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Spiritual Benefits of Selfless Service

SANT RAJINDER SINGH JI MAHARAJ
Every religion extols the importance of giving of one’s self for the good of others. There are anecdotes from different religions that relate how someone has found favour with the Lord because he or she has helped one in need. Even if a person is not a saint or a holy one, his or her status is raised in the eyes of God due to a noble gesture which leads to the relief of another's suffering.
If we just think about our own response to examples of service that we witness we can get an inkling of why it such an important quality. We often read accounts in the newspapers or magazines or watch stories on television about people who have taken heroic steps to help others. We are often moved and inspired by reports of those who have risked their lives to save someone else. We honour heroes who have died for their country. We raise to martyrdom those who have tried to help humanity and have lost their lives in the process. Service is one of the great acts one can do in this lifetime. It is rare that the average person has to face the choice of giving up his or her life physically in order to save someone else. But there are numerous opportunities that offer themselves to us daily in which we can help someone else. The sacrifice may be of our time, of our money, of our resources, or of our skills. But there is no dearth of chances to give of ourselves for the good of humanity.
What Selfless Service Is
The first question that arises deals with what selfless service is. True selfless service is an expression of love. We know that the greatest love in this world is a mother's love for a child. This feeling of affection is so great towards the child that the mother will automatically make all kinds of sacrifices to see that the child is comfortable. She will wake up at all hours of the night to feed the child. She will give up many of her own activities to care for the child. The mother will spend her money on the child's needs rather than on her own. Nobody tells the mother to make these sacrifices. It comes spontaneously from her heart. She does not ask for anything in return from the child. She gives out of an innate desire to do so.
True selfless service encompasses helping more than our own physical family - it includes all humanity. It is a high quality to have feelings of love for all people, both those we know and those who are strangers. It is one of the goals of spirituality for humanity to develop the quality of love and service to all. The Sufis say that God made human beings to give love and service to others. If He wanted devotion alone, He had angels. But human beings are the only form of creation that has the godly capacity to love and serve others. To become a complete human being, we need to have this ability.
Benefits of Selfless Service
Selfless service presents to us a paradox. To truly perform selfless service, one must act without any desire for a reward or recognition. It is given freely, motivated by an innate desire to help another. At the time of giving, one forgets one's own needs and wants, as well as one's comfort and safety, to help someone else. There are even those who give their own lives to save others. Truly selfless people do not expect anything in return for their deeds. The underlying paradox of selfless service lies in the fact that while wanting no reward, selfless service elicits the highest reward - the pleasure of the Lord.
This benefit may seem to be intangible. But for those of us who are interested in spiritual development, it is the highest gift which they can receive in life. One reaps the benefits when one sits in the silence of one's own self and finds the inner door of Light, love and peace open with ease. These treasures flood selfless souls, filling them with an inner joy and fulfilment beyond any we can receive from worldly attainments. Leading a life of nonviolence, truthfulness, purity of heart, and humility contributes to the equanimity of mind required for fruitful meditation experiences. But selfless service provides the ingredient of grace which helps open the inner gates. When we help someone, our heart expands. It reaches out to embrace another as a member of the one human family. This act alone opens up our soul. As our love for others flows out, God's love for us can pour in. As this exchange takes place, our soul currents begin to rise up to the point at which we can experience the divine Light within us. Our meditations receive a boost, and our soul, filled with peace and joy, transcends to higher states of consciousness. Thus, it is through selfless service that we speed up our progress towards the attainment of inner peace and ecstasy. By serving selflessly, we expand our hearts from our own self to our family, to the community, our country, the world, and ultimately the cosmos. Selfless service comes from an understanding that we are all members of one large family of God. True selfless service encompasses helping more than our own physical family; it includes all humanity. It is a noble quality to have feelings of love for all people, both those we know and those who are strangers. It is one of the goals of spirituality to help all humanity develop the quality of love and service to all.
People who have given of themselves have helped improve the quality of life on this planet. Throughout the ages, some have worked tirelessly to cure diseases or to make discoveries and inventions to make people more comfortable and safer. Others have given their lives for the freedom and rights of others. Some have devoted their lives for the spiritual upliftment of others. Each of us in our own sphere can use our God-given talents and our knowledge and skills selflessly to make a contribution to make the world a better place for all life.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi