The organizations named after Me are not to be used for publizising My name or creating a new cult around My worship. They must render seva (selfless service) to the helpless, the sick, the distressed, the illiterate and the needy. Their seva (selfless service) should not be exhibitionistic; it must seek no reward, not even gratitude or thanks from the recipients.

Sathya Sai Baba, 23 February 1968

Americans do an amazing amount of volunteering. Sathya Sai Baba says that there is a difference between conventional social service and selfless service. This difference has nothing to do with the service itself — in fact, Sathya Sai Baba says that service to the community is the highest service. Rather, the difference lies in the attitude with which the service is carried out. Selfless service has a spiritual foundation.

The spiritual exercise of service is quite distinct. In service, you devote all your energy and attention to the task at hand, for it is a dedicated task. You forget your body and ignore its demands. You set aside your individuality and its prestige and perquisites. You pluck your ego by its roots and cast it away. You give up your status, your conceit, your name and form and all that they demand from others. This process makes the mind pure.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 10, Ch. 19

Do not believe that you can by means of selfless service reform or reshape the world. You may or may not. That does not matter. The real value of seva, its most visible result, is that it reforms you, reshapes you.

Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 5 Ch. 66

You are doing service for you own sake. You are engaged in service in order to become aware of the Divine Spirit in you, in order that you may discard the allurements of your ego, in order to know yourself and to get the answer to the question that torments you, namely, “Who am I.” You do not serve others, you serve yourself; you do not serve the world, you serve your own interest.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 10, Ch. 19

In our Sai Centers, selfless service is just as important a spiritual activity as devotional singing. These service activities include providing food, clothing, school supplies, and daily provisions to the needy; building and repairing homes and community buildings; visiting old-age homes, prisons, and convalescent hospitals; mentoring needy students; free medical camps/clinics; and providing humanitarian relief to the victims of natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.