Rendering Grateful Service


Hi friend

I was born in family where I am financially doing fine without needing to work to make money,

I also don’t much like to have to work, I just like to stay home and meditate and chant and do other spiritual practices,

Is that a spiritually good idea in your opinion?

Thank you in advance 🕉🙏

—Saba, Iran


Dear Saba,

Thank you for your question! This is a very insightful quandary you have here! Every devotee comes to this question about how to maintain and sustain balance on the spiritual path! For balance is the answer.

My first thought to share with you comes from Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. Have you read this book?

In the chapter on “Years in my Master’s Hermitage” is a wonderful statement relating to your question.

As the story goes, Yogananda himself was wrestling with the need to perform earthly duties or not. Were they necessary? Was it more important to do spiritual practices? Was the “agreeable delusion” to perform duties carelessly or leave them for someone else a better idea? Sri Yukteswar, the guru of Yogananda, gave this wonderful answer, “Those who are too good for this world are adorning some other. So long as you breathe the free air of earth, you are under obligation to render grateful service. He alone who has fully mastered the breathless state is freed from imperatives. I will not fail to let you know when you have attained the final perfection.”

This passage makes it clear that both spiritual practices and earthly duties are needed for success along the path. The balance between activity and meditation is key on the spiritual path. Learning this balance is an invaluable help for the aspiring devotee.

The willpower, efforts, and physical activity needed in performing service or earthly duties is helpful in developing and maintaining devotion and spiritual practices. The energy generated with giving service or “outward activity” can nourish the inner spiritual connection. Those actions keep that generated energy moving in all aspects of life.

Also God is pleased when we help others. The practice of helping others, perhaps monetarily or with simple chores, enhances our spiritual progress. Those acts of caring and kindness, expand our soul’s efforts toward and in connecting with God. They take us out of ourselves and into a larger awareness. Ultimately we do want our spiritual practice to be pleasing to God. The fruit of actions performed only to please God not only satisfies the divine plan but benefits the actor without entangling him in mundane desires. Thus any individual who perform duties only to please God can remain in the world in a state of liberation and freedom.

Here is a beautiful and thought provoking quote from the Gita: “Avoid egotistical activity and non-activity; concentrate on intellectually, ambitiously, and intuitively acting only to please God through the guidance of conscience.”

The best way to know if you are doing what is “right” for your spiritual growth is always to ask God in the language of your heart if your next step is pleasing to Him. He will hear you and respond. Listen in your heart.

Many blessings on your efforts,
Nayaswami Hassi