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Serve, Love, Give, Purify

by Swami Sivananda

Become a Karma Yogi and work for the well-being of the world. You must do universal service in order to attain the state of being one with the universal consciousness.

It is only through selfless activities, unattached work and loving service that one can acquire the precious gem of purity, patience and humility.

Wherever there is distress share what you have and alleviate human suffering wherever it is possible. Thus you will be able to achieve the goal for which God has given this human body.

While doing selfless service, an insidious feeling of self approbation may creep in unnoticed. This may later manifest itself in the form of a sort of indulgent attitude and a lofty contempt for those who are not following, a similar life. A constant humility kept alive by a ceaseless exercise of it in service is the sure armour against this foe.

Spiritualise all activities. Feel you are an instrument in the Lord's hands and that all the Indriyas (senses) belong to Him. Repeat the formula 'I am Thine; all is Thine; Thy Will be done.'

Feel that the whole world is a manifestation of the Lord and you are serving the Lord in all names and forms. Whatever you do-your actions and the results thereof-consecrate them all to the Lord at the end of each day. Do not identify yourself with actions. Then your heart will be purified and you will be ready to receive the divine light and grace.

Rest not with being good. Do good also. Be kind. Be compassionate.

Let not virtue wither for want of exercise.

God is love. Love is God. Selfishness, greed, egoism, vanity, pride, hatred contract the heart and stand in the way of developing universal love. Feel that the whole world is your body, your own home. Melt and destroy all barriers that separate man from man. Idea of superiority is ignorance. Develop Visvaprema-all-embracing love. Unite with all. Separateness is death. Unity is eternal life.

God is love. The only true religion is the religion of love or the religion of heart. Feel for others as you feel for yourself.

Love expects no reward. Love knows no fear. Love Divine gives-does not demand. Love thinks no evil; imputes no motive. To love is to share and serve.

Do charity-amounting to at least one tenth of your income or six Paise per Rupee.

Happiness comes to him who gives happiness to others.

Give, Give. Give in plenty, in humility and with joy. Thus in the very process of giving enrich yourself too.

If a man, who has not removed jealousy, backbiting, hatred, pride, selfishness says, "I am meditating for six hours daily," it is all nonsense. Excel. There is no hope of getting into a meditative mood even after a year unless a man removes all these Vrittis and purifies his mind first by selfless service at least for six months.

Excel in Service,

Expand in Love,

Advance in Knowledge.

Service is Love in expression,

Love is concentrated Knowledge,

Knowledge is diffused love.


Spirituality means growing into the form of Divine Ideal. It is the transformation of your nature from human to Divine. This is brought about by Abhyasa, i.e., spiritual practice or Sadhana and Vairagya leading to renunciation.

Conscious attempt to merge ourselves in the Supreme Reality is called spiritual Sadhana, which should be the common aim of all, though the process may be different.

If you wish to evolve quickly, you must have the right kind of Sadhana. If you are a student of the path of self-reliance, you can select the Sadhana for your daily practice, yourself. If you are a student of the path of self-surrender, you should get the right kind of Sadhana from a Guru and practice it with intense faith.

Constant Satsanga with the wise and study of the Srutis under a Guru will slowly wipe out the wrong and worldly Samskaras.

Make intense inner Sadhana the keynote of your life. Base your life upon the ceaseless remembrance of the Divine consciousness and constant feeling of His presence.

Sadhana is at first mechanical and it is only in the later stages that it becomes a part and parcel of one's own life. It appears as a drudgery in the beginning, but later on it imparts joy, peace, strength, courage and freedom.

Do not be slack in you Sadhana. It is Sadhana that will help you in the long run. It is the only asset in this life.

Be regular in your Sadhana-and attain Self-realisation in this very birth.

Never mind repeated failures in your Sadhana. Nil desperandum. Despair not. Do not give up the struggle or the Sadhana. Stand up and fight again. Struggle again. You are nearer to success each time. Every failure is a steppingstone to success. You are sure to succeed in the long run.

Only when you have purified the heart, silenced the mind, stilled the thoughts and surging emotions, withdrawn the outgoing senses, thinned out the Vasanas, you can behold the glorious Atman during deep meditation.

The practical method of realising one's divine nature is the complete transformation of the base animal nature, transcending the human nature and awakening fully the dormant spiritual traits within.

This is done through perfect ethical evolution, self-restraint, self-analysis, self-purification, concentration, meditation, practice of selfless love and service to all and systematic inner culture through right speech and right conduct. This alone is the pathway to Yoga and inner unfoldment.

Never complain against bad environments. Create your own mental world wherever you remain and wherever you go. Do not try to run away from bad unfavourable environments. God has placed you there to make you grow quickly.

The world is not a hindrance to your spiritual path. The world is your Guru. The world is a training school. The world is Virat or Isvara.

Perfect serenity, cultivation of divine virtues, entertaining holy thoughts, discipline of diet-all these pave the way to success along spiritual path.

Right from the very beginning of your spiritual life, you must understand clearly that in true humility, sincere desire to root out gradually pride, egoism and jealousy, earnest and increasing introspection to find out one's own defects and improve oneself, lies your hope of progress.

The nature of the mind is such that it becomes that which it thinks upon intensely. Thus if you think of the vices and defects of other man, your mind will be charged with those defects and vices at least for the time being. He, who knows this psychological law, will never indulge in censuring others or in finding faults in the conduct of others. He will always praise others. He will only see good in others. That is the way to grow in concentration, Yoga and spirituality.

No man is absolutely bad. Everyone has some good trait or other. Try to see the good in everyone. Develop the good-finding nature.

Examine your character. Pick up some distinct defect in it. Find out its opposite-let us say that you suffer from irritability. The opposite of irritability is patience. Meditate on it regularly every morning for a few minutes taking one aspect of it-such as its value, its practice under provocation on different days.

Choose one virtue for every month and keep it before you as an ideal to be achieved throughout. Meditate on it morning and evening just after getting up from bed and just before retiring at night.

There is no easy path to salvation except through small improvements, correction, purity, Japa and celibacy.

If you are established in Ahimsa or non-violence, you will never be harsh, rude and haughty even for a moment. No thought of evil or of injuring others will ever occur to you, even for a moment. Your heart will be filled with love, kindness and affection.

Not to hurt others is not so difficult as not to be hurt by others. You will have to become mindless. You will have to kill your egoism in toto. You will have to develop patience to a maximum degree if you wish not to be hurt by others.


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