"Service to man is service to God," says Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Sathya Sai Baba also says that selfless service is the first step on the spiritual path, the best spiritual exercise to remove the evil of egoism and to eliminate the nefarious pull of the mind toward desires.
"The core of this spiritual discipline of selfless service," says Sathya Sai Baba, "is to see everyone as yourself and yourself in everyone." He says that when we serve, we are not serving others, we are serving the God in us, the same God who is equally present in others. It is this attitude that changes our service into selfless service, making it a spiritual activity. "The real value of this service," says Sathya Sai Baba, "is that it reforms us and reshapes us as we serve."
Sathya Sai Baba strongly emphasizes selfless service to those in need as the highest means for enhancing one's own spiritual growth and development. He teaches that it is not enough to simply do good works, but of equal importance is one's attitude during the service activity. The service worker must have an attitude of humility and appreciation for the opportunity to do any service activity. The opportunity itself is a gift from God. One should not dwell on the good that they are doing, or that activity will strengthen one's ego rather than help to reduce it. As Sathya Sai Baba teaches us:
"Selfless service is the fragrant flower of altruistic love. It is not to be performed for the satisfaction of the person rendering the service or the person at whose bidding it is done. Man should regard selfless service as the purpose for which he was given life. This feeling should flow through his very nerves and bloodstream and permeate every cell of his body. Whatever the work we do, we should do it as an offering to God for His pleasures. We should take up service activities for the purification of our own hearts."
"When you offer a meal to a hungry child, or a blanket to a shivering brother on the pavement, you are placing a gift of God into the hand of another gift of God."
"God serves; He allows you to claim that you have served! Without His will, no single blade of grass can quiver in the breeze. Fill every moment with gratitude to the Giver and the recipient of all gifts."