Sai Darshan Home
Divine Discourse by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Date: 11 April 2005
Occasion: Seva Dal Conference Place: Prasanthi Nilayam

Understand the Spirit of Service

Of karma born, in karma grown, in karma does man die.
So rules karma, all stages of human life as though it is the very deity of human existence.
Of joy and sorrow, the master is karma.
(Telugu poem)

Of the denizens of creation human beings are the highest. It is said Jantunam nara janma durlabham (of all living beings, birth as human is the rarest). It is the human creation that has caused major changes in the world. Joy does not exist alone and is entwined with sorrow and vice versa, and the human being is the root cause for both happiness and sorrow.

Embodiments of Love!

Nowadays, man is unable to realise his true nature because he is giving importance to only the physical form. He has lost his reasoning faculty. Since he calls himself a human being, it is his duty to realise the uniqueness of humanness. A person cannot name himself a human being merely on the basis of his birth and educational qualifications. Actually, real humanness cannot be found in academic degrees. Even birds and beasts can be taught certain skills to perform wonderful feats imitating human beings. It is no credit to a human being deriving satisfaction simply by empty rhetoric, quoting scriptures, and relating to others.

Real humanness consists in practising ideals in one's life and setting an example to others. Man has no authority to teach ideals to others without putting them into practice himself first. There is immense divine power in human beings. He is not simply a dehadhari (one who has assumed a human body). He is endowed with vijnana (higher wisdom), prajnana (constant integrated awareness), and sujnana (discriminatory knowledge). Therefore, he is expected to channel these higher forms of knowledge in the right path.

First and foremost, one has to understand the true meaning of jnana (wisdom). Some people think that knowledge acquired by reading numerous books is jnana. No, this is not correct. Real jnana is the knowledge that emerges from one's own self and that is experienced and taught to others. Finally, this would enable the person concerned to be greatly benefited and enlightened.

One has to realise the importance of the term, "human quality" first. Human quality emerges from one's own self. It cannot be acquired by reading textbooks or listening to others.

Embodiments of Love!

You have come all the way from Kerala and assembled here to acquire jnana and to know the real meaning of the terms prajnana, vijnana, and sujnana. Mere textual knowledge without practical knowledge becomes "allergy". On the other hand, when bookish knowledge is transformed into practical knowledge, it becomes "energy". You wish to know what real knowledge is: that which has been acquired by practice is the real knowledge. That alone would entitle you to the epithet manavatva (humanness).

Embodiments of Love!

All that we teach to others must be supported by practice. Everything is reaction, reflection, and resound of one's own inner being. Every word we utter is the resound of the inner being. Reflection is that which is contemplated upon, experienced, and put into practice. The third aspect, reaction is, however, very important. Reaction comes out of action. Hence, our actions must always be pure and sacred.

The three aspects reaction, reflection, and resound occupy a place of prominence in the life of a human being. Whatever man learns today comes under the category of resound, meaning that they are taught by the teacher from textbooks. This is bookish knowledge. Resound comes out of reaction, and reaction transforms itself into reflection. The unity of all these three aspects constitute humanness.

Hence, a human being should not waste his time by empty rhetoric. Every word he utters must be backed by deep contemplation and knowledge of its inner meaning. Only after that should he try to teach others. Unfortunately, these days, mere bookish knowledge is considered as true knowledge and a lot of time is spent in acquiring it. Real knowledge should emerge from the mastaka (head and heart). Therefore, one should cleanse one's head and heart and remove the impurities therein. Only then is it possible to understand things in the right perspective and acquire wisdom.

Exult not on your erudition, oh man;
Without humble prayer and devotion to your indwelling god,
All your learning is just a load in your head.
(Telugu poem)

Embodiments of Love!

It may be necessary for you to adapt yourself to new techniques and practices from time to time. At present, the world is undergoing phenomenal changes. All those changes may not be relevant to you. Nevertheless, you are required to acquire several branches of knowledge in the modern times to cope with the rapid changes in science and technology taking place all over the world. However, they do not constitute real vidya (knowledge).

Real education is that by which one is able to realise one's own nature. Avidya breeds avidya. Hence, one cannot become great by pursuing secular education. One has to make efforts to distinguish between vidya and avidya. Vidya is that by which one can develop the power of reasoning and discrimination and realise the truth. On the other hand, avidya constitutes indiscriminate usage of words and vain argumentation.

One has to acquire practical knowledge as well, by which one can gain experience. This experience can be shared with others. Such practical knowledge and experience confer strength on a person. However, this strength is not to be construed as mere physical strength. It is like the electrical energy latent in a wire. Just as there is electrical energy in a live wire, there is latent energy in the human body, which manifests in different ways. It can be harnessed for different purposes like reading, writing, walking, talking, etc. However, it has no form. Nevertheless, it travels throughout the body of a human being from head to toe. By tapping this energy, an ajnani (ignorant person) can become a jnani (one of wisdom).

Embodiments of Love!

You are all students, and you continue to be so throughout your life. It is a mistake to think that you have finished your education and are now engaged in service activities. You are not servants working under somebody. In fact, you are leaders.

It is a mistake to confer doership on yourselves for any service activity undertaken by you. This should never happen. In fact, whatever service activities you are undertaking are for your own upliftment. These service activities must be undertaken with self-confidence, self-satisfaction, self-sacrifice, and ultimately for the purpose of self-realisation. Thus, the spirit of service develops from the self. Service is not any way construed to be helping others. You may think that you are helping others by joining the Sathya Sai Seva Organisation and undertaking service activities. This is not correct. Also, you need not seek the help of others in these service activities. You can depend upon your own innate strength and energy. The power of your own self will help you in all your endeavours. In fact, you are the beneficiary of all your service activities and not others. Your own self will protect you in your endeavours.

Members of the Seva Dal!

You may think that you have come here for undertaking service. This service is not for others. You are coming here to serve your own self, just as you eat food to fill your own stomach. Man undertakes every activity for his self-fulfilment.

There are several things that you have to learn in these two days. We will discuss these matters later. Since this is the first day, I spoke to you in detail so that you may understand the spirit of service. There are several other things that you have to learn.

What is Seva Dal? Each member of the Seva Dal is like a dal (petal) in a beautiful flower. There are several skills to be learnt by the members of the Seva Dal. If you plant a sapling, it will grow into a plant in due course and yield beautiful flowers. However, the sapling by itself is not attractive. When the plant grows and yields flowers, the beauty of the flowers and fragrance therein will provide joy to one and all. There are several petals in a flower. The flower appears beautiful as long as there are petals in it. Once the petals fade and fall down, the flower ceases to exist. Hence, you should be like the petals of a beautiful flower. Let everyone experience the beauty and enjoy the fragrance of the flower in which you are like the petals.

There are several things still to be told to you which Mukundan will tell you. Later on, I will provide any clarifications you may require.