What is Selfless Service
Bangalore, Brindavan (Sevadal Conference )
Premaswarupas! Today, the fact that the all-India Sathya Sai Swayam sevaks are celebrating their fourth anniversary is a matter of great rejoicing. Selfless service bereft of any desires is Yoga. This service is the sacred path which will remove the animal nature and manifest the divinity within a human being. All service done with the Atmic feeling will be very helpful for one's life. Such sacred service will prevent one slipping down from the path of spirituality. It is very necessary for us to build the mansion of our life on the ideal of such service. From the ideal of selfless service, we will get accustomed to other ideals and good qualities in our life. The results of such selfless service not merely make your heart sacred, blossom the the mind and manifest awareness but also reveal the honour and grandeur of the Atma.
Chant the name of the Lord and do service00:00:55
One must chant the Lord’s name while doing Seva. Chanting the Lord’s name wards away the evil thoughts. Embodiments of Love!! Doing one thing rightly is better than saying a hundred things. One must not waste time in mere words, but sanctify it with actions. The one who talks can never work. And the one who works has no time for words. Hence rather than indulging in mere words, engaging oneself in Seva while chanting the Lord’s name is the noblest of paths to follow.
What is Satvika Seva: Hanuman Analogy00:05:56
Swami has said the previous day about the three types of Seva namely: Satvik Seva, Rajasik Seva and Tamasik Seva. But there aren’t three different Seva. The rajasik and tamasik Seva cannot be classified as Seva. Satvik Seva alone can be termed as Seva. Satvik Seva is the Seva which is done whole heartedly and without expecting the results. Hence true Seva is the one that is goaded by a spirit of sacrifice. Seva must be regarded as God’s work. Hanuman entered Lanka. He indulged in combat with all the people who came and saw him. “Where did this monkey come from? Who has sent this distorted form? We must know his antecedents.”- These were the questions that the people of Lanka asked. They asked Hanuman, “Who are you?” Hanuman replied from deep within his heart, the Hanuman who was powerful, highly qualified and deserving person. Though being powerful and accomplished he replied very humbly that he was the servant of Rama, the king of Kosala. Such a person is the true devotee. He was not lacking either in physical strength or in mental strength or in sense control or in scholarship. Hanuman had mastered all the Vedas and the accompanying texts. But he understood in all humility that it is Seva that is the greatest. So without trumpeting his strength or accomplishments, he introduced himself humbly as the servant of the King of Kosala. How great it is to say that!! Therefore to be called as the “Sathya Sai Sevadal”, one must imbibe the qualities of Sathya Sai !! “Dal” means a petal; like a petal of lotus. A lotus has many petals. Though the petals appear to exist separately, they are all linked to the centre core. Hence in Sevadal each one is like a petal. All these petals are attached to or originated from the centre core called “Sathya Sai!! Only then the lotus can blossom out fully. When each petal is separated from the core, it cannot be called a lotus. Hence Sathya Sai Sevadal must follow the ideals and qualities of Sathya Sai. Love is the breath of Swami. Hence one must fill the heart with love. The feeling uppermost in Swami is sacrifice. Giving and giving alone is the nature of Swami. Sevadal must also strive to inculcate the quality of giving. A heart devoid of “Daya”, compassion, cannot be called a temple of God. Hence a compassionate heart is the abode of the Lord. One must fill one’s heart with compassion and be broadminded.
While serving others, one should leave their breathe00:01:46
Why is this body given? The human body is given to serve others. This body is bound to perish and decay one day or the other. Before the body decays, disintegrates or burns away one must sanctify one’s life by indulging in sacred activities. There have been many millionaires who have left this world, what did they take along with them? Could they take with them even an iota from the wealth that they strived to accumulate day and night? Hence earning wealth is not important, but earning good qualities is. There are many scholars and millionaires in this world. Of what use are they to the world? What work do they do? A man with heart can do true Seva. Man without a compassionate heart is like the living dead. Therefore, one must use one’s strength and energy to serve others till the very last breath. This is the primary ideal put by Swami.
What is adopting village and how to serve villages00:04:27
Villages have been adopted. First and foremost one must understand the true meaning of adoption. The childless, adopt children. The adopted child inherits everything that belongs to the parents and not just some parts of it. Adoption cannot be divided into “half adoption” or “quarter adoption”. Likewise when a village is adopted, it is the responsibility of the organisation to provide all that the village needs. A village may need a path or road; the villagers need drinking water, lighting arrangements and health facilities because health is wealth. Unavailability of roads and other facilities makes the inhabitants of villages suffer from ill health. The children of such villages do not have proper education facilities. In such villages education facilities must be provided so that the children can get education. Arrangements must be made for health care. Steps must be taken to clean and purify the village. In addition, efforts must be made to know what the villagers require and need and provide them to alleviate their sufferings. In contrast to the above, people go to a village, do the “nagarsankeertan”, (collective singing of bhajans), and say that they have adopted the village. This does not amount to adopting. Going to a village and whitewashing the temple or the mosque in the village and saying that they have adopted the village--- all this does not come under the category of adoption. Going to the villages, knowing the requirements and needs of the villagers and providing the same so that they can lead better lives is true adoption. Proper effort must be put to further the idea of providing health and education. Villagers must be aligned with the betterment activities taken up in the village and motivate them to actively participate in them. The water bodies in the village must be cleansed of the impurities so that the villagers can have pure drinking water. Various diseases spread through water. Without health, comforts bring no joy. Hence first and foremost the Sevadal must take up the responsibility of providing health care to the villages.
Do service to society and do not get deluded by world00:01:00
One must consider the service done in villages as the service done to God. One must understand the truth that God lives in all beings and that it is God who permeates all. One must be ready to serve the society without selfish motives and participate in social service to earn the divine grace. For years people have been deluded by the world and are leading their lives immersed in the world, attracted by the world and ending their lives in the world. This must not be so.
Service is the highest form of worship00:01:17
one must not look down upon Seva. Belittling Seva shows one’s petty mindedness. One must strengthen the conviction that the human birth is given for serving others. One must firmly believe that this human birth is not to be wasted merely in eating and sleeping but for sanctifying oneself by serving others till the very last breath. One must empathise with the sufferings of fellow beings and help them and give succour to the extent possible. Then alone will God install Himself in one’s heart.
What is Seva and how Seva instills in you courage and determination:00:03:34
The one who calls himself as “Sevak”, a servant, should always be ready to serve others but should never receive service or attention from others. On the way towards the “paratatwa”, the other world, there is a mighty, sprawling tree that blocks the path. That daunting tree is the tree of “samsara”, the tree of material, physical world. The ignoble sees the tree and turns back frightened. The noble seek ways and means to side track the tree and reach the destination. But the noblest of them, cuts the tree of samsara with the sword of detachment to go beyond. Hence the true servant must be ready to face any hurdle without getting scared or depressed. It is the ‘Seva’ that instils courage and determination in man. Through Seva man can become divine. Hence one must not look down upon Seva. To belittle Seva is an evidence of one’s petty mindedness. One must strengthen the conviction that the human birth is given for serving others. One must firmly believe that this human birth is not to be wasted merely in eating and sleeping but for serving others till the last breath. One must empathise with the sufferings of fellow beings and give succour and help them to the extent possible. Then alone will God install Himself in one’s heart.
We need to do service activities to cleanse our hearts00:00:44
One without the purity of thought cannot understand the “Paratatwa”, the principle of other, the supreme. Therefore in the beginning one may have to do actions and indulge in seva to get “chitta suddhi” the purity of mind. There is no greater Sadhana, the spiritual practise, than service. Therefore, one must regard seva as the sacred Sadhana and enter the sacred path with the goal of attaining Divinity.
Seva redeems man's life00:01:15
That which fills man with contentment is Seva, Service. Recognising the divinity in unity through service and attaining the totality of humanness was considered as the great education by the ancients. The Upanishads called the individual with totality of knowledge as “Sakshara”. The Upanishads have stated that, that individual who serves others and who is endowed with the totality of knowledge alone is qualified for the title of Sakshara.
Serve the society whole-heartedly, derive joy and get rid of your ego00:01:12
Students must not struggle for a job. What is the “udyoga”, job of a student? Yoga is the job. Students must step into the field of yoga, spiritual practise and achieve success. What is this yoga? Service is the yoga; service to the society is yoga. There is nothing nobler than service to the society. An ideal service to the society annihilates the ego. Ego ruins man. Therefore in serving the society one naturally loses one’s ego. Hence one must indulge wholeheartedly in service, with sacred thoughts and without any desire for the fruits of the service. What does one get by serving the society? Happiness, bliss is the end result of service. Is there any other result that is desirable of service?!! That bliss is the form of the divine.
Serve the poor and needy00:00:57
Embodiments of Love! Participant’s time must have been wasted for they have been sitting here for the past three to four hours. They may also be tired but no one understands their problem. Having been here for so long Swami, desires that all the participants to imbibe the qualities of sacrifice, utilise money properly for the welfare of the poor. Swami does not ask anybody of anything. Participants must help the poor people in every possible way. The poor need food and food is God; therefore food must be supplied to the poor.
Do service and do not waste time in mere talk00:02:18
One should not waste one’s precious time in mere words and speeches but should put to proper use by engaging in seva. The speech of the one who actively engages in seva truly inspires the listener. Only speeches without service makes one a zero and not a hero. If one wants to sanctify one self and redeem oneself of the worldly bondages then one must engage in selfless and humble service. Everyone must self introspect on a daily basis to find out whether one is performing one’s duty to one’s maximum capacity and potential and whether one is satisfied with oneself. One who is not satisfied with oneself cannot satisfy others and so self satisfaction is very essential. Self confidence leads to self satisfaction. Self sacrifice leads to self realisation. One must be ready to face the many hurdles and troubles on the path of self realisation and achieve the goal.
Do service without any expectations: With analogy00:03:00
Service activities must be taken up without any expectation of the end results, with a selfless attitude and with a spirit of humility. A small example to illustrate this: One must not forget that one is essentially a worker, a ‘sevaka’. Every human being is a sevaka. There is a servant for a master, a farmer for a king; a disciple for a Guru, a preceptor, parents for a child. Parents serve the child and children serve the parents. A preceptor serves the disciple and the disciple serves the preceptor; without a disciple there is no preceptor and without a preceptor there is no disciple. Without father there cannot be a son and without son (child) a person cannot be called a father. In this context one can see and understand that everyone is a sevaka serving each other and the entire world is filled with the feeling of service. This feeling of service must be firmly established in one’s heart. ‘Paropakarartham idam sareeram!’ this body is given to serve others. What is this ‘upakara’ or service that one can render? One has to help others in the matters that one cannot do by oneself. Man must make his life worthy by indulging in such seva or service. Man attains highest positions by entertaining the feelings of service. Therefore, one should not do service expecting the results. Man develops the sense of service the day he sacrifices the fruits of action.
Giving talks would take you no where; Do service00:01:57
First and foremost the vain and pomp show of words and idle talk must be done away with in Sai organisations. A talkative person seldom works and a person who works seldom talks!! Therefore people who are talkative are the ones who are not working!! Mere giving of talk by mugging up facts and borrowing an instance from here and there does not amount to doing seva. A tape recorder also can do this kind of work!! Man is not a tape recorder! He is the ideal type recorder, one who has to set an example. One who participates in real and ideal service activities is the true ‘sevaka’ or worker. One who works for the results amounts to an employee but not the master. Therefore work (seva) should be undertaken without expecting any fruits or results thereof. Service activities must be taken up without any expectation of the end results, with a selfless attitude and with a spirit of humility.
Don't do service for temporary satisfaction and never quantify it00:01:35
However small an activity that one may undertake, one must not rest, satisfied with momentary satisfaction and waste time. The momentary service activities undertaken can be compared to the certain crackers burnt on the occasion of Diwali, that burn up in the wink of an eye. Today one is satisfied with the villages served in terms of numbers, but that should not be so and such statistics must be done away with. One must girdle the loins to undertake such activities that are backed by practise. The numbers must not be the criteria and one should strive to serve the villages to the extent possible.
Village service and pre-requisites needed for it00:02:00
Serving in the villages is very important. Helping those who face dire inconveniences, who are subjected to many troubles and hurdles, who have ill health, serving them and striving for their betterment is very important. In order to serve them one must improve oneself in terms of good qualities and character. One must self appraise oneself in terms of morality and truth. One must be prepared to sacrifice anything for the sake of the country and strongly believe that country is made of people and not mud and consider that service to man is service to Lord. From ancient times the sages, the kings and the learned all alike believed that happiness and well being of all is happiness and well being of individual and took to service to uphold that ideal.
Follow the ideals laid by elders in the path of Service00:02:30
The word ‘seva’ consists of only two syllables ‘se’ and ‘va’ but it is pregnant with meaning. Actions that are performed, forgetting oneself entirely and recognising the all pervading divinity, alone can be called as ‘service’. One must not entertain the thoughts that one is serving someone else and must do service in a spirit of sacrifice and with a feeling that all the actions are an offering to the Lord. But how many are there today who do service with a sense of sacrifice? There still are quite a large number of people doing so. One would recognise, from history, the fact that from ancient times there have been people who have sacrificed everything for the sake of Bharath and for its glory and splendour. One has to remember them and take their lives as ideal and implement those ideals in one’s life. One must study and understand their spirit of sacrifice. Only when one comprehends the essence of service properly can one aspire to reap the results of one’s efforts.
Concept of Seva is dwindling in Bharath00:00:56
From the times immemorial, there were millions of people in Bharath who have sacrificed their lot to serve others. But gradually, the spirit of sacrifice dwindled. The population of people with the spirit of sacrifice is fast decreasing. Many deceive themselves in the name of service to others.
Service can never go along with egotism, attachment and ostentation00:04:47
One must make self enquiry to find out if one has the necessary qualities to engage in service activities. Compassion, humility and courage are the basic qualities that one should possess to take up the service activities. Only those people who have these aforesaid qualities can indulge in selfless service activities and set an example through their actions to the world. A person given to egoistic feelings, ostentatious behaviour and attachment can never take up service activities and perform it well. Man forgets his humanness on account of egoism and develops animal qualities due to attachment. Pomp and show makes man to lead a artificial life. So long as man gives into egoism and pomp and show, he cannot gain self confidence. A person lacking self confidence is plagued by doubts at every step and does not have faith in himself. How can a person believe another when he has no faith in himself? And how can a person serve others when he neither has faith in himself nor belief in others? Therefore a person intent on doing service must first and foremost get rid of ego, put an end to grandiose behaviour and remove attachment. To undertake service one must destroy ego. Humility develops when one gets rid of egoism. A humble person has the authority to indulge in service activities. One must realise the fact that there exists only one divinty in every being and must develop this unifying principle. So long as man does not recognise this unifying principle, that the same divine atma exists in all beings, he is unauthorised to take up the service activities. ‘One cannot become a good leader without becoming a servant’. The chaotic condition of the world is due to the absence of the attitude to serve among the leaders.
Reach and realise divinity through Seva: Analogy of Arjuna00:03:00
Every Office-bearer must consider, himself, a worker. Embodiments of Divine Atma! You should never get a feeling that it is difficult to cope up with the rules and regulations here, and think of leaving a Sai Organization. You can never find a sacred path than this, anywhere, in the world. Therefore, you should never miss a good opportunity. In order to sanctify your life, you must realize the truth that Service and Participation in Sai Organization activities is the best route. Leaving such a path and resorting to external prayers and mechanical visits to temples, serves no purpose. Reach and realize the ‘Universal Divine manifestation’ through Service. Arjuna could do that. Each and every one of you is an Arjuna. Arjuna has another name as Pardha. Pardha Puturdu means the son of the earth. All of you are the sons of the earth. So, you are all Pardhas. These Pardhas should never take any step to run away from here. If Arjuna himself runs away from battle field, how can he command respect? ‘Do your duty sincerely and remember me while fighting in the battle field’ Krishna ordained Arjuna. So, all of you, while doing your duties, must pray the Divine simultaneously. What does the name Arjuna mean? It is not that he who holds a bow and arrow and goes on shooting indiscriminately is Arjuna! Arjuna is a person with pure heart. There is no contaminations whatsoever in his heart. All of you are Arjunas. Krishna has played the entire drama using Arjuna as an instrument! So is the case with this Sai Krishna who is playing, keeping so many Arjunas around.
Service enables you to develop love00:03:00
The mind of a man bereft of service, is devil’s workshop. An idle man sits around inert, like a piece of log, and cannot even sleep. The mind of such a man is a fertile ground for scheming and unwanted thoughts, which in the end leads to mental illness. On the other hand, the mind of a working and active person is free from unnecessary thoughts. A mind, devoid of thoughts, is at peace!! One can develop love only through peace. This love exists naturally in all. One has to administer fertilizers to help a seed grow into a plant. Likewise man too must foster and develop the naturally occurring plant called ‘love’ within him with fertilizers called ‘Seva’ (service) and ‘Sraddha’ (interest). Seva or service causes the plant of love to blossom. Love is sacred and immortal. A person intensely aspiring for such divine love will have no interest for anything else. “Prema swaroopinam jeevanam!”-– Love is the essence of man’s life. Man today does not experience this life sustaining love in a proper way leading to selfishness. One must develop this love in the society; extend one’s love to others and receive the same from others. This give and take strengthens love as it destroys selfishness and makes one sacred and broadminded.
Service leads to liberation00:02:17
Embodiments of Love! Man adopts various means to achieve liberation (from the bondage of mundane existence). Penance is performed for whose sake? It is for one’s own benefit and not for the good of others, nor even for the Supreme Self. In the performance of japa (recitation of the Lord’s name), it must be noted that it is done for one’s own satisfaction and not for the welfare of others. What should one do to secure redemption from the cycle of worldly existence? Chanting the Lord's name or performing sacrifices or doing other rituals will be of no avail. You have to render service to your fellow human beings. Seva (service) is the highest form of worship and the best penance. Seva is the most important form of reciting the Lord’s name.
Helping others essentially means helping yourself00:01:41
One need not worry in any matter. Man must do good actions that are beneficial to everyone. When doing good actions one must think that the one who is doing the action is Brahman and the recipient too is Brahman. Hence, in the country of Bharath, while feeding the hungry, it is said that the ‘daridra narayana’, the Lord in the destitute, is being served. There is the ‘daridra narayana’ and a ‘Lakshmi Narayana’ the lord in the rich; the Lakshmi Narayana has many servants, lots of power and there is no shortage of food. But the daridra narayana does not have any powers. One should serve such people who do not have anything, the ‘daridra narayana and make them join the ranks of ‘Lakshmi Narayana’ Therefore, Sage Vyasa too has said, “Help ever, and hurt never!” One should help everybody for that amounts to the help done to one self. So whatever one does is essentially done unto one self. In this regard the Vedas too say, “Sarva Jeeva Namaskaaram kesavam pratigachchathe”- the salutation done to any being is received by the Lord. It means that the one who is being saluted is also Brahman!
Service helps you to recognise untruth00:01:10
One may say that one does the spiritual Sadhana for self realisation. Atma is all pervasive. One does the Sadhana to realise the same!! One finds Atma when one is devoid of ignorance. So one should make an effort to realise the Atma and the best and fruitful way to do so is by seva, service to others. Service, service and service. Therefore, one must undertake service, abstain from criticism, involve in service with love and must develop a strong belief that love is the embodiment of God.
Service is the biggest Sadhana00:00:51
Service to others is means of great ‘Sadhana’, practice or spiritual exercise. People do other Sadhana like chanting on the beads of the rosary, but the mind is elsewhere. One must abstain from doing such meaningless spiritual exercises. Many sit for meditation but the mind roams around the world to the barber's place or to a washerman's place. Instead of sitting for meditation with these bad thoughts one can benefit much by serving others. When you are God, whom are you thinking of and meditating upon?
Do service within your limits00:01:30
Therefore, all the members of this organisation should become “thyagarajus”- men with spirit of sacrifice and “yogarajus”- men with control over their desires and not become “bhogarajus”- men immersed in worldly pleasures and luxuries. One must give up one’s selfishness, offer everything at the feet of the lord and enter the society with the will to serve the society and be happy at its prosperity. There is an important aspect that the members assembled here must take notice. One need not take up the service activities that are beyond one’s capacities but do the activity to one’s best potential. For serving, one has to have the body and the mind to do so. The sacred will to do the service and an able body with sound capacities to implement the will – these are the essential requirements to do service. Wealth, money etc are not the requirements to do seva. When one gives importance to wealth and money in such activities, it depletes one’s energy, one’s willingness to do the service and gives rise to discrepancies amongst the members.
Service and love are two wings of the organisation00:02:36
Every person must try to develop the divinity and sacredness latent in oneself and undertake service activities in society. These are the two right and royal paths. Love and service are like two wings to the mankind. “Paksha balamuna yegireti pakshulatlu Taanu maargamunanusarinchi, Cheravalayunu gamyamu seeghragatin!” Just like the birds that fly with faith in their wings, man too must proceed on the righteous path with faith and belief and reach the destined goal. “Sadgunambulu, tyaagambu, satyanishta, leni jeevudu praanamu leni vaade. Seva cheyyani jeevudu cheekatinti andha jeevudani cheppavalayunu!” Man without the virtues, the spirit of sacrifice, the adherence to truth is like a corpse. The person who does not serve the society is like the blind man in the dark room. Without service, a person is as good as a blind person. Love and service are like the two eyes to man; they are to man like the two wings to a bird. With the help of these two aspects one can easily reach the destined goal. One can recognise the truth and lead a true life. Hence, these two qualities must be developed by the members of our organisation. Love does not only mean love for God. God is omnipresent, “eesa vaasya midam sarvam. - God pervades all beings.” One must develop love for all, for God is omnipresent and resides in all. To pretend to love others and hate them is the supreme folly of man. When one speaks what one thinks and does what one speaks, then one would be free from sorrow and hardships and will be at peace.
Seva is the biggest Sadhana00:00:17
One may not undertake any Sadhana or spiritual exercises, but one must have firm faith that seva or service is the greatest of spiritual exercise. There cannot be another spiritual exercise greater than seva or service.
Involve in social service every sunday00:00:59
In this summer class, a decision has been taken to undertake social service on every Sunday. Such service is important not only when one is in these auspicious precincts but also otherwise and makes one’s body and mind sacred. Swami hopes and blesses all to develop such sacred and selfless ideals.
Consider everyone as your own while rendering service00:01:50
One should treat people, who are suffering, who are immersed in sorrow and who are helpless, as the true friends and help such people as one’s primary duty. There is great trouble in befriending only the rich and the affluent. It is true that one should be friendly with everyone but with a rich friend one might be tempted to ask for ten rupees in times of need and that may sever the friendship. The rich friend may avoid one’s company for fear of being asked for loans. One should be friendly with everyone but must exercise caution in choosing a friend, for true friends are those who are ready and willing to accept one’s service.
Involve in Social work and not in show work00:04:53
Unfortunately today, the social work undertaken in many countries and many parts of the country has become “show work”. For the sake of getting recognition as “big leaders participated in social work by sweeping the streets”, leaders get themselves photographed with the broom stick and ensure that the photo appears in the newspaper. One should not participate in such a kind of work. Never should one go into that kind of publicity and give scope for ego. One must serve whole heartedly for self satisfaction and not for other’s approval. People spend ten rupees to feed ten people and get it advertised in newspaper via photo by spending another twenty rupees. It would have given so much of self satisfaction had the money spent on photo advertisement been used to feed another twenty people! Many people who are members of a Rotary Club or a Lions Club or such other clubs talk of doing service but one does not understand whether they are doing service or spending money. Most of the members are affluent and can take to serve the needy either once a week or once a month. But instead the members plan for weekly dinner which costs rupees twenty per head and the break down for this expenditure is five rupees for the meal, five rupees for mutton and another ten rupees for the wine. This expenditure, with such a break down is given the name of social service. How nice would it be if the twenty rupees were spent on feeding the deprived and needy instead of spending it oneself!! Swami hopes that people will bear in mind the above said aspect and utilise properly the chance of doing service.
Be prepared to serve and do not expect others to serve you: Chinnakatha00:08:27
Embodiments of Divine atma! Students!! Students must be ready to serve others but should never expect to be served by others. This is the age for students to serve others as they have physical, mental and spiritual strength. Hence students must serve the old and the aged, the disabled and the deprived ones and sanctify their lives by considering such service as service to God. On the other hand if students aspire to be served by others, they would be putting their lives on the path leading to darkness. People in affluent families are accustomed to get work done by servants which is not a correct thing to do. One may think that one is entitled to be served by others due to the position of authority but this may result in a situation where in one will have to repay the debt of service received. Therefore, whatever that one does, one sees or one says will inevitably come back as resound and reflection. Hence, one must train oneself to work by oneself. Then take up helping one’s parents at home in the household chores. After serving parents one must be ready to enter the society and do service. Students must participate in such service whole heartedly with love and with a spirit of sacrifice. One must not undertake service with an eye on the result but take it up to experience the love and the feeling of oneness with others. A small example: A person may be admitted in the hospital in a pitiable condition with no one to look after him. He may be suffering from a lot of ailments. When a student approaches him and speaks soothing words to him lovingly and does seva with love, there forms a close bond between them which would make him forget even his kith and kin. He would be grateful that a student attending the summer course had come to the hospital, served him with love and would ask for the student’s address to develop the bond further through letters. The close relationship was formed due to the selfless service rendered. Hence the heart to heart bonding happens only with selfless service but not with a feeling of leadership. A prime minister is received with a hundred garlands at the station and a hundred cars would be waiting for him with many people anxiously inviting the Prime Minster to board their car. But the moment the person loses his position of Prime minister, he will be charged a fare even by the rickshaw puller. The respect given due to the position of authority is very transient and stays for that moment but the respect given in a heart to heart relationship lasts a lifetime. It is foolishness to try to establish relationship based on status and position of authority, as that relationship will not hold for long. On the other hand, if one establishes a relationship by way of love, by the Atma way that will be a permanent and true relationship. Such bonding can happen only in the path of service and it takes the shape of true bhakthi or devotion. When one does seva with such scared feelings, without bothering about the respect or disrespect given by others, with wholehearted concern for the betterment of the served, then one need not heed the need the elders of the house who deters one from doing such service.
Serving the society is most important00:02:00
Man is born in the society, grows with the society and prospers by serving the society. In this scenario, if man becomes distant from service to the society, he will be distant from everything. The child cries for its mother’s milk as soon as it’s born. The child, therefore, has to serve and respect the mother who is the very cause for its life and sustenance, worship the father and develop faith in the society; only then can he flourish and thrive. Just as every individual has a mother whom he respects and considers important, so also every individual should regard the country as the divine mother of all citizens, by serving whom, one can fulfill one’s purpose in life.
Importance of service and its characteristics00:03:25
A responsible temperament is very essential for an individual. Seva or service is one of the most important good qualities that an individual must indulge in, to cleanse and amend one’s heart. This ideal of service has the good quality of removing the ego in man. It promotes love and affection. It takes him away from the aspect of worldly attachments and puts him on the path to the Divine. The idea of seva or service also becomes the most desired virtue in an individual and also explains the meaning of divinity. Seva can give widespread pleasure and bliss for the entire mankind. In fact, service is the first step along the spiritual path. Today, the inhabitants of Bharath are considered as dependents and servitudes, because of the lack of proper understanding and practise of this sacred service and the diminishing numbers of individuals engaging in service. For a person who is willing to serve, the entire country comes under his control. The country is never in control of leaders who do not serve and such leaders are over thrown through agitation. A leader who understands the spirit of service will always retain and enjoy his leadership through service. It is not possible to become a leader without understanding the spirit of service and without being a servant just as one cannot become a creator without being able to destroy.
Purpose and significance behind Seva00:02:44
Embodiments of the Divine, the workers in social service! For the last five days, Sevadals from different states have gathered here and have been discussing and carrying on deliberations relating to the different programs of service. We must remember that we have not gathered here to promote social contacts or to indulge in conversations of worldly affairs or to while away time. On the other hand, we should also bear in mind the truth that we have gathered here to recognise, to some extent, the things that we are unaware of, the ideals that should guide us in the path of service, the sacred services that need to be done and to put them into practice. The members of the Sevadal must become experts in practice and in action.
What is social service according to Bhagawan00:01:47
Every human being must possess the quality of gratitude. Having being the beneficiaries one must show gratitude. As an expression to one’s gratitude, one should render selfless service to the society; it is one’s foremost duty towards society and a form of service or ‘seva’. Based on these principles the ‘service to society’ has been started. But this social service is not to be seen anywhere today. Even this service is rendered to gain personal name and fame but not in a spirit of selflessness. Body is gifted to dedicate oneself to the society as the human body is sustained by the society. One must imbibe good qualities and virtues to serve the society as one is sustained by it. Welfare of the society should be taken care of.
Sevadal should not misuse Sense organs00:04:54
Members of Sevadal! There is one other thing which we should recognize clearly. We have got five organs. These are the five organs of sense, that is, of touch, vision taste hearing and smell. In this, what we fully recognize is to be able to see, hear, touch, smell and taste. But in these five sense organs, there are two organs which are kept covered. One is the lid which covers the eye and the other is the mouth which can be closed. Neither the nose nor the ear nor the skin which feels the touch has a cover. It is necessary for us to understand the inner meaning of why God has provided a cover for the eye and the mouth. The eyes when open look at many things. Merely by looking at many attracting things, the task is not completed. The vision has to go into your mind and the mind begins to work and then only the action becomes completed. The mouth is never silent. Even if you want to close the mouth and put a lock on it, yet the mouth wants to go on chattering one thing or another. What is the meaning of this? The meaning is that bad vision and bad talk are very bad. God said, "Let me put a lid on bad vision and bad talk." You should regard this lid as a gift of God and so do not use your eye to look at bad things. Do not have impure vision in your eyes. Do not utter bad words and harsh words with your mouth. When you do service, you must begin your service with sweet and soft words. When you want to do service, do not utter harsh words and hurt the minds of other people whom you are going to serve. This is why it has been said that not much harm is done if your leg slips but if your tongue slips, then you straightaway move into hell. If you hurt the heart or mind of another person, there is no doctor in this world who can cure the hurt and you have to cure it only by experiencing the consequences of your karma. So do not use harsh words and hurt another man. It is an inescapable truth that the consequences of what we do are going to come to us. So do good and experience good as a consequence.
Do not have Ego while doing service00:01:37
It is only when you promote such sacred ideas, when you do all the work that you with such sacred aspects and promulgate the ideals that you will be able to give the ideal atmosphere to the environment. On the other hand, if you do not accept the ideals and do not work as one body or one group, then you will only be demonstrating the individual ego in you to the rest of the world. So long as there is ego left in you, you do not deserve to have bliss or happiness. Ego is the royal path for your downfall. The wild elephant takes the dust with its own leg and puts it right on its head. People with ego are like wild elephants. Like the mad elephant which puts dirt on its own head, the person with ego puts his own faults on his own head.
All service reaches God00:01:41
The whole world is the manifestation of the Lord. So such service that you do to individuals is service to the Lord. It is very necessary for you to recognize that the Lord Eshwara is present in everyone and you should shape your conduct in that context. Under any circumstances and in any situation, conflict between members of the Sathya Sai Sevadal should never arise. They should all conduct themselves in harmony. There should be no conflict between them in any work they do. All of you should regard yourselves as children of one mother. You should experience and promulgate brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God. Even in this aspect of brotherhood, there may be some difference of opinion when the word is used like that, but you should recognize that this brotherhood applies in the sense of Atma or the Self.
Serve even when strikes are there00:03:40
Not only this, in Sevadal there are members of different categories. There are many students, teachers and doctors who are members of the Sevadal. There is one important thing which I would like to communicate to the members of the Sevadal. These professionals, whether they are teachers, lawyers, doctors or students, should not participate in what we call 'strikes'. If doctors are on strike, the doctors who are members of Sevadal should make a determination to replace these doctors who are on strike and go to the hospital to attend to the patients exactly at that time. On the other hand, if you also join the strike, you would be causing considerable harm to the patients. In this context, for some members of the Sevadal, it is necessary to acquire training in first aid. When nurses and such other staff who are engaged in giving help to the patients are on strike, the members of the Sevadal should be trained and be prepared to take their place and give help to the patients. It is not as if you are not aware of the situation in the country today. We find that sweepers go on strike, garbage accumulates on the road and the road becomes unusable. Under such situations, members of the Sevadal should be prepared to go on the road, remove the garbage and clean the road. By cleaning the dirt and garbage, you will be in a position to give clean atmosphere to people. We should be prepared in this manner to participate in all work which gives comfort and happiness to the society. We should not think that to go into a camp or do bhajan or do meditation is the only kind of Sadhana. Even service to fellow beings under conditions of distress is also part of sadhana.
Do service all through your life00:02:13
Everyone we come across wants to become a Guru or a leader. Everyone is a leader or a Guru, but nobody seems to thinkabout whom we are to lead and where are the people to lead if everyone becomes a leader. Today one is a student or a disciple and tomorrow he becomes a teacher or a Guru. Since the number of such Gurus has become excessively large, there is nothing left for what we truly call 'Guru'. Divyatma Swarupas! In our Sathya Sai Organization do not attempt to become such leaders and such teachers. Make a firm determination that you would rather follow and be a member than become a leader or Guru of that type. One who remains a servant and who takes service all his life is the right kind of leader. Shape yourself to be a noble servant. Train yourself to be a servant and not a leader, and learn to be a dutiful subject and not a ruler. Then we will be able to see "Eshwara" presence in everything we do
Important Ingredients for Seva00:01:42
In the first instance, strengthen your confidence in your own self. It is only then, that you will deserve the happiness that you wish to get. In such a blissful and happy state, you will not mind any difficulties that you may get. You will be prepared to sacrifice even if you are in some difficulty. When you are prepared for sacrifice, you will get happiness and bliss. This is why in Vedas it has been said that, if you want to reach the immortal state, you can do so and reach a state which cannot be reached by any other method but by sacrifice. For Sevadal members, there are certain essential qualities like humility, obedience and sacrifice are necessary. These three are very essential for one who wants to do service. If you are not prepared to sacrifice and yet you want to participate in service, then the fruits that you get will not be consonant with the service that you do.
What is the true essence of Seva00:02:10
While doing service, it is not enough if you alone have satisfaction but you should bear in mind that the person who is receiving this service from you should be satisfied. You must first try and understand and interrogate yourself if by your service you have caused any inconvenience, harm or hurt to others. The members of the Sathya Sai Sevadal should promulgate and propagate the ideals of Sathya Sai Seva and thus they should broaden their own mind. To serve only human beings cannot be called complete service. To be able to serve even other living beings will also be called service. Eshwara is present in all living things. You must first recognize this truth that Eshwara is present in every living thing. It is only when such faith is firmly implanted in your mind that Eshwara is present in every living thing that your service will become fruitful and that you will attain salvation with your service. But if you do not have such faith, any service that you may render is not going to be fruitful.
Service is verily Sadhana00:02:14
Mohammed was driven out of Mecca, because he steadfastly stick to one objective. Because Christ taught to the whole world recognition of all living beings and showing compassion to all living beings, Christ was crucified on the cross. While participating in sacred work, we should never care for the troubles and obstacles that come in a bodily sense to us. We should not care for the comfort of the body but we should keep the Divine objective of service in our mind and follow this to earn the grace of the Lord. To promote such programs and to keep ourselves within this channel and this path, certain disciplinary rules are necessary. By accepting such regulations, putting down such regulations for our work and the work in which we wish to participate and by merely accepting regulations only for the purpose of today we are not going to achieve our objective. It is necessary that members of the Sevadal should recognize this sacred task of service as a Sadhana. This is essential for their attitude.
Swami on Ancient and present schooling00:02:00
From many past ages, this phrase 'service to the society' has been accompanying us and has been coming along with us in our lives. This has started from the time of the Rishis and from the time they held their gatherings. Those were the golden days when around a Rishi in the rishikula or in his ashram, people tried to control their minds by channelizing their thoughts and ideas. But today, in the word 'Rishikula' the sound 'ra' has disappeared. What was the 'Rishikula' or the gathering of Rishis after removing the sounds 'ra' and 'aa' became 'ishikula', 'ishkula' and has become 'school' today. But this aspect of school as we have today does not apply to our notion of 'Rishikula'. Today in schools, all the kinds of learning and education that we are getting relate intimately to the material world, material happiness and the world around us, but does not help us to do real service to the society.
How to do service in villages00:03:00
With conviction and courage one must render service in society. With that spirit of courage one must go into the society to do any kind of service. Today one finds so many diseases prevalent in the villages due lack of cleanliness, proper food and drinking water. There is pollution everywhere. One must serve those villages first. One need not visit the same village every week. In rendering such service one may have to spend money. Employed persons may lose their jobs if one is continuously taking leave. Then how should one serve? When one goes to a village, one should collect all the youngsters in that village and gather them; teach them that one must keep one’s village neat and clean. A meeting of youngsters of the village must be convened and encourage self help for the betterment of the village. It is so difficult to travel from Hyderabad to Nellore to serve. Make the youngsters of Nellore to help serve their village. Similarly make the residents of the villages visited to help themselves and teach them to serve the society. Doing this way time and money is saved. One should involve oneself in rendering such service in villages. Health camps also need to be held in those villages as ‘health is wealth!’Without health one cannot achieve anything. All the arrangements for such camps must be undertaken. Medical and health checkups for the villagers must be undertaken through medical camps. When youngsters with such spirit of sacrifice go to villages and serve, even the villagers would be inspired and will actively take part in the service activities. One must always be men of service.
Service is the highest form of worship00:01:16
Some students, youngsters go to village service activities. Service is noblest of all activities. It does not matter even if one does not take to penance or go on a pilgrimage or visit sacred places, but one should render service to others. In the spirit of service alone lies the quality of leadership. One who serves others becomes peaceful. By serving others, one can get rid of the ego.
Serve with love and forbearance00:00:35
While talking of serving others, we should not do such service which will cause some discomfort to the people who receive service from us. Whatever service we do, we should make an attempt to do it with love, forbearance, a broad heart and by sacrificing what we have.
Seva is the expression of Love00:01:24
The feeling of service in the sevaks should enter your hearts, should flow in your blood and should spread to every part of you. This service is the extraordinary flower which blossoms from love. This is an incomparable flower which is the result of love. The fragrance of such a flower consists of doing things which do not cause harm to others. This flower of service is the flower which has the fragrance of good qualities. We should make an effort to have a mind that offers this flower of service.
Body is given to serve others00:02:15
Just as bricks and mortar are necessary for building a house, so also, the feeling of harmony in thought, word and deed and selfless service are very essential for the welfare of the nation. To begin with, it is very necessary for us to recognize the method by which we render such selfless service. Service cannot be duty which one does for his own satisfaction. As a very first step in this service, we should recognize other's happiness, other's convenience and other's satisfaction. The service we do should not cause any inconvenience, discomfort or hurt to others. Before undertaking such service, one should dointrospection within one's heart. We should analyze the truth whether this service is for our own selfish sake or is it being done in a selfless manner for the sake of others?
Serving others is the highest Sadhana00:02:22
More than performance of Vratas (ritualistic vows) and Pujas (ritualistic worship), to do service is nobler. This will also remove the ego that is present in human beings. This service is a manifestation of the face of love. That individual who seeks and loves humanity is the dearest child of God. That person who devotes his thoughts, wealth, strength, conduct and everything that belongs to him for upliftment of humanity is a great human being. Such a human being can be said to be the one born on this earth with a purpose. You sacred beings, who have got such a purposeful birth , should enter into sacred actions, thereby do selfless actions and endeavour to redeem your life.
Swami on service in ancient India00:02:28
Whether it is the ancient rishis or devotees of the lord or great and noble men in this country, they redeemed their lives only through service. At all times, they thought of Seva. How much seva did hanuman do? Even though he did not serve Rama directly, he considered carrying out Rama's commands as service and served all people. You are always saying Swami, Swami, Swami. Service to Swami is not important. Consider serving people as serving Swami. You do not need to do any service to Swami. If you serve people, then that is my happiness. The service you do, do it from the depth of your heart, there should be Trikarana Shuddhi...What does Trikarana Shuddhi mean? It means mind (thought), speech (word) and hands (deeds) have to be pure. If you can do your service in this manner, you would have upheld the nobility and glory of the Bharat. In fact, from ancient times, this country has always been known for its reputation and glory. Since it has been said that "Service to Man is Service to God", the first thing which we have to do to serve God is to serve Man.
Ego is bane and humility is boon in service00:02:13
Embodiments of Divine atma! This service will give you a high and noble position. That exalted state is egolessness. So long as we have this ego in us, our inner humanity will not shine forth.It will destroy your work, it will ruin one's respect , It will separate you from your own people. For people with pride and ego everything will be destroyed. By having pride, we are losing everything that we have. So, we should take part in service. Service also gives you humility. The true education is the most important thing which gives you humility. In the olden days, the students used to be told: Education will give you humility, Humility will give you deservedness, out of deservedness you will get wealth, from wealth comes dharma and from Dharma you would give liberation in this world and the higher world. Today, we do not find humility anywhere. The members of the Sathya Sai Seva organisations should step forward and serve with humility and obedience. The members of all wings of the Sathya Sai organization should serve with unity and love.
Swami on whom to serve and how to serve00:05:10
For what purpose has this body come? It has come for the purpose of service. Hence, doing service to the community or society and regarding the service to community as the service to God, we should fulfill the purpose of our life. The aspect of service is something which all of you know very well. On the first day itself, you have learnt very well the meaning of service and the significance of doing service. Mere knowing this is of no use, one should make an attempt to put this into practice. This service should transform into a kind of love. We should participate in this service with love. Whatever service you do, you should believe that you are doing this service for yourself. We should not think that you are serving someone else. Everything is Eshwara. Whomsoever, you may be serving, you should regard it as serving Eshwara or God. God is present in all beings and if you are serving another being, you should regard that you are serving Eshwara himself. With such sacred feelings, we have been establishing sevadal. It is not possible to determine whether this seva or that seva should be done. At what time, under which circumstances, to which individual we may have to do seva, we should be ever ready. We should categorize the service into three types because all are not capable of performing all types of service activities. Dividing service into three categories, one should do those according to ones capability. Those who have some level of education should be trained to serve in health and education. We should go to hospitals and do service. However much the nurses may be doing, we should not neglect feeling that the nurses are doing sufficient work. It is our duty. We should take care of our people. They are doing for the sake of their salaries, but we should do service for life. In this manner, we should recognize clearly what is the purpose of doing this service. Every year, we have been conducting the annual meetings of sevadal members. The decisions taken at these annual conferences should not be only on paper, they should be put into practice. From the conferences that are conducted in other organisations, the conferences conducted in Sathya Sai Organization should have a distinct characteristic and we should demonstrate the difference.
Forbearance is most essential for seva00:01:48
Service. Service. Service. Service is a small word. But, it has a deep and profound meaning. There is no feeling or Dharma greater than Seva. Seva confers equanimity. Equanimity confers everything. Forbearance is truth. Forbearance is Dharma, Forbearance is Veda, Forbearance is non-violence, Forbearance is a Yagna,Forbearance is happiness, Forbearance is all, Forbearance is everything in all this world. This quality of forbearance should be worn by all sevaks as the primary armament. Whatever anyone else may say, be patient and forgiving. If we donot have forbearance or patience, we can never go forward in service. We cannot redeem our lives. This body has been given to us for the sake of doing service. We will not be able to fulfill the purpose of this body
Do service with pure heart00:02:33
Tirutthunda alwar of Tamilnadu used to say, “Swami, it is with a clean and pure ‘chitta’ (heart) that I should really worship you with! There is no use of my prayer or my giving you flowers with my hand without it!!” Today doing service to human beings and giving them comfort through our service should be done not with your hands and body but, with a pure heart. The work we do with our hands or the words we utter with our mouths or the ideals which we propagate through our speeches--these cannot be termed as ‘service’, true service. A small gesture done with a pure heart will become a work of the largest magnitude. Whatever work we undertake we should do that with a sacred heart, with love, with forbearance and with a mind devoid of ego. Today in the world the number of the people who are imbued with lack of faith and disbelief, who say that God does not exist and who talk of doing evil and doing harm, is on the rise.
Serve with patience and humility00:02:45
In another situation, while we do such service and serve others, some people may interrupt the service and make fun of you. They may also speak in a ridiculing manner and scoff at you. In such situations we should not lose our patience. If we lose courage feeling that some people are making fun of us, and move away from the path of truth and become angry then, in many ways we would be promoting attachment in our mind. One who is undertaking service, a ‘Sevaka’, should always exhibit humility and obedience. He should never exhibit authority and position. This kind of service will promote oneness and the unity that is present in all human beings. On the other hand ego promotes diversity in unity. The main objective of service should be to bring the manifestation of diversity into unity but it should not be one which shows diversity in unity. Thus, it becomes very necessary for us to recognize the inner meaning and objective of service and perform such service.
Important ingredient for service is sacrifice00:01:27
Before we undertake service, we shall have to reform and change our heart. With what attitude have I undertaken this service? With what motivation have I entered this field of service? With what ambition and with what objectives am I undertaking this service? These are the questions that one should ask oneself and find the answers. When one does not think of the objectives but has service and sacrifice as his life’s motto and as the primary motivation, he alone will enjoy the fruits and happiness of service.
Humility and obedience are important in Seva00:05:14
Embodiments of the Divine! Swayamsevakas! Recognizing the omnipresence and the Omnipotent nature of the Divine One in both internal and external situations, you should develop the faith that with humility and obedience one can promote kindness and unity of all the people in the world. In the very beginning it will become necessary for you to meet many difficult obstacles. In such trying situations, if you are able to keep your patience, have forbearance and meet the situation with humility and courage, you can then, with God's grace, achieve success. It is to be expected that on a spiritual path in many ways, there will always be obstacles coming. Not only this, on a spiritual path in order to enable us, to assess how far we have succeeded, God will always, at each step, create situations which are unasked for and unsolicited by us. That individual, who stands such tests without losing courage and diminishing his enthusiasm, he alone will succeed in God's examination. On the contrary, sometimes one may lose courage and swerve from the path of truth, subject himself to the well known six evils and bring upon his destruction. One who has the necessary humility and obedience will surely, without doubt, become a friend of the people of the world and will be able to move about freely and without hindrance, amongst the people of the world. It is quite obvious that an individual who, with humility and obedience, renders service either at home, or in the society or in the country or in his village, shines brilliant with Divine effulgence.
How to help others00:02:33
Embodiments of love, what meant by "help"? A small example. You all travel in buses and trains. As you travel in a bus or train, how can you extend help? What sort of help? There may be old people or women standing. You should then get up and offer your seat to them. There may be small children. There may not be place for them. Offer them your seat and stand. You can do lots of such helpful deeds. This is the service expected of youngsters. But youngsters of today sit in the bus, occupy space and go on smiling watching the old people struggle. Such are the qualities of human beings today. When they watch people suffering in cinemas, they cry. They cry over the tragedy in movies but make fun of the people suffering right in front of them. Is this the quality of humans? No! Compassion is same everywhere and should be directed towards all. Absence of compassion has become a fashion these days. It is not fashion (which we should follow), it is Compassion. We say kindness, we say mankind. Today, there is Man, but there is no kindness. Who is man? The one with kindness is Man. That is is why the term Mankind is used. There is no kindness in man today. Therefore we should develop this kindness. So we should be kind. This is an auspicious thing to do. Students - there may be a few who are in trouble - you should render service to such people.
Selfless life is ideal life00:02:21
We should take a forward step to do selfless service. The trees, they perform selfless service. Even those people who blame the trees or who praise the trees, when they come and sit under them irrespective of blame and praise, they give them nice shade. Rivers too are performing selfless service. Cows also are giving selfless service to the society. If trees, rivers and cows do not exist, man cannot live even for a moment. Man who is experiencing and enjoying selfless service from such things which are lifeless, if such a man is leading a selfish life, it is degrading. Thus, man who has earned either wealth of education or any other kind of wealth, to put it for selfless service is the most important duty. The property of the teachers is the education. This wealth, which the teachers possess should be prepared to use along a good path in a selfless manner for promoting good qualities in the students.
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