You know, when you exchange a thing for a thing, when it is mutual, it is known as business. But when you give but do not take in return, it is termed as service. This is the fundamental difference between service and business. In many newspapers you will notice advertisements stating that a particular company has been rendering service to the people from a such and such a year. This is a wrong statement – it is not service, it is business.
When the entire Cosmos is of God, is His offspring, serving them means serving the Supreme. Wherever you are, as a householder or as a renunciate, you must render service to all created beings with the ideation of the Supreme on all the individual entities. Guarding yourself against egoism you must think in your mind that taking a particular shape the Supreme has given you this chance to serve Him. It is to His credit that in the form of a diseased, a helpless person, or a beggar, He is accepting service and making you grateful. Had He not come in this form, you would not have been blessed with this good fortune.
In meditation there must always be the feeling that you want to serve Him. If this is the feeling, immediately the mind gets concentrated. If in meditation there is the culmination of service, everything will be achieved. Even through the preliminary lessons of meditation (Náma Mantra), a spiritual aspirant can get salvation, but even one practicing higher meditation (Vishesh Yoga) cannot attain it if there is no feeling for service, and meditation is done just for the sake of exhibition of one’s heroism. When internal service is not done properly, the external one also is not done properly; therefore it is said, “Liberation of self and service to humanity.” In “liberation of self” there is internal service; and in “service to humanity” there is external service. Both are needed. By external service the mind is purified and with the purified mind, internal service can be done by everyone.
Avoid the jugglery of words and establish yourself in the glory of action. (Calcutta, 1981)
It is action that makes the person great. Be great by your sádhaná (spiritual practice), by your service, and by your sacrifice.
Ánanda Váńii, January 1 1964
When you render service to anyone, you must mentally address Him with sincere devotion, “O Lord, O God! Oblige me by accepting my services. You are merciful to me, and for this reason you have appeared before me as a living being to offer me this very precious opportunity of rendering services to You.” By maintaining such sentiments, conceit will not arise in you, nor will the reactions of your actions bind you.
The principal cause for the bondage of the fruits of action is conceit or yearning for fame. Suppose a certain man donates a sum of 10,000 rupees to a particular institution. The next day he looks anxiously for his name in the newspaper. If his name does not appear in the paper, with an air of conceit he brags amongst his relatives, “I donated a thousand rupees, but I do not desire to earn fame and therefore I have not published my name in the paper.” The desire for fame is hidden in that man’s mind. Surely, he did not make the donation with the spirit of service. But when you perform actions by transplanting the idea of God on the person served, there will be no possibility of any arrogance or any idea of earning fame growing in your mind. Then you will realize that through the grace of God you have the opportunity of serving Him. Our hands and feet are not ours, they are His, and serving Himself with those hands and feet He sports with Himself.
Subháśita Saḿgraha I, 108
Learning or knowledge or any other asset is not necessary except only two things – implicit faith and sincerity. Arouse these two things through your willpower and victory is yours.
Subháśita Saḿgraha IV, 28
When you help someone, if you help him a great deal, then that fellow will become an invalid. So if you want to help someone, you should help him a little bit at first, then perhaps later a little more, from time to time, not all at once. Your policy should be that you will help a person in accordance with his needs, not too much, not totally helping – otherwise he will not try for his own development. You help him a little, then let him stand on his own, and he will automatically take up activities in his own spirit and with his own ideas.
Supreme Expression II, 44
No person in this world is powerless. Whoever has come on this earth has been graced with some amount of power. We are walking, talking, condemning, gossiping – we are wasting our time. When the time for work comes, some people say they do not have the capacity to perform the work. But when doing unworthy actions, they demonstrate much power. Whatever power you have, you must utilize it to the utmost. Rest assured that if you apply your power to good works and there is still need for more, the Lord will give you what you need. All powers come from God, whether physical, mental or spiritual. The Lord grants these powers to those who are engaged in working for the welfare of others and performing benevolent deeds. You will not have to ask for powers. You should leave this to the Lord.
Supreme Expression, 226