Swami Sivananda’s favourite quote to his disciples was “Love, serve and give.” They in turn said it to their disciples and all of us also repeat it to our students. What does it mean?
Love, what does love mean
I will start with love. Love is a word used liberally by all of us. I love the paintings of Van Gogh. I love tiramisu. I love travelling. One can go on endlessly. Lastly one more, I love my aunt, she always brings the most wonderful gifts for us. All our responses are us oriented. We love our family members and we share mixed feelings about our friends. Love is mutually exchanged between us. It is conditional and if we are hurt, our emotions change with the rapidity of a chameleon’s color. What is missing here?
We are speaking about unconditional love. Is it possible for us not to react when someone insults us? How are we with the rudeness, abusiveness and humiliation? Do we believe it, accept it or do we ignore it? What should we do? Now we come to the definition of love. Words used to describe love, tenderness, warmth, devotion, fellow feeling, desire and solicitude. These words must be applied to persons who need concern, compassion and care. They must not be aware of our feelings and we must look upon them with warmth.
Can we do it? Many of us walk through life wearing blinkers, we neither look left nor right. Develop sensitivity about others, smile at people, think of others with affection. I know many individuals who tell me that the poor on the street should work. It’s their karma and that is why they are starving. Teach a man to fish and he will have food for life. What if the person has never had any kindness in life and has not known a full belly of food.
Serve, what does serve mean
Serve means offering a helping hand. Give succor to the needy. Volunteer your skills. Look after the ailing, spend time with those who are suffering. Enable children to live a life of a normal child. Assist those who need help. I had a friend who went to the hospital daily and filled the forms for the patients. There are so many tasks, which we can do.
Give, what does give mean
Give means to help with compassion and generosity. If we examine the word give, we will find many meanings. But the meaning we are looking for is to give with your heart, full of love and unconditionally. When you give and the person who is the receiver, is not aware of who you are, is the best mode. Many persons give me donations for TORCH and then I buy Barbie dolls, and dinky cars for the kids. The kids are so happy, but the senders just tells us, that do what you think is best.
Now to apply “Love, serve and give,” in our lives. Become aware of the pain and suffering. Attempt in your own way to reduce it. Lord Rama needed to build a bridge across the sea to Lanka. A little squirrel decided to help by gathering a few grains of sand, repeatedly and making a heap. Rama was overwhelmed by this gesture and blessed him by stroking his back. Be compassionate and empathetic, do not expect thanks and give to persons, who do not know you. Give as you would give your loved ones. Harbor no hate, practice atma bhava.
Aim Hrim Klim