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Sri Sathya Sai Baba: His Work

"When Dharma declines or rather, when those who have a duty to regulate their lives according to dharma lose faith in it, then, its restoration cannot be taken up by all and sundry. A broken bridge on a highway cannot be set right by amateur skill and the momentary enthusiasm of the villagers around. The very authority which laid down the road and planned the Sri Sathya SAi Seva Samithi Kukatpally has to initiate repair. The Lord has come again on this Mission; He has collected the engineers and contractors and the labor for the purpose. He is now set on the task." - Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba strongly emphasizes selfless service to those in need as the highest means for enhancing one's own spiritual growth and development. He teaches that it is not enough to simply do good works, but of equal importance is one's attitude during the service activity. The service worker must have an attitude of humility and appreciation for the opportunity to do any service activity. The opportunity itself is a gift from God. One should not dwell on the good that they are doing, or that activity will strengthen one's ego rather than help to reduce it.

"Selfless service is the fragrant flower of altruistic love. It is not to be performed for the satisfaction of the person rendering the service or the person at whose bidding it is done. Man should regard selfless service as the purpose for which he was given life. This feeling should flow through his very nerves and bloodstream and permeate every cell of his body. Whatever the work we do, we should do it as an offering to God for His pleasures. We should take up service activities for the purification of our own hearts."

"When you offer a meal to a hungry child, or a blanket to a shivering brother on the pavement, you are placing a gift of God into the hand of another gift of God."

"God serves; He allows you to claim that you have served! Without His will, no single blade of grass can quiver in the breeze. Fill every moment with gratitude to the Giver and the recipient of all gifts."

Sathya Sai Baba Centers around the world are performing selfless service projects such as feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting the aged, helping build schools and reaching out to those in need. Anyone is welcome to join in the service projects. Please speak with the service coordinator if you wish to participate.

"A person should strive to use every talent and skill they have, not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the whole world. Understand that society is the source of whatever pleasure one derives and whatever wealth one achieves in life. We owe everything to society and should be grateful to society for all that we receive from it. We have to repay this debt by helping at least as many people as we can. With a genuine keenness or readiness to serve others, one can attain happiness in any group or community, and the very eagerness to serve others will endow you with the power and skill necessary for the required service. Nowadays, we tend to regard it as derogatory to serve, but there is great worth in service. People have become so selfish that they no longer care for others, or anything other than their own welfare. When one constantly thinks only of one's own body, one's own family and one's own comfort, one is a truly selfish person. The only way to cleanse such hard-heartedness is through service to humanity".

"Only selfless service can encourage a person to reach the higher state of humanity. Selfless service alone gives the needed strength and courage to awaken the sleeping humanity in one's heart. All service should be regarded as an offering to God, and every opportunity to serve should be welcomed as a gift from God. When service is done in this spirit, it will lead to self- realization".

"Engage yourselves in service activity. Consider social service as service to God. This is the best way to earn God's Love. Love all and serve all. Your entire life will be sanctified thereby. The ideal of service has the ability to remove the ego; it promotes love and affection; it takes one away from worldly attachments and puts one on the path of the Divine. It can give widespread pleasure and happiness for all mankind. In fact, service is the first step along the spiritual path, for "service to man is service to God."

Great importance is given to service in the Sai Organization. All office-bearers and active workers pledge themselves to show their love for God by serving their fellow-man, for at least 4 hours a week. Some of this time may be allotted to performing the many duties required for the efficient working of the Sai Center itself, but some of it should also be for service to the society at large. Both aspects are important.

Service has been defined as "Love made manifest". Baba repeatedly asks us to expand our hearts to include all humanity. He tells us that to care only for our own interests and those of our families is a constriction of our heart. Such constriction eventually results in loneliness and unhappiness -- as indeed we can see all around us, for it is the malady of the present age.

The cure that Baba has given us for this malady is service. Service slowly and steadily broadens one's heart, bringing with it an unexpected feeling of happiness, and it begins to transform the community around us as well. The service activity which one may, at first, have started with a certain reluctance, soon becomes a labor of love: one's heart has broadened to include others; and the more people one loves, the happier one becomes. this is a spiritual truth that we need to re-discover. Our service will have benefited others, but it will have benefited us also.

Baba tells us that when we serve another, we should remind ourselves that we are serving the Divinity within that other. This is something that we frequently forget, for it needs a very big mental re-adjustment. Don't worry about it -- just serve! But the very least that is demanded of us in this context is to RESPECT the person we are serving. That includes respecting their beliefs; in fact, it means reaching their spiritual Self through their beliefs, not ours. It means putting oneself in their shoes; cheering them up if possible, but seeing things from their point of view. You are merely God's instrument and you are NOT an emissary of Sathya Sai Baba.

"...If you lift the hand to serve, to help, to console, to encourage another man you are lifting it for God, because in every man is God."

"Be of service to others, for that is giving yourself to Me. For whatever you give, I will repay you thrice, Nay I shall repay you ten-fold. Try Me and you will see. I say to those who know the joy of giving, look back! Yes, look back and see how each time you felt that nothing but a miracle could save you, keep you alive, fill your larder, save your son, stop a disaster - has not that miracle happened? Divine guidance is always at the side of the giver. Yes, I will give to those who give of themselves, untold Joy and Bliss; and what is more, I will lead them by the hand along those petal strewn paths of Eternal Joy."

"Every deed performed, do it in My Name. Every person who passes near your pat, give them the sweetness of your smile. Give freely of the nectar of your cup of happiness, of kindness, of Blissfulness. Give the warmth of your love. Extend your hand as I extend Mine to you."

Sathya Sai Baba Himself has initiated numerous service projects all over the world.

Education: Sathya Sai Baba places great importance on proper education for young people. Parents and community leaders are urged to concern themselves with the informal as well as the formal experiences to which their children and young adults are exposed.

He has established a model education system, which includes primary schools, secondary schools, and an accredited university with three campuses, offering undergraduate, Masters, and Ph.D. degrees. No fees are charged to students, and admission is open to all, regardless of race, religion, or economic condition.

In addition to emphasizing the pursuit of academic excellence, Sathya Sai Baba's system of "integral education" is designed to foster self-discipline and pro-social conduct. Students are required to take courses on morality and spirituality and to devote several hours each week to some form of community service. Sathya Sai Baba says that "the end of education is character".

Health care: Sathya Sai Baba has built an ultra-modern 300-bed hospital close to the university and ashram. Highly specialized operations, including open-heart operations and kidney transplants, are performed routinely. There is absolutely no charge to the patient for professional or hospital expenses. Motivated by the desire to serve humanity, doctors, nurses, and workers in the hospital render extraordinary, compassionate, and loving care to all patients.

Service to those in need: Recently, Sathya Sai Baba initiated a project to provide an adequate supply of pure water to 1.5 million inhabitants of the State of Andhra Pradesh (India) who were living in drought conditions. The Prime Minister of India traveled to Prasanthi Nilayam (Sathya Sai Baba's main ashram) in order to inaugurate the project. Sathya Sai Baba demonstrates that it is the duty of society to ensure that all people have access to the basic requirements for the sustenance of human life.

Sathya Sai Baba has given his life, selflessly and magnanimously, to the service of mankind.
If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.
Sathya Sai Baba
For elaborate reading, please see the International Sai Organization Website