|Inner Significance of Service Activity|
The primary objective of all service activity in the Sathya Sai Organisation is spiritual upliftment of the participant.
This is a self-enlightenment process and so entirely dependent on the effort of the individual (personal ‘sadhana’). There is a code of conduct to which every active worker in the organisation will adhere, using community welfare as the field. His guideline is Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s significant –laden message: ‘ Manava Seva is Madhava Seva’ (Service to man is service to God). This in short, is spiritualizing every act done.
Looking back, the Sai worker will see that it all began in his Bhajan center, which steadily expanded into the ‘Namasmaran’ movement. Step by step he is led by an unseen hand through a variety of service activities, ministering to the needs of the needy. And now the unfolding Divine Plan is there for all Sai workers, clear as daylight.
The worker who is engaged in service will soon realize that only service done through Love, in a spirit of Sacrifice and without expecting a return (without a selfish motive) can be termed as "service". He also realizes that the work he has undertaken does not create happiness by itself but brings out happiness that is already there, within us. And above all, it does not depend on the type of work but on the attitude towards it-the right attitude can elevate the smallest act of work into the highest form of worship. Thus work becomes worship. This, for the Sai worker, is the true path (Yoga). Thus equipped, he goes out into community service without ego and finds there is great deal to learn all without distinction of caste or creed. His work in the organisation reflects the degree of his own personal ‘sadhana’ and that is what determines his progress towards the spiritual goal.
The minimum age for a Seva Dal member is 16. Any member willing to devote four hours a week or two hundred hours a year for any activity of his choice is entitled to be a Seva Dal member and is given a scarf and a badge.
Every activity in the service program has an inner significance of its own. ‘Hospital Visits’, for instance, undertaken by the worker for helping patients, requires him or her to sit near the patient and pray for him. This silent act on the part of the worker can make the patient realize the need and efficacy of prayer. Again, in ‘Health Education Door-to-Door’, the devotee gets an opportunity to serve the community in their homes. For a worker, trained in this field, ‘Health’ encompasses the whole spectrum of human existence, signifying three-fold activity, human evolution, human welfare and human progress.
Another example; ‘Blood Donation’ camps give the opportunity to the devotee to donate the "liquid of love". It is infused with love.
Instead of opening centers of treatment, the organisation seeks to create a center within each of its workers and carries that center to the individual, family and community. The scarf and badge he wears thus become emblems identifying him as a representative of Prashanthi Nilayam. This implies he had Prashanthi in his heart and carries it wherever he goes.
The Sai "Service Activities" include: