10.1 In the Samvat year 1876, on Mãgshar sud 13 [29th November, 1819], Shreeji Mahãrãj was sitting in Dãdã Khãchar’s darbãr in Gadhadã. He was dressed entirely in white clothes. A sabhã of paramhans, as well as haribhaktas from various places, had gathered before Him.
10.2 Then, Shreeji Mahãrãj said, “Once, when I was travelling from Venkatãdri to Setubandh Rãmeshvar, I came across a sãdhu by the name of Sevak-Rãm. He had studied Shreemad Bhãgvat and other Purãns. During his journey, he fell ill. With him, he had a thousand rupees worth of gold coins. However, as he had no one to nurse him, he began to cry. I consoled him, and said, ‘Do not worry about anything. I shall look after you’.
10.3 “On the outskirts of the village, there was a banana orchard, where there was a banyan tree that was home to a thousand ghosts. The sãdhu had become extremely ill and was unable to walk any further. I felt extreme pity for him. So I prepared a bed of banana leaves oneand- a-half feet high under the banyan tree. As the sãdhu was suffering from dysentery and was passing blood, I would wash him and attend to him.
Lord Swaminarayan believes in practicing first and then preaching. In spite of being the almighty God, He washed stool of a saint, He attended a saint and served the saint. It also teaches us that serving the ill is a form of selfless service.
10.4 “He would give me enough of his money to buy sugar, ghee, and grains for himself. I would bring the ingredients, cook them, and then feed him. As for myself, I would go to the village for my meals. On some days, when I did not receive any food from the village, I had to do upvãs. Despite this, that sãdhu never once said to me, ‘I have enough money. Cook for both of us so that you may dine with me’.
We can see that Sevakram did not treat God well, in spite of God treating him so well at the time of illness. Then too God continued to serve him since he was not well.
10.5 “After serving the sãdhu for two months in this way he began to recover. Then, as we walked towards Setubandh Rãmeshvar, he made me carry his belongings weighing about twenty kilograms, whereas he walked with only a mãlã in his hand. By then, he was healthy and capable of digesting half a kilogram of ghee, yet he still made me carry his load while he walked empty-handed. In actual fact, my nature was such that I would not keep even a handkerchief with me. But respecting him as a sãdhu, I walked carrying his belongings weighing twenty kilograms.
10.6 “Although I served that sãdhu and helped him recover, he did not offer me even a single penny worth of food. Therefore, realising him to be ungrateful, I abandoned his company. In this way, a person who does not appreciate favours done by others should be known as a krutaghni.
Now, even after recovering from the illness, Sevakram continued to treat God like a servant. Then God realized that Sevakram is ungrateful. This is what we need to understand, that there no point serving ungrateful persons. Because serving them I like putting something in a black hole, it will just consume our efforts to zero.
Now, let us define ungrateful people. What happens is, whenever we serve anyone except God, those efforts get consumed zero, because it is just a matter of time that we will realize, that here is nothing worth saving other than God. We get punya by doing good deeds which will lead to happiness in this life and the next, but it would not lead to liberation. That is why, just serving people is useless in the sense of liberation.
Then what about serving humans, animals etc, then serving them with an understanding that God is present in them is called true service. That is how we should serve others.
There are some exceptions, parents, Guru , ill people and poor are to be served without question, with no compromise and there is no need to differentiate people.
Serving God in this way, by serving people as an image of God is acceptable, but negating God and serving people is not acceptable, as it dissolves the existence of God.
10.7 “In addition, if a person has committed a sin but has performed the prãyshchit for it as written in the shãstras, then whoever still considers him a sinner should himself be considered a sinner, just like a krutaghni.”
A person who has atoned for his sins should no longer be treated as a sinner, because he atoned according to the scriptures and has no longer the tendency to commit sins. But if a person continues to sin even after atonement, then it is utmost important to abandon that person.