it is sincere service that sustains this universe. If humankind serves Nature selflessly, Nature will serve humankind. If we lovingly serve animals and plants, they will in turn lovingly serve us as well. We expect to have the right amount of rain and sun at the right time, yet we are not interested in protecting our forests and mountains; we long for clean water. At the same time, we pollute our streams and rivers. Only when we coexist with love, trust, respect and an attitude of service can we achieve success and happiness in life. Whenever we forget this principle, Nature will lash back at us in the form of natural disasters, war, conflict, and communal disharmony.
Whether it is a family, a community or an organization, we want all the members to function in harmony. In order for this harmony to arise, the members should construct a ‘bridge of love’ between each other by serving each other. Our fields of service may differ, but our goal should always be service from the heart.
Service is a principle that should become a daily part of our lives. The foundation of selfless service is selfless love. Love and service are not two; they are eternally united with one another like a flower and its fragrance. Amma knows that it’s not easy to serve others selflessly, but we must put in effort to that end.
True service takes place when we understand the heart of the suffering and serve them. For this, we have to learn to see ourselves in others and others in ourselves. We should be able to understand the minds of those in pain and to go down to their level and help.
Amma remembers a story… There once lived a very wealthy man. He had buried a large amount of gold in his orchard. Every morning he would stealthily visit his orchard, dig the soil out and stare at the gold. Seeing its glimmer, a smile would spread across his face. Then he would fill the hole back in and return home full of happiness. He did this religiously every day, like a sort of morning worship.
One day, the man’s neighbour secretly removed all the gold and filled the hole with rocks and stones. The next day, the wealthy man got the shock of his life. “Help ! Help! Someone has stolen all my gold!” he shouted. Hearing the commotion his neighbours came running. The neighbour who had removed the gold gave him some advice: “Look, why are you so upset? You never would have used that gold anyway. All you ever did was look at it. For that, those rocks and stones will suffice.”
True happiness comes from sharing what we have with others. If not, both our wealth and knowledge will remain mere decorations. When we hoard our riches and fail to share our comforts we will experience an increasingly heavy mental burden. We will lack the mental peace required to even enjoy that which we have.
You may ask, “Aren’t there plenty of objects in the world that make us happy? What is so great about sharing them?” It is true that there are many objects that make one happy. But the happiness they bring has sorrow attached to it. Why? Because when we lose something that makes us happy, it will bring sorrow. But the happiness that comes from selflessly sharing what we have with others can never be taken away us.
We have all experienced pain and sadness. Therefore, when we see someone else in pain, we should have the heart to openly share their pain. We should experience their sadness as our own. Then we will be able to serve them with love. Such compassionate service will bring us inexplicable peace and happiness.
Selfless service is the portal to inner beauty. Imagine a leaf falling freely into a bottomless pit. It falls deeper and deeper until it disappears. Similarly, selfless service gradually obliterates the ego, allowing us to merge into God.
By Mata Amritanandamayi Devi