Question: What role does selfless service play on your path?

Sri Chinmoy: In our path, selfless service plays a considerable role. Meditation and selfless service are both of paramount importance. Aspiration includes both meditation and selfless service. We cannot separate selfless service from meditation. When we meditate, we go high, very high. We enter into a higher plane of consciousness which we then try to manifest. If we don't manifest it, Mother Earth does not get any benefit from us. If we climb up the tree and pluck mangoes, we are feeding ourselves, but this does not help humanity at all. But if we come down and share with others who do not know how to climb, then they will get the strength to also climb up the tree. This kind of selfless service benefits humanity tremendously.

Each time we do selfless service we increase our capacity. God is omnipresent. He is the universal Consciousness. When we do selfless service, we feel oneness with the rest of mankind and become one with this universal Consciousness. Each moment we do something selflessly we enlarge our consciousness from the one to the many. First oneness starts with our spiritual brothers and sisters and then it spreads to the rest of the world. Here it is an expansion, a discovery of one's own reality which is fulfilled in self-expansion.

But we have to feel that this selfless service is not an act of sacrifice: It is an act of discovery. If we take it as sacrifice, then we will develop a kind of ego. "I am sacrificing everything for others, and they are all useless fellows. They do not give me anything in return. I am the only one who is giving and the others are only receiving." If we take it in that way, then we will only develop our subtle ego, which is the real thief in us.

But if we take our selfless service as an act of discovery, we find we are only enlarging our consciousness. Our hand is making us feel that our leg is also part of our being. Without our hand we cannot be perfect; without our leg we cannot be perfect; without the eye or nose we cannot be perfect. Each limb of our body is equally important.