The general answer to this question is ‘No’. There are some people who are keen on addressing needs of society, but they maintain a distance from knowledge of God. There are some people who are active in rituals and prayers, but maintain as distance from social service activities. No matter what the activity is, it is a spiritual activity (even if the doer accepts it or not)! How is that true?

Take yourself for example. You are in a human body. There are two entities here (you and your body). Expand the scope of yourself to the entire existence governed by God (the omnipotent form). There are again two entities for this larger scope, the divine soul and the divine body of God. The divine body of God is everything that is visible (all species, nature and the entire existence). The divine soul of God is personified bhakti that is visible to us in the form of true devotees, such as alwars and their conduct. 

So, as part of social service – if you are lending a helping hand to a poor student,  or planting a tree, or researching a creative idea to clean the environment, or nursing a patient in a hospital during this critical coronavirus times, you are in every way serving the divine body of God.   

Thus, a social service is a spiritual activity. There are other forms of God such as Deity, where the priests offer their services as per the a:gama section of the Vedic scriptures . They offer service to the Deity form of God. Therefore, a religious activity and a social service activity are both spiritual by nature. Whether one does it by realizing this or not, it is a fact. But, if one realizes this eternal truth, then every activity is associated to serving God (either through the omnipotent form or through the Deity form).

It is wonderful that Sriman Yadagiri Goud and his team are serving God through serving the needs of the society. They are supporting women to stand on their own by donating sewing machines. They are standing by the poor students with financial assistance. They are encouraging creative artists by recognizing their skills.

Ultimately, because they recognize that they are doing their duty of serving God through these activities, they remain humble and devoted to the cause (otherwise, there is a chance of developing ego!)

– From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji
– Ravindra Bharathi, Padmamohana Trust Inauguration Event