Service as the best plan

Service as the best path


To see how the path of service, done with proper understanding, can be the most fulfilling spiritual practice.


Unselfish service is the sheet anchor of karma yoga (yoga of action). The basis of yoga is disciplining the mind and the body through disinterested service.  Sathya Sai Speaks 20.26: November 19, 1987

Devote every day at least five minutes for reciting the Lord’s name and a few minutes for rendering some kind of service to the needy and the forlorn. Include in your daily prayers a prayer for the welfare of all people in the world. Do not be engrossed in your own wellbeing and salvation.  Sathya Sai Speaks 23.2: February 8, 1990

Any individual may offer worship and engage in spiritual activities according to his or her preferences. But, in My view, the merit to be gained through service is greater than what can be attained through these religious observances.  Neither by penance nor by taking  baths in sacred waters; neither by the study of scriptures nor through meditation can one cross this ocean of worldly life. This ocean of worldly life can only be crossed by rendering service to the good. Whatever pilgrimages we may undertake, our hearts hanker only after worldly objects and hence no cleansing of the heart occurs. The individual’s quest for liberation is self centered. This is not right. One should strive to help others also to achieve liberation. That is true service. Few have such large-hearted approach today. Sathya Sai Speaks 20.26: November 19, 1987

Social service is an austerity, a spiritual exercise. It promotes the practical application of your knowledge, skills and virtues. Wealth, scholarship, power and prestige are all despicable if they are not directed towards moral ends.  Sathya Sai Speaks 18.11: May 13, 1985

The path of service is superior to all the spiritual practices like chanting, meditation and yoga. Only through service can you please God.  Sathya Sai Speaks 34.7: April 14, 2001

Know that selfless service is a better form of spiritual discipline than even meditation. How can God appreciate the meditation you do when adjacent to you, you have someone in agony, whom you do not treat kindly, for whom you do not make all efforts to help? Do not keep yourself apart, intent on your own salvation, through chanting or meditation. Move among your brothers and sisters, looking for opportunities to help but have the name of God on the tongue and the form of God before the eye of the mind. That is the highest spiritual practice.  Sathya Sai Speaks 10.3: February 1, 1970



Suggested Questions:

  1. What does Swami mean by “disinterested” service?
  2. What are the ways in which society benefits by service? What are the ways in which we benefit by doing service?
  3. How can the desire for one’s own liberation be self-centered?
  4. How can service be even better than meditation? Can you share your experience comparing the practice of meditation with the practice of serving?


Life Application:

During the service project this week, focus serving with ‘disinterest’ and with the name of God on your mind.