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  Service

WHAT SATHYA SAI BABA SAYS ABOUT SERVICE

"Engage yourselves in service activity. Consider social service as service to God. This is the best way to earn God's Love. Love all and serve all. Your entire life will be sanctified thereby." - Sathya Sai Baba

A person should strive to use every talent and skill they have, not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the whole world. Understand that society is the source of whatever pleasure one derives and whatever wealth one achieves in life. We owe everything to society and should be grateful to society for all that we receive from it. We have to repay this debt by helping at least as many people as we can. With a genuine keenness or readiness to serve others, one can attain happiness in any group or community, and the very eagerness to serve others will endow you with the power and skill necessary for the required service.Nowadays, we tend to regard it as derogatory to serve, but there is great worth in service. People have become so selfish that they no longer care for others, or anything other than their own welfare. When one constantly thinks only of one's own body, one's own family and one's own comfort, one is a truly selfish person. The only way to cleanse such hard-heartedness is through service to humanity.

Only selfless service can encourage a person to reach the higher state of humanity. Selfless service alone gives the needed strength and courage to awaken the sleeping humanity in one's heart. All service should be regarded as an offering to God, and every opportunity to serve should be welcomed as a gift from God. When service is done in this spirit, it will lead to self- realization.

Engage yourselves in service activity. Consider social service as service to God. This is the best way to earn God's Love. Love all and serve all. Your entire life will be sanctified thereby. The ideal of service has the ability to remove the ego; it promotes love and affection; it takes one away from worldly attachments and puts one on the path of the Divine. It can give widespread pleasure and happiness for all mankind. In fact, service is the first step along the spiritual path, for "service to man is service to God."

Great importance is given to service in the Sai Organization. All office-bearers and active workers pledge themselves to show their love for God by serving their fellow-man, for at least 4 hours a week. Some of this time may be allotted to performing the many duties required for the efficient working of the Sai Centre itself, but some of it should also be for service to the society at large. Both aspects are important.

Service has been defined as "Love made manifest". Baba repeatedly asks us to expand our hearts to include all humanity. He tells us that to care only for our own interests and those of our families is a constriction of our heart. Such constriction eventually results in loneliness and unhappiness -- as indeed we can see all around us, for it is the malady of the present age.

The cure that Baba has given us for this malady, is service. Service slowly and steadily broadens one's heart, bringing with it an unexpected feeling of happiness, and it begins to transform the community around us as well. The service activity which one may, at first, have started with a certain reluctance, soon becomes a labour of love: one's heart has broadened to include others; and the more people one loves, the happier one becomes. this is a spiritual truth that we need to re-discover. Our service will have benefited others, but it will have benefited us also.

Baba tells us that when we serve another, we should remind ourselves that we are serving the Divinity within that other. This is something that we frequently forget, for it needs a very big mental re-adjustment. Don't worry about it -- just serve! But the very least that is demanded of us in this context is to RESPECT the person we are serving. That includes respecting their beliefs; in fact, it means reaching their spiritual Self through their beliefs, not ours. It means putting oneself in their shoes; cheering them up if possible, but seeing things from their point of view. You are merely God's instrument and you are NOT an emissary of Sathya Sai Baba.

Source: http://www.sathyasai.org.nz/SERVICE.html

Eternal Joy Through Service

…If you lift the hand to serve, to help, to console, to encourage another man you are lifting it for God, because in every man is God.

Be of service to others, for that is giving yourself to Me. For whatever you give, I will repay you thrice, Nay I shall repay you ten-fold. Try Me and you will see. I say to those who know the joy of giving, look back! Yes, look back and see how each time you felt that nothing but a miracle could save you, keep you alive, fill your larder, save your son, stop a disaster - has not that miracle happened? Divine guidance is always at the side of the giver. Yes, I will give to those who give of themselves, untold Joy and Bliss; and what is more, I will lead them by the hand along those petal strewn paths of Eternal Joy.

Every deed performed, do it in My Name. Every person who passes near your path give them the sweetness of your smile. Give freely of the nectar of your cup of happiness, of kindness, of Blissfulness. Give the warmth of your love. Extend your hand as I extend Mine to you.

- Sathya Sai Baba

Quotations from the discourses of Sathya Sai Baba

Service expresses the divinity hidden in man. It broadens one's heart, it destroys narrow-mindedness, and it gives delight. The evil qualities and tendencies in us can be driven away through service.

To remove the evil of egoism, service is the most efficient instrument.

Service is the highest spiritual discipline. Prayer and meditation, or knowledge of scripture and Vedanta (holy scriptures of India), cannot help you reach the goal as quickly as service can. Service has a double effect: it extinguishes the ego and gives bliss.

The joy one gets while promoting another's joy is incomparable.

Service is the first step along the spiritual path.

If you lift the hand to serve, to help, to console, to encourage another man, you are lifting it for God, for God is in every man.

How can anyone contemplate on God - who loves the poor and the grief-stricken - and yet be cold-hearted when the poor and the grief-stricken are around them?

Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray.

You have no reason to feel proud when you are able to help another, for your skill or wealth or strength or courage or official position that gave you the chance to serve was the gift of God, whether you recognize it or not. You are only offering this God's gift to another God's gift, namely the poor, the illiterate, the weak, the diseased, the grieving, the broken-hearted, who seek your help.

Man has become so selfish that he does not care for others, or anything other than his own welfare . . . One who constantly thinks of his own body, his own family, his own wealth and his own comfort is truly a selfish man. The only way to cleanse such a hard-hearted man is through service to humanity.

God is the embodiment of compassion. He watches for a grain of goodness or humility so that He can reward it with tons of grace. Deserve the grace of God by helping the weak and the poor, the diseased and the downtrodden.

Constant work in loving service to others covers the seeds of past sinful and harmful actions, so that they die away and do not grow into a new round of misery.

Service without ideal of self . . . trains you to transcend all the artificial distinctions imposed by history and geography, and to realize that the human community is one and indivisible.

A wave of service, if it sweeps over the land catching everyone in its enthusiasm, will be able to wipe off the mounds of hatred, malice and greed that infest the world.

Do not believe that you can by means of service reform or reshape the world. You may or may not; that does not matter. The real value of service, its most visible result, is that it reforms you, reshapes you. Do service as a spiritual discipline; then you will be humble and happy.

Through service rendered without any desire to placate one's ego, with only the well-being of others in view, it is possible to cleanse the consciousness and have the atma (true inner self that is divine) revealed.

You are not doing service for others. You are doing it always for yourselves, to the God in you, the God who is equally present in others.

For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed.

Of the twenty-four hours a day
Use six for earning and spending,
six for contemplation of God,
six of sleep and six for service to others.

Service broadens your vision widens your awareness. Deepens your compassion.

Service is divine - It makes life worthwhile.

Service is greater than meditation.

Sacrifice is sweeter than engagement...

Be good, be serviceable;
Be useful, be kind and
Be God-fearing.

Service is worship. Each act of service is a flower placed at the feet of God.

Service to humanity is service to divinity.

Share your joy, your wealth and your knowledge with others less fortunate. That is the surest means of winning divine grace.

Serve others for they are reflections of the same Entity of which you are yourself another reflection. No one of you has any authenticity, except in reference to the Original. Feel always kinship with all creation. (From "Divine Reflections")

Through Seva Sadhana, Hanuman attained identity with Rama, as the river attains identity with the sea. Arjuna too considered every act as Sadhana to attain the grace of Krishna, for Krishna directed him to fight on, ever keeping Him in memory - "Maamanusmara Yuddhyacha". You too should keep God ever in your mind as the pacesetter, whether you are serving patients in the hospitals or cleaning a drain in the bazaar. That is the tapas, that is the highest form of Sadhana. More than listening to a hundred lectures or delivering them to others, offering one act for genuine Seva attracts the Grace of God.

- Sri Sathya Sai Baba
SSS Vol.11, p.193
 

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