The famous Indian guru, Sai Baba, has died at the age of 84.
According to the BBC, Sai Baba’s followers believe he had magical abilities to produce objects out of thin air, visit people in their dreams, perform miracles and cure terminal illnesses.
But his critics say that many of these activities were publicity stunts and that he was a persuasive fraudster.
Whatever he was, he was a powerful advocate of seva, service to humanity. Here are some of his quotes on seva:
Service expresses the divinity hidden in man. It broadens one’s heart, it destroys narrow-mindedness, and it gives delight. The evil qualities and tendencies in us can be driven away through service.
To remove the evil of egoism, service is the most efficient instrument.
Service is the highest spiritual discipline… Service has a double effect: it extinguishes the ego and gives bliss.
The joy one gets while promoting another’s joy is incomparable.
Service is the first step along the spiritual path.
Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray.
Man has become so selfish that he does not care for others, or anything other than his own welfare . . . One who constantly thinks of his own body, his own family, his own wealth and his own comfort is truly a selfish man. The only way to cleanse such a hard-hearted man is through service to humanity.
Constant work in loving service to others covers the seeds of past sinful and harmful actions, so that they die away and do not grow into a new round of misery.
A wave of service, if it sweeps over the land catching everyone in its enthusiasm, will be able to wipe off the mounds of hatred, malice and greed that infest the world.