Love All Serve All


There is only one religion, the religion of love

Service to man is service to God

Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray

Help Ever Hurt Never 

Our Vision

SDSC Vision

SDSC Vision

The vision of Sarva Dharma Service Center, Inc. is to become a dedicated service organization that practices the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba such as "Love All Serve All", "Help Ever Hurt Never", through selfless service to humanity, thereby realizing the unity of all.

Guidelines and Principles of Service

Sathya Sai Baba's Teachings on Service

In our Center, selfless service is one of the most important a spiritual activity. Our first observation is that we can see that Sathya Sai Baba Himself spends His life in service:

You should follow Swami, the leader. This is because, from morning to night, Swami performs even the smallest task Himself; and all His work is for the good of the world. It is in this context that I often say, "My Life is My Message." [Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1979, 11] 

Avatars of God are engaged in service; that is why Avatars come. Hence, when you offer service to mankind, the Avatar is pleased and you can win grace. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1977.06.03]

The members of our Organisation must be ready and eager to help students, the sick, and the poor. Feel that this is work that pleases Me ... Spend your days and years in activities that help those in dire need, and thus make this human existence of yours worthwhile and fruitful. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1974.11.23] 

Let me tell you that nothing is impossible if an organised society is set on achieving it. Even liberation from material entanglement can be won through serving and promoting the progress of society. Through the sense of unity, the willingness to sacrifice, and the softness of compassion, all objects can be gained. So, the Sathya Sai Organisation must move forward with hearty enthusiasm in the field of service to society. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1981.11.19]

Sri Sathya Sai Baba urges us to do service as a lifetime activity, which begins with our family. Service to those in need, performed with a loving attitude, while recognizing the Divinity in those we are helping, and done selflessly is an example of Sai selfless service, whether it is done at home, at work, or alone. The foundation of Sai service is always spiritual. While these examples of Sai selfless service may not be recorded in any report, they can be true experiences of Sai service.

The first lesson of service has to be learned in the family circle itself.[Sathya Sai Speaks. 1981.11.19] 

I do not attach any value to the turning of rosaries by hands that know no help. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1966.03.29] 

Do not keep yourself apart, intent on your own salvation through meditation; instead, move among your sisters looking for opportunities to be of help, with the Name of God on your tongue and the Form of God before the mind's eye. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1970.02.01] 

Service is a lifetime program; it knows no rest or respite. This body has been given to you so that you may devote its strength and skills to the service of brother-man. Serve man until you see God in all men; then, what you do will be elevated to worship.[Sathya Sai Speaks. 1975.01.06]

What is selfless service?

Many organizations run programs that provide useful and often essential services to individuals in need, and many people volunteer their time wholeheartedly in such service. This is good, and Sai devotees, as individuals, are encouraged to participate in such programs when they feel so inclined. In fact, Sai Baba has said that service to the community is the highest service. But Sathya Sai Baba draws an important distinction between conventional social service and selfless service. Any service becomes selfless service, a spiritual activity, when it is performed with the right attitude. This applies to selfless service performed on an individual basis, with another organization, or with a Sai Center. The most important practice of the Sai Organization is selfless service to society. This is in accordance with the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba and in emulation of His great humanitarian works. In selfless service, the motive is to raise consciousness of Divinity through our loving efforts. The spiritual validity of the service is determined by the intensity and purity of our love. Our efforts should reflect selfless love at all times to all people. In the following sections, this notion of selfless service is explored in more detail.

Many do such things now as 'social service' and not as a spiritual exercise, in a full-hearted manner; spirituality is not found in the activity.[Sathya Sai Speaks. 1981.11.19] 

Service is primarily spiritual discipline.[Sathya Sai Speaks. 1969.05.18] 

What exactly is selfless service? It is the very essence of devotion, the very breath of a devotee, his very nature. It springs from the actual experience of the devotee, an experience that convinces that all beings are God's children, that all bodies are altars where God is installed, that all places are His residences.[Sathya Sai Speaks. 1966.03.29] 

The spiritual exercise of service is quite distinct. In service, you devote all your energy and attention to the task at hand, for it is a dedicated task. You forget your body and ignore its demands. You set aside your individuality and its prestige and perquisites. You pluck your ego by its roots and cast it away. You give up your status, your conceit, your name and form and all that they demand from others. This process makes the mind pure. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1977.06.03]

The effect of selfless service

Baba makes it clear that the service we do is for our own sake. Naturally, we want to help others, but the real value of the service lies in what it does for us - provided we do it with the right attitude: as a spiritual discipline. Selfless service helps us to:

  • Control and purify the mind
  • Put a ceiling on our desires
  • Erase our karmic burden
  • Remove the ego
  • Bring love into our lives
  • Experience the Unity of all
  • Become aware of the God within all
  • Win the Grace of God

You are doing service for you own sake. You are engaged in service in order to become aware of the Divine Spirit in you, in order that you may discard the al-lurements of your ego, in order to know yourself and to get the answer to the question that torments you, namely, "Who am I." You do not serve others, you serve yourself; you do not serve the world, you serve your own interest. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1977.06.03] 

Constant work in loving service to others covers the seeds of past sinfu and harmful actions, so that they die away and do not grow into a new round of misery. Service is the best spiritual exercise for eliminating the nefarious pull of the mind toward desires. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1970.10.04] 

To remove the evil of egoism, service is the most efficient instrument. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1976.08.28] 

How is this possible? By saturating service with love, work can be transformed into worship. When it is offered to God, it gets sanctified as worship. This makes it free from ego. It is also freed from the earthly desire for success and the earthly fear of failure. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1977.06.03] 

When a devotee seeks with humility and purity to give service and love to My creatures who are in need of such selfless service, as his beloved brothers and sis-ters, as the blessed manifestations of My Immanence, then in fulfillment of my role as Sathya Sai, I descend to help, accompany, and carry that yogi. I am always near such a yogi to guide him and to shower My love on his life. [My Baba and I, by Jack Hislop, 170]

So, service helps our worldly self. But there is another sense in which selfless service is a self-serving activity: We serve the One God that is within us all, the supreme, absolute SELF. 

The core of the spiritual discipline of service is to see everyone as yourself and yourself in everyone.You are not doing service to others, you are doing ser-vice to yourselves, to the God in you, the God who is equally present in others. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1981.11.21] 

All waves are on the same sea, are from the same sea, are the same sea. Service teaches you to be firm in this knowledge. [64] Service will also impress the Unity of all mankind on the person doing service. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1971.05.14] 

Service can instill more intensely than any other activity the sense of the basic ONE. ... There can be no higher austerity, nothing more rewarding. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1971.07.08]

Our attitude when doing service

God will not ask when and where you did service; he will ask what your motives and intentions were. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1981.11.19] 

The attitudes of mutual help and selfless service develop the "humanness" of man and help unfold the Divinity latent in him. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1981.11.19] 

Our attitude during a service activity determines whether or not the service helps us grow spiritually. Service performed with a sense of pride or superiority may help the person we are serving, but it does not help us. Do not pollute your service with the poison of pride. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1971.02.21] 

Feel that you are serving yourself, curbing the ego. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1967.04.21] 

Engage in humble service and egoism will fade away. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1978.25.07] 

Also, service should be performed without expectations for results. Do not serve for the sake of reward; serve because you are urged by Love. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1969.05.18] 

Service is its own reward. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1976.08.28] 

Do not worry about the result. Help as much as you can, as efficiently as you can, as silently as you can, and as lovingly as you can; leave the rest to God, who gave you a chance to serve. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1967.11.06] 

Do not believe that you can by means of selfless service reform or reshape the world. You may or may not. That does not matter. The real value of seva, its most visible result, is that it reforms you, reshapes you. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1966.03.29] 

Sometimes, members try to do what they want to do rather than what needs to be done. They may perceive some task as more important and others as "less desirable". For example, some would rather serve the food than pick it up from supermarkets and bakeries or clean up after-wards. This attitude is counter-productive, and a more positive approach is better.

Do not consider any act of service as demeaning. Sweeping the streets, for example, is not below your dignity. Do you not sweep the floor at home, do you not scrub and wash off dirt? [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1982.12.01] 

Serve people with no thought of high or low; no ser-vice is high, no service is low, each act of service is equal in the eye of the Lord. It is the readiness, the joy, the efficiency, the skill with which you rush to do it that matters. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1967.10.04] 

Engage in all service projects willingly and with love. If you have constructive criticisms, bring it up at the Center when the opportunity arises. How can you shorten a line drawn on a blackboard without touching it? The answer is simple: draw a longer line under it. The line above will automatically get shorter. This is how you must use your critical faculty: stay silent and try to do better by showing how things should be done. This is constructive. [Sign in the Administration Building of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning]

Service and repetition of the Name of God

We worship God in different ways - prayer, meditation, devotional singing, repeating His name, selfless service, etc. All of these ways are helpful to us, and to different degrees at different times for different people. Sathya Sai Baba Himself emphasises different forms of worship from time to time. However, two forms of worship seem to stand out in Sathya Sai Baba's teachings: service and repetition of a Name of God. These two spiritual disciplines reinforce each other, one being an outer activity, of the world, and the other being an inner activity that helps us continuously to remember that God is resident in all beings.

Heads in the forest, hands in society. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1978.11.22]

One can see the same message in Sathya Sai Baba's statement, Love all, serve all. The service aspect is clear in the second phrase, and the first phrase cannot be achieved unless we are constantly remembering the God that resides in every person.

You must be engaged in constant repetition of the Name of God, so that you re-main a true servant of God while claiming to serve man, or rather, so that you may see in man the God that is his real nature.[Sathya Sai Speaks. 1971.02.21] 

So move among your sisters looking for opportunities to be of help, with the Name of God on your tongue and the Form of God before the mind's eye. [Sathya Sai Speaks. 1970.02.01]