Service is Love

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A four-legged creature helped the author understand a truth about life…

The urge to bring pets into our homes is so widespread that it’s tempting to think of it as a universal feature of human nature. I am someone who would prefer to interact with humans rather than play with pets! I am not fond of animals, especially dogs! They are just too scary! To make matters worse, they are dirty creatures that poo everywhere and start barking even at the sight of any person entering their premises.

One day, Ashish, my nephew, announced that he was going to get a dog to our house! We all reacted and showed our disagreement, but it was all in vain. And the very next afternoon, Romeo, a 33-day-old Labrador arrived! Though he was a cute little puppy, I kept a safe distance from him, and the tension was still there. But there was something about Romeo… One could not take one’s eyes off him. He was an adorable puppy with bright innocent eyes. One night, after dinner, I was just sitting and he slid his body near my foot. I froze. His fur brushed against my skin softly.

I got scared and ran to my room, closing the door on his face as he followed me. Somehow, after this incident, I felt his eyes follow me everywhere and whenever I passed by, he would wag his tail and walk behind me.

One evening, Romeo was loitering all around the house, making soft whining noises out of hunger and, since no one was around, I fed him. Surprisingly, after eating, Romeo rolled over and stretched out, and slowly, I just rubbed him under his neck and he extended his chest out, allowing me to continue. Since then, I fed him every day and I got so very attached to him. Today the scenario is, I make him sleep in my room, make him sit near me when I sit for my prayers, and take him along wherever possible. I also feel bad when he hurts himself.

Not only me but my entire family is surprised at how I developed such a strong attachment towards him. Just pondering over this, I realized what Mahatria would often say, “You get attached to the person whom you serve.”

And this is exactly what has happened! This profound teaching led to a big realization that our loved ones, our parents, take care of us, love us, and serve us, so they are very attached to us. But only when we also serve our loved ones does the same attachment develop.

Our children are like our arms and legs. They are a part of us. Since we take care of them and love them, we have so much affection for them. We, as parents, should give them the opportunity to serve us too. We must give them small errands to help us. If we deny them this opportunity to serve when they are young, then later we will find that they are not much attached to us.

Our Beloved Mahatria often says that if children want to serve parents or elders, let them do it. For example, when you’re not feeling well, let the children nurse you, help you to take tablets, and, at times, let them also feed you. Allow them to do such things for you. As they serve you and take care of you, in the process, they will start feeling more attached to you.

For example, when you’re not feeling well, let the children nurse you, help you to take tablets, and, at times, let them also feed you.
Allow them to do such things for you.
As they serve you and take care of you, in the process, they will start feeling more attached to you.

When we were children, our parents served us so they have lots of love and affection towards us. When we as children, start serving them, we will also feel more attached towards them. Small gestures like listening to their stories, providing them with the gift of quality time, taking them out to dinner, etc., are some of the things we can do.

Similarly, serve the path to which you are connected with. We always take so much from the path but only when we serve does our connection get deeper. In Sikhism, the disciples of every gurdwara (temple), irrespective of being rich or poor, serves the path by doing selfless services like cooking or serving in the langar (communal meal), cleaning the gurdwara, helping with gardening, etc. These acts of service make them so much more connected and attached to the path!

We have taken so much from our nation; we have to return something back. Patriotism develops when we serve our country back. As a social worker or an athlete or as a student, we can serve our nation, making the country prosper with growth. We have our own role towards our nation and can serve our nation by fulfilling our responsibility! The more we serve, the more we fall in love with it. Other than joining the Army, Navy, etc… simple things like supporting cleanliness, paying taxes on time, planting trees and talking well about our country are some of the small ways in which we can serve our nation!

Army, navy, etc… simple things like supporting cleanliness, paying taxes on time, planting trees and talking well about our country are some of the small ways in which we can serve our nation!

It is very clear that the more we serve, the more bonded we feel. Whoever we serve, be it our parents, family, place, path, nation, or even God for that matter, we start feeling more connected and responsible for its safety, security and survival. We develop an intense relationship with it. So rather than only being receivers, let’s love, serve and become givers of happiness too. Serve and rise in love!

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