SERVICE TO MAN IS SERVICE TO GOD
Abu Ben Adham was a simple, tender hearted man. He lived in a small cottage. A chair, a small table and an ordinary cot were the only pieces of furniture in his room. His only work was to serve the people of the vicinity. One day while he was asleep he felt a bright light in the cottage. He got up and found a man sitting on his chair and writing something. He asked him who he was and what he was doing there. He was told that he was an angel and was writing the names of those who loved God. Abu lay down saying his name can’t be in the list as he had no time even to remember God. The light disappeared and the angel too with it.
The next night there was again that bright light. The angel was again there writing something. Abu got up and asked him, “Your work is not yet over. What are you writing today”. “I am writing the names of those who are loved by God”. He again wanted to go to bed saying, “Why should God love one who does not even remember him”. “Before going to bed see the new list.’ And lo! Abu found his name at the top. The angel said, God loves those who love and serve his creation—the men” and disappeared.
Most of the saints in India have asked their followers to serve humanity. That is the real service to God. Swami Virjanand, who was blind, taught Dayanand for some years. At the end of his studies he demanded his ‘Guru Dakshina’. Dayanand went to a grocer who obliged him by giving a seer of clovers. Swami Virjanand liked cloves very much. But when he found that Dayanand had brought cloves for him he was not pleased. He told Dayanand that he wanted some other Guru Dakshina. He asked him to tour the whole country and remove the black clouds of evils in the religion. Moreover spread education so the people may be awakened. You should serve mankind if you want to serve God”. Swami Dayanand made Ajmer his centre and established a college there. Then he took a whirlwind tour of the northern parts of India. Today you will find a large member of DAV schools and colleges in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. By serving human being the managements of all these schools are serving God-real God that is enshrined in every human being.
Swami Vivekananda was another great saint who served God by serving humanity. He started Ram Krishna Mission in the memory of his guru Swami Ram Krishna Paramhansa. This mission has started a large number of hospitals and dispensaries to serve the poor people. Its members also work among men when there is an epidemic. The mission has also started many educational institutions too.
Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram is an organisation that is serving the cause of tribals throughout the country. They have started a large number of hostels, schools and dispensaries. A started Vivekananda Kendra’s have been started by it specially the North Eastern states. They have also started a large number of Ekal Vidyalayas to serve the tribal boys in Bihar, Jharkhand Bengal and the North East. By serving the ‘Vanvasis’ they actually serve God.
Alwar, in Rajasthan suffered from scarcity of water for many years, Rajendra Singh started the work of finding new ways of collecting water in many ways. He has spread his work in other areas of Rajasthan too. It is natural that he was honoured with Magsaysay Award. But by serving humanity and making finding new ways of water resources is his real service to God.
Seva Bharati is another organisation that is serving God by serving the scheduled castes and backward classes throughout the country. But the more important organisation is Vidya Bharati. It has 10,000 schools under its umbrella—5,000 of its own and 5,000 affiliated to it. It has the largest member of primary schools in the country that are organized and managed by the local people without taking a single paisa from the government. They have some intermediate and degree colleges too. Some of them are residential institutions both for boys and girls. The schools near Bangalore and Visakhapatnam, as well as in Nainital in UP have a very good reputation. They serve God by serving boys and girls.
Keeping these ideals before us we should take inspiration of serving men to serve God.