Do not lose a single opportunity for helping and serving others. An
opportunity once neglected may not come again. My method is to be always
on the lookout for opportunities. Watch for them and utilize them. Be
ever ready to serve. Be full of initiative. Never miss a single chance.
Create opportunities. Create a field for good service; create work.
There is no yoga or yajna greater than sattwic charity of the spontaneous
Actively seek the well-being or comfort of others. Do not procrastinate.
Act now, not tomorrow or the day after. The person may change their
mind later on and go away. We may not then have the opportunity of rendering
our service to them. This is one of the most important rules in selfless
service. Opportunities come and go. A karma yogi should be ever vigilant
and utilize every opportunity for seva. When a task is put off for the
next day, then other tasks accumulate around it and the opportunity
for service is lost.
Serve cheerfully and willingly. Serve with pure love, kindness and
courtesy. Never grumble or murmur during service. Never show a wry or
gloomy face when you serve. The one you serve will refuse to accept
such service and you will lose an opportunity. Utilize every minute
in serving others in the best possible manner. Do not expect anything
when you serve a man or when you give a gift. Thank him for giving you
a good opportunity to serve him.
If your guru or friend asks you to wash a towel, take his clothes
also for washing without his knowledge. If a passer-by asks for a cup
of water, say to him with courtesy, in sweet words: Brother, take
your seat. Here is water. Here is a cup of milk for you. Rest awhile
on this seat. I shall massage your legs and fan you. You are tired.
This is real service. This is real yoga. If you do service with this
mental attitude for one or two years, you will become an entirely changed
being, a veritable God on this earth.
You can do selfless service according to your ability and station
in life. An advocate can plead for poor people without accepting fees.
A doctor can treat the poor free of charge. A teacher or professor can
give free tuition to poor children. He can supply books for study. Give
one-tenth of your income in charity. Serve your parents, elders, teachers
and guests with divine bhava.
Serve any social institution for one hour daily without any remuneration.
Collect some old clothes and distribute them to the needy. Distribute
food to the destitute as you walk along the street. Read to the blind,
and visit the old and aged, cheer them up with stories and news of happy
Equip yourself with first-aid knowledge, so you can always give the
first help in all cases of emergency. Get medicine from the hospital
or the dispensary to have ready for anyone who may need it. Visit a
hospital daily, if you can, or weekly, and give your best attention
to the non-paying wards. Distribute fruits to the patients. Sit by the
side of the patient and speak a few encouraging words. Smile awhile.
Repeat verses or read inspiring passages from the spiritual traditions.
Tell him that you will meet him tomorrow; and then do meet
Meet your friends and members of your society in a common place once
a week or a fortnight for satsang and kirtan. Develop an understanding
heart. Help others in the spiritual path. Lift them up. Throw light
on their path. Do not expect perfection from them, but be kind to them.
They are doing their best, as you are yourself doing yours. You will
grow by helping them.
Kindness is the cheapest of all things. A kind look, a kind word,
a kind act, a friendly smile all cost nothing but bring to others happiness
which money cannot buy. They are priceless in their value. Do kind acts
now as service of your fellow travellers. Kindness is like a healing
balm. It soothes suffering. Just as little drops of water make the mighty
ocean, little acts of kindness make an ocean of goodwill.
If a guest arrives at your house, this is an opportunity for seva.
Welcome them and ensure that they are treated properly, no matter how
inconvenient the timing. Seva should be performed generously and with
modesty. It should be done with feeling. The food that you offer a guest
may be meagre fare, but if you offer it with love it acquires great
power, nutrition and taste. Be it a relative, friend or beggar, give
food with love and affection, whatever the quality of the food may be.
To be good in actions is to be good at heart, because actions are
the expressions of ones thoughts. Once a visitor and his family
came to the ashram without providing previous intimation of their arrival.
After enquiring about their welfare, I asked a disciple to give them
lunch. The disciple hesitated as it was past lunch hour and the food
was also finished. I told him, It doesnt matter. Take them
and manage somehow. Give them some curd, pappad and fruit. Even if you
are unable to give food, at least talk pleasantly. Unless you
are pleasant at heart, how are you going to be good in your actions?
The external action does not matter much because ones action will
only be in accordance with what is in ones heart. Therefore, be
good in order to do good.
There is no superior or inferior service. There is no superiority
or inferiority among karma yogis. In a machine, the smallest bolt or
spring is as essential to its smooth running as the mighty wheel. Similarly,
in an organized effort, the person who does even the least work, or
attends to an insignificant detail, contributes as much to the success
of the endeavour as the chief organizer himself; for, if there is some
defect in even a small detail, perfect success cannot be achieved.
He who gives the handle of a sharp knife to another to hold while
holding the sharp blade himself, does real service. Generally under
the camouflage of serving others, people try to please themselves only.
This is a serious mistake. A real sevak takes on his shoulders the most
responsible, difficult, arduous and uninteresting of tasks and kills
his own little self just to please others. He willingly undergoes pain
and suffering in order to serve and please others.
You must develop to a remarkable degree the spirit of discrimination,
discernment, alacrity, alertness, the faculty of daksha, expert awareness,
which will help you to decide a right line of action when you are in
a dilemma. Then only will you be able to find out what is exactly required
at a critical juncture or at the right time and not an hour afterwards.
You will not regret afterwards in any way.