Performing every activity as a service unto the Guru

Contents


1. Service

To awaken more and more spiritual emotion for The Lord or the Guru through the medium of service, one has to make efforts on the following three planes – 1. Action, 2. Thought and 3. Attitude.

1.1 Action

A. Every action can be done in the following four manners:

  • Service: Rendering service merely with the gross body.
  • Complete service: Carrying out actions with the help of the physical body, mind as well as intellect.
  • Absolute service: Carrying out actions by surrendering the mind, intellect and ego at the Guru’s feet, that is, not taking doership for one’s actions.
  • Service of the Guru: Expressing gratitude after completion of service which is rendered by offering the mind, intellect and ego at the Guru’s feet and as per His expectations.

     How a service can be done in the above four manners will be understood from the example of making chapatis in the ashram’s (hermitage) kitchen.

  • Service: Making chapatis
  • Complete service: Making chapatis while repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name by using the mind and intellect.
  • Absolute service: Harbouring the spiritual emotion (bhav) that I am not making the chapatis but The Lord / Guru is getting it done from me, when preparing chapatis.
  • Service unto the Guru: Praying unto the Guru ‘You get the chapatis done through me’ at the very commencement of service. Making the chapatis in a manner expected by the Guru along with repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name. Expressing gratitude on completion of service.

     For every service to be carried out with spiritual emotion, it has to be done as service unto the Guru as explained above.

B. One should not act as if one is doing some work as it does not amount to rendering service unto the Guru nor does one experience Bliss (Anand) from it. Rather, one should harbour the spiritual emotion that one is rendering service unto the Guru, e.g. if one is allotted the service of chopping onions and potatoes then one should harbour the spiritual emotion that one is doing so in order to make the holy sacrament for God and cook for the Guru and seekers.

C. Generally, the more the thought about God is unclear and ill-defined, the lesser is the act likely to awaken spiritual emotion. As against this, the more clear and well-defined is the thought, the act is more likely to awaken spiritual emotion, e.g. carrying out an act as service unto God. Further if one carries out an act with the spiritual emotion that the Guru is actually standing in front of oneself and observing everything, it is even more beneficial. A disciple rendering service in this fashion is called an internal disciple.

D. One should associate the act one is performing with a previous act rendered with spiritual emotion, e.g. if one has to render service of cleaning a room then it should be carried out harbouring the spiritual emotion that it is the temple at home itself.

E. Harbour the attitude that ‘I am a servitor’ : The following examples will illustrate how Dr. (compiler) served his Guru, H.H. Maharaj in various ways.

  • After arriving at the ashram (hermitage), he would offer obeisance to H.H. Maharaj and then proceed to clean up the ashram.
  • When seated near H.H. Maharaj, Doctor would press His feet. This he would do lovingly and gently.
  • Doctor would constantly pay attention to every word that H.H. Maharaj said. If H.H. Maharaj asked anyone to fetch something then Doctor would himself get up and go to bring it.
  • When H.H. Maharaj would go to the toilet, Doctor would open the door for Him and before He returned, he would dust His seat and rearrange the pillow. He would wait to wipe H.H. Maharaj’s feet with a napkin after He returned from the bathroom and would sit only after Maharaj had assumed His seat.
  • Whenever there was power failure in the hermitage (math), Doctor would fan H.H. Maharaj with a hand fan all the day through.
  • In the evening when H.H. Maharaj would get up to leave the hermitage, Doctor would go ahead of Him and place His slippers before Him.
  • In the night no matter how late it was, till H.H. Maharaj gave Doctor permission to leave he would neither budge from there nor ask whether he could leave. Only after H.H. Maharaj asked him to do so would he leave.
  • Doctor would familiarise himself with every item in the hermitage, e.g. the dustbin, broom, electrical switches and other items of daily use.
  • Doctor would behave as if he were a part of the hermitage.

F. Harbour the spiritual emotion that every object used in service is a means to render service, e.g. the knife used to chop vegetables is a tool to render service.

G. Make complete use of the intellect when performing an action: One should use the intellect to the fullest to comprehend the importance of every act from the viewpoint of service, to understand the various aspects of service unto the Absolute Truth (satseva) and to perform a task with minimal errors within the shortest possible time span. ‘योग: कर्मसु कौशलम्‌ ।’, meaning undertaking any task with perfection (absoluteness) is yoga and yoga is blending of the embodied soul (jiva) with The Supreme God (Paramatma).

H. When rendering service, one should make efforts to imbibe divine qualities: If one wishes to merge into God then one can do so by blending with His varied divine qualities, that is by imbibing them. To cite an example, one quality of God is thriftiness. Dr. (one of the compilers) utilises papers used on one side and even soiled ones instead of brand new ones for writing His holy texts and preserves the brand new ones for other important tasks such as computer printouts. Thus He also prevents wastage of soiled papers. If one uses everything obtained by The Lord’s grace thriftily then He assists the mission even more.

I. Generally in the initial stages, one should render service which is feasible and can be done properly. Then one derives the satisfaction that one has rendered service well and gets the inspiration to do service of the next stage.

J. Often one is unaware of one’s latent potential. Hence, one should render service a little beyond one’s capacity. Only then does one experience the energy that The Lord endows to render that service to perfection.

K. Service rendered unto the Absolute Truth should be devoid of expectations.

L. One should constantly harbour the spiritual emotion (bhav) that ‘I am a messenger of the Guru’ while preaching Spirituality and that I am delivering the message / teaching of the Guru to the audience.

1.2 Thinking

This is the inspiration behind an act, e.g. if thoughts are sattvik (sattva predominant) then the actions resulting from them are sattvik too. Efforts to be made to alter thinking so that one is able to render service with spiritual emotion are given below.

A. From the viewpoint of awakening of spiritual emotion, service unto the Absolute Truth is 10% important while service unto the Guru is 50% important. It is not possible for each one to serve the manifest form of the Guru. So, if the unmanifest form of the Guru, that is His principle is served considering it to be service unto the Guru then it assists in awakening spiritual emotion (bhav) faster. To develop this when rendering any kind of service or helping seekers, one should think that ‘one is serving the Guru’. Some spiritual experiences listed below will highlight the importance of this.

  • An appropriate thought from within eliminated my doubts about service and stopped the pain in my hand: In December 2001, on one morning at 11 a.m. a seeker, was lying down as she was feeling unwell. As I rolled out chapatis with the rolling pin in the kitchen, my left arm began aching. The thought that crossed my mind then was, ‘seeker is asleep. Why are you making chapatis alone?’ The next moment I realised that this thought was not mine, it was inserted in my mind by distressing energies. So I told my mind, ‘O mind, no matter how hard you try to create doubts in my mind I am aware that a part of my Guru exists in every seeker, so I will serve them.’ No sooner did I get this thought than my arm stopped aching. – Sadhika
  • Experiencing Bliss instead of distress when washing the clothes of a seeker afflicted with distressing energy because of spiritual emotion that the Guru’s clothes were being washed: Once when washing the clothes of a seeker in whom a distressing energy had manifested itself, I prayed unto the Guru, ‘Get this task done from me as if I am washing Your clothes instead of those of the troubled seeker.’ Consequently, when washing those clothes I did not experience any distress. On the contrary, I experienced so much Bliss which I had not experienced even when washing my own clothes. In fact, after the task I felt fresher than before. It seemed as if I had not done anything at all. – Sadhika
  • Getting the holy vision (darshan) of Doctor while rendering service unto non-seekers, assuming it to be service unto the Guru: Hira asked me to serve two plates of food to labourers working in our property. When preparing the plates of food, the spiritual emotion that I harboured was that I was preparing the plates for the Guru. At that time, I could actually see H.H. Doctor in the plate and tears flowed from my eyes. – Sadhika

B. When rendering service of any kind, one should constantly remember the Guru or God. The spiritual experiences cited below will prove the strength which lies in this.

  • Constantly thinking that H.H. Doctor was by my side was sufficient to rid me of my fear.
  • The simple thought that ‘the Guru will visit the ashram (hermitage) today’ is sufficient to spread divine consciousness (chaitanya) in the entire ashram. – Sadhika, Subtle section
  • Feeling afraid that a distressing energy is going to advance towards me and God giving me the foresight to offer obeisance to it while holding the japamala (Hindu rosary) in my hand thus giving me courage: On the night of 18th December 2002, before going to bed I closed my eyes to recite a prayer. At that time, I realised that there was a lady in the living room who was advancing towards me. This frightened me and I opened my eyes. The box with my japamala was in front of me. At that moment I felt that I should offer obeisance to her along with my japamala. As I did so, my fear vanished. It is God who inspired me to hold the mala in the hand. Whenever I recollect this incident, it gives me courage. – Sadhika

     This demonstrates how remembering the Guru or God when rendering any kind of service proves beneficial. A seeker with this kind of spiritual emotion is blessed by The Lord with a corresponding spiritual experience.

     Seekers severely afflicted with distressing energies being blessed with a vision of Doctor, H.H. Maharaj and other deities when they rendered service harbouring the spiritual emotion that Doctor was with them: Several seekers in the Miraj ashram severely afflicted with distressing energies were allotted the task of cleaning the ashram. Since H.H. Doctor visits the ashram in the subtle form everyday, they harboured the feeling that H.H. Doctor was with them when rendering service. This enhanced their spiritual emotion and they were able to pray time and again. Consequently everyday they began to see H.H. Maharaj, H.H. Doctor and all the seven deities in Their subtle form bestowing blessings on them. Thus the belief that they would triumph over the distressing energies developed in them and they began repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name with perseverence and within two days the distressing energies in them left. – Sadhika

     When rendering any form of service specially when propagating Spirituality, often merely thinking of the Guru eliminates the distress caused by distressing energies. That is precisely why before performing any task, one should contemplate on a deity or the Guru and then proceed.

C. When rendering service if one harbours the spiritual emotion that one is serving the manifest form of the Guru or God, God rewards one with a corresponding spiritual experience.

     Seekers severely afflicted with distressing energies getting varied spiritual experiences upon harbouring the spiritual emotion that the pictures of deities were actually Their holy feet: Once in the Miraj ashram (hermitage) we were supposed to shift the meditation room. When shifting the pictures of deities, the seekers severely afflicted with distressing energies were told to imagine that they were carrying the holy feet of the deities instead of Their pictures and on complying they had spiritual experiences accordingly. Some experienced subtle fragrance, some felt the presence of H.H. Doctor with them while others felt the presence of deities in the meditation room. – Sadhika

D. When rendering service one should not think that ‘I am rendering service’ but should constantly harbour the spiritual emotion that the Guru / God is getting service done from oneself.

E. Constant introspection on whether one has served so as to appease the Guru improves the quality of service.

F. If one contemplates on the Guru’s mission continuously then one’s actions occur as per His expectations.

G. The more sattvik (sattva predominant) one’s thoughts are, more is the divine consciousness (chaitanya) in oneself and more sattvik are the actions resulting from them. That is why one should constantly make efforts to harbour thoughts about the Absolute Truth (Sat). One also gets the benefit of internal satsang (holy company) if one recollects the spiritual concepts told by the Guru / other spiritual guides.

H. When rendering service, one should not allow wrong reactions or doubts about others to enter one’s mind because if one’s reactions hurt other seekers then the grace of the Guru is not bestowed upon oneself. That is why it is always advisable to practise devotion as a servitor (dasyabhakti).

1.3 Attitude

Trying constantly through action and thinking to render service with spiritual emotion (bhav) gradually makes service possible with spiritual emotion and it gets incorporated into one’s attitude. To inculcate this attitude in the self as soon as possible besides service unto the Guru and His mission, one should view everything that one does in day-to-day life as service and make an attempt to do it with spiritual emotion.

[The holy text ‘Biography (Charitra) of Maharaj’ in Marathi published by the Spiritual Sanstha gives examples of how H.H. Maharaj served His Guru with motivation and spiritual emotion. Details on service unto the Guru are given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 3 – The Disciple’.]

2. Holy company (satsang)

Satsang means ‘company of the Truth’. ‘Sat’ refers to sattva predominance. Awakening of spiritual emotion occurs rapidly in a sattvik environment. It is faster in the company of saints than in that of seekers.

3. Sacrifice

Offering something to God or the Guru is sacrifice. A true disciple is one who sacrifices his body, mind, wealth and even his life for the sake of the Guru. Awakening of spiritual emotion occurs faster in such a seeker.

4. Spiritual love (love without expectation)

Love being an emotion, is not a part of spiritual emotion. Spiritual love without expectation (priti) however is a component of spiritual emotion. The basic difference between love and spiritual love is the presence and absence of expectation respectively. Generally in worldly life, one expects something or the other from the person one loves. Spiritual love on the other hand is loving every creation of The Lord, without any expectation. Spiritual practice helps in the generation of spiritual love. To augment spiritual love one should practise the following.

A. Constant concern for others: The more one thinks about others, the less is the attachment for the self and the more expansive the mind becomes. Expansiveness of the mind is feeling spiritual love for others. Some examples in this context are given below.

  • Sadhika(compiler) had to constantly give spiritual treatment to seekers afflicted with distressing energies. She would contemplate on how to devote twenty-four hours of the day to this service and in this process could not even fall asleep.
  • I was smearing the courtyard with cowdung. When Krushnadada saw me doing this, though he too was working in the hot sun he gave his cap to me. – Sadhak
  • Every morning in the ashram (hermitage) I pray thus, ‘May all of us seekers working in the kitchen make spiritual progress’. Since I constantly feel for others, even if the holy sacrament (food) gets over before I eat, I do not feel upset. On the contrary, I feel happy seeing other seekers enjoy it. If at times it does not suffice for the seekers then I feel that I lack in rendering service unto the Guru appropriately and that I am not worthy of rendering service and I surrender unto the Guru. In my prayer I say, ‘I have made a major mistake. Please forgive me. Please prevent me from making this mistake again.’ – Sadhika

B. Sacrificing oneself for others: One should perpetually try to find an opportunity to serve the seekers with whom one lives.

C. Preventing generation of reactions about other seekers in the mind: Maximum obstacles in spiritual practice arise from generation of reactions about others. At times, their expression hurts the sentiments of other seekers. Reactions are bound to occur in the human mind but with spiritual progress, the number of reactions generated in the mind decreases. Even if they do arise, instead of falling prey to them one can control them. If anything is occurring against one’s wishes one should analyse the event or action as given below, to reduce the intensity of the reaction. If a reaction is not allowed to generate at all then love for seekers develops faster.

Subject: Task of setting up a bookstall of the publications of Spiritual Sanstha
Incident: A chief seeker feeling that seeker ‘A’ did not come to render this service despite being called.
Reaction in the mind of the chief seeker: Seeker ‘A’ is irresponsible, is not motivated to render service, etc.
Actual situation: Exactly when scheduled to leave to set up the bookstall, ‘A’ had guests from another town. His relatives (who usually are co-operative and allow him to render service) on that day forced him to remain with the guests saying that otherwise henceforth they would stop him from rendering service. Since the telephones in his area were out of order he could not communicate this to the other seekers.
Frame of mind of seeker ‘A’: A feeling of guilt in the seeker’s mind as he lost the opportunity to serve the Guru’s mission.
Effects of expressing the reaction: Later when the chief seeker met ‘A’ and expressed his reaction, the latter was even more discouraged and due to the depression many days of spiritual practice were wasted.
Introspection required when a reaction arises: The chief seeker should have thought thus – Is this seeker always irresponsible ? Is he really lacking in the service attitude ? Does he pose as an obstacle in the propagation of the Guru’s mission ? Does he have any worldly problem which prevents him from rendering service ?, etc. These thoughts help in controlling reactions.

D. Since the Guru / God exists in each one of us, if we hurt someone we are actually hurting the Guru / God is the awareness we should harbour.

E. If a seeker commits a mistake, he should be made aware of it and at the same time he should be loved as much as the other seekers.

F. Often one tends to pay attention to the defects and not the virtues of a seeker. Ignoring the defects, one should appreciate the good qualities of a seeker and should make an attempt to inculcate them in oneself.

G. Seeing the presence of the Guru in others, we should love them just as we love the Guru.

H. Just as Saint Eknath quenched the thirst of a donkey by offering it the holy water of the Ganges which He had fetched from Kashi, so also one should learn to love animals, plants and non-living creation.

5. Learning

H.H. Maharaj has said, “Only the curious one is deserving of knowledge”. One should constantly learn to generate spiritual emotion in oneself. One can learn to enhance spiritual emotion through study, spiritual experiences obtained by oneself and others, from other seekers having spiritual emotion and saints. It is more beneficial to learn it from seekers having spiritual emotion and saints. Since it is not possible for everyone to learn this from saints, it is more feasible to learn it from seekers having spiritual emotion. If one is motivated to learn then The Lord too teaches through different media. This holy text gives examples at various junctures about how one can learn from seekers and spiritual experiences.

Commencement of awakening of spiritual emotion from the grief of being unable to attend a workshop on awakening spiritual emotion: After hearing about the spiritual experiences of seekers with respect to awakening of spiritual emotion, I too felt intensely that such spiritual emotion should develop within me. On 14th October 2002, I asked Sadhika for an appointment in ashram (hermitage) so that I could discuss this with her. She said I could visit her between 17th and 20th October. On 17th October when I asked her again as to whom I should meet there, she said that since H.H. Maharaj was at the ashram for the next two days and she would be leaving for Karnataka thereafter, I could talk to her only later. I felt very upset because I could not go to Ashram(hermitage) to develop my spiritual emotion. Later Sadhika told me that she had spoken to H.H. Doctor about what I felt and that He had said, “Good, spiritual emotion within him has been awakened !” She also added that this effect would last for 9 to 10 days. Ever since, my spiritual practice with respect to spiritual emotion acquired a different perspective. – Sadhak

6. Attempts to awaken spiritual emotion when performing worldly tasks besides spiritual practice

Worldly actions, the attitude towards the results obtained from them and the experiences obtained when performing these actions prove useful from the viewpoint of awakening spiritual emotion. In the beginning, there is a qualitative difference between actions done as spiritual practice and those done in worldly life. So at first it is easier to awaken spiritual emotion through actions done with respect to spiritual practice like ritualistic worship (puja), singing hymns (arti), repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name, rendering service unto the Absolute Truth (satseva), etc. Will even a seeker who is indulging in full time spiritual practice be able to do these tasks continuously throughout the day ? Certainly not, because in day-to-day life he has to do personal tasks such as bathing, taking treatment for an illness, doing household chores, caring for ill family members, etc. These restrict his actions pertaining to spiritual practice. Similarly, if attempts to awaken spiritual emotion only during actions related to spiritual practice are made then it poses a restriction to awakening of spiritual emotion. Hence one should perform every task as spiritual practice or with the spiritual emotion that ‘I am the servitor of the Guru’, then the entire process of awakening spiritual emotion is enhanced. Some examples cited below will show how a seeker staying at home can make efforts from this viewpoint.

  • Instead of sticking to the concept of ‘me and my family’ one should become expansive and harbour the spiritual emotion that one’s home is itself the Guru’s ashram. If one behaves as if the Guru is living in the home (ashram), one can actually feel His presence there. Besides, more thoughts about the Absolute Truth (Sat) are generated. This helps in creation of sattvik (sattva predominant) frequencies in the house.

    Feeling enthusiastic upon tidying the home with the spiritual emotion (bhav) that it is the Guru’s ashram and absence of exhaustion after doing it: When I had gone home for Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations I decided to clean the house. Before beginning, I recited a prayer unto the Guru thus, ‘Let me clean my house harbouring the spiritual emotion that it is Your ashram (hermitage). Please get this service done from me.’ That day despite cleaning up the entire house I did not feel tired. On the contrary, I felt happy doing the service and fresh as ever thereafter. – Sadhika

  • One should mentally offer one’s home to the Guru and then look after it with the spiritual emotion (bhav) that one is its trustee.
  • One should perform all household tasks as service unto the Guru, e.g. cooking, washing clothes, tidying rooms, etc.
  • If one uses every object in the house as a belonging of the Guru, then one handles it with care. Besides because of this, the presence of the Guru is felt.
  • One should remember the Guru while eating and harbour the spiritual emotion that the meal is the holy sacrament (prasad) of the Guru and water is the holy water (tirtha) from His feet.

7. Comparative importance of actions

Actions to awaken
spiritual emotion
Importance
%
Actions to awaken
spiritual emotion
Importance
%
1. Ritualistic worship 5 9. Sacrifice 10
2. Prayer 30 10. Spiritual love
      (priti)
10
3. Gratitude 10 11. Learning
   A. Through study

   B. Through spiri-
     tual experiences

   C. From a seeker
     having spiritual
     emotion

   D. From saints

10

10

30

30

4. Repetition (chant-
    ing) of The Lord’s
    Name
30
6. Holy company of
    saints
30
7. Service 10
8. Service unto the
    Guru
50

(Divine Knowledge received in the meditative state by Dr.)

 

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