Lessons of a Sai Student from Grama Seva – By Kishan S. R.

In the path of Karma Yoga, service is one of the most important and easiest Sadhanas one can undertake. Swami has given much importance to service through His projects which are highly exemplary: be it the Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospitals, the Water projects, the Grama Seva. All these are landmarks in the life of our Bhagavan. He has shown to the mankind throughout His life, the supreme value of service. That is why He made the sublime statement: “My Life is My Message”. 

“Manava Seva is Madhava Seva”, says our beloved Lord. Serving mankind equals serving God. Service helps in the development of the three dimensions of a human life: physical, mental and spiritual. That is why He made the historic statement: “Bend the Body, Mend the Senses and End the Mind”. This seminal statement of Bhagavan throws light at the process of spiritual evolution. In the beginning when we are completely absorbed in service, we lose our ego. The extinction of ego leads to spiritual evolution. Initially, we feel that we are the doer. This is not the real service in its spirit. The doer-ship slowly and steadily vanishes, leading to the feeling that we are not the doer but He is the doer. Once this feeling is cultivated in service, we reach the second step of ‘Selfless Service’. This step alone can lead us to the ultimate goal. That is what Swami has been inspiring people to do all over the world. There are a number of service activities which are being undertaken all over the world. This is purely due to the inspiration that we draw from our beloved Lord.
Students serving during Sri Sathya Sai Grama Seva

It was in my eleventh class when I first experienced the true meaning of selfless service. It was my first Grama Seva, where we (students) go to the villages and distribute clothes and food packets to each house in the village. Our teachers had inculcated a feeling in us that, we are only representatives of Swami and He is the real giver, not us. So, when I was serving, I was thinking that Swami was giving these gifts and Prasadam to these village people through me. Performing service with this kind of feeling gave me immense joy which stayed with me for a long period of time. I wanted to serve the villagers throughout the day. And I was eagerly waiting for the next Grama Seva. This is how Swami showed me the meaning of true Selfless service.

It is better to know about some aspects of service which Swami Himself has explained in His Divine Discourses. One should have genuine feeling of Love for others and the intention to serve. This is what makes a person rich and not the wealth which he possesses. Once He asked: “Who is the richest man in the world and who is the poorest?” He Himself answered: ”He who has many desires is the poorest man; he who has no desires is the richest”.

Once, some of the devotees asked Swami, “Swami, can we run some homes for the aged?” Swami replied, “First serve the aged in your home, only then you should run homes for the aged”. Service is a good activity, but first the individual has to transform himself. Before undertaking service as a united group activity, one must discharge one’s duties towards his family. Social service becomes fruitful only after discharging family duties. We have to constantly keep in mind the nectarine words of our Bhagavan, so that our lives become His message.

Swami has shown what selfless service is, to the whole of mankind throughout His life. He never expects anything from anybody. This is what we have to cultivate in our lives. All His projects convey His pure and selfless love for mankind. He has shown us the path of service to redeem ourselves and also lives of people. Bhagavan has laid the path of selfless service to be treaded by all of us to reach Him ultimately. Now it is up to us to walk in His footsteps and make our lives His message: Hands That Serve Are Holier Than The Lips That Pray
Sri Sathya Sai Grama Seva: Hands That Help Are Holier Than Lips That Pray

- Kishan S.R.
Student (2013-15), Department of Management and Commerce
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Currently, Associate Consultant, KPMG India, Bengaluru

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