It is my firm belief that disinterested service is the greatest force to inspire and elevate man to high levels of evolution. It brings about an all-round development of man's character, makes him manly and effects a spontaneous spiritual awakening. Selfless service is, indeed, most essential for the physical, moral and spiritual regeneration of the youth of the world.
The practice of Karma Yoga is very necessary for developing important virtues. Virtues can be developed by service alone. Without possessing the basic virtues, one cannot dream of attaining God-realization, in spite of the understanding of the Vedantic oneness, tolerance, equanimity, kindness, mercy, fellowship, adaptability, humility, goodness of heart and broad-mindedness can be cultivated only through the practice of Karma Yoga. The raw diamond requires cutting and polishing before it gives its brilliant colour and lustre. Even so, the raw aspirant requires constant rubbing and polishing through service and contact with people of different temperament. If he can truly serve and please others even under trying circumstances, if he can keep up a cheerful countenance in spite of difficulties, if he can maintain equanimity in the bustle of a city and can acquire concentration of mind there, it clearly proves that he has outgrown his external environments and is ready for spiritual enlightenment.
Willing Helpfulness: Sitting with closed eyes in a room bolted from within is no true Sadhana, if the people around happen to be in agony or in trouble. Selfishness and Sadhana can never go together. The aspirant must subordinate his own interests to those of others. He who attends on a helpless man when he is in great distress does more Sadhana than a man who practices meditation, Asana and Pranayama. If one does service to the needy for one hour, it is equal to meditation for six hours. There is no dearth of opportunities for service. A merciful doctor who attends on a helpless, poor, patient at midnight, without any fees, is a better Yogi than the Dhyana Yogi who passes along the road silently when he sees a poor man in a famished, dying condition, without even speaking to him an encouraging word, without even asking, "Brother, What do you want ? Can I be of help to you in any way ?"
SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
To be continued ...