A man can be fortunate in many ways. But there is nothing that makes him more fortunate than the opportunity he has of serving others.
When we serve our family we are not conscious of how we help it. We must learn to help people who are not our kin - other families, our village or home town, our nation, indeed all mankind. We have so many problems ourselves, we suffer so many hardships, and we have so many worries and cares. We must not, however, mind serving others in the midst of all our difficulties. We will forget our problems when we are immersed in the work of helping others. There is a saying: “Feed milk to your neighbour’s child, your child will be nourished.” The Lord will raise us up from our troubles as we do good to others. However, it is not with such considerations of profit that we must try to help people in difficulties. We must not worry about how others will benefit from our work, but consider how we will become naturally pure. Also, we must think of the happiness we will experience by serving our fellow men.
Service should not be confined to mankind but must be extended to the animal kingdom. In the old days ponds were dug exclusively for cattle and stone pillars were installed here and there for them to scratch themselves. Everyone must feed at least one cow every day with a handful of grass. This is called “go-grasm” and this act is extolled in the sastras. “Grasam” means a mouthful and the English word “grass” is derived from it.
Conducting sacrifices, offering oblations to the fathers and performing sraddhas must be regarded as an extension of the service we do in this world to the denizens of other worlds. These rites must be gone through with the intoning of mantras.
There must be many others like us, many groups, who want to be engaged in social work. It should be ideal if the efforts of all were brought together under one body of like-minded members. Care must be taken that associations so formed do not break up; they must be managed honestly with a proper enforcement of discipline. Those who do philanthropic work must be men of courage and enthusiasm who take praise and blame equally.