Do not restrict your service
within certain limits. Be alert to the call everywhere, at all times; be
ready with a smile, a kind word, a useful suggestion, some knowledgeable
care, a pleasant reply. Look for chances to relieve, rescue or
resuscitate. Train yourselves so that you may render help quickly and
well. Service is the most rewarding form of spiritual discipline, the most
satisfying and the most pleasurable. It springs out of love, and it
scatters love in profusion. Plant a seed on stone with love, and the seed
will discover love inside the stone and draw sustenance therefrom. -
Divine Discourse, 18th May 1969.
Divine Love Embedded
Love is Selflessness. - Baba
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.
Swami says that His Love is present everywhere and that life without Love is impossible. We all nod our heads when we hear this but do we spend even one moment to reflect on what exactly Swami means?
Let us start with a newborn baby and compare it with, say, a newborn calf. The calf may be an infant but almost immediately after it is born, it manages to struggle to its feet and drink milk from its mother. The human baby, on the other hand, has to be picked up by the mother and fed; if the mother fails to do this, then the baby has to starve. One might ask what has all this got to do with Divine Love? Everything. God it is who gives the gift of life; and amongst all living beings, human life is the most precious, as Baba reminds us ever so often. And human life gets off to a start with a wonderful taste of Divine Love. How? Well, it is like this: Divine Love is present in everything in Creation, and this includes every insect, bird and animal. Thus it is, for example, the tigress protects fiercely its cubs.
And, as Shirdi Baba reminds us, little tortoises feel highly reassured by the mere glance of the mother tortoise. But in the case of humans, Divine Love works at a much higher level. For months when the baby is in the womb, the mother thinks fondly about the baby to be born. When the child makes its appearance, the mother takes care ever so sweetly throughout the childhood period, and in so many ways too.
Swami says that while we might think all this to be natural, what is really happening is that that the Divine Love embedded in the mother is resonating with the Divine Love embedded in the child. Remember what Baba tells us about Creation? He says, 'I separated Myself from Myself so that I could love Myself.' What precisely does this mean? It means that God is latent in the diversity found in Creation. It is to stress this that Swami often quotes the Gita where Krishna declares that He is the Atma and this Atma is present everywhere, including in all beings, human or otherwise. Thus, the love a mother shows for her child is Divine Love at play that is to say it is a case of 'Myself loving Myself', as Swami puts it.
Innumerable are the ways in which God promotes such love. While the love feast between a mother and child is associated entirely with happy circumstances, there are occasions when tragedy triggers Divine Love into glorious action.
Some years ago, a musician in England contracted flu and unfortunately for him, the flu virus caused some brain damage. As a result, this man lost a good bit of his memory. For example, he did not remember who he was. His wife, who used to be with him in the hospital, was frustrated. But then one day when the friends of this musician came to visit him in the hospital, he spontaneously began to conduct them, as if they were an orchestra. The wife was puzzled and asked the doctor how he could remember music but not what was happening currently. The doctor said that music was in a part of the brain that had escaped damage, whereas the part that had been infected leading to partial loss of memory was different.
One fine day this man was discharged and went home with his wife. For her, it was an agonising period. The man did not even know how to dress. He would sit in front of the piano and play pieces he had learnt a long time ago but when he turned the stool to face her, he would not even remember that a moment ago he was playing music.
For months the woman stayed with him and nursed him as best as she could, but it was proving to be a huge strain. She then arranged for this man to be in a home for the disabled and went off to America. Her aim was to divorce this man, forget him and start a new life. She stayed separated for several months; she was physically free but mentally tormented. All the time she worried: 'How is he getting along?' She then decided to come back because love dragged her, she said. It was back to a tough life and called for plenty of sacrifice but she did not mind. She said that she realised that true love meant sacrifice.
From England, let us move to America. A young man lies there, totally paralysed by an injury he suffered while on military duty in Iraq. He is 23 but absolutely helpless, more than a newborn baby; he cannot even turn in the bed. His mother has left her job so that she could attend to her son 24 hours a day. The father too is there to help as much as he can, even as he struggles to earn more to pay for the unanticipated expenses.
Recently, this young man was able to move his facial muscles just a bit and to the parents that looked like a smile. How thrilled they were! Yes, there are millions of people all over the world who are taking care of mentally retarded children, spastics, polio victims, people paralysed by accidents and so on.
For every one of them, life is a perpetual and harrowing struggle; yet, they all do not mind the struggle because it enables their loved ones to live. Few of us understand the intimate connection between true love and sacrifice. We all talk enthusiastically about Swami's Love; yet, how many of us know about the sacrifice that Swami is making? Just consider. From 20th October 1940 when Swami dedicated Himself to the service of mankind, has Swami taken one day off in 65 long years, one single day? Has He had a single day of vacation? Remember on Sports Day in 1999, He took upon Himself a grievous injury to save boys who were doing a stunt from disaster? If all that is not sacrifice then what exactly is it? Yes, whether we like it or not,
Pure Love and Sacrifice always go together. Love without sacrifice is meaningless while Sacrifice without Love is impossible.
Think about it!
Jai Sai Ram.