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Introduction Service - Meaningful Contribution Service to Self
Service as a Spiritual Discipline Motivation for Service
Crossing the Ocean

4. Motivation for Service

God will not ask you, ‘when and where did you do service?" He will ask. "

With what motive did you do it? What was the intention that prompted you?" you may weigh the seva and boast of its quantity. But God seeks quality, the quality of the heart, the purity of the mind, the holiness of the motive.

Sathya Sai Speaks 11

Love is the best motivation for service. Love for others and love for God inspires us to true service. Through selfless work for others, we broaden our love and direct it to the God in others. There is no way to serve God except to serve his creation. For what can we give to God? We can offer only our love, intelligence, and labor to those in need.

It (service) is the very essence of bhakti (devotion to God), the very breath of a bhakta (devotee), his very nature. It springs from the actual experience of the bhakta – an experience that convinces him that all beings are God’s children, that all bodies are altars where God is installed, that all places are his residences.

Sathya Sai Speaks 5

We endlessly pray to the Lord for his grace. But how can we expect to receive grace if we will not lift our hands to help others? We earn God’s love by our selfless actions. To progress on the spiritual path, it is more important for God to love us than for us to love God. We earn his love and grace through selfless service. Sai Baba sets an example of endless giving, never expecting anything in return. We must graduate from spiritual grade school and follow the example. How better can we repay our debt for the blessings we receive than by giving in turn to others? The stream only remains fresh when it gives away the water that it receives.

The Lord is pleased only when you do things the Lord desires! How else can you win his grace? How else than by nursing and nourishing, succoring and saving his children?

Sathya Sai Speaks 7

When we start, it is difficult for us to know how to serve. We must carefully appraise our abilities and choose an appropriate field of service. We must learn to be selfless and caring, but just as important, we must be effective and truly helpful. Our service should match our skills and training.

You must have not merely enthusiasm to serve, but the intelligence and the skill; then only can you be efficient and useful. Enthusiasm without efficiency is often a source of loss and grief.

Sathya Sai Speaks 5

The quantity of work done is not important. What is important is that service is motivated by pure ideals. We should serve others as we would serve God himself. The one who serves must act without selfishness, anger, or greed. The servant must act without desire of reward or recognition.

When judging the service done by a member… it is not the quantity or the number of individual instances that matter; they do not count at all. Judge rather the motive that led him to serve the genuineness of the love and compassion with which the seva was saturated. The explanation that appeals to Swami is that you did the seva with no taint of ego, and that you derived unsurpassed ananda (joy) as a result.

Sathya Sai Speaks 10

There are many tests for practitioners of service. As in the other spiritual disciplines, the Lord tests us to see that our selflessness is strong and genuine. We must learn to serve despite criticism and obstacles. Our wills must be strong enough to over come ego and inertia. Obstacles appear to test and strengthen our resolve.

The Lord, too, will provide many tests to ensure that your faith is firm, that your spirit of seva is full and universal. The weaker practitioners of this seva sadhana will soon be shaken by these tests and stray away from the right path.

Sathya Sai Speaks 10

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