3 - Issue 7
I offer my humble Pranams at Bhagavan's Lotus Feet.
Most beloved Bhagavan, revered elders, dear brothers and sisters.
It is a great honour to speak in His Divine Presence and I am very grateful for that opportunity. We all know that the Grama Seva (serving in the villages) just commenced yesterday morning, so this week is going to be a week of selfless service and love. It is very rare to find a project of such magnitude and dimensions carried out and undertaken by students with such enthusiasm, anywhere in the world. This can happen only in Bhagavan's Divine Presence. Therefore I feel it is very appropriate to speak on the topic of service and I seek Bhagavan's permission for the same.
The first thought that strikes me is the beautiful portrait of Bhagavan which decorates the wall as soon as we enter the Super Speciality Hospital in Puttaparthi. Under this beautiful portrait is written the phrase "Paropakaaraartham idam shareeram". Bhagavan says 'The very purpose of human life is to serve our fellow brothers'. This is the very objective of acquiring this body, which is a gift of the Lord.
Service Be Done?
Aspect: 'Offer Every Act to God'
I kept on introspecting on Swami’s meaning; did it mean I should give blood to Bhagavan? It was only days later that it slowly dawned on me that Bhagavan says “Whatever you do, do it for Me.” When I went to donate blood the feeling I had was that I am going to give blood for a patient who will be saved by this blood. I never felt that I am going to donate blood to the Swami in that patient. That was the reason I felt Swami asked me ‘Did you give blood to the patient, or to Me?’ His gives so much wisdom in one sentence.
Aspect: Pure Selfless Love for God
Aspect : Do Silent Service
Aspect : Quality Not Quantity
Bhagavan rushed out of the interview room came straight to this boy and asked for the letter, read it and then for the next hour kept on mentioning this boy concerning how much love and feeling he has! We realised how much importance Swami gives to the feelings behind our actions. The feeling and intentions behind what one does are very important. Therefore, Bhagavan says that it is not quantity that is important - we need not do big things - but whatever little role we have in our lives, if we do that as an offering to the Lord, with pure selfless love, with a feeling of oneness and humility, then I think it can be termed service in the true sense.
Why Should One Do Service
Next, let me move on to why one should do service. This is the age where one questions everything. Gone are the days when youngsters obediently listened to their elders and promptly did what they said. So why should one serve? Bhagavan very clearly says that one very important component of service is to never be under the impression that you are serving others; you are in fact serving yourself and it is for your own good.
The first benefit is that ego is lessened. At least for those few moments when we are serving others we forget ourselves (for the rest of the time we are only concerned about ourselves).
The second benefit that Bhagavan says is that service leads to transformation. I recall respected Indulal Shah made the following beautiful statement, "The service that you do is not as important as what the service does to you." Have I become a better person; have I developed more forbearance; have I reduced my anger; have I become more humble? If nothing like this has happened what is the point of it. So we should really pray to Bhagavan to let us realise that service should bring a change in us. Let us never be under the impression that it is we, who are helping.
The story of the great Shivaji illustrates this. He felt that he was protecting the entire kingdom. His Guru teaches him by taking him to a rock and asking a soldier to break the rock open, in which was found a small pool of water with a frog inside. The Guru asks him "Who is taking care of that frog?" Then it dawned on the great king that it is God who is taking care of everybody.
The third benefit is that when we serve we become sensitive to other people's concerns, needs and pain and it softens our heart. As Mahatma Ghandi said "The most unfortunate thing about today's education is that it has made people's hearts hard like rock." Bhagavan echoes these words, adding that our hearts should be as soft as butter. So service makes the heart soft and more sensitive.
At this juncture I would like to share how Bhagavan taught me to be more sensitive to small things. In my first interview I was feeling dazed and looking at Swami all the time. Swami spoke to several other devotees, materialised rings and Vibhuti. At the end of the interview Bhagavan distributes Vibhuti Prasadam to all the devotees. Bhagavan went to the side table picked up the bag and started distributing the Vibhuti. I kept staring at Him the whole time thinking ‘This is God and I am so close to Him for the first time’. Normally, we become lost in that feeling and forget our most primary duties. Then I saw a young man from overseas rush to Swami and say "Swami, please let me hold it." Believe me Swami was so pleased; He turned to me and said, "See". I felt so ashamed that I prayed ‘Just give me one more opportunity Swami, I will never forget this in my life’.
I kept praying and luckily the next day, He called us for interview. Right from the morning I had been praying ‘Swami give me one more chance, I will show You that I have learnt the lesson’. Evening came and we were called for interview and went inside. I saw the Vibhuti bag on the table and I told myself that I would hold the bag for Swami. The interview was over, Swami materialised lockets and Vibhuti and towards the end I was waiting like an athlete for the 100m sprint. I told myself ‘The moment Swami gets up I will rush towards Him’ and that is exactly what I did. Swami looked at me, as if to say, ‘What are you doing?’ But when I took the bag, the joy that I saw on Bhagavan's face was the joy of a Mother when the child learns his lesson. He smiled so beautifully, looked at some men sitting in the corner of the interview room and said "See". So I believe, this is the way God teaches, one to the other and the cycle goes on.
Service basically is for killing the ego, or transforming ourselves and above all for sensitising us, or softening our hearts. Swami has been engaged in selfless service to humanity for the last 78 years. Every second His life is a saga of selfless service. He tells us to do, but He also shows us. As Bhagavan says, He is not an ordinary teacher. He is a physical director who does it Himself; Swami literally demonstrates - "I do and I ask you to do."
|Optimized for Netscape and Firefox. Best viewed in Internet Explorer - 1024 x 768 resolution.|