Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Volunteer (free) service builds character; Religion is three-fourths character

From, Prashaanthi Nilayam, 28-10-1969, Divine Discourse by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba:

YOUR task as swayam sevaks (self-servants) will be done, when you know full well the task for which you have earned this human frame, with all its potentialities and possibilities. It is to grow in love, expand that love, practise love, strengthen love and finally become Love and merge in the Illimitable Love, which is God. All your life, you must be Love, with Love, for Love. That is to say, love expressed through service to those that draw that love from you, and by drawing, help to increase it and deepen it. Spiritual discipline is designed to canalise that love, so that it may irrigate the heart, which will otherwise go dry.

The volunteers privileged to work a% (at) the Prashaanthi Nilayam have to set the ideal for similar workers all over the world. For, here, service emanates from genuine understanding of the meaning and purpose of life. When that is known, every step will be right, towards righteousness. And, if there be righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character; if there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home; if there be harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation; if there be order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. Righteousness consists in widening the horizon of your compassion. This Will necessarily promote the sum of human happiness.

Religion is three-fourths character. No person can claim to be religious if he merely observes the sacraments and rules, and fails to be upright and compassionate. Character alone can harden one to the blows of pain and pleasure. It alone can make man exclaim. "Death for me is a joke; birth cannot make me afraid!" This week that you have spent as volunteers here is a week of character-building of saadhana. Swayam means self; sevak means servant. You have been serving your own selves all these days.

--- end discourse extract ---

As somebody who has had the privilege of doing volunteer service in Sri Sathya Sai Seva Samithi, Dombivli, Maharashtra (Food distribution, medical camp and other activities) for nearly a decade, with around six stints of a week or two week Prasanthi Seva (Seva Dal service) at Prasanthi Nilayam with Bhagavan graciously giving Padanamaskar after these stints to all Seva Dal, followed by volunteer service as a teacher in the Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning), Prasanthi Nilayam campus, from Jan. 2003 to Mar. 2012, I would like to HUMBLY SHARE that I have benefited greatly, from a spiritual perspective, by these acts of "serving my own self". I am deeply grateful to Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who taught me the VITAL IMPORTANCE of VOLUNTEER SERVICE (FREE SERVICE) done in a spirit of devotional offering to the Lord, for spiritual progress in Kali Yuga.

I have not written the above in a spirit of bragging about me - I had lots of faults earlier and still have some faults/flaws. I wrote the above, in a spirit of sharing with youngsters how I benefited from making serious attempts to FOLLOW Swami's teachings in regard to voluntary service. Perhaps that may help some youngsters (or even elders), who currently are not into voluntary service, to seriously attempt doing voluntary service to "serve their own self" and progress spiritually. Even if one such person does that, my objective in sharing the above post will be fulfilled. Jai Sairam!

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