|The Burden of The Badge - an
exclusive Divine Discourse from yester years...02 Sept 2010
Text & photo source-copyrights: Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust - sssbpt.org - | Web layout - Photo design : saibabaofindia.com "SBOI" |
In the backdrop of "Sevaamrutham", the function organised to honour those who are engaged in service in the ashram, it would be appropriate to recall what Bhagawan had envisioned about the concept of service in Prasanthi Nilayam.
In 1965, the year which saw the 40th Birthday celebrations of the Advent of the Sai Avatar, the small township of Prasanthi Nilayam was teeming with pilgrims. The Sevadal volunteers, as always, had a huge role to play to ensure that all the celebrations are conducted with ease and efficiency. And Swami in that year personally gave the volunteer badges to every chosen member. Not only this, He also delivered two exclusive discourses to guide these inspired men and women so that they tread on this sacred path of service in the right manner. Here are excerpts from those two divine discourses, one of which was delivered in the month of February and the other in November.
I have called all of you here today so that I may tell you something about the attitude you must cultivate while doing volunteer service at Prasanthi Nilayam. I Myself have selected you for this and that itself is a rare privilege. There are so many who are pleading with all their heart to be given the chance; but you have caught My eye and you alone have been picked. I must tell you that volunteering is not just a momentary spurt of interest to do service; it can never be done well without deep discipline, long training and humility. You cannot be ready for that role, all of a sudden, as soon as the badge is pinned on your vesture.
Aajna and Prema – Two Necessary Virtues
for a Volunteer
Next, you must develop prema (Love) for all. Do not think that a volunteer is a superior person, more devoted than the rest. Do not look down upon the others as disturbances and nuisances. If you have prema towards Me, you will have prema towards all, since Sai is in everyone. During bhajans, you sing Anthaa Sayi maayam; ee jagamantha Sayi mayam – “Everything is full of Sai; this world is filled with Sai.” Then, how can you have love for this Sai alone? On the walls of this Prayer Hall there are many pictures of Swami. You revere these photos and take each of them to be Me. You stand before these pictures and exclaim in joy, “O, Swami!” If someone speaks unfavourably about any of them you do not like it. Remember every human being is My picture; why, every being is Me - Anthaa Sayi mayam. So, when you treat anyone harshly, you are being discourteous to Me; when you insult anyone, you are ridiculing Me.
“Prasanthi Nilayam is Your Home” - Swami
When you are performing your work do not argue about a particular task being in your jurisdiction and the other being not. Do not be sticklers for boundaries and limits. Support and supplement each other in joyful co-operation so that everyone is strengthened. Act like an ideal satsang (spiritual community), where each one infuses energy and enthusiasm into another. This however does not mean that you should carry a greater load than that is allotted to you. Do not interfere without reason with the work of the other person or sullenly criticise. Be worthy of the status of persons associated with Prasanthi Nilayam. There should be no place in your hearts for malice, envy or even competition. Spread around you the atmosphere of Prasanthi, that is, tranquility. Do not be in haste and create accidents or discover faults where there are none; this is misdirected enthusiasm.
The Rules of Prasanthi Nilayam are
Seek the Opportunities to Serve
I have directed all residents of the ashram to enquire of their neighbours if they are well; this is the first task of the day. And it should not just be a courtesy call, but a genuine act of Love. Among the thousands who have gathered here, there are many who would be thankful for some help - someone kind enough who will lead them to food or shelter, the river or the Mandir, the auditorium or the hospital. Speak to them gently and offer to be of use to them.
Do you not see Me and hear Me when I move among them? I speak softly and endearingly, for, I Love them ardently in spite of all their faults. Then, why should you be harsh and rude? There is no kinship as dear as the bond forged by spiritual ties. Family relationships are not so firmly based on commonality of aims and likeness of effort. You are bound by links that are more long-standing and pleasant. Let these people return home and exult in the discovery that at Prasanthi Nilayam they have a close associate who respects and loves them as no relative has done so far.
Volunteers Should Forsake a Life of
Pleasure and Possessions
Volunteer's Role is a Call for Personal
At Tirupati, when you stand before the idol, if you think about the stone - its colour, geological structure, weight, etc., you will have no thought of Lord Venkateswara in your mind. On the contrary, fill yourself with the sacred glory of the Lord of the Seven Hills, and then, there is no stone before you! In exactly the same manner, see everywhere – in this carpet, towel, vessel, wall, and so on – the basic Brahman (the Eternal Absolute), and you will be filled with knowledge or jnaana. You will experience no attachment; this is the state of Sarvam Brahmamayam (All is filled with Brahman) - the finale of all sadhana (spiritual practices). Do not despair; practise this from now on, one step at a time. At least see everything as His; offer everything to Him. Do everything as for Him and leave everything to Him. Be an instrument – a tool has no likes and dislikes; just be a tool but an efficient one.
Spread joy at all times. Do not pour into others ears your tales of woe and worry. Carry a smile on your face so that everyone who sees you can catch the exhilaration. When you tell others of your success, your purpose is to create envy in them. You must not only love others, but also be so good that others too love you. Try to console, encourage, strengthen and enlighten those who are miserable, down-hearted, weak or ill-informed. Get yourselves equipped for this role. This is the role into which you are ushered in now. This chance that I have given you, to move about as a volunteer here, is a call for personal improvement and sadhana. When thousands are thirsty for this chance, imagine how lucky you are and how great is the responsibility!
When you assist some eager aspirant to do meditation undisturbed, you earn not only gratitude, but also even a share of the merit. For example, a mother may hasten into the hall when the bell strikes at 4:30 a.m. for the pranava (Om) recital leaving her child sleeping in the shed. If the little one wakes up in the meanwhile and starts crying and screaming, a lady volunteer, without calling the mother out, can herself take the child on her lap and pacify it with a soft lullaby until the mother arrives. Serve others gladly. Do not help with an air of superiority or the sour face of disgust. Let people know that you are genuinely happy at the chance to help.
Prasanthi Nilayam is a Workshop
The Sacrifice a Volunteer Should Make
You will earn My grace more by such service and sacrifice than by sitting in the front line and nodding to whatever I say. Do not push or pull people. Speak softly and sweetly. I have known many volunteers who reel off the excuse, “Swami, they won't obey if we speak softly. They are used to only rough treatment.” I will never pardon such sevaks. The fault is always in their manner of speaking, the way in which they explain their actions, their temper, attitude, and approach.
The Unique Prospect to be Prasanthi
You must have not merely enthusiasm to serve, but also the intelligence and the skill. Only then can you be efficient and useful. Enthusiasm without efficiency is often a source of loss and grief. You must do the seva that is delegated to you intelligently and to a successful finish. It does not matter if the recipient is not fully satisfied. You must have done your best, without hesitation or favour.
What is the use of hurrying along the ranks of persons who are sitting for meals with a basket of laddus shouting, “Laddus, laddus, who wants laddus?” without pausing and serving even one laddu on the plate of a single person? The diners in this case have the benefit of only the name, not the substance. Nowadays, service has become more talk and less deed. But the Lord cannot be deceived; He is vigilant and all-knowing.
Sai Himself Serves so that We May Learn
The Blessed Chance of a Lifetime
Seva done lovingly and well to the people who gather here to have darshan and to listen to the discourses is a great opportunity for you to acquire discrimination and non-attachment, to widen and deepen your bhakthi, and to realise how Sai is the Inner Motivator of all beings. I wish you well. Be humble, sweet and sincere.
|Text & photo source-copyrights: Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust - sssbpt.org - | Web layout - Photo design : saibabaofindia.com "SBOI" ||