Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Seva - A Flower at the Divine Lotus Feet

SEVA: Is the adoration of the Lord as having the multifaced Form and Immanence in the entire Universe. The Vedas described Him as ‘thousand / headed, thousand–eyed, thousand–footed.’ The thousands of hands and eyes and feet that have come here are all His, the Lord’s. Worship Him; that is the purpose of your seva. And he is none else than your own self. Do not count an individual as just an individual; he has God in him, as his Reality. Be aware of that.

Every seva done with sympathy and skill to any one in distress anywhere in this world is Sathya Sai Seva. The Dal must be eager to serve and trained to serve, for, service from those who take MY Name must be intelligent and sincere. (Pg 85). When there is no compulsion on one side and no compensation required on the other then, it is really Seva. (Pg. 54).

You long to serving Me; let me tell you, serving those who serve Me gives me as much satisfaction as serving me. Serving anyone is serving me, for I am in all.God has no need of your service: does He suffer from pain in the legs, or ache in the stomach? Try to serve the godly; be the servants of the servants of the Lord. The service of man is the only means by which you can serve God. (pg 22). Seva of Sai and seva of Sai Devotees are the same.

When we think of service, we seem to think of work, which is lowly kind of work, usually done by a servant. This kind of association of ideas, where service is thought of as something lowly, is not correct. In the context of service, we would realize that God Himself does a lot of service to the world in many ways.(Pg. 29).Man should regard Selfless services as the purpose for which he is given life. This feeling should flow through his very nerves and blood–stream, and permeate every cell of his body. Whatever be the work we do, we should do it as an offering to God and for His pleasure. This birth has been undertaken by you, for this very mission: the mission of crucifying the ego on the cross of compassion. An opportunity to be of some service to fellow-man comes to you as a gift from God. Serve with that sense of gratitude, for it is God who accepts it from you.

DAL: The name Dal, that you bear, has great significance. Dal means the petal of a flower. The lotus has as many as a thousand petals. They all emnate from the central pericarp. Each petal draws its strength, sustenance, colour, fragrance, and charm from the pericarp. Detached from the pericarp the petal cannot survive. That attachment and that affection can be secured when the petal clings to the ideals of Sai and the lessons of Sai. In My Message to you, there is no scope for your seeing difference or distinction among those you serve. (pg 143)

SEVA DAL / SEVAK: Swami is the greatest volunteer and the greatest Seva Dal leader. You should follow Swami, the leader. This is because from morning to night, Swami performs even the smallest task Himself; and all His works are for the good of the world. It is in this context that I often say “ My Life is My Message”. God and the voice of God are one and the same. Thus, doing what Swami does, as well as what Swami ordains, forms work which pleases Him. Work done without the thought of self and eschewing the craving for name or power pleases Him most. (Pg. 49).

This is a Spiritual army, a spiritual platoon, engaged in cleansing itself. This movement must spread fast in India and march soon into oversea lands.(Pg.26).The Spiritual discipline of seva is quite distinct. In seva you devote all your energy and attention to the task at hand, for it is a dedicated task. You forget the body and ignore its demands. You set aside your individuality and its prestige and perquisites. You pluck your ego by its roots and cast it away. You give up your status, conceit, your name and form, and all that they demand from others. This process makes the consciences pure.. This Truth must be your own discovery, your own treasure, and your own strength. This is the grand purpose of the Seva Dal. That is the reason why the Seva Dal is assigned a high place in the Sathya Sai Organisation. (pg 139).

Only a sevak can grow into a leader, serve, and thereby gain the position of a leader. Only a servant can become a Sankara only a good servant can become a great master. (Pg.30). You are all My Limbs, nourished by Me. You constitute the Sai Body. Sai will send you sustenance, wherever you are, whatever your function, provided you give Sai the things Sai considers sweet and desirable, like virtue, faith, discipline and humility. Be happy that you a limb of the Sai Body.


This opportunity has been given to you out of sheer Grace; it is not given as a consequence of some rule of claim. It does not bind you; it gives you distinction and duty, both. If you have it with you, and yet, withdraw from service or hesitate to render it, you are on the wrong track. People come to this Presence to get rid of sin and accumulate spiritual merit; if you dishonour the badge, you will be retaining the sins and accumulating a lot more. Remember, with each act of Love and Service, you are nearing the Divine Presence; with each act of hate and grab, you are moving farther and farther away.(Pg. 75).

This is your home, and the thousands who come to this home are your kith and kin. Welcome them as you will welcome your nearest and dearest relations; as far as in you lies, make their stay comfortable. This scarf and this badge confer on you the right to declare that Prashanti Nilayam is your home. Keep that in mind and do not behave in any manner that will tarnish the brightness of that declaration. That status is a precious gift. Do not overstep the limits imposed by the Organisation; do not disobey the rules laid down; do not deviate from the ideals laid down. March straight on, and reach the goal.(Pg. 76).

The badge does not endow you with authority to boss over those who are badgeless. It should not be insulted by harshness, pride or persecution. Once you have been blessed by it, you should not indulge in loose talk, or loose living, lewd behaviour or evil habits like smoking, gambling, drinking and scandalizing others. (Pg. 114 ). This badge is a call for help from the thousands of devotees who are coming here, in full faith, that they have the Lord to tend them. To be present here, in itself, a gift of Grace, won by accumulated merit; to be endowed with the badge is a rare gift. Make the best of this chance.(Pg. 116).You may differ from co-workers on methods and programmes, but this should not leave a scar on your hearts or on theirs. Office-bearers in this organization are leaders who bear the brunt themselves, guides who walk along the path they wish the brunt themselves, guides who walk along the path they wish others to take. They shall not command or punish; they can only persuade and advise. The name of Sathya Sai is attached to each wing of this organization. It is Sathya Sai that inspires each activity of each wing. This fact has not been taken to heart by many of you. Sai is the inner inspiration and light for each worker.

I may tell you something about attitude you must cultivate while doing volunteer service at the Nilayam. I myself have selected you for this and that itself is a rare privilege.

· You must be conscious of the value of the Command.

· You must develop Love for all.

· This is your home and all those who have gathered for these Festivals are guests, are your kith and kin.

· While doing your work do not argue that this particular bit is your jurisdiction and that other one is not; supplement each other in joyful co-operation; strengthen each other. Act as an ideal Good company, infusing into each other energy and enthusiasm.

· Do nothing to disturb the calm of others; for you know how valuable calmness and quietness are in your own case.

· Volunteers must not wait for chances of service to come to them; they must be on the look-out for them, alert and ready.

· Do not seek to exercise authority over others; seek rather to discover chances to be useful to them.

· Reduce your wants to the minimum.

· Spread joy all times. Carry a smile on your face so that every one who sees you can catch the exhilaration.

· Try to console, encourage, strengthen and enlighten those who are miserable, downhearted, weak or ill-informed.Get yourself equipped for this role.(Pg106- 109)

· Do not put the badge in your pocket when your work here is over and the festival is finished, and when you leave for home to resume your old avocations and your discarded habits. This is not a three-day thamasha. This is a lifetime’s pilgrim march. The badge must get inscribed on the heart, indelibly, for life.. (Pg 111)


Prashanti Nilayam is the spiritually uplifting center for the whole world; devotees from all over the world are here, so the slightest mistake or wrong committed by you will be the talk of the world. Your behaviour must be exemplary; every country must learn lessons from you. The foundation must give way; you must be strong and steady, sincere and straight. Nor should you suffer from conceit, that you have been chose to exercise authority over others. People of all ages, of all states of health and wealth, of various levels of learning and intelligence come to Prashanti Nilayam. This Prashanti Nilayam is also refuge for all who have no other place to go to. Do not treat anyone as an alien. Remember all have Me as their guardian and support. Have no anger, malice, envy or pride against or before anyone. Be full of humility; have faith in human goodness.(Pg 180/181)

In this Prashanti Nilayam, there are certain limits laid down, certain modes of spending time usefully, recommended by Me. All who come here, whether long time residents or new arrivals, have to observe them.

Silence is the very first rung of the ladder of Spiritual discipline; that is the hall mark of Prashanti Nilayam. (pg 182).

I am insisting on five points of discipline for the residents of Prashanti Nilayam. I shall tell you about them, for your homes and your villages have to be transformed into Prashanti Nilayam. They are; (1) Silence. This is the first step in spiritual discipline, it makes the other step easy. It promotes self- control; it lessens chances of anger, the malice, greed and pride. Besides, you can hear His footsteps, only when silence reigns in the mind. (2) Cleanliness. It is the doorway to Godliness, Inner and outer cleanliness are essential, if you desire to install God in your heart. (3) Service: Service saves you from the agony you get when another suffers; it broadens your vision, widens your awareness, deepens your compassion. All waves are on the same sea, from the same sea, merge in the sea. Seva teaches you to be firm in this knowledge. (4) Love: Do not cultivate or weigh the reaction, result or reward. Love calls; Love responds. Love is God, Live in Love (5) Hatelessness: No being is to be looked down upon as secondary, inferior, unimportant or expendable. Each has its allotted role in the drama designed by the Almighty. Do not slight, insult or injure any being, for, He is in every being and your slight becomes a sacrilege. Some feel that the discipline of the Prashanti Nilayam are limited to the geographical bounds of this area and so they can be ignored when one is beyond the gates.

The whole world must appear as a Prashanti Nilayam, not simply this stone and cement structure. As a matter of fact, the world is fundamentally, a Prashanti Nilayam; only, man by his ignorance and perversity has fouled it into a snake- pit of crime and hate.

Study well the disciplinary rules laid down for all who wish to be in Prashanti Nilayam. These rules are for your own good. Wherever you are, you can make the place a Prashanti Nilayam. Become shares in My History. Do not get far from Me. You have acquired nearness through the accumulated good fortune of many births. If you cut this contact and get away, a time will come when you will weep outside the gates clamouring for entry. Into this Prashanti Nilayam, persons come from all parts of the world, all stages of development, with all types of problems, afflicted with all forms of pain or grief, inspired with all varieties of promptings. This is a workshop, where damaged minds and hearts come for repair or overhaul. In the workshops, there will be the din of hammer, the clang of wheel, the whirr of engine and the clatter of chains. In this workshop, there must be heard only the whisper of the Name of God. With new parts fitted and new coats of paints, cars emerge out of the workshop as good as new and they run smoothly, without trouble, for miles and miles. People must find this place also as a workshop for persons, who are travel-worn, weary, or about to enter upon a long journey. So, use this holy atmosphere, this splendid chance, these precious days to the fullest. With every inhalation, utter the name of God. With every exhalation utter the name of God. Live in God, for Him, with Him.There is a popular tune in Telegu, “ Brindavan is eveyone’s, Govinda belongs to all”. Similarly, Prashanti Nilayam belongs to all.(pgs 182/183/184)


You must find the answer to four questions. Why have I been selected as a volunteer? What have I to do? For what immediate purpose? What is the ultimate goal?

The word for volunteer used here is “ Swayam Sevak” (Servant of Myself) Meaning that you have chosen yourself to be a servant.

You need know the answers to two questions only; Who is Baba? Who am I? And answer I am the reflection. That is the relationship; that is the bond, whether you know it or not, whether the image is distorted or correct.(Pg. 77).

If you seek to fulfil low desires, why come here? Come here only if you seek to earn Grace. Go to a hospital only when you are resolved to take the drug the physician prescribes and go through the regimen he lays down. So, obey the directions that I give, whatever others may say or however difficult they may appear to be. You have not come to Prashanti Nilayam to please those others; you have come to please Me. (Pg. 79).

The Volunteers privileged to work at the Prashanti Nilayam have to set the ideal for similar workers all over the world. For, here, service emanates from genuine understanding of the meaning and purpose of life. When that is known, every step will be right, towards righteousness. Righteousness consists in widening the horizon of your compassion. This will necessarily promote the sum of human happiness. (Pg.33).


Let me tell you some details of the seva you can do here: See that old persons and the sick do not sit in the hot sun; supply drinking water, without fuss, to all who need it; watch out for unsocial elements and pick-pockets who come sooner than even the devotees, in order to realize the debts they have paid in prvious births! Arrange for groups who will go on the rounds of the areas and the sheds at night, to see that everything is secure and safe. Take all precautions to preserve the cleanliness of the area and also, maintain the quietness of the atmosphere. Don’t shout at people who shout, in your attempt to see that silence is maintained. Talk low yourself and advise others to talk low. Explain to those who speak aloud why they have to lower their voice. If the reason is explained, they will sympathise with you and understand the purpose. Respect everyone and talk as if they are worthy of the highest respect you are capable of. No one is small or low. Sai is in all, and if you insult anyone, it is an insult directed against Sai. Don’t drag away children that start wailing loud, soothe them, softly. Engage yourselves in bringing solace to the bodily ill. I shall engage myself in giving solace to the mental and spiritually ill. They forget that service is worship, that each act of service is a flower placed at the Lord’s Feet.(pg 23)

You may be full of the urge to serve, but without vigilance and intelligence, service cannot be fruitful. Each little detail has to be attended to.

No one comes here seeking comfort. Share whatever space you have with others; all are equally your kith and kin. You have come here to learn and practise detachment. Get wet in the rain, while engaged in serving others; it does not matter. If death comes while serving do not pause; if you are so determined, God will not allow it to approach you! (Pg. 79).

Prepare yourselves for serving others, not only by learning the skills of first aid, the rules of the road, the technique of blood donation, the art of handling mikes and loudspeakers, wiring and fittings, electric lines etc.; but, at the time when you are not actively engaged in some such activity, be busy with prayer or the constant recital of the lord’s name, fill yourself with God, lest you go dry and cruel. Keep the mind busy with these, for once it strays into the bye-lanes of the world, it will get infected with evil.(Pg. 41).

You need not fuss around Me; attend rather to the needs of the old, the sick, the children, those in the sun, the thirsty, the exhausted. Do not hinder anyone’s chance of the Darshan. Show each one the courtesy you extend to the guests you receive at your own home. This is your home and they are your guests.


Do not manufacture excuses for avoiding service to God. Serve god, by serving the Godly. (Pg 92)

Mere sentiment and sympathy are of no use; they must be regulated by intelligence. Shower cheer on the sad; soothe those that have lost the way; close your eye to the faults of others, but, keep them open to discover your own. All these are hard jobs. Practice alone can make you perfect- practice, not only in item of service, but in meditation on the Divine.

Seva is to be offered wherever you are, whenever you realize the need, to the extent of your capacity and ability. Feel that God has given the chance, the inclination, the ability- that is the crux of the Spiritual discipline. (Pg.39). Serve others, not with the feeling that they are others, but with the same attitude of worship that you reserve for God. One single act of service offered to the God whom you visualize in another is worth all the years of yearning for God. Your duty is to serve, not search for faults. Serve with all your heart, serve with pure undefiled love. Under My unseen supervision and guidance you have to serve them and relieve their pains and troubles. Prashanthi Nilayam belongs to everyone, Baba belongs to all. (Pg 92)


The real value of Seva, its most visible result, is that it re-forms you, re-shapes you. (Pg23).The practice of Seva will cleanse the mind and sharpen concentration.(Pg. 25).

In Service there is great worth. Service helps us uproot the egotism that burdens us. (Pg. 31).Engage in humble service, and egotism will fade away.(Pg. 31).

Service to parents, elders and the suffering gives joy and satisfaction to all concerned. Virtue and righteousness – these will bear witness on your behalf, on the Day of Judgement; neither your bank account, nor your income tax returns will speak on your behalf. Nor can the office you held, or the power over men and things that you wielded here on earth! Greater than all other forms of worship is seva – Service to one’s fellow- men done in an unselfish and dedicated spirit. (Pg . 43).

A ‘Manishi’ (ordinary man) gets transformed into a Maharishi (sage) by engaging in Selfless service. Truly speaking, the merit that could be obtained from service cannot be acquired even from the practice of rigorous austerities. Service brings human beings closer to each other and promotes affection and friendship. Without his friendship and feeling of love for one’s fellowmen, one cannot attain intimacy with the Lord which among the nine forms of devotion to God is next only to Atmanivedanam (complete surrender).(Pg. 47).

Hanuman was ordered to discover the whereabouts of Sita and he obeyed implicity, without question, and succeeded. He did not calculate the dangers of the journey and hesitate; he did not feel proud that he was chosen for the high adventure and enthuse. He listened, he understood, he obeyed, he won. The name Ramadutha, Messenger, servant of Rama that he earned thereby has made him immortal. You must earn the name, Sai Rama Dutha. Have fortitude and self – control, use good and sweet words; examine each act of yours on the touchstone of My Preference. “ Will Swami approve of it?” you should ask yourselves; that is the austerities in which you are being initiated.(pg 80)

Consider Seva as the best spiritual discipline. This is a great chance that you have secured. Your work among these large gatherings is more beneficial for your spiritual development than days of Prayer beads or Meditation. But do not believe that you can by means of Seva re-form or Re- shape the world. You may or you may not. That does not matter. The real value of Seva, its most visible result, is that it re-forms you, re-shapes you. Do Seva as a Spiritual discipline, then, you will be humble and happy. Do not strut about that you are improving others; improve yourself. (Pg. 82)

When you stand forth as a servant you must have experienced this these days- you meet all types of people; some who are very co-operative, some who are cantankerous, some who obstruct, some who argue, some who threaten, some who question your motive or authority. Contact with them is a fine bit of education. They toughen your character and train you to welcome with equal joy both praise and blame. Let me ask you, what is the one thing that you crave for most? Grace, is it not? So long as your words and deeds are in conformity with Truth and Righteousness, so long as your words and deeds are sweetened by Love and lightened by Peace, you need have no worry; you have the Grace in ample measure.

I know that those of you who are posted for duty at the outer gates or in the garden, at the Bhajan Pavilion or the shoe Counter, feel jealous at those who are in the apartments of the bungalow. However far you are, if you but stick to Truth, Righteousness, Peace and Love,, you are close to Me and I am close to you. Those are the milestones that mark the road to Me. (pg. 83).

I want that each of you must so transform yourself during this period that you will carry with you the atmosphere of the Prashanti Nilayam whenever you go, for you cannot live happily in any surrounding that is not fragrant with love and humility, discipline and control. You will naturally endeavour to make this place where you are and the men among whom you move, a bit more spiritual than before.(Pg181).

To remove the evil of egoism, service is the most efficient instrument. Service will also impress on the person doing service, the Unity of all mankind. One who leads can never the joy of the one who serves. He who dedicates his time, skill and strength to service, can never meet defeat, distress or disappointment. For service is its own reward. (Pg. 44)




Posted by Avon on 09.08.2004


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