Also to think that for one’s own satisfaction to do something is service is not a right attitude. Apart from the self-satisfaction we derive, keeping in focus the satisfaction of the beneficiary will make our service activities meaningful. It's only service from which you do not aspire for the fruits thereof, will turn man into God. Service that is absolutely selfless, gives you not merely fleeing benefits, but can completely sublimate and sanctify your entire life. Selfless service would enable those who are following the spiritual path to remain steadfastly on the spiritual path and would never allow them to go astray.



The greatness that is present in service is not to be seen in any other Sadhana. If we have this service as our primary aim and then adopt the various practices of devotion, such as listening and singing His praises, meditating on the divine name, servitude to the feet of the Lord, prostrating, offering worship, considering oneself as a servant and friend of the Lord, and the path of Self-enquiry, then the service will enable you get rid of the ego and bad qualities in you. One animal nature that is reminiscent in man is his ego. Service will remove this animal nature, makes him softer and enable one to go nearer to God.

You may hold food in your hand and go on turning that hand around your mouth; you will never relieve your hunger. It is only when the food goes into your mouth, reaches your stomach and gets digested, that your hunger will be relieved and you will get strength and nourishment from that food. In the same manner, when you undertake Sadhana and perform it like how a sadhana is to be performed, and hand it over to yourself, will you deserve the kindness and the grace of God.

Premaswaroopas!! You are undertaking different kinds of works and difficult tasks, and accomplishing them, but what you should remember is, it is not the quantity of work that is important, it is the quality. It is very important and necessary for the members of the Sathya Sai Sevadal not so much to ask to themselves, "What is the great work we have done, what is the amount of work we have done" These are not as important as you asking yourself, "What is the attitude with which I have done the work, what is the kind of heart I had when I have done this work?"



The word service or seva is a very sacred word. Although it is just a double syllable word, its meaning is deep and sacred. You have already heard that, service done without hoping for the results and the fruits, will take you to close to God. It is necessary for the members of Sathya Sai Sevadal to get rid of their ego, emotions and attachments and work in such a way that they recognise and understand the unity in the diversity. The situation in the world is not unknown to you.  The world is full of injustice, anger and untruth. It is necessary for the members of the Sevadal to vow to propagate and establish peace, truth, love and right conduct world. Consider it as a fortune to spread happiness and peace in the world thus. What the world needs today is not food and affluence. The youth should make up their mind to spread mutual love and forbearance in the society. That alone will ensure that Bharath will shine forth in the world.



The members of our sevadal should by their conduct be able to promulgate and propagate the sacredness of this country to which they belong. I do not have to specifically say that the minds of young people of today are very wayward. The period of youth is very sacred. Whether it is a sacred or unsacred act,  good or bad, this is the age for action. If this age moves by, it's not going to come back to you. Man’s youth and the river’s waters once they flow by, will not retreat. Before this youth wears away, we must put in the efforts to do whatever good we wish to do and acquire the sacredness and bliss we aspire for.  This age is very important for you to get over restless minds, suppress agitation and remove anxiety and acquire peace.

Today we learn from the newspapers that everywhere there are agitations in which youth are participating. The country's good and bad depends on the young. So, apart from striving for personal progress, it is also man’s duty to aspire for the progress and fortune of the country one belongs to.

So in this congregation you should recognise this fact that, to do whatever one does purely for selfish reasons is very wrong. It has been said, “The proper study of mankind is man”, what does this saying mean? It means that man’s words and deeds should all be synchronised with his essential nature (Tattvam), only then he can claim to be ‘mankind’. Merely by seeing the form and name one cannot be labelled as mankind. You should become instruments that will remove the discord in the world and establish peace.

In this country, love of God and fear of sin have disappeared. All your attempts should be to re-establish these two by shining forth as examples; and there by you should experience the bliss to be found in the path of spirituality. Divyatma Swaroopas! I am hoping that you will all become ideal citizens and establish the principles of the culture and tradition of this country.



All the members of  the sevadal have to accept certain rules of discipline and regulations. One may ask, are rules and discipline necessary even in a spiritual path? Yes, it is very essential. So long as the plant is tender, it is necessary to protect it by putting a fence around it. The same tender plant when it grows big, the animals and cattle are not going to attack this big tree. In the same manner, so long as our spiritual nature is still in the tender stage it becomes necessary to have a fence around it. Without discipline, man will not be a man. So we have to accept discipline as our primary spiritual practice. Many of our people are making the mistake of misunderstanding this word, discipline. The three Ds, Discipline, Devotion and Duty are very important and can be sourced to our Vedas.

Our objective today appears to be only devotion, but one does not understand whether one is in devotion or the deep ocean! But for our duty, devotion and discipline should stand by as guards.

Many elders today giving importance to duty and proclaim, ‘Duty is God’. But in their duties, one does not see any aspect of God, on the contrary one sees only the aspect of the dog! In performing one’s duty, discipline and devotion must come along as bodyguards. On one side must be the discipline that pertains to the duty, on the other there should be the devotion that relates to this duty and discipline. Only then can say, “Work is worship and Duty is God”.

The members of our sevadal keep on repeating, "Work is worship, work is worship”, but they do not ask themselves, "Are we doing whatever work we do as worship?" No, whatever work we do, we are only thinking, “I, I, I”, only of our own selves! It is only when this ‘I’ goes, the act becomes a worship. This ego should be completely uprooted.



We must consider deserving God's love, compassion and grace as the primary  objectives of our lives. We should respect elders and have faith in our culture and traditions. Many people are asking, "Why should we respect elders?" Are you going to remain a youngster for ever? You too are likely to become an elder sooner or later. When young children disrespect you then, will you be able to accept it? So if today you respect elders, when you become older, the younger people would show respect to you. It is in this context Sevadal members are taught the concept of reaction, reflection and resound. It’s only when you show respect to elders, when you grow older, the younger people would show respect to you. It’s an illusory ego for you to think that without respecting elders you can demand respect from others. When you are able to develop a pure heart, the world will respect you. Even if others do not respect you, you'll deserve the grace of God and Love of God. Therefore, young men and women who are members of the sevadal should recognise the appropriate truth, adopt the appropriate code of conduct and behave in that manner.



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