Sri Sathya Sai Guidelines on Grama Seva

Of all good deeds, the best is Seva, intelligent and loving service to those in need. The body is the Temple of God. He resides therein; the intellect, the mind and the senses which constitute the Temple are His, not ours to be handled as our whims dictate. They are His Instruments, to be used by Him, for Him. In the Gurukulams of ancient India, the sages, saints and scholars communicated this message to their pupils and imprinted it on their hearts. They implanted the seed of dedication to the Divine in the heart, ploughed by faith. The sapling was to be helped to grow by seasonal showers of Dhyana. In time, the flower of Shanti (peace) turned into the sweet fruit of Ananda (bliss). The seed has to be firm; the dedication has to be unconditional. Really speaking what right has man to desecrate the Temple of God? His duty is to maintain the holiness of the Temple and use it for worship, prayer, meditation and devotion. The intellect, mind and senses are the furniture that belongs to the Temple. They have to be revered as such and used with care. God, residing therein, is the Master, the Maker and the Motivator. You have to worship Him with pure unblemished thoughts, words and deeds.

How can a person escape from blemish? By watching the antics of the mind as a witness and not allowing the body to assist the mind to fulfill its foul desires. The mind by itself cannot commit theft; when it longs to commit it, do not allow the body to obey. When the mind is foiled in this way, when it calls upon the body, the mind will give up its evil tendencies. When the child runs forward, the mother tries to catch up. Hence, the child tries to elude her grasp and falling, hurts itself. Instead, if the mother turns her back, the child too will return to her side. Cultivate this Sadhana. You can master the mind and keep it on the Godward path.

When a festival involves large-scale feeding, people borrow for the occasion cooking vessels from rich persons. After using them, they clean the vessels spic and span before returning them. The rich man will be greatly disturbed and disappointed if the vessels are returned, damaged and unclean. God has lent us, for use in the festival of life, vessels like intellect, mind and senses. We have to use them with gratitude and return them in clean condition. While in the stage of earning Vidya (education), you should not yearn for Vishaya (objects/desires). Vidya is spiritual exercise. Vishaya allure and deceive. Cultivate a steady mind and a fixed vision. This is the Tapas that has to supplement studies. Vidya and Tapas are the very breath, the Sadhana of inhaling and exhaling, the proper PranayamaSocial service is also Tapas, a spiritual exercise. It promotes the practical application of your knowledge, skills and virtues. Wealth, scholarship, power and prestige are all despicable if they are not directed towards moral ends. Ravana tried to win Sita by parading before her, while she was a captive, his might and wealth. But, Sita threw a blade of grass in his direction and said that he was worth much less. For, he had no mastery over his mind. The mind had rendered him a mean coward and a thief!

Youth alone can transform youth. The youth of the villages will be inspired when they find you, graduate and post-graduate students, in Khaki work clothes, evincing practical interest in the cleanliness of the environs, the health of the villagers and in fulfilling their needs. You must bring the youth together and form them into a group which can, with the guidance of the elders, maintain and expand the work done by you. Discover what their needs are, so that you can attend to them. We can, for instance, open gruel centers for the aged poor and their dependents. You have to win their hearts through love. When love is planted and fostered, factions will disappear from the villages. Villagers are basically good-natured, God-fearing folk. But politics as well as attractions for city life, have led them to the present impasse. When they hear wise counsel from the lips of the children, they are bound to be affected. Train yourselves to speak in their own language to gatherings of villagers. When you have offered service for some days, I shall proceed to those villages with you and bless your work and the villagers you have served.
Sri Sathya Sai with students for Grama Seva at Ragepalli and Amagondapalayam 
- May 26, 1985

[True to His word, Bhagavan Himself visited the villages of Ragepalli and Amagondapalayam along with the students, at the conclusion of the village service programme undertaken by the Institute students at His command during the summer vacations.]

Source: The Role of Seva in Students' Lives, Discourse 23, My Dear Students Volume 5, Divine Discourse to Students at the commencement of the summer vacation.

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