Yoga of Service

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

A karma yogi who does all works in the form of worship of God in the beginning, who surrenders his body, mind, soul and all his actions as flowers or offerings at the lotus-feet of the Lord, who is ever absorbed in the Lord by constant thought of God, loses himself in God-consciousness by total self-surrender. He gets absorbed in God. His will becomes one with the cosmic will. That is his last and advanced stage. He realizes that whatever is going on in the world is but the lila of the Lord or divine sporting. He realizes the truth of the utterances in the Brahma Sutras: Lokavattu Lila Kaivalyam – This world is nothing but divine play. He feels he is one with the Lord and is a partner in His lila. He lives for Him only. He lives in Him only. His thoughts and actions are now of God Himself. The veil has dropped. The sense of separateness has been totally annihilated. He now enjoys the divine aisvarya.

A doctor who works in the hospital should think that all patients are manifestations of the one Lord. He should think that this body is a moving temple of God and that the hospital is a big temple or Vrindavan or Ayodhya, He should think: “I am doing all my actions to please God, not to please my superiors.” He should think that God is the Inner Ruler, antaryamin, that He only manipulates all his organs from behind and that He is the wire-puller of his body. He should think that he only works to carry out the divine will in the grand plan or scheme of things. He should consecrate all his actions, good and bad at His Feet and say: Om Tat Sat Krishnarpanamastu or Om Tat Sat Brahmarpanamastu in the end, and at night when he retires to bed.

This is jnanagni or the fire of wisdom or the fire of devotion that destroys the fruit of action, brings about emancipation. He should never even dream: “I have done such meritorious acts. I will get an exalted place in svarga, heaven, etc. I will be born in the next birth as a rich man.” By means of constant practice of this nature he will slowly get mental non-attachment towards work. A lady when she does her household duties should also entertain the above mental attitude. In this manner all actions can be spiritualized. All actions will become worship of God. A man can realize Godhead in whatever situation he may be placed in life, if only he works with this right mental attitude.

—printed in YOGA Vol. 9, No. 5, (May 1971)