The Joy of Sweet Sacrifice by Manatita
The Joy of ‘Sweet’ Sacrifice
“When we enter into our own consciousness, then it is not sacrifice, but oneness. I am bound to serve the divine in you, and you are bound to serve the divine in me. Where is the sacrifice? The higher we go, the clearer it becomes that there is no such thing as sacrifice.” - Sri Chinmoy
I can still recall walking up and down the undulating hills of Guildford, Surrey, London, UK. The fresh winds, and the drizzle of the rain-drops beating on my forehead, made for an exhausting and uncomely sight as I continued my tiresome, yet necessary task of getting leaflets into shops and letter boxes.
Come evening, I would be happy that the damp rucksack of flyers on my sore back, was noticeably lighter, and that I would soon be able to return home. This would involve an hour’s journey into the City, and another forty-five minutes before arriving at my residence, finally to bask in the warmth and luxury of a fully deserved bath.
“Be happy”, says Sri Chinmoy,
“You will grow into God's greatest blessing, His highest pride.
Yesterday's world wants you to enjoy its surrendered breath.
Today's world wants you to enjoy its surrendering breath.
Tomorrow's world wants you to enjoy its fulfilling breath.
Be happy in the morning with what you have. Be happy in the evening with what you are… ” – Sri Chinmoy. Songs of The Soul, (1971), Agni Press.
To do this, one should work with pure motives; take rest when necessary, so that the joy of service is always present. If it’s being lost, then it may be necessary to stop, replenish oneself, and start again. We do not need to do all in one day.
In the early eighties, I would occasionally be with a group of God-seekers for the purpose of celebrating Sri Chinmoy's birthday. We would pray, sing; perform drama, amongst many other initiatives, lasting well into the early hours of the morning. We would then rise at 6.a.m., do our morning worship, and carry on from there with other activities throughout the day. Over a period of two weeks, this happened quite frequently. How were we able to do this? What sustained us though those long and sublime hours with our Guru?
This brings me to the essence of this Hub. One who is devoted to God, has an intense faith in what he/she does, can work with gratitude from the heart with a detached sense of the spirit of unconditional surrender to a Supreme Entity, will never go wrong. Gratitude is a most powerful friend, and is expressed eloquently with great depth and breadth by Sri Chinmoy:
Why did I do it? What made me walk the streets for six or seven hours every day for two solid weeks, in order to attract perhaps twenty or thirty seekers to a workshop on Yoga philosophy? Quite simply, it was an aspiration to serve my fellow brothers and sisters: Mankind.
“If there is a sense of separativity, there is always sacrifice; otherwise, it is all oneness, all oneness. It is all part of God's Cosmic Game that I do this and you do that. There is no I, there is no you, there is no winner or loser. It is all one reality, a oneness-reality.” –Sri Chinmoy. The Outer Running And The Inner Running, (1974). Agni Press.
The joy of selfless service knows no boundaries. As sure as it went out from me, so it returned in boundless measure. On some days I would sing with joy, as my heart was happy and full. On other days, I would dance upon the streets, an activity that made my loving task so much lighter and easier to bear. It also attracted curious and smiling faces.
Of course I would pause for the odd coffee or tea break from time to time. I would also have lunch. Still, I mostly went about my daily flyering with the heart and one-pointed dedication of a devotee of the Supreme.
Speaking of selfless service, the great seer-visionary Sri Chinmoy puts it in his own lofty and sublime way:
“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.” – Sri Chinmoy. Service-boat And Love-Boatman, Part 1, (1974), Agni Press.
Again, to do this work one has to be happy, to offer all the fruits of one’s action to the Supreme. One needs to feel that it is God who is in charge, always in charge, and to see oneself as only a loving instrument of His. It is certainly this spirit that I take with me, whenever I allow myself to be used by a Higher Light through service.
Of course in the act of serving, one is always making sacrifices. This was also evident while walking up and down the streets of Queen Street, Auckland, New Zealand. While there, I made contact with hundreds of people going about their daily duties. Some would say nice things while they were handed a flyer, while others would cross over to the other side of the street. Sometimes, accompanied by one or two other helpers, we would brave the wind, rain and cold, carrying our leaflets in plastic bags, with the strain on our legs beginning to tell, well into a very long day.
“A life empty of sacrifice is no life.” says Sri Chinmoy. Again, when the heart is full of gratitude and a sense of devotion to Something Higher, then there is no such thing as sacrifice. There is only a mutual outpouring of our souls love to those who are our sisters and brothers in an extended family of God. Sri Chinmoy says that when we enter into a higher consciousness, if we do not share it, then mankind gets nothing from us. However:
“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.” – Sri Chinmoy. Service-Boat And Love-Boatman, Part 1, (1974), Agni Press.
However, in the spirit of service, whether it is social service, financial service, prayerful service or psychic service, one should be cheerful, joyful; happy.
“The most beautiful thing on earth is our heart's gratitude to the Supreme, to the divinity in humanity, to God. This is the best and most valuable thing on earth. This is the beauty unparalleled, and it will remain so throughout Eternity.” – Sri Chinmoy. A galaxy of Beautiful Stars, (1974), Agni Press.
Again, one should see humanity as one’s very own. The flautist in the orchestra is as important as the violinist; the rose in the flower-garden, as significant as the tulip, and the striker on the football field, is of no less importance than the man in goal. How else can we experience a most lofty fusion of music, a fragrance of harmony and an exuberant soccer game?
Give and take, give and receive. The music Maestro offers us his skills, experience and incredibly beautiful voice. In turn, we offer him an audience, appreciation, applause, respect, awe and name and fame. Each needs the other. So dear friends, whenever I can feel the spirit of an integral whole in everything I do, and act with love and concern, I get tremendous joy, peace and abiding light. Most importantly, my so called sacrifice then becomes sweet music to my soul, in the new realisation that God is the life-tree, and that I, as a small part of humanity, are part and parcel of its branches. Much love. – Manatita 2nd September, 2012.