Articles By H H Maa Purnananda Ji

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The Impediments on the Path of Service

By H H Maa Purnananda

“Ishtanbhoganhi Vo Deva Daasyantey Yagnyabhaavitaah; Tairdattaanapradaayaibhyo Yo Bhunktey Stena Eva Sah.” –Sreemad Bhagawad Geeta (3/12)

All good work is commenced with the higher values, greater purposes and with kindness.

If I am selfish, miser, unkind, extremely materialistic, flamboyant, extravagant and so on, I would not be concerned about the fellow beings. I shall be too involved with “I, me and mine”.

If I have some of the higher values nurtured within and hence by nature I am compassionate, concerned, caring, sharing, helpful, resourceful, active, hard working and so on, then I would be quite a bit service-oriented as well. Initially, with all humility, I would like to share my wealth, time, resources, contacts, knowledge, skills and other abilities etc. with those in need.

My capability therefore would be a great contribution to the community. As I plunge into any such service to any section of the society in any which way possible, I start deriving ‘real’ joy from my work by feeling that the time has thus been spent worthily. People around soon recognise my good work, my support to the society in whatever way and with all good intention, they start appreciating and applauding all my goodness.

Knowingly or unknowingly, when and how does this humbling experience turn into arrogance, even I myself would be unaware of it! In fact, I should have been grateful to the Divinity for the joy that I have been deriving out of this miniscule contribution of mine to the unfathomable ocean of cosmic activities. Instead, my pride of “doer-ship” and “enjoyer-ship” has made me so ungrateful to the Divine, that leave aside being humbly grateful to the Divine, I don’t even want to acknowledge the very presence of the Divine, upon which all the activities, nay the very “existence” is dependant!

In the given Shlok of Sreemad Bhagawad Geeta, we are reminded about it very subtly by Sree Krishna. The Lord says that those who nourish the Divine by sacrificial attitude and actions, to them the Divine provide their desired objects. Therefore, those who enjoy the objects provided to them by the Divine, without worshiping and offering it to the Divine, they are like thieves. This makes it clear that even if someone serves the society due to being benevolent, he cannot afford to overlook the presence of Divinity, due to which he is what he is and he is able to do whatever he is doing! So, he cannot claim ownership over his abilities and goodness that have resulted in his good work of service.

No act of sacrifice is truly a sacrificial act if the doer-ship and enjoyer-ship are not given up and are performed without acknowledgement and worship of the Divine Provider. So what is to be sacrificed which would make it “a sacrificial act”, is the “claim of doer-ship”. And, when the doer-ship is sacrificed, the enjoyer-ship too is simultaneously sacrificed. Therefore, any and every activity that is performed with humility, efficiency and consideration towards the world around, could be a “sacrificial act” when done worshipfully and without attachment to doer-ship. Such acts bring out excellence, satisfaction, peace and are greatly beneficial to the society. Such acts do not bring any negativities such as worries, anxieties, unrest, agitation, chaos, trouble and so on, to the performer.

But it is difficult to renounce doer-ship or the attachment thereof. Therefore, the great Seers have introduced several types of “sacrifices” (Yagnya, Yaag, Homam) that inspire the spirit of sacrifice and cultivate the attitude of disowning doer-ship. All through Sreemad Bhagawad Geeta too, the Lord mentions various kinds of sacrifices (Yagna-s). All kinds of worship (Puja, Upaasana and Brahmvidya) are systematised, compiled, explained and introduced by the tradition of Sree Guru-Shishya Parampara, to be passed over from generation to generation as religious and social customs and traditions, for fulfilling the very purpose of worship, that is, to denounce “doer-ship” and “enjoyer-ship”. Keeping this vital point in mind, it is necessary to adopt and inculcate such practices, interspersed with worldly activities in day-to-day life. Gradually, over the period of time, the mind-set of the practitioner gets transformed into a matured equipment, ready to swim out of the ocean of worldly bondages and thereafter take flight of Spiritual pursuits.

From the above, it can be derived that the foremost and the biggest impediment on the noble “path of service” (Sewa) is the sense of “doer-ship” and “enjoyer-ship” (Kartaabhaav & Bhoktaabhaav), the seed of which is initially not noticed, it sprouts in the mind, gradually takes deeper roots over a period of time and ultimately becomes a stubborn and healthy tree of arrogance. But if one diligently practices what Sree Krishna says in the given Shlok, then surely one could nip it in the bud itself and stop the growth of the weeds of “doer-ship” and “enjoyer-ship” (Kartritva & Bhoktritva) and fulfil the true purpose of “Service” (Sewa).

Understanding the importance of all kinds of worship authenticated by our own scriptures (Shaastra-s), let us rededicate ourselves for working hard towards self-improvement by learning from our own religious and cultural traditions, and eventually offer our noble service to pass it on to upcoming generations, with humility, sincerity, efficiency, capability, stability and most importantly, with gratitude towards our gracious Sree Guru Parampara.

Do not miss the opportunity of joining us at SISS for Sree Ishwara Maha Abhishekam on 8th November 2022 at 11.00am and be blessed!