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Love and Light

New Year Message “Service to Man is Service to God”

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba - Prashanti Nilayam, 1st Jan 2004

Embodiments of Love!

Today, everybody is enthusiastic about New Year's Day. Significantly, this New Year's Day started on a Thursday. It is one's foolishness to single out a particular day in a year and celebrate that day with great joy. For a true devotee, every day is a festival day. Therefore, it is essential that we consider every minute of every day as new and celebrate it with joy. In fact, every day is a New Year's Day.

Everything in this objective world is impermanent and unreal. Hence, we have to contemplate upon the eternal truth and reality. We should not waste our time brooding over the past or anticipating the future. It is great foolishness to worry about the future or the past, forgetting the present. Only the present is real. The past is past, you cannot get it back, however, much you may pray for it. The future is hidden in the womb of time. It is not possible to visualise it. Therefore, only the present is important. Unable to realise this truth, people are worried about the past and future.

The foremost activity that man should engage in is service to fellow human beings. Instead, people are wasting their precious time worrying about either the past or the future. Therefore, embodiments of love! You should always engage yourself in service to fellow human beings. There is no greater sadhana than such service.

Considering the nine paths of devotion, namely sravanam (listening), kirtanam (singing), Vishnusmaranam (contemplating on Vishnu), Padasevanam (serving His Lotus Feet), vandanam (salutation), archanam (worship), dasyam (servitude), sneham (friendship), and Atmanivedanam (self-surrender) as the only important means for salvation, people are engrossed in these activities. They totally forget the importance of service. Only the fruits of service will be eternal. We must constantly engage ourselves in service to others. God has given us this body for that purpose only. This body is not meant to be engaged in mere eating and drinking and thus wasting our valuable time. We must realise the truth that God has given us this body for serving others and thus help others. There is nothing greater than service to humanity. Service to man is service to God. All great men have sanctified their life only by serving humanity. Therefore, you start serving humanity at least from now onward. Service is more important than bhajan and all other sadhanas (spiritual disciplines).

Embodiments of Love!

What, according to you, is service? You consider helping people in difficulties is service. No. It is not as simple as that. Your body should be constantly engaged in serving others. The human body consists of several limbs. All these limbs are meant to be engaged in serving the fellowmen and not for other activities. Unfortunately, we are forgetting this basic fact. Every limb in the human body has been granted by God for karmopasana (worshipping God through service). Karmopasana is the only means by which the human life can be sanctified. We are building several temples. We are undertaking various sadhanas. But, all these sadhanas can give us only temporary satisfaction, not eternal joy. Our ancient rishis (sages) have been able to achieve eternal joy through a conscious effort. Therefore, you must develop firm faith in the truth that nothing can provide eternal joy except service to humanity. Undertake service to the suffering humanity. Service is not merely confined to health services. Service encompasses every possible help to the fellow human beings.

The ancient culture of Bharat (India) is still preserved in the villages, and not in towns and cities. In fact, our culture is defiled in all possible ways in the cities. Therefore, go to the villages, find out their necessities, and undertake such types of services that will alleviate their sufferings. Today, several people shift to the towns and cities in pursuit of comfort and luxuries. In the process, they end up in sorrows and difficulties. This is their own making. Na sukhat labhyathe sukham (happiness cannot be obtained out of happiness). Only through suffering can happiness be achieved.

You should undertake service. In fact, the hands are given to you to serve humanity. Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray. Therefore, undertake selfless service and attain glory. When you undertake good work, you enjoy peace in your life. Today, the boys who sang bhajans are former students of the Institute. They have undertaken several services to please Swami. God is not interested in worship and other sadhanas (spiritual disciplines). He is interested only in service. Hence, undertake service and more and more service. The best way to love God is to Love all and Serve all. God is interested only in love and service. If you can recognise the importance of these two sadhanas and conduct yourself accordingly, there can be no greater sadhana.

You need not have to spend a lot of money in service. Sanctify your life by undertaking loving service. Today, the old students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning have brought a cheque for Rs. 48 lakhs to present to Swami as a token of their love and service. This amount has been saved by them from their salaries, by undergoing lot of difficulties. But to whom should the amount belong, really? This amount is meant to be utilised for service in the villages. It is for serving the poorest of the poor. Therefore, I told them, "My dear ones! You deposit the money in the bank and undertake the service activities with the interest accrued on the amount." Money is of no help in developing good qualities. Sacrifice alone can develop noble qualities. It is only in sacrifice, there is real yoga. That is why it is said thyagenaike amrutatthwamanasu (it is only by sacrifice that man can attain immortality). Today, however, people want bhoga (enjoy material comforts). By such bhoga, only roga (disease) will be contracted. They cannot attain yoga. Hence, you try to attain yoga by thyaga (sacrifice). Only then can you attain eternal joy.

Embodiments of Love!

There is no use contemplating on God without making sacrifice. By contemplating on God, you may perhaps derive some mental satisfaction. But that is of no use. Therefore, develop firm faith in the truth that every living being is permeated by God and act accordingly. God lives in every living being and experiences bliss. The Upanishads declare, Easwarah sarva bhutanam (God is the indweller of all beings) and Isavasyam idam sarvam (the entire universe is permeated by God). You should not be under the impression that God is confined to some temple or a structure somewhere. It is said Deho Devalaya proktho jivo Devah sanathanah (the body is a temple and the Indweller is God). The real temple for God is the body itself.

God is installed in the temple of our heart. That is why it is given the name of hridaya. Hrid + daya = hridaya. It is only when you cultivate compassion in your heart that it can be called hridaya. Therefore, cultivate the quality of compassion. Whatever service you undertake with a compassionate heart, it becomes sanctified. Consider every human being as a living divinity. God is present everywhere. Forgetting such an omnipresent divinity, we are hankering after petty and trivial bodily pleasures. The fact, however, is that we can never attain real happiness with the body. This body has several limitations. With such a body, you can never attain limitless ananda (bliss).

The body is made up of five elements and is bound to perish sooner or later,
but the Indweller has neither birth nor death. The Indweller has no attachment whatsoever and is the eternal witness. Truly speaking, the Indweller, who is in the form of the Atma, is verily God Himself.
(Telugu Poem)

You must be able to recognise such a divine Atma. Today, we are worshipping idols and pictures, thinking that God is somewhere in the outside world. But God is very much present in the human being. That is why our ancient rishis (sages) have proclaimed, Daivam manusha rupena (God incarnates in the form of a human being). Of what use is it to worship unseen God while at the same time causing suffering to the living beings around us? Every human being that you come across is an embodiment of divinity. No purpose will be served by worshipping the idols and pictures, forgetting the living gods in front of us.

Therefore, give less importance to such indirect methods of worshipping God. Consider the human being standing in front of you as an embodiment of divinity. Even if you come across your worst enemy, say, 'hello' to him lovingly. Address him as brother. Then, he will also respond by saying, 'hello brother'. On the other hand, if you hate him and start scolding him, he will reciprocate the same thing to you. Respect every individual and you will be respected.

Man, today, expects others to respect him; but he will not respect others. If you do not respect others, how can you expect others to respect you? Manava (human being) means an individual deserving respect. Since you are born as a human being, give respect and take respect. This is the quality you have to cultivate today. When you respect others, others will also respect you. When you offer your pranams (salutations) to somebody, to whom does it go actually? You are not merely offering pranams to the physical body consisting of the five elements. It reaches, in fact, the Indweller in that human body, who is none other than God.

Embodiments of Love!

Today, everyone is literally crying for Peace. But, what is this Peace? It is in you itself. You are most sacred souls. Love is within you. Peace is within you. Unfortunately, today you are losing the peace and happiness that is within you and craving to earn something in the outside world. You want to earn great wealth and build big mansions. Devoid of good qualities, all the wealth that you earn becomes mere waste. Therefore, cultivate good qualities. There can be no greater wealth in the world than good qualities. The more you spend the good qualities, the more you accumulate. They will never exhaust.

Embodiments of Divine Atma!

Prepare yourself for sacrifices. You will find eternal bliss only in sacrifice. One who does not make sacrifice will not find peace anywhere. People of every country in this world pray for peace chanting 'Santhi, Santhi, Santhi' But do they get peace? No. They are engulfed in disappointment and despair. Therefore, one should develop faith in the truth that the eternal Lord is always with us. How can you obtain peace by ignoring the Divinity immanent in you and worshipping some unseen God?

Embodiments of Love!

Share your education and wealth with your fellow human beings. In fact, God is the real owner of the wealth acquired by you. The money you earn belongs to God's Trust. God Himself is the President of the Trust. Keep your trust on God and make proper utilisation of your money. Do not hanker after money and other forms of wealth. Constantly contemplate on God. You need not go to the forest or caves in the hills in search of God. He is always with you. Develop that faith and win over demonic qualities. Today, wherever you see, demonic qualities and violence are rampant. People do not hesitate to acquire wealth by sinful ways. What ultimately comes along with you at the time of leaving the body is the sin or merit you have accumulated and not the wealth you have acquired. Share at least a morsel of food you eat, with others. Help yourself and help others. This is the greatest sadhana (spiritual discipline). In fact, it is so easy to practise. Leaving aside this sadhana and forgetting the noble quality of love, you are going in search of peace in the wide world. Is it not foolishness on your part?

Embodiments of Love!

Develop the quality of love. Do not hate anybody. Develop the faith that whatever happens is for your own good. Whenever you encounter any difficulty or suffering, you alone are responsible for it. Respect others. That alone will protect you. On the other hand, if you insult somebody, that alone will punish you. Pleasure and pain are the products of your own making. The merit or sin committed by you will follow you like a shadow.

Man today is giving sermons to others. But he himself is not following his precepts. What values such teachings will have? All this is mere deception. Whatever teachings you may read or listen to can never help you if you do not put them into practice. Help your fellow human beings at least in a small measure. That alone will help you. Do not blame others for the difficulties you face. Do not ever abuse others. Love all. Treat all people as your brothers and sisters. Cultivate the feeling of brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God.

Embodiments of Love!

Why are you given hands? Is it for feeding the mouth? No, no. You have to sing the glory of God with your tongue. The hands are given to you for the purpose of keeping the beat in accordance with the tune. Bharatiyas are those who worship God with bhava (feeling), raga (tune) and thala (beat). The syllable 'Bha' also stands for bhakti (devotion), 'Ra' for raga (tune) and 'Tha' for thyaga (sacrifice). You have to sing the glory of the Lord combining these three aspects. They alone are the real Bharatiyas. Every individual born in the country of Bharat is sanctified. We do not need heaven. Let's participate in seva (service) while chanting the divine name. There can be no greater wealth than this. Why should we suffer when we have such a great wealth with us? Consider all your education and the service you undertake as God's work. The Gitacharya has given a clarion call, Sarvadharman Parithyajya Mamekam Saranam Vraja (surrender unto Me all your activities and seek refuge in Me alone). Hence, dedicate all your activities to God. Only then will you attain peace in every possible way.

Bhagawan concluded the discourse with the bhajan, "Prema Muditha Manase Kaho".