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Service is ordinary means help of any kind to anyone. This help may be in form of cash or kind.  Any good thought or action to bring happiness or physical or mental relief shall also count for service. These can be categorized as under:

In Baba's words

1- Self service

Anything, one does for himself can be said to self service. Daily work such as to attend call of nature, bathing, listening, talking, walking, eating, drinking and any usual or unusual routine as seeing doctor will fall in category of service to self. Any act which one does for himself to meet his necessities may be counted as one’s service to himself or self-service comparable to self service in restaurant.

2- Selfish service or paid service

People all over the world do some kind of service. Some persons serve their community and some their country. But in their service, the degree of egoistic self-respect and selfishness is immense. Some serve to bring their name into the newspapers, some with a view to be looked upon highly, some to gain prominence and applause, and some to appear good and decent in the eyes of others. Thus everyone serves with an ulterior motive of selfish ambition or superior pride, and this is not serving at all. What is done is all useless, worthless and totally meaningless.

3- Verbal or lip service

The scope of service is not completely exhausted by great gestures like giving big donations to public institutions. They also serve who express their love in little things. A word that gives courage to a drooping heart, or a smile that brings hope and cheers in gloom, have as much claim to be regarded as service generous sacrifices and heroic self denials. A glance which wipes out bitterness from the heart and sets it throbbing with new love is also service, although there may be no thought of service in it. When taken by themselves, all these seem to be small, but life is made up of many such small things. And if these things are ignored, life will be not only unbeautiful but unspiritual.   

 4- Service as disservice 

The spiritual preparation of the aspirant can never be termed complete unless he has learned the art of rendering service.

That which is looked upon as service by ordinary person might, under special circumstances, be considered as disservice by a Perfect master; He has unerring knowledge of the situation and a deeper grasp of its spiritual demand.

The tendency to beg for food as charity creates undesirable sanskaras, and feeding a person who comes to you with this tendency, you may help him to increase the burden of such sanskaras. If you render service in order to oblige a person and if you feel proud of doing it, you not only spiritually harm the recipient of your service but also yourself. If while serving, you take a delight in it and develop pride in doing a good thing, you are getting attached to your act and thereby binding yourself. Hence the way to remain free from karma is to remain completely detached in service.

5-intelligent service

It is very important that service, even when it is utterly selfless, be guided by spiritual understanding; for selfless service when unintelligently handled, often creates chaos and complications. For every problem it solves, it often creates ten other problems owing to the unforeseen and uncontrollable side results of such activity. Worldly people try to counteract evil through opposition, but in doing so they often unconsciously become authors of other evils.

Suppose a group of ants has climbed onto the body of an individual, and one of them bites him. He might instinctively want to punish the ant by killing it; but if he were to strike it with hands he might, in so doing, kill many other ants that were in no way involved in the biting. In trying to secure justice against one ant, he is thus inevitably drawn into an activity that means injustice to many others ants. The person, who is drawn into the vortex of public life through a generous impulse, without having mastered the art of pure service, finds himself in the similar situation. He may be selfless, but his actions create chaos instead of harmony because he has not learned how to create real and effective service without creating complications. If actions are to be a pure blessing for the universe, it must be born of consummate understanding of life. Those who come in contact with me should develop true understanding of life and cultivate that type of service which creates no complications

If the action is to be pure blessing for the universe, it must be born of consummate understanding of life. Selfless service must be based upon understanding if it is to be unmixed boon for all concerned.

The value of service depends upon the kind of good secured through it. The kind of well-being that is sought through service will depend upon the vision of the person, and one who has the clearest perception of the final good will be in a position to render the most important and valuable type of service.

So you feel the need to do something for the needy, for others. Help others; that is very good indeed. But unless you know how to do it, there is always a chance of getting into a mess.

6-Social service

In a society which is dominated by merely material conceptions of life, service is interpreted in terms of supplying bread and clothes, or physical amenities of existence. In a society which values intellect, service is interpreted in terms of spreading learning in different forms. In a society which has developed a taste for beauty, service is interpreted in terms of organizing the production and distribution of work of art. In a society which is responsive to the ineffable values of heart, service is interpreted in terms of constructing those channels which will facilitate the culture and expression of heart. And in a society which is alive to the supreme importance of the spirit, service is interpreted in terms of imparting spiritual understanding. Of these different type of service, the service which is concerned with spiritual understanding is the highest, because spiritual understanding includes the right perspective to all human problems, and promotes a solution of them all. 

7-Selfless Service

Selfless service is accomplished when there is no thought of reward or result and you are willing to sacrifice anything for the well being of others. Selfless service is a road that leads to God.

Selfless service may not only bring you to the foot of that mystical mountain whose summit is Self-realization, but it may enable you to climb far on the path.  Finally, it may bring you in contact with a Perfect Master and cause you to surrender to him. True Karma (Service) means the rendering of service to others without any thought of gain or reward, and also without the least intention of putting others under an obligation.

8-Best Service

The best service is that which makes people start loving Me, because in loving Me, freedom comes -everlasting freedom! Service to humanity is an important instrument with which my love can be vastly spread." (Lord Meher-3442-1965)

9-Real Service

That is real service where there is no thought of self at all.

The activities you are engaged in of serving the nation and the people are good. But to acquire the full bliss through karma yoga, there is only one way and method. And that is, while rendering service, there should not be the least thought or feeling of “I serve. I do this work.” Real service requires selflessness and should be done selflessly. There should not be the least thought of “I-ness” or “I do this.” Because such egoistic thoughts create pride, which gives rise to extremely dense and deep sanskaras, and it is most difficult to eradicate these types of sanskaras.

He is not a Karma Yogi, who thinks now and then, 'I am doing this' and 'I am doing that,' though he may be serving others. The cursed egoism comes into play as soon as that 'I' takes hold of his mind.

10-Greatest Selfless service

Greatest s selfless service is to let other know about God while helping them.

We must do something, but something that would really make people happy – not the apparent passing happiness, but real lasting happiness. Life is one long, endless chain of existence and real happiness is only in loving God and being united with Him to gain everlasting happiness and peace. Therefore, the greatest service one can render to humanity is to make them feel this Reality.

There are many ways of helping people: by charity, giving food, clothes, alms, serving them personally, looking after them, working in hospitals, nursing them, etc. but all this is physical help. It does well to the doer, but at the same time places one under an obligation within the process of evolution.

Karma yoga of selfless service demands two things which are very difficult to do. Help others, serve others, but in a way in which you are, not even for a moment, conscious of having helped or served them. This is possible only if you forget yourself one hundred percent and become lost in the service. That is why Masters say the only way to help human beings is not just tending to their physical needs, but to give them spiritual upliftment, making them know that the purpose of life is knowing God in perfect honesty, not by hearsay or hearing.

 11-Absolute selfless service

It is possible only by Perfect Master; but spiritually imperfect, through sincere karma yogis must do their level best to be selfless as they can. He who, driven by love, thinks as little as possible of his own self, and regards all as forms of the oneself and serves others, regardless of caste, creed and colour, is a karma yogi through he may not be aspiring for Self-realisation.

12-Service of a Master

Master dwells in universal consciousness and wills universal spiritual well being. To serve Master is therefore to participate in His cause, which is to serve all life. While sharing in the work of the Master, the disciple may be required to be in touch of the world; but, through moving in the world in accordance with the work which is in store for him, he is in inward contact with the Master as Infinite Being. Therefore, by sharing in the work of the Master the disciple comes closer to Him and becomes an integral part of His consciousness. Serving the Master is quickest means of realising Him. Baba said, “It is serving Me in others — not their ego.'

Service to the Master is an ordeal which tries the body, mind and spirit. The body suffers, the mind is tormented, but the spirit of the selfless servant of the Master experiences the bliss of true satisfaction.

Selfless service and love are twin divine qualities. Only the one who loves can serve. Serve your beloved God-Man and you are serving your own Self in every other self. This service which the Master exacts is for your own spiritual benefit. However, your service must be spontaneous, willing, wholehearted, unconditional and not expecting any reward.

13-Service of a Volunteer or worker

Baba gave following message for His workers

My Dear Workers

In spite of telling you very often that I will not give you any more messages or discourses, I find Myself doing just this thing which is what I do not want to do. This is because most of you do things which I do not like your doing.

I had to give you a message yesterday because you expected one; and the theme of the message was on your being My children, because despite much talk about a Baba-family, there is more a semblance than a reality of kinship among you who are the children of One Father.

True children of One Father do not greet one another with smiles and embraces and at the same time harbor grudges and ill-feeling, but they have an active concern in their hearts for the well-being of one another and make sacrifices for that well-being.

If you make me your real Father, all differences and contentions between you, and all personal problems in connection with your lives, will become dissolved in the Ocean of my love.

You are all keen on spreading My message of Love and Truth and many of you in the east and west have labored hard in this work; publishing magazines and other literature, organizing meetings, sacrificing your vacations in traveling, building halls and having statues made of Me. But I wonder how much of my Love and Truth has been in your work of spreading my message of Love and Truth!

Unless there is a brotherly feeling in your hearts, all the words that you speak or print in My name are hollow; all the miles that you travel in My cause are zero; all organizations for My work are but an appearance of activity; all buildings to contain Me are empty places and all statues that you make to embody Me are of someone else.

I have been patient and indulgent over the way you have been doing these things, because you have been very young children in my love, and children must have some sort of games to play. But now you are older and are beginning to realize that there is a greater work ahead of you than what you have been doing. And you have been searching your minds and hearts as to what this work might be.

It is not a different work to what you have been already doing. It is the same work done in a different way. And that way is the way of effacement, which means the more you work for Me the less important you feel in yourself. You must always remember that I alone do My work. Although only the one who has become One with God can serve and work for all, I allow you to work for Me so that you have the opportunity to use your talents and capacities selflessly and so draw closer to Me. You should never think that in your work for Me you are benefiting others, for by being instrumental in bringing others to Me you are benefiting yourself.

My work is your opportunity. But when you allow yourself to intervene between you and My work, you are allowing the work to take you away from Me. When you put My work before yourself, the work will go right, although not necessarily smoothly. And when the work does not go right, it means you have put yourself between it and its accomplishment.

The way of my work is the way of effacement, which is the way of strength, not of weakness; and through it you become mature in my Love. At this stage you cannot know what real Love is, but through working for me as you should work for me, you will arrive at that ripeness where, in a moment, I can give you That which you have been seeking for millions of years.


One can be best judge for himself to what extent his service is selfless without outward expression. Something is better than nothing to begin with. One should listen the voice of heart and always try to render service to others. As said by Baba a single penny collected in Baba’s name, if misappropriated may cause millions rebirths and if one finds that money is the hindrance for doing Baba’s work one must better stop the work.

Essence of service

"The essence of service to mankind is to give happiness to others at the cost of your own happiness. -