By Periyava

Translation from Tamil: V. Krishnaraj



சேவையே மேலான பாக்கியம் : தெய்வத்தின் குரல் (முதல் பகுதி)

Service Is the Highest Blessing: Deivathin Kural   (Chapter 7 in Hindu Dharma)


Birth as a human being guarantees a plethora of blessings. The highest of all blessings is to serve others.

Not knowing what service is, we serve our family. My recommendation is to render service to the extent possible to unrelated families, towns, country, and all countries of the world. We experience a multitude of hardships, problems at work, worries about daily sustenance and survival… We should not withhold service because of our own domestic problems. With dedication to serve others, we forget our own hardships. There is a proverb: When you feed milk to the other infant, your own child will thrive on its own. As the fruits of our charity, God will offer an uplifting hand of rescue to us from our own hardships. Instead of thinking of profit and loss paradigm, we should do what is possible to others for remediation of their hardships. That effort in the beginning is enough. Leave aside the benefit to others. Think of the mental purity, solace and satisfaction to our soul, and happiness from helping the fellowman. This will take us on this charitable path further.

Besides humanity, we should serve the animals like cows.  In olden days, people dug ponds and waterholes for quadrupeds and installed stone pillars (scratching posts) for cattle to alleviate pruritis of the animals. Everyone should feed one cow a handful of grass or Agaththi. The sastras call this ‘Go Grāsam.’ ‘ Go is cow; Grāsam’ means ‘a mouthful.’ It is possible the English word ‘Grass’ might have come from ‘Grāsam.’  English dictionary:  [bef. 900; ME gras, OE graes; c. D, G, ON, Goth gras; akin to GROW, GREEN]

We should perform the rites and rituals with the feeling and sensitivity that Yāgam, Yagṅam, Tarppaṇam, and Tivasam are common for both the dead ancestors in the other world and the living ones in this world. This service is done with the chanting of Mantras.                          

It is helpful to have the like-minded form an association for common good, purpose and service. With strength in numbers, a lot can be accomplished. By Satyam, discipline and sense of duty, we should protect the association from falling apart. For the philanthropist, motivation and courage are essential. He needs the quality to transcend fame and ignominy.

In the name of leisure, it is wrong to spend time eating savories in upscale restaurants and go to movies. That ill-spent time must be utilized in the service of others.

You may ask whether it is wrong to spend time in merry-making. As you continue to do philanthropic work, you will find in it plenty of merry-making. That is play; that is happiness.

Krishna Paramātma appeared to us he indulged in play activity all the time. On the inside, all that was philanthropic work. He protected the people and restored righteousness. His plays were all service to humanity. No one played so much; no one served so much. That was his example. He served not only in the worldly affairs but also in spiritual matters. He advised Arjuna and Uddhava. Service, Jñāṉam, and play activity existed in unison in him. He had no self-interest or attachment in what he did. He smiled, laughed and served calmly. He did all these with no effort or pain. Among us also, this laughter and tranquility must always exist with courage and enthusiasm.

Of all the Avatāras, Krishnāvatāra excelled in service. In Rāmāvatāra, the exemplifier for service, Anjaneya Swamy came to the fore. Thinking of these two, with pure heart and soul, without self-interest and unmindful of name and fame, we should do service.

When we (women) get our monthly periods, don’t we segregate ourselves from the world at large?  Likewise, the days we did not serve the world, we must consider as the days of Thīttu (periods) and do whatever service we could.

Rendering help to living beings equals doing Pūjai to Paramēṣvara, the mother and father of all beings.  Tirumular said this in Tirumantiram.

The meaning is, “Help rendered to people is doing Puja to Isvara himself with love.


1857. படமாடக் கோயில் பகவற்குஒன்று ஈயில்

நடமாடக் கோயில் நம்பர்க்கு அங்கு ஆகா

நடமாடக் கோயில் நம்பர்க்கு ஒன்று ஈயில்

படமாடக் கோயில் பகவற்கு அது ஆமே. 1


1857 Devotees are Walking Temples

The offering you give

To the Lord in the temple steepled high

Reaches not His devotees,

Who the walking temples noble are;

When you offer things

To the walking temples noble,

That sure reaches the Lord

In the temple steepled high.  B. Natarajan