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The service of great spiritual Realizers to humanity is given in a great variety of forms—and such service does not, in general, conform merely to conventional conceptions of "doing good". In fact, the Realizer's blessing rarely takes the form of conventional social work. Such beings often do not appear publicly, and in some cases they do not even speak. The outward blessing-work of a Spiritual Realizer depends on his or her particular life and calling, and the particular need of the time. Traditionally, it is said that even for a Realizer to simply live in a cave, radiating peace, is a great help and benefit to humankind.
The French Catholic philosopher, Jacques Maritain, when asked why he felt the world did not destroy itself, replied it was because of the prayers of the monks in the monasteries. Swami Vivekananda answered the same question by saying that the spiritual culture of India for centuries had provided the blessing-power that saved the world.
Ramana Maharshi (who was alive at the same time as Mahatma Gandhi), was often asked by his devotees why he did not do such work as Gandhi's and thereby help the world. He would reply, "How do you know I do not?" Ramana Maharshi often remarked, "A Self-Realised being cannot help benefitting the world. His very existence is the highest good." When he was asked why great men cannot solve the problem of the misery of the world, he replied:
M: They are ego-centered which is the cause of their inability to help. If they remained in the Self, they would be different.
Devotee: Why do not Mahatmas help?
M: How do you know they do not help? Public speeches, physical activity and material help are all outweighed by the silence of Mahatmas. They accomplish more than others.
The fact that great beings are the greatest blessing, and that they positively affect the course of the world, has always been understood in traditional cultures. For example, it is believed by the devotees of Narayan Maharaj, that through his spiritual blessing he was instrumental in the final resolution of World War II. He took great interest in the activities of the Allies and the Nazis. He kept a large portable radio with him, and every day a devotee would be asked to listen to the Berlin Review at 8:00 and the BBC report at 9:30. The devotee would prepare a detailed report for Narayan Maharaj. He wanted to know about all phases of the battle—on land, at sea, and in the air. He kept a map of Europe, so that he could monitor the situation of the Allies, how far the Nazis had come, and so forth.
As the war continued, while soldiers were being wounded and dying, mysterious wounds would appear on the body of Narayan Maharaj with no apparent cause—on his fingers, on his feet, and on his torso. He had to be bandaged three or four times a day. He could not walk. He could not eat with his own hands. When questioned about the relationship between the spontaneous appearance of wounds on his body and the war in Europe, he refused to talk about it. Through all of this, his devotees felt that he was wearing out his body. Finally, on September 3, 1945, Narayan Maharaj was told that the British had landed in Japan. He said, "The war is over. My work is finished." He passed from his body later that day.


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