Text size: A A A

Please Click Here
to Return to
Love and Light

Service Wing - Grama Seva

"Fill the Heart with Love; the Head with Wisdom; and Engage the Hands in Service" – Baba

This year’s Dasara Festival marks the 13th Anniversary of the Grama Seva Project, and provided me an opportunity to reflect on how this very sacred project, that was initiated by Bhagawan, has impacted on my life, and the lives of many of my brothers from the UK who have been Graced with the good fortune, to participate in it. Even as I write this article, there is a group of 18 youth from UK led by Sri Ajitbhai Popat who are now in Prasanthi Nilayam and participating in this thrilling Service.

Grama Seva is a manifestation of Swami’s infinite Love and Grace, and provided us an opportunity to establish kinship with thousands of villagers through the act of selfless service. By Bhagawan’s Grace, it has been possible for groups of UK youth to join the teachers and students of the Sathya Sai Institutions during the Grama Seva Programme, gifting us the opportunity to expand our hearts and develop compassion for others. This very enriching experience conferred immense Joy and a wonderful feeling of satisfaction, and has left an indelible mark on each of our hearts.

Journeying in convoys of cars and lorries, singing loudly the Glories of the Lord, we would arrive in remote villages to deliver Prasadam of clothing, rice and ladoos to every household. The grateful villagers, would raise their hands in gratitude to Bhagawan, for remembering them and so lovingly sending His Blessings.

Participating in Grama Seva, sensitised us to the living conditions of our brothers and sisters in rural areas of India. We often read about the plight of others, or watch stirring images on television, however there can be no substitute for the first-hand experience of the challenges that face so many people in rural villages. We return full of gratitude for how blessed we are, and with a heightened sense of social responsibility, and awareness of the need to control our own desires and greed for material possessions; and to use what we have been blessed with to help others.

An incident from the life of President Abraham Lincoln, illustrates well the spirit of Service. President Lincoln was on route to address Congress. He insisted that his driver stop to allow him to rescue a squealing pig that was stuck in mud. This made little sense to onlookers. When he was later praised for saving the pig from its suffering, President Lincoln commented, that he had acted only to benefit himself. Had he ignored the pig’s plight, he would have, himself been pained, knowing he had done nothing to help; so he acted to save himself from that anguish and pain.

We are the true beneficiaries of the Service that we have the opportunity to render, and I cannot think of a more direct experience of this than Grama Seva. Swami would personally oversee every aspect of the project and then bless us as we departed each morning, thereafter eagerly awaiting our return and lovingly enquiring about the villagers. His direct involvement strongly reinforced that during Service, it is God who is the provider and God who is the recipient also; we are but the instruments to whom He gives the opportunity, so that we may redeem our lives – How very fortunate we are?

As we approach the auspicious occasion of Avatar Declaration Day, let us remind ourselves of His words, which capture the Spirit and the essence, of this Sacred Grama Seva Programme:

"This Sai has come in order to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire Mankind as one family through the bond of brotherhood, of affirming and illuminating the Atmic Reality (The Divine Self) of each being, to reveal the Divine which is the basis on which the entire Cosmos rests, and of instructing all to recognise the common Divine Heritage that binds man to man, so that man can rid himself of the animal and rise up to the Divine, which is the goal."

Dr. Kumi Pillay
Chairperson, Region 7, SSSSO UK