What wealth is to the merchant, service is to the server. As light emanates from the sun and fragrance from the flower, so does service from the servant of God. Pure service is not done by the individual, rather it flows through the individual. One he can be a channel of true service who does not run after objects, personal achievements or a favourable environment for his own happiness.
The world loves the true servant of man - who does not covet anything of the world - and still the whole world's love does not bind him. The man of egoistic action pretends to love the world, but really covets the love of the world, which however eludes him.
The mind of the true servant always flows towards the object of service without effort- pure and uncontaminated by any trace of selfishness. Every action in the conduct of the true servant is perfect, for every pravritti (pursuit of activity) of his has the same inner significance. Differences in the nature and size of his actions make no difference to the love permeating them and to the goal of his life. Environment, like the scenes of a drama, has no effect on his inner being. The nivritti ( cessation of desires, transcendence) which the yogi attains by yoga, and the intellectual seeker by deep thinking, the true servant attains by right conduct in whatever conditions appear before him; for he is not attached to appearances or to particular forms of action.
As wood goes on turning into fire as the fire flames forth, even so, as the ideal of service consumes a man, the entity of the servant becomes one with the object of service.
The true servant is never tired, for the Lord who is the source of all energy dwells in the heart of the servant. "He who adopts the program of God commands the resources of God."
There are two types of servers- those
who flow like the Ganges in the sight of humanity, and those others who stand
motionless behind the scene like the Himalayas but secretly feed all the rivers.
The truest service of fellow beings is the kindling of viveka (power of discrimination,
intelligence) in them with the flame of viveka in us, even as a candle lights
It is superstition to think that only a man of many external possessions can render service. Many people take service to be just some good and helpful deeds, which we perform in varying measures- largely from what we can easily spare of our time, energy or money. That is good so far as it goes, for every good deed brings its reward just as every evil deed does. But for the true spiritual aspirant service is a ritual of life which culminates in union with the Divine; his whole life has to be lived for the sole purpose of service to fellow-beings, as an offering to the Divine.
Only he can be a true servant whose heart vibrates with pain for the pain of others, and who, for his own happiness, looks up to God alone and never to the world. Good deeds prepare a man for such renunciation, but only a complete psychological renunciation of desires makes a man capable of being a true servant and channel of the Divine. If external possessions happen to be needed for a particular man to be necessary for service, God provides them.
True service is impossible without feeling the sorrow and suffering of another as one's own and one's own happiness or pleasure as the property of those in sorrow. But by taking on oneself the sorrow of another, one gets rid of one's own sorrow once for all. To impose one's wisdom on another considering him to be ignorant, is not service. Therefore, till you are eligible to be a real server, at least do not be irreverent to others in thought, word or deed, and do wish ill to anyone. That by itself is not mean service, which requires no outer resources.
To serve is a high spiritual sadhana ( spiritual discipline, spiritual practice.), but not to serve with a hidden desire to be regarded as a servant or saviour.
Just as any obstacle in the way of a flowing river accentuates the velocity of the flow, even so unfavourable circumstances in the way of a servant only accelerate the momentum of his service. Thus, unfavourable circumstances advance, and not retard, the progress of the sadhaka (spiritual aspirant). What is given to us, including our environment, is but the material for sadhana by God.
All actions of the Divine servant arise from and merge into feeling, and feeling merges into knowledge and wisdom. True service leads to freedom, for the true servant does not run after the world but the world runs after him; the true servant does not run after organization but organization follows him .
There is no room in the mind of a true servant for either an inferiority or a superiority complex.
The true servant will never indulge in any pleasure which is born of the pain of another, for it is bound to recoil on him according to the universal law.
The true servant makes no difference between a small piece of work and a so-called big piece of work, for all work is the Lord's. It is the egoist who makes such difference for his own glorification, All service is bound to be limited at the level of action, but the least of service is unlimited at the level of love which motivates it. The tiniest bit of pure service, therefore, yields the same result as a big act of service in uniting one with the served.
The privilege of true service is given by God in His Grace. Anyone who looks at the world for his own happiness cannot be a true server. Renunciation of the self is a prerequisite for one who takes to the path of service. Of course, when even the earthly master, who has his limitations and is not unselfish, gives his best to his servant, would the great Master whose love and power are infinite and who is in no want for Himself, keep from looking after one who does all work as unto Him and for His pleasure, by serving His creation?
The true servant never looks at the faults of others. If others had no fault, there would be no need for his service. On the contrary, a servant of God is always busy removing his own faults so as to be a purer channel of service.
The servant of God does not regard his body or his mind or any external possessions as his own; but he offers them to God in His service. God purifies the most contaminated instruments, once they are sincerely offered to Him.
Ordinary action- even good deeds- feeds the ego; service dissolves the ego and awakens the real Self. Service is the medicine to cure the disease of disservice or self-indulgence. Medicine is of no further purpose beyond curing the disease. The perfection of service and goodwill is in melting the same in the realization of the Self, Service is the external form of life; the inner form is the nirvikalpa state (transcendent quietism, undistracted).
The ego, with its body-consciousness, takes a man along the dark path of mortality, while the awakening of the soul takes the man along the path of immortality. The greatest service egoistically performed is not equal to the simplest service rendered egolessly; for the former humiliates its doer in expectation of the fruit of his action, whereas the latter being an offering to the Divine is pure, complete action. The former leaves lots of mental pictures on the mind, whereas the latter leaves no trace of any but engenders passionlessness and love.
Saints and sages have never proclaimed their service; but even though many of them may not appear to serve in the ways of men, who dare say that Kabir ,Nanak , Meera, Surdas and other well know saints, have not blazed trails of perpetual service to mankind?
The Divine never expects you to do what is beyond your power to do. Your field of duty lies only in what you can do.
Many men get so involved in outer action that the feeling behind it dries up. Such action loses its potency to lead to the true destination.
As the flower emanates sweet fragrance by itself, even so does the loving soul saturate all living beings. Service flows from the true server to all alike who come his way. He who limits himself to a certain creed, caste or country to the exclusion of others shuts himself out from the Infinite.
A useful principle for one who embarks on the path of service is never to start a pursuit of activity, which does not do any good or provide happiness to others. Even if one has thereby to remain actionless for some time, Providence will in due course give him the necessary power to release beneficent action.
If any happiness comes to the server, he distributes it among the unhappy on behalf of the Supreme Giver. Beneficent pursuit of activity and, desirelessness are the roots of spiritual discipline and practice.
The body and all other instruments of the server are never slow to be utilized in the service of others, but they are always slow to move in any action which does no good to anyone.
The acid test of pure action is that it leaves no trace of any residue of impressions on the mind.
All human relationships are for service only, otherwise they are illusory. When you have rendered unto the world what belongs to it you will be detached from the body and its relationships and will commune with the Divine.
The heart in which love and compassion for all living beings reside can have no room for seeking after personal pleasures.
Let not a server fancy for a moment that he is obliging the served. After all, whatever a man has with which he serves is derived from others, e.g. eyes see by the dispensation of light, ears hear by the dispensation of air, tongue bears its taste from the dispensation of water, and the various elements which sustain his life are derived from the dispensation of trees and animals. Man is indebted to society in various ways- he is brought up by his parents and his relatives, educated at the expense of others, the roads he walks on were not constructed by himself or his family, and so on. Thus, our whole life is dependent on others. We only repay a part of the debt we owe to others by our humble service. True service is, therefore, rendered only in humility. There is no room for pride in service. In fact, when the whole world is powerless entirely to mitigate the sorrow of a single individual, how much less can a single individual mitigate the entire sorrow of the world! Indeed, service purifies one's own heart even more than it does lasting good to another. The honest server should feel indebted to the served. Humility and egolessness in service automatically result in renunciation and unite the server with the Beloved whom he serves, for the pure server follows up each thought and each act of service by true renunciation and renunciation by pure love and awareness. But the server should serve without any label, the renouncer should renounce without a label and the devotee should love without a label.
Pure service is its own reward. It is no investment or barter. If we desire anything for ourselves through service, it is the worst form of impurity of mind in the garb of service. Service and renunciation are only the returning of whatever belongs to another, and therefore these should be done for their own sake; when these are done to achieve any ends they amount to their own denial.
For the spiritual aspirant all acts
of service resolve themselves into worship of God.
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