Amma on Selfless serivce

“The beauty and charm of selfless love and service should not die away from the face of this earth. The world should know that a life of dedication is possible, that a life inspired by love and service to humanity is possible.”

“Behind all great and unforgettable events is the heart. Love and a selfless attitude underlie all truly great deeds. Behind any good cause, you will find somebody who has renounced everything and dedicated his or her life to it.”

“Children, it is doubt and fear that has torn us away from true joy and immortality. However, that lost, forgotten joy can be regained if we just make the effort to be selfless. Immortality, which is our true state, can be rediscovered through the attitude of selfless love and selfless action. ”

“Do your work and perform your duties with all your heart. Try to work selflessly with love. Pour yourself into whatever you do. Then you will feel and experience beauty and love in every field of work. Love and beauty are within you. Try to express them through your actions and you will definitely touch the very source of bliss.”

“Selfless service and repeating your mantra is enough for attaining the goal. If these are lacking, however much penance you do, you will not be able to attain the goal. If you do spiritual practices without performing selfless actions, it will be like building a house without any doors, or a house that doesn’t have a path to enter. Be courageous. Do not be idle.”

Selfless Service is a form of Sadhana

“Service is also a form of sadhana. If you claim that you have attained perfection after doing sadhana sitting in a certain place, Amma will not accept that. Getting out into the world and doing service is very much a part of sadhana. If we want to eliminate the enemies that lurk in the innermost depths of the heart, we have to serve the world. Only then will we be able to tell how effective our meditation has been. Only when someone gets angry with us, will we know whether we still have anger in us.”

“Service should be seen as sadhana, and should be an offering to God. Then, if someone opposes us, we may feel some slight hostility, but we can get rid of it through contemplation. “Who in him was the object of my anger? Didn’t I get angry at him because I took myself to be the body? What have I learned from the scriptures? Which world (spiritual or material) am I travelling to? How could I feel any ill-will towards that person after declaring that I am not the body or the mind, but the Atman (Self)?’ We should do this type of self-examination repeatedly. Eventually, we will stop feeling anger towards anyone. We will feel remorse, and that will lead us on the right path.”

Don’t miss a single opportunity to serve

“Children, do you know what expectations Amma has of you? You should be like the sun, not like a firefly. Fireflies make light merely for their own needs. Don’t be like that. Selflessness is all you should ever wish for. You should be the ones who raise their hands to help others, even at the moment of your death.”

“Children, don’t miss a single opportunity you get to serve others. Nobody should have to wait patiently to receive our help according to our own convenience.”

“Children, having a selfless attitude will uplift us. By helping others we are, in fact, helping ourselves. On the other hand, every time we do a selfish action, we are harming ourselves.”

Isn’t it their Karma to Suffer?

“If it is someone’s karma to suffer, consider it your karma to help him.”

Selflessness is the Goal

“Children, selflessness is the goal to be attained. Action coupled with meditation, japa, chanting, and other spiritual practices are the means to attain the state of selflessness. There should always be a balance between meditation and action. Action alone cannot take you to the goal. Action performed with an attitude of self-surrender and love is the right path. Action should be well-rooted in the essential principles of spirituality, otherwise it will not take you to the goal. Only action performed with the right attitude can take you to the state of selflessness.”

“A medical student is not a doctor. It takes years of concentrated study and preparations to become a good doctor. But during the period when he is still an intern, we might call him a doctor even though he hasn’t yet received his degree. Why? Because it is the goal he will reach at the end of his studies. Whatever he does is done as a preparation towards that goal. His aim is to be a doctor; he constantly remembers this and makes every effort to attain that final goal. He refrains from any action or situation that could create an obstacle on his path. Likewise, our final goal is selflessness, but we haven’t reached there yet. We do our duty and perform our actions with that state as our goal. Even though our actions at present are not selfless, we call them selfless, in the same way as we might call a medical intern a doctor. But this is still our period of training, and we have a long way to go before getting there. We should be fully intent on the goal; we should avoid any unnecessary thoughts, and whenever we perform an action, we should try to desist from being attached to the action or its fruit.”

“Action performed with a spirit of selflessness is far superior to action performed with selfish motives. A person who is inspired by the ideal of selflessness is less attached to the action and more dedicated to the ideal of selflessness. This attitude of selflessness has a beauty of its own. As you feel the bliss and joy of selfless action more and more, you enter deeper and deeper into a state of selflessness and meditation. So in the beginning, just feel inspired by that very ideal. Love the ideal; be inspired by it. In the beginning it is a conscious and deliberate attempt. As you feel more and more inspired by the ideal of selflessness, you start working from your heart. By the very performance of the work, a joy will spring forth from deep within you. Eventually it will become spontaneous.”

Do your work with sincerity

“Children, you must do your work with sincerity. Whether you consider it significant or insignificant, whether you like it or not, you should do your work with interest and love. When you work in this way, when love begins to flow into all that you do, your work becomes sadhana.”

“Don’t miss the opportunities you come across to perform unselfish actions. You will then gradually gain mental purity and devotion. As you proceed with diligence, you will attain more clarity of mind and a deeper understanding. This will finally lead you to the state of perfection, the state of Self-realization.”

“If you can, clean some dirty public place without anybody’s insistence. Do it just out of concern for others. That action becomes a beautiful piece of work. Your pure attitude beautifies the work. An unknown feeling of joy springs forth within you as a result of doing it.”

Selfless Service and Meditation

“Along with doing selfless action, one should also find enough time to contemplate, meditate and pray. As you try to perform selfless actions, friction and conflicts are bound to occur. It is inevitable for these things to come up, especially when you work in a group. Friction and conflict will sometimes cause your mind to be agitated. This, in turn, might cause your enthusiasm and vigour to diminish, and you may feel less inspired by the ideal of selflessness. Anger, hatred and thoughts of vengeance are bound to arise. In order to remove all such negative feelings and in order to keep yourself always in the right spirit, you must meditate, pray and contemplate. You should not let any thoughts block your spiritual growth. You should not have any ill feelings towards anyone.”

“Only action performed with an attitude of selflessness can help you to go deeper into meditation. And real meditation will happen only when you have become truly selfless, because it is selflessness that removes thoughts and takes you deep into the silence.”

“If a sadhak (spiritual aspirant) does not work, they are cheating the world and cheating God in the name of spirituality.”

Share what we have with others

“We should recognise those in need and help them. We should give to those who have lost their health and cannot work any longer, those who are handicapped, children who have been abandoned by their parents, those who are sick but don’t have the resources for treatment, those who are old and have no family to help them. That is our dharma (duty), and we should not expect anything in return for our help.”

“It is all right to give money to ashrams and other institutions that serve the world. They will not waste that money. Institutions like ashrams spend money on charitable projects; but even in this case, we ourselves should not give just to become famous for giving. We should see it as an opportunity to serve God. The merit from giving a gift will come to us, in any event. When we make a gift, only we should know about it. Isn’t there a saying that the left hand shouldn’t know what the right hand is doing?”

“We should share whatever we have with others, and we should try to contribute to the welfare of society in some way. It is through giving that we progress on the spiritual path. If we hoard our wealth, our spiritual development will be stunted, and slowly our lives will wither away. The blood that is pumped by the heart is circulated and distributed evenly throughout the whole body. What would happen if our circulation were to stop? We would collapse and die. Likewise, whatever we have should be circulated and shared. We shouldn’t hoard our wealth because then society becomes stagnant, and cannot grow as a whole. It is through selfless sharing that the flower of life becomes beautiful and fragrant.”

Serve without expectation

“We should serve others without any expectations whatsoever. When others throw thorns at us, we should be able to throw flowers back at them. When they give us poison, we should give them payasam (sweet rice pudding). This is the kind of mind we should have. The purpose of serving the world is to develop that sort of mind.”

What the world needs

“What the world needs are servants, not leaders. Everyone’s wish is to become a leader. We have enough leaders who are not real leaders. Let us become a real servant instead. That is the only way to become a real leader.”