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									                                        MR BD PARAG

                              STUDENT NUMBER: KZN / E 25


As a point of departure it is essential that we understand the concept “service”. According
to the Oxford dictionary service is defined as: work done to meet some general need.
Often one thinks of a master- servant relationship that involves some kind of
remuneration. This implies that the servant performs a specific chore to benefit the master
who in turn pays/compensates the former for the services rendered. Of course this type
of a relationship exists in a material world to which so many of us are enslaved. It is time
we transcend this mode of operation and see the bigger meaning of service. In order to
fully comprehend this, the unfolding of Love, Truth, Peace, Righteousness and Non-
violence in all beings is necessary.

It is amazing to contemplate on the vast array of opportunities that life has to offer.
However we need to appreciate that we cannot realize any of these opportunities if it
were not for our fellow-mankind. Our existence as human beings is intensely socially
oriented i.e no man is an island, we need each other to survive. We are in dire need of
expanding our consciousness and hence internalize the knowledge that “we are all one”.
This principle of non-dualism needs to be incorporated in our daily existence. We need to
understand the fundamental truth that Divinity pervades the entire creation. It is
important for you to take cogniscance of the fact that the one who you are serving is no
different from you. It is precisely the lack of this understanding that leads to evil qualities
like anger, jealousy, hatred, lust etc. We need to look deep within and manifest noble
qualities like love, compassion and forbearance. The only way to eliminate the cycle of
life and death is to engage in service with these noble qualities, qualities which originate
from the heart and not the head. Swami has constantly said: “LOVE ALL, SERVE
ALL”. It is for us to transform this into pure action i.e selfless service to all who inhabit
the face of this earth.

The true meaning of service needs to be understood. Man has taken birth on this beautiful
planet to render selfless service. By selfless service it is meant that one should not expect
any return (be it monetary or other) i.e service must be unconditional. To attain this mode
of functioning it is essential for one to exuberate with Love, Truth and Righteousness. It
is this type of service that broadens the heart, destroys ego and generates bliss. Every
individual should strive towards this in order to recognize the Unity in Diversity.

Many individuals are under the impression that if they feed the poor and render some
form of help to the sick and traumatized that they are doing service. Some people flaunt
their services rendered by publicizing it, challenging others to better or equal their feat.
Businesses have now incorporated a new dimension into their operations termed
corporate social responsibility where the uplift of society is considered. Yes all of these
would undoubtedly benefit the individuals they are directed to but is this really service?
You cannot call it service if it is rendered with ego. It is not service if it is rendered with
some ulterior motive in mind. One can only accrue the benefits of service if it is done
with a pure heart, that is if it is conducted out of pure, unsullied love.

Another vital issue to consider is that many individuals and organizations conduct service
activities where it is not really needed. Some people are still preoccupied with rendering
service to groups of people based on race, ethnicity and locality. The time has long come
where we rise above this mentality and perform services where it is most needed. It is
therefore imperative that needs analysis be effected prior to rendering service. Make
certain that we are feeding the hungry and the already over-fed. Man has made
tremendous progress in the science and technological fields resulting in this world
becoming a very small abode. The advent of the Internet and air travel has effected rapid
communication and hence the use of the concept “world community”. True service
knows no limitations. The entire planet is afflicted with a multitude of problems in
varying degrees of severity. When service is rendered on needs to prioritise and ensure
that there is no duplication of activities.

Service is not about giving something tangible like food or money. Service is about the
sacrifice one makes in an attempt to alleviate the sufferings of one’s fellow mankind.
Service is about self- sacrifice. Making the time to console the traumatized touches the
athma. Teaching one a skill to sustain a comfortable life takes time and effort but it sure
beats providing one with the end product. This is what selfless service propagates: it
develops the means to the end and not just the end in itself. Selfless service touches the
heats and minds of all of humanity.

Man must make the effort to understand his true nature and the vehicle to use in this
process is service. Swami says that service is the best way to understand your innate
divinity. It most definitely is not service if it is for name and fame. It is important for us
to acknowledge that before serving others we need to serve ourselves by making our
minds broad and pure. The narrow feelings of “I” and “mine” need to be annihilated and
instead your LOVE should be extended to all, the entire world community. Swami says:
“Help ever, hurt never”. Service is about helping others to improve the quality of their
lives and this is the best form of worshipping the Lord. This is how one can get close to
God and not by breaking coconuts, ringing bells and lighting camphor and incense sticks.
We need to see beyond the self and engage in activities that uplift the spirit of all that we
come into contact with.

Man seems to be on a quest to accumulate academic qualifications. This is great and
should be encouraged as it empowers one with new knowledge and skills. The true value
of these newly acquired skills and knowledge however only precipitates in how it is used
in society. Swami says, “Service is the hallmark of the educated one”. Your education is
a mere waste if it is not utilised for the welfare of society and the nation at large. Always
remember to put back into society what society has given you. One should clearly
understand that the goal of education does not lie in merely acquiring degrees, securing
good jobs and amassing wealth. The end of education is indeed character and having
acquired this, educated individuals should constantly be in the process of executing
selfless service be it tangible or intangible. If the human values are realized then the
individual should be in a position to practice what he or she preaches.

A beautiful poem goes thus: Just as the birds fly with the help of their two wings, so also
should man reach the goal of life quickly with the help of two wings namely LOVE and
SERVICE. We need to internalize this and resonate these golden qualities of love and
service. We must live the values so that we can actualize Swamis message that “Service
to mankind is service to Swami”. What better way to get nearer to our beloved Swami!

We have often reflected upon the following words of wisdom: “ Hands that help are
holier than lips that pray”. If this is so imagine the benefits of praying whilst in the
process of doing service or chanting the name of the lord. Remember, service does not
only mean the help done by the hands alone. Talking softly and lovingly to others,
echoing a reassuring word to those experiencing uncertainty, removing a bottle piece or
jagged rock from a pathway, a loving smile are also forms of service.

The following words of Swami should be constantly reverberating in us:
       “Do not serve for the sake of reward, attraction, or earning gratitude or from a
       sense of pride at your own superiority or skill, wealth, status or authority. Serve
       because you are urged by love”

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