Small service is true service while it lasts: Of humble Friends, bright Creature; scorn not one; The Daisy, by the shadow that it casts, Protects the lingering dew-drops from the sun.
Aristotle once said that ‘man is by nature a political animal’. Man does not and cannot live outside the society and the State. He also said that ‘the purpose of man is not only to live life but to live a good life’.
We live in a society. We want to live good life in a peaceful society. We have certain duties and responsibilities towards our fellow-citizens. The service which is voluntarily rendered to the society and without self-interest is known as ‘social service’.
The nature of social service varies from place to place, according to the condition and demand of the society. For offering social service, one generally possesses a sense of patriotism-love for his country and his countrymen.
Narrow-mindedness has no place in social service. The participant’s heart must be broad enough to accommodate any difficulty or humiliation in course of his performing the noble duty towards the public.
In India, the famous social reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy or Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar had to pass through many hazards during their struggle for bringing benefit to the public, but they did not care to stop anywhere, while performing their sacred duty.
They marched with strong determination toward their goal. Rammohan was the instrument in abolishing the orthodox and evil practice of ‘Sati’, by enforcing the law passed by the Government on his initiative. Similarly, Vidyasagar was also the main person behind in Bill on Hindu Widow Re-marriage Act passed by the government. His own countrymen violently stood on his way. But he did not care for the drastic threats that were hinted even on his life.
So social service requires courage, strength of mind and broad outlook. Apart from the general services that are rendered by the members of the society in the matter of opening a school or a hospital or a library in a particular locality, serious occasions may also arise when sudden and destructive natural calamities appear in a part of the country, and then the social workers jump into the scene with all their might and determination to come to the rescue of the distressed.
They raise funds, beg for clothes, food and medicine for the relief of the sufferers be it a flood, a famine, an earthquake, a drought or a damaging fire in any area of the country or abroad. They come forward with open hands to help one and all, irrespective of their caste or creed. This is called true social service.
In India, there are a few charitable institutions like Ramakrishan Seva Pratisthan or Bharat Sevashram Sangha who always take active part in the service of the humanity, whenever there is a call for relief from any quarter. Indian youths should cooperate with them during such critical hours, if they are able to extend their helping hand independently.
Sri Ramakrishna said, ‘to serve mankind is to serve God’. He believed that in every human being, God lives. If one serves a person who really needs other’s help, he serves a living God.
‘Live and let live’ is a famous proverb. So every one of us should have the mind to let others live peacefully, as we ourselves live in the society. Whenever any help is needed by anyone near at hand, we should not hesitate to extend our helping hand to him. Thus all of us can live side by side happily and peacefully like civilized human beings.