Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
A man can be fortunate in many ways. But there is nothing that makes
him more fortunate than the opportunity he has of serving others.
When we serve our family we are not conscious of how we help it. We
must learn to help people who are not our kin - other families, our
or home town, our nation, indeed all mankind. We have so many
problems ourselves, we suffer so many hardships, and we have so many
worries and cares. We must not, however, mind serving others in the
midst of all our difficulties. We will forget our problems when we are
immersed in the work of helping others. There is a saying:"Feed milk to
your neighbour's child, your child will be nourished." The Lord will
us up from our troubles as we do good to others. However, it is not with
such considerations of profit that we must try to help people in
difficulties. We must not worry about how others will benefit from our
work, but consider how we will become naturally pure. Also, we must
think of the happiness we will experience by serving our fellow men.
Service should not be confined to mankind but must be extended to the
animal kingdom. In the olden days ponds were dug exclusively for cattle
and stone pillars were installed here and there for them to scratch
themselves. Everyone must feed at least one cow every day with a
handful of grass. This is called "gograsam"
and this act is extolled in the
sastras, "Grasam" means a mouthful and the English word "grass" is
derived from it.
Conducting sacrifices, offering oblations to the fathers and performing
sraddha must be regarded as an extension of the service we do in this
world to the denizens of other worlds. These rites must be gone through
with the intoning of mantras.
There must be many others like us, many groups, who want to be
engaged in social work. It should be ideal if the efforts of all were
together under one body of like-minded members. Care must be taken
that associations so formed do not break up; they must be managed
honestly with a proper enforcement of discipline. Those who do
philanthropic work must be men of courage and enthusiasm who take
praise and blame equally.
You ought not to waste your time in eating places displaying appetizing
fare nor in establishments where alluring objects are exhibited.
you must spend your time in helping others. You will ask whether it is
wrong to spend a little time in gaiety in the midst of life's worries
hardships. I should like to impress on you that the happiness you find
helping others is not to be found in anything else.
Krsna Paramatman was playful, wasn't he? But all his playfulness was an
outward phenomenon for inwardly he served others all the time. How
sportingly did he save people from trouble and how many were the men
who were helped by him. To protect the cowherds the child Krsna lifted
up the big Govardhana Mountain. And, again, as a little child he danced
on the hoods of the dreaded Kalinga (Kaliya) that poisoned the Yamuna.
all seemed play, all the heroic acts he performed to save the people of
Gokula. Nobody sported like Krsna but at the same time nobody served
mankind like him. It was not worldly service alone that he did. He
mankind by imparting jnana. As a preceptor of Arjuna and Uddhava alike
he taught great truths. All this he did with a smile, spreading serenity
everywhere. Whatever he did he did with utmost ease. Those who have
taken up the work of serving humanity must be inspired by his example.
Among the various incarnations of the Lord, the service rendered to
humanity was the greatest in that of Krsna. During the avatara of Rama,
Anjaneya appeared as seva (service) personified. We must be inspired by
their example [of Krsna and Hanuman] as we work for others; we must be
unselfish like them and shun publicity.
We keep aloof from the outside world when we are ritually impure. We
must regard any day on which we fail to do any service to others as a
of impurity. Paramesvara is the father of all creatures. By serving our
fellow men we serve the Lord. This is the message of Tirumular in his
It means: Serving people is worshipping the Lord.