Symbols of the world's religions

               

SERVICE

Eruch Jessawala

 
You have to do your best. It is difficult, I know, but there is this consolation. Baba one time told us that although we would not necessarily know what would please Him, we would always know what would displease Him. So we have this built-in compass that points the way.

Baba stressed selfless service. And I've noticed that many Baba lovers are involved in service of some sort. But is this selfless service? Even in Baba's time people would come and tell Baba about the selfless service they were doing. But as soon as you are aware of having served another, then you haven't served them. I don't say don't do good deeds, but it is better not to do them than to dwell upon having done them and thereby tighten the bonds of attachment you have for those deeds.

Some people come here and they say they feel guilty because they are earning so much money. Why feel guilty if you are earning it? If you are not cheating anyone and are coming by it all honestly, why feel guilty? Did Baba say we should all be poor? There is nothing wrong with having money, as long as you know how to use it. Baba has said, "Really rich is he who knows how to spend his wealth well." But, on the other hand, it is not good to earn more and more money, to become preoccupied with earning money, with the idea that you are doing this only so that you will be able to do "Baba work" all the more. It is presumptuous on our part to think of ourselves doing "Baba work." It only feeds our ego.

Again and again it comes back to the same truth: live a normal life. All these questions, what is good, what is bad, should I do this, should I refrain from doing this, will it feed my ego if I do it, but if I don't, isn't that simply being selfish? And so on, ad infinitum. There is no end to questions, and there is no end to answers to these questions. Don't get involved in tying to figure it out. Meher Baba wants us to lead an ordinary, normal life, in accordance with how you are guided inwardly. Do what you feel intuitively prompted to do, but all the time this should be based on the solid foundation of being His.

Whatever you do, whatever you undertake, dedicate it to Him. Don't even think is it right, is it wrong, is it good or bad, is it a strength or a weakness. Just dedicate everything to Him. Gradually dishonesty will fade. Gradually other things will fade, and more and more unadulterated love and honesty will grow.

You cannot begin with a clean slate, as it were. You must begin from where you are. We all have weaknesses. But analyzing and dissecting our motives, trying to understand whether we are being prompted by selfishness or unselfishness will not eliminate our weaknesses. It will only drive us crazy and make it impossible for us to do anything. The only way to get rid of our selfishness is to go ahead and do something, but dedicate it to Him.

For example, say you decide to pick up junk from the street so that the streets will be kept clean and tidy. This is a "good," a "worthwhile" enterprise. So you start to do it. But you notice very quickly that there is a strong desire in you to have others notice you doing this. You find yourself thinking, "What a good example I am setting. I am not doing this for money. l am doing this for everyone's welfare, and people should be grateful to me." Perhaps, after a while, you even want to call attention to yourself, or you get angry when others don't notice what you are doing. You may even become resentful that you are not being properly appreciated. Or then again, your ego might fasten itself upon the fact that others are not noticing you. "See how spiritual I am, that I am doing this even though no one is noticing or praising me for it." In short, the ego is very much present.

But so what? The ego is always present. It is the nature of the ego to seize upon whatever we do and use it to strengthen itself. So what is the solution? The solution is to simply keep on doing what you are doing. After a while that initial zeal may be gone, you may lose your enthusiasm, but if you continue, even if it is mechanical on your part, the selfish aspects of your behavior, with time, will fade. Eventually you will completely forget about all those other considerations and you will find yourself picking up the junk from habit, solely from the desire to keep the streets clean. It honestly won't matter to you whether others notice you doing it or not. You won't expect them to praise you. And it won't bother you if they condemn you. The action, by being dedicated to Him, becomes purified.

 

THAT'S HOW IT WAS, pp. 255-257
1995 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

               

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