Otherwise you will be selfish. Nobody in this universe can live independently. He lives only because there are others who help him in some fashion or other. Therefore, service is only a return for the obligation that we have received and are continuing to receive from others in the world. So, that is the first thing. Whenever you do anything, remember that you are doing it as a sort of repayment of the debt that you have received from other people. Then if you want to have a little better position in the spiritual field than you are having, you must invest a little more in the form of service to mankind. If you have put money in the bank you can take that money from the bank. But if you want to have more credit, do not take away all the money you have put there; but go on increasing your investment. Therefore, serve the world a little more than you have a claim to receive from the world. So, that is the first thing, Karma Yoga. So, then, in this Mantra, the first thing that is taught is Karma Yoga.
Naturally, when you have developed this feeling that you are part of this universe and it is your duty to do something for the universe, the next stage is reached that you should love the universe. Here also we are only returning the love that we are receiving from other people. Love has been shown to us by the parents from the day on which we were born. In our childhood, the whole world loved us. Who does not love a child? Therefore, even in returning, we have to return much more than what we have received.
And unless there is love in the world, there cannot be any kind of harmony even in our own little family or community even in the immediate neighbourhood where we live, unless we received love and give love there cannot be any happiness, and mind you, love is the life of Bhakti Yoga. If you love in the manner in which you ought to, you are loving the world, recognising that every person has got in him the all-pervading Atman and that every person functions on account of the presence of God in him. When you recognise that you are able to talk intelligently to other people, only because God gives you that intelligence, when you recognise God everywhere, automatically, you love everyone.
The tendency for human beings is to receive and not to give. Asuras have no Daya. Dana is very important for men. If you search your heart, you will find that out of necessity you will pay something, give something and even supposing you had given very willingly, you will be thinking about it and taking pride in your heart of hearts for having given something, though you may not show the pride you feel. When you have given charity, you have done something which is quite abnormal for an ordinary being. Therefore, the teaching that is given us is, “Remember you are a human being. Rise above the average human being. Become divine. Give.” This is the teaching there.
Then when all these are practised, the true preparation is made. When you have done selfless service, have decided to rise above the average human being so that you can make your life divine, then you become fit to proceed further. Therefore, serve, love, give, purify. There you have to think of cleansing your mind. Swamiji has got another set of phrases: “Purify your mind, simplify your life and intensify your Sadhana.” Why should you purify your mind? So that later on you will not fall a victim to the temptations of your mind. Therefore, purification is for keeping the mind filled with good thoughts. They should stick themselves permanently to the mind, and when you have done that by the practice of Yama and Niyama, by controlling yourself completely, by not allowing yourself to be led away by temptations, by not taking advantage of the simplicity of others in business matters or other matters, when you are avoiding all these bad things you will have purified yourself.
Because, you are no longer selfish, you will begin to live only for others’ good. Then, “Be kind and Be compassionate.” Then you will be able to understand how other people are to be benefited by the level you have reached. Then enquire, ‘Who am I?’ Be conscious of your identity with the Paramatman, and “Be free”.This is the Mantra which we are receiving every day from Swamiji. Even the person who is very low in the spiritual evolution can practise, “service”. The person who is a little advanced, can practise Bhakti Yoga. So, it is possible to practise all these virtues one after another. I would request you to keep this Mantra running in your mind always, concentrate on the meaning of it, when you have time, and work out the ideas, always. That is the way in which you can benefit from the thought vibrations that are always emanating from Swamiji.
Now, I am not qualified to describe him to you, but still I can give you this secret that saints like our Swamiji can never be keeping quiet at any moment of their life without radiating vibrations of a spiritual nature. They are always there, and the result is that when we have attuned our mental radio to the appropriate meter to receive those vibrations by simplifying our life, by purifying our mind, by meditating on our inner Self, we shall be able to receive those vibrations and transform ourselves into divine beings, which we are called upon to become, having been born in the world and especially in India, where we have preserved the spiritual heritage of our ancestors. Let us become worthy of them.
Message from the book Philosophy and Teachings of Swami Sivananda.