We must realize the truth that God has given us this body for serving others and thus help others. There is nothing greater than service to humanity. Service to man is service to God. All great men have sanctified their life only by serving humanity. Therefore, you start serving humanity at least from now onwards. Service is more important than bhajan and all other sadhanas (spiritual disciplines).

Divine Discourse, January 1, 2004 

Help Ever, Hurt Never (Service) 

Short story:

“The feeling behind the act”

Abdullah was sleeping in a corner of a mosque in Mecca, when he was awakened by the conversation of two angels above his head. They were preparing a list of the blessed ones. One angel was telling the other that a certain Mahbub of Sikandar city deserved to be ranked first, even though he had not come on pilgrimage to the Holy city. Hearing this Abdullah went to Sikandar City and found that he was a cobbler, repairing the shoes of people. He was famished and poor. His earnings barely sufficed to keep flesh and bone together. He had, by severe sacrifice, piled up a few coppers during the course of years. One day, he spent the entire treasure to prepare a special dish which he proposed to place before his wife as a surprise gift. When he was proceeding home with the gift, he heard the cry of a starving beggar who seemed to be in the throes of extreme hunger. Mahbub could not proceed any further. He gave the pot containing the costly delicacy to the man and sat by his side, enjoying the blossoming of satisfaction on his haggard face. That act gave him a place of honor in the register of the blessed, a place which pilgrims to Mecca who had spent millions of dinars in charity could not secure. The Lord cares for the feeling behind the act, not the fanfare and the fuss.                                     



Excerpts from Baba’s Discourses:

What, according to you, is service? You consider helping people in difficulties is service. No. It is not as simple as that. Your body should be constantly engaged in serving others. The human body consists of several limbs. All these limbs are meant to be engaged in serving the fellowmen and not for other activities. Unfortunately, we are forgetting this basic fact. Every limb in the human body has been granted by God for karmopasana (worshipping God through service). Karmopasana is the only means by which the human life can be sanctified. We are building several temples. We are undertaking various sadhanas. But, all these sadhanas can give us only temporary satisfaction, not eternal joy. Our ancient rishis (sages) have been able to achieve eternal joy through a conscious effort. Therefore, you must develop firm faith in the truth that nothing can provide eternal joy except service to humanity. Undertake service to the suffering humanity. Service is not merely confined to health services. Service encompasses every possible help to the fellow human beings. 

God is not interested in worship and other sadhanas (spiritual disciplines). He is interested only in service. Hence, undertake service and more and more service. The best way to love God is to Love all and Serve all. God is interested only in love and service. If you can recognize the importance of these two sadhanas and conduct yourself accordingly, there can be no greater sadhana. 

You need not have to spend a lot of money in service. Sanctify your life by undertaking loving service. Today, the old students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning have brought a cheque for Rs. 48 lakhs to present to Swami as a token of their love and service. This amount has been saved by them from their salaries, by undergoing lot of difficulties. But to whom should the amount belong, really? This amount is meant to be utilized for service in the villages. It is for serving the poorest of the poor. Therefore, I told them, "My dear ones! You deposit the money in the bank and undertake the service activities with the interest accrued on the amount." Money is of no help in developing good qualities. Sacrifice alone can develop noble qualities. It is only in sacrifice, there is real yoga. That is why it is said thyagenaike amrutatthwamanasu (it is only by sacrifice that man can attain immortality). Today, however, people want bhoga (enjoy material comforts). By such bhoga, only roga (disease) will be contracted. They cannot attain yoga (union with God).  Hence, you try to attain yoga by thyaga (sacrifice). Only then can you attain eternal joy.

- Divine Discourse, January 1, 2004 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How can Service be greater than all other spiritual disciplines? 
  2. What qualities and components are required for our Service to qualify for Swami’s standards? 
  3. Can you relate of examples in your own life whereby the “Hurt Never” principle was helpful?