Difference between true service and service in the worldly sense


This incident occurred in my life with Baba, and it shows the difference between true service and service in the worldly sense.

During the 1960s, there was a great famine in northern India, and many people were dying of starvation. I felt very concerned about the situation when I read about it in the newspapers. One day, an article appeared in the paper about a wealthy man who had opened a free kitchen in the famine area, donating  thousands and thousands of rupees to this project. In reading about this man, I felt what a great service he was doing during this emergency crisis.

One evening, while doing night duty with Baba, I mentioned this to Him. “What a selfless service this man is doing,” I told Him. “God has given him great wealth, but he knows how to use it for the good of others.”

I was shocked by Baba’s response, “This man is doing a most selfish service, though he is doing good work. Baba went on to say that the man was really serving for his own name and fame, and worse than that, to avoid paying taxes!

“He feels pleased when his name appears in the newspapers. He has become popular. Even if this man were to give away all of his wealth to the needy with a good motive, he would not be able to help many people and would himself be bound because of self-satisfaction. But you serve me with love, without having any selfish motive. You do not expect anything in return. And by serving me, you are serving the whole universe, because the whole universe is in me! The wealthy man is bound by his work, while you are free.”

This statement of Baba’s may also be extended to mean that if in serving anyone, one has the conviction that one is serving the Beloved and not that particular person, then one is serving the whole universe. Therefore, instead of reaching only a few people, as in the case of services rendered in the world, one’s service, through the Beloved, reaches all. Moreover, in worldly service, although a person may have  any good works to his credit, he may nevertheless be bound by them, whereas one who selves the Beloved gradually frees oneself of bindings.

–“Meher Baba’s New Life”, Bhau Kalchuri, p 710



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