Which preposition would be more appropriate to indicate the object of the action in the expression "the service (of/to/?) somebody"?
(1) People in general are averse to the service of the Lord.
(2) By engaging steadily in the service of Bhagavān, ...
In both examples the intended meaning is that the noun after the preposition is the object of the action, i.e. the recipient of the service.
However, the main meaning of the "of" preposition, I believe, is "belonging to" or similar. In this light, the expression "service of the Lord" may be understood as "service performed by the Lord". Therefore, this preposition seems ambiguous. How would I understand "the service of my friend"? Is my friend a doer or a recipient of the service?
Google NGrams shows that "service of the Lord" is used much more often than "service to the Lord" - link. Maybe it's a set expression. However, if we use another object ("the country"), the "to" preposition is more frequent - link.
Note: In my opinion, both examples have nothing to do with the set expression 'in the service of', even though the second example seems to be the same.
used after nouns formed from verbs. The noun after ‘of’ can be either the object or the subject of the action.
- the arrival of the police (= they arrive)
- criticism of the police (= they are criticized)
- the shouts of excited children
- This is clearly the work of more than one person.
- the arrival of our train
It seems my case is similar: the noun after the "service of" can be treated as the object of the action. In the examples above in most cases it is clear whether the noun is an object or a subject. But even here, in "criticism of the police", how would you know that this is not a "critisicm by the police"?