Grow in Saintliness
Develop seva bhavana – the spirit of serving God in creation. This term is comprised of many noble qualities – charity, magnanimity, goodwill, humility and other similar virtues. See that your entire energy is dedicated to the service of humanity. You may also serve humanity in various other ways. See the contrast that exist between the attitudes of a worldly person and that of a saintly person.
A worldly person serves another with the intention of receiving a reward for his services. Further, having served the purpose, he develops a sense of superiority and expects that he should always be appreciated by that person. Moreover, a worldly person is eager to serve only those whom he considers to be his relatives and close associates, and feels that it is pointless to serve a stranger. This is not the case for one who aspires to saintliness. He must develop an insight into the lofty ideals of universal brotherhood. He must view all Creation as one family, and all beings as his friends and relatives. In fact, he must practice the Vedantic ideal of perceiving all as the Self – the ideal of universal Selfhood.
If you have insight into the Law of Karma you will realize that you have had numerous friends and relatives in different embodiments. In fact, you are always surrounded by those people with whom you have been karmically related in various ways in your past embodiments. Therefore, your vision should not remain confined to the limited circle of your immediate relatives. However, this does not mean that you should discharge your loving duties towards your immediate relatives.
Do not expect thanks from those whom you have served. Rather, be thankful to them because they have given you the opportunity of amassing the treasure of good karmas (actions). Generally most people are obliged to those who help them with material wealth – the wealth that is transient and illusory, but they ignore those who enable them to a massive spiritual wealth of good karmas – the wealth and endurance from life to life.
Towards the Blossoming of Saintliness
♦ Do not compel others to follow your ideas and ideals, but rather learn to persuade them through the force of love and understanding. Develop patience, endurance, forbearance, and a spirit of sacrifice in order to incline others to support your way of thinking. See the victory of love over hate, the triumph of truthfulness over falsehood, the supremacy of goodwill over ill-will.
♦ Learn the art of surrendering every part of your personality to God. Surrender to God is like a creeper of immortality. Faith is the sprout of this creeper. Good association is like the sun, and remembrance of God (or reflection on the Divine Self) is the rain that helps this creeper to grow. Divine Grace is the breeze in which this creeper dances with joy, and wisdom is the mighty tree that sustains it. Divine virtues are its blossoms, while communion with God is the fruit that bestows immortality.
♦ Do not complicate your life by sustaining thoughts of jealousy, hatred, ill will, and revenge. A mind burdened with these and other negative sentiments will keep you sidetracked from your essential pursuit – the attainment of Self-realization. You will continue to drift from one whirlpool of illusion to another.
♦ Simplify your life. Do not look for the defects of others, but rather keep your mental energy directed towards self-analysis and self-reflection. Recognize the positive in others and try your best to encourage others to promote their virtuous qualities. Furthermore, strive to be ever vigilant in detecting the negative and irrational thoughts that into your mind, and try to remove them.
♦ Harmonize your personality. Live a life of moderation so that the different parts of your personality are properly exercised. Exercise your body to maintain its health and vitality. Exercise your “heart” by love of God and acts of kindness towards others. Exercise your “head” by the study of scriptures and reflection on the self. Exercise your “hands” by acts of goodness and kindness. Do not develop a lopsided personality – too much intellectualism and a contracted heart, or too much overflowing love without having rational maturity.
♦ Be like a magnet that draws good impressions to your unconscious mind and repels all negative ones. Day by day you enter into the mysterious garden of this Divine creation. If you are spiritually sensitive you will gather only those flowers which will fill your heart and soul with spiritual fragrance, and will ignore those that are foul-smelling and negative.
♦ Do not intensify the body idea – the idea that “I am nothing but this body.” On the other hand develop the deep-rooted feeling, “I am the Spirit.” Instead of allowing your mind to be constantly burdened by thoughts of the body, allow it to soar like a swan beyond the confines of the body. Let it mingle with the minds of sages and saints.
♦ Assert, “I am the imperishable Atman. I am the Self behind all names and forms. I am all that exists.” Thus, let your mind bathe in the cascading waters of bliss and peace that flow in torrents from the transcendent heights of the Self within you.
May you hasten your steps to saintliness and enjoy limitless peace and bliss even in this very life!