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TRUTH > TRUTH IS GODSarvodaya

 

39. Sarvodaya

This body. . . has been given to us only in order that we may serve all Creation with it. And, therefore, says the Gita, he who eats without offering Yajna eats stolen food. Every single act of one who would lead a life of purity should be in the nature of Yajna*. Yajna having come to us with our birth, we are debtors all our lives, and thus for ever bound to serve the universe. And even as bondslave receives food, clothing and so on from the master whom he serves, so should we gratefully accept such gifts as may be assigned to us by the Lord of the universe. What we receive must be called a gift; for as debtors we are entitled to no consideration for the discharge of our obligations.

Therefore we may not blame the Master, if we fail to get it. Our body is His to be cherished or cast away according to His will. This is not a matter for complaint or even pity; on the contrary, it is a natural and even a pleasant and desirable state, if only we realize our proper place in God's scheme. We do indeed need strong faith, if we would experience this supreme bliss. "Do not worry in the least about yourself, leave all worry to God,"... this appears to be the commandment in all religions.

This need not frighten any one. He who devotes himself to service with a clear conscience will day by day grasp the necessity for it in greater measure, and will continually grow richer in faith. The path of service can hardly be trodden by one, who is not prepared to renounce self-interest, and to recognize the conditions of his birth. Consciously or unconsciously every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate this habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make not only for our own happi­ness but that of the world at large.

From Yervada Mandir, Chapter XIV


A votary of Ahimsa cannot subscribe to the utilitarian formula (of the greatest good of the greatest number). He will strive for the greatest good of all and die in the attempt to realize the ideal. He will, therefore, be willing to die, so that the others may live. He will serve himself with the rest, by himself dying. The greatest good of all inevitably includes the good of the greatest number, and therefore, he and the utilitarian will converge in many points in their career but there does come a time when they must part company, and even work in opposite directions. The utilitarian to be logical will never sacrifice himself.

Young India, 9-12-'26


I do not believe .., that an individual may gain spiri­tually and those who surround him suffer. I believe in Advaita. I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe that if one man gains spiritually, the whole world gains with him and, if one man falls, the whole world falls to that extent.

Young India, 4-12-'24


There is not a single virtue which aims at, or is con­tent with, the welfare of the individual alone. Conversely, there is not a single offence which does not, directly or indirectly, affect many others besides the actual offender. Hence, whether an individual is good or bad is not merely his own concern, but really the concern of the whole community, nay, of the whole world.

Ethical Religion (1927), p. 55


A life of service must be one of humility. He, who would sacrifice his life for others, has hardly time to reserve for himself a place in the sun. Inertia must not be mistaken for humility, as it has been in Hinduism. True humility means most strenuous and constant endeavour entirely directed to the service of humanity. God is continuously in action without resting for a single moment. If we would serve Him or become one with Him, our activity must be as unwearied as His.

From Yeravda Mandir, Chapter XII


There may be momentary rest in store for the drop which is separated from the ocean, but not for the drop in the ocean, which knows no rest. The same is the case with ourselves. As soon as we become one with the ocean in the shape of God, there is no more rest for us, nor indeed do we need rest any longer. Our very sleep is action. For we sleep with the thought of God in our hearts. This restlessness constitutes true rest. This never-ceasing agitation Therefore we may not blame the Master, if we fail to get it. Our body is His to be cherished or cast away according to His will. This is not a matter for complaint or even pity; on the contrary, it is a natural and even a pleasant and desirable state, if only we realize our proper place in God's scheme. We do indeed need strong faith, if we would expe­rience this supreme bliss. "Do not worry in the least about yourself, leave all worry to God," ... this appears to be the commandment in all religions.

This need not frighten any one. He who devotes himself to service with a clear conscience will day by day grasp the necessity for it in greater measure, and will continually grow richer in faith. The path of service can hardly be trodden by one, who is not prepared to renounce self- interest, and to recognize the conditions of his birth. Consciously or unconsciously every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate this habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make not only for our own happi­ness but that of the world at large.

From Yeravda Mandir, Chapter XIV


A votary of Ahimsa cannot subscribe to the utilitarian formula (of the greatest good of the greatest number). He will strive for the greatest good of all and die in the attempt to realize the ideal. He will, therefore, be willing to die, so that the others may live. He will serve himself with the rest, by himself dying. The greatest good of all inevitably includes the good of the greatest number, and therefore, he and the utilitarian will converge in many points in their career but there does come a time when they must part company, and even work in opposite directions. The utilitarian to be logical will never sacrifice himself.

Young India, 9-12-'26


I do not believe that an individual may gain spiritually and those whose surround him suffer. I believe in Advaita. I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe that if one man gains spiritually, the whole world falls to that extent.

Young India, 4-12-24


There is not a single virtue which aims at, or is content with, the welfare of the individual alone. Conversely there is not a single offence which does not, directly or indirectly, affect many others besides the actual offender. Hence, whether an individual is good or bad is not merely his own concern, but really the concern of the whole community, nay, of the whole world.

Ethical Religion (1927), p. 55


A life of service must be one of humility. He, who would sacrifice his life for others, has hardly time to reserve for himself a place in the sun. Intertia must not be mistaken for humility, as it has been in Hinduism. True humility means most strenuous and constant endeavour entirely directed to the service of humanity. God is continuously in action without resting for a single moment. If we would serve Him or become one with Him, our activity must be as unwearied as His.

From Yeravda Mandir, Chapter XII


There may momentary rest in store for the drop which is separated from the ocean, but not for the drop in the ocean, which knows no rest. The same is the case with ourselves. As soon As we become one with the ocean in the shape of God, there is no more rest for us, nor indeed do we need rest any longer. Our very sleep is action. For we sleep with the thought of god in our hearts. This restlessness constitutes true rest. This never ceasing agitation holds the key to peace ineffable. This supreme state of total surrender is difficult to describe, but not beyond the bounds of human experience. It has been attained by many dedicated souls, and may be attained by ourselves as well.

From Yeravda Mandir, Ch. XII


What Yajna means has been explained by Gandhiji in an earlier paragraph. He says: "Yajna means an act directed to the welfare of others, done without desiring any return for it, whether of a temporal or spiritual nature. 'Act' here must be taken in its widest sense, and inc­ludes thought and word, as well as deed. 'Others' embraces not only humanity, but all life. Therefore, and from the standpoint of Ahimsa it is not a Yajna to sacrifice lower animals even with a view to the service of humanity."