Seva That Sanctifies


Oh Man! When you come out of the mother's womb
You have no necklace of any kind round your neck,
Neither of pearl, nor of gold, nor a string of gems;
But there is one garland round your neck with which the
Creator has sent you.
It is the heavy chain of you good and bad deeds
carried from all your past lives.
That unbroken chain is all that you bring into the world.

Embodiments of Divine Love!

Karma (one's deeds) is responsible for birth. Every man is a child of Karma. Born on account of Karma, Dharma (Righteousness) becomes one of the primary goals of human life. Dharma governs all conduct (Dharma) pertaining to one's caste,  vocation, or stage in life (Asrama), people are supposed to regulate their lives. This is regarded as Dharma. But this is not the correct  meaning of the term. Dharma in its exalted meaning is that which applies to all people in all countries at all times.
 

The Eternal Dharma

Dharma is that which sustains mankind. True humanness consists in observing unity of thought, word and deed. All actions done with this triple unity are dharmic actions (Righteous).  All such actions will be non-violent. Words spoken with such triple purity will be truth.

Dharma conceived in this way transcends the barriers of space, time and circumstance. Hence it is called Sanathana Dharma - the eternal verities.

There are in the world various rules of conduct which are related to conditions governing time and space.  Such rules are liable to change from time to time and country to country, according to changing situations. But if Sanathana Dharma is changed, humanity will cease to be human. Just  as burning charcoal, if it loses its heat, becomes mere charcoal, and a pieces of haggery, if it loses its sweetness, becomes a lump of clay, likewise man remains truly human only as long as he adheres to the eternal Dharma  (which is represented by purity in thought, word and deeed - "Trikarna Suddhi:). Without this basic quality, man is only human in form and not in his true nature.
 

Mental Maladies

Human life is a precious jewel which is being bartered away for the flimsy tinsel of sensuous pleasures and this happens because of pollution of the mind. The mind is prone to afflictions from four sources. One is through delusions (bhrama)  which make the mind see objects differently from what they really are. Because of this, man forgets his inherent divinity and gets immersed in the transient and the impermanent. Ignoring the  Indwelling Spirit, he gets attached to the perishable body. This delusion results in a state called Pramaadam (perilous or critical condition). The entire personality is affected by the delusion. The result is the next stage called Karanapatanam, the weakening of the sense organs. The mind by itself has the power of perception. It has to perceive everything through the sense organs (indriyas) such as the eyes, the ears, etc. The mind acts on the basis of the impressions received through the sense organs. When the senses are weakened and the impressions received through them are misleading and unreliable, the mind is also affected. The  mind goes astray to association with wrong impressions. That is why in the spiritual field, the efficacy of association with good people is emphasised.

The fourth affliction to which the mind is prone is envy (Vipralipsa). This is an evil quality. The envious man cannot suffer others being prosperous or happy. He has a carping  spirit, He always wishes ill for others. Envy converts a man into a veritable master. This is a most sinful vice.
 

Service and Purity

It is because the mind is prone to these four kinds of afflictions that Vedanta recommends special disciplines for the mind to get rid of polluting influences and evil tendencies. How is the mind to be purified? Through service to society with dedication and identification with everyone. You have to cultivate this feeling of oneness with all (Ekaatmabhaava). By engaging yourselves in service, you develop this sense of oneness.

In this context, the supreme importance of love should be recognised. Love is your nature. But modern man, in his preoccupation with the world of external phenomena, is failing to discover his own true nature. Of what avail is alll the knowledge about the physical world if a man does not know what he really is? Love is the means and love is the proof.

Self-enquiry calls for earnestness (Sraddha) and undertsnading of Rita (the principle of cosmic order governing the universe). Rita transcends the categories of time an dspace. It is the eternal verity represented by the unity of thought, word and deed (Trikarna Suddhi). The Buddhi (intelligence) is the instrument for making the enquiry into the Real. Buddhi is superior to intellectual talent. The ancients accorded a higher place to Buddhi because it confers the power of discrimination between right and wrong, between the permanent and the passing. Modern man attaches higher value in intellectual ability. the falsity of this view was demonstrated centuries ago in a debate between Adi Sankara and Mandana Misra. In that debate Sankara conclusively proved that Buddhi (the power of discrimination) was superior to intellectual ability(medhas).
 

Unity  in Spirit

Few are qualified to declare the distinction betwen the Sipirit and matter and to determine the nature of divinity and the truth about the phenomenal world. The reason is that all people in the world suffer from delusions of different kinds. Consequently they suffer from various fears and hallucinations and have no peace of mind. The only way to get rid of these delusions and fears is to practise love and realise the divinity that is present in all beings. Once this spiritual unity of all beings is recognised, the relevance of this truth for every sphere of life - the physical, the social, the political, the economic, the ethical and the spiritual - will become clear.

The scientists, in their exploration of the nature of matter, have discovered the existence of various sub-atomic particles like electrons, protons and neutrons. The divine energy that is present in all these particles is one and the same. Once the divine energy is understood, there will be no need to pursue other explorations. If, for instance, you understand that sugar is the basic constituent of different kinds of sweets, there will be no need to examine each of  them.
 

Loving Service

Multiplicity is a characteristic of Nature (Prakrithi). The Cosmos is a projection of the Divine. It is called Jagat - that in which things arise and disappear, come and go. Nothing seems permanent. But the spirituality realised person will recognise the permanent that subsumes the changing entity. Such a realisation can come only when a person is pure in thought, word and deed. Purity must express itself in loving service. Help to the needy has been described as the highest virtue (punya). Harming others has been condemned as a sin. Sai devotees must engage themselves in acts of service, which will sanctify their lives. The exemplary man is the one who causes no pain to others, who feels no pain himself and who leads a life of service to others. Hoping that, with the name of god on your lips and with your hands engaged in service, you will dedicate your lives to help others and realise the bliss of the Sipirt , I shower My benediction on all of you!