Question: I would like to understand more clearly the distinction between helping man and serving man. I think it is very easy to get the two confused.

Sri Chinmoy: There is no need for confusion; we can easily tell if we are helping or serving. When we serve someone, we have humility. But when we feel that we are helping someone, at that time pride, vanity and ego immediately come forward. When we help, we feel that we have more capacity than someone else, and when we are being helped, we feel that we have less capacity. This help immediately brings in pride, vanity and a feeling of superiority or inferiority. But when we serve soulfully, there can be no pride because we do not feel superior. We feel we are serving the Supreme in others. When I serve you people, I see the divinity inside you. My role in the cosmic Game is to make you feel that inside you is the Inner Pilot. When we serve, we make the other person feel the Supreme's presence within himself.

Even in the role of a seeker, if one does not aspire, pride comes. And if he feels that he is helping, then automatically unconscious pride comes to the fore. A seeker serves a very great Master and becomes proud because he has the opportunity to serve such a Master. But instead of pride, he should feel gratitude. He should offer his soulful prayer and appreciation because he is given the chance to be of service. If the Master sees that his present assistant is full of pride or vanity, he can easily replace him with somebody else.

We have to be careful when we use the term 'help'. Only the Inner Pilot can help us, guide us and mould us. Let us use the word 'service'. When we are serving a Master we have to be very careful. Today someone is close to the Master, but tomorrow that same person can be thrown into the farthest corner of the globe if he or she misuses the blessings of the Master. One has to feel that his service is the greatest opportunity, and he cannot abuse it. If someone is bloated with pride because his Master is appreciating him, then immediately there will be a downfall. If the opportunity to serve the Master is misused, it will be taken away. We have to be humble. If we do not play our role well, then God has every right to change the instrument.

True service is rendered with humility, and it comes only with true and constant aspiration. When we aspire we want to go up. We see that the higher worlds are so much higher than we are, so automatically we become humble.