Service, volunteering and generosity
Question: Babaji, could you talk about the importance of service work, volunteering and generosity in this spiritual practice please?
Yes, all these are part of spirituality, it is always recommended. It comes under the heading of upholding the moral values.
While we are alive in this world humanity needs to live for each other. That is the first criteria. Everyone needs each other. If children when they are born need their parents, parents might need children's help when they grow old, like that. A teacher needs the help of students to spread His message, give His teachings. A student needs the help of the Guru, Master, to learn and understand, thus, this is the criteria of the world – we need each other. That is what we need to understand, so we need to consider about each other.
That is why service is recommended. You shall serve selflessly, meaning without any expectation. If you have an expectation of glory, of praise, of some certificate, something, that is not a service. If you just serve for sake of serving, helping someone, that is what service is. Generosity is so that your mind remains pure. Be generous.
Like my Guru used to tell, if you have twelve bananas, how much are you going to eat? Four? Six? At least another six you try to give to somebody else. That is the generosity. If you want to have all the twelve to yourself that is stinginess and you are likely to get into a conflict. The others will come to snatch. That is what is service and generosity in life. This comes naturally when you practice meditation. You will be able to consider about each other better. When you are hungry, you will understand everybody is hungry. If I want to be happy, everybody has a right to be happy. That is generosity.
For this there is a beautiful story we read as children. Once there was a competition put between the Devas and Asuras. Asuras are the demons, Devas are the angels. The competition was they were all made to sit in line with each other, and their hands were tied with the bamboo sticks so they cannot bend it. The food was served in their place, and they were supposed to take the food and eat. The Asuras were looking at each other, not knowing what to do because their hands were tied, they were unable to eat. So then they were cursing, "This is trick!" they were shouting and yelling, while the Devas, they tried to sit in front of each other, so each fed the other like this. I fed you, and you fed me. So they all eat. So the moral is, we need each other.