MISCELLANEOUS

Service is worship

CHENNAI, MARCH 12 . One of the means to realise God is the path of action (Karma yoga), which is performing every action without expectation of the result. But, this is easily said than done. The majority of people generally think that when they are doing service they are doing a favour to those whom they serve and also feel that they should be grateful to them. On the other hand, the spirit of real service is when the person who renders it thinks that he has been fortunate to get an opportunity to serve another because ultimately it is God residing in him whom he is serving. Only when such an attitude is there can one benefit from doing service. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once explained the significance of doing service to enable his devotees to understand the difficulty of pursuing Karma yoga.

In his discourse, Swami Gautamananda said a spiritual aspirant must serve others as much as he could with the attitude that service was worship of God. If in the process he is unable to provide material comforts for his family the Lord will ensure their well being as He always rewards good deeds at the right time. Karma yoga is a difficult path to pursue in this age because it is difficult to be selfless. So the seeker must remember the Supreme Being in all his actions and this will change his self-centred outlook slowly.

The Kenopanishad pinpoints right at the outset that it is the Almighty who impels man to act. Five factors are essential for doing any action— healthy body, functioning faculties, life energy, ego and God's grace. Because of the first four factors which man has he believes in his capabilities forgetting that without divine will he cannot accomplish anything. In fact, if the Lord's grace is there man can do even impossible tasks. So the wise always invoke His benevolent grace in all their endeavours. If a person develops the attitude that it is God who enables him to do everything he will have greater satisfaction in life and it will sublimate his ego also.

Hence action along with devotion to God is the best means to liberation that the layman can adopt with ease and success. When there is realisation that it is by divine grace that one can do any deed a person will refrain from committing misdeeds. Generally a person does sinful acts thinking that no one is aware of his actions. When he knows that there is a divine power overseeing all his actions this mistaken notion will be removed and he will stop doing sinful acts.