Seva, or selfless service, is an integral part of the spiritual path. We perform seva in many aspects of life and seva in the service of the guru is one such aspect. Such seva is accomplished in many ways. Helping at retreats, workshops or public programs where Ma is present is one way. Being active with our local groups, hosting meditation programs, webcasts is another. Reaching out to fellow disciples in need is yet another. No matter what situation, seva has the power to transform.
Sharing these experiences is a great way to understand the benefits and power of seva, so please send us an experience that you’d like to share of a time when you had the opportunity to be of service to the Guru or the Guru’s work in any context.
To contribute a short experience (of a paragraph or less), you are welcome to write or copy and paste your seva experience in the field below. You can send us a larger experience by clicking the contact tab above. If you would like to send a recording or something by mail, let us know using the contact form and we’ll get back to you and tell you how to do that.
The following seva experiences written by disciples express the wonders of this practice.
The only time I remember Shri Dhyanyogiji telling me directly about seva took place several years ago at the Soquel ashram or Svargadham as Guruji named it. We had cleared some ground to plant a garden and I was preparing the ground for planting. “Seva” was a common word; we heard it daily at the ashram. That day Guruji came outside while I was working. He observed for a moment and said, “That is good seva.” I reflected on his words and my activity. I was engrossed silently in the work, so much so that very little else took my attention. To use a Zen term, “mindfulness” might best describe my state, though I don’t know much about Zen. I think true seva is an experience where the actions unify heart and mind, and of course, repeating a mantra or God or Guru’s name at the same time makes a difference all its own.
I remember one retreat when I was completely focused on seva, nothing else, completely on the look out for what needed to be done and doing it. It was like flowing from breeze to breeze, being in the dance of the whole thing. It was wonderful, like being in a musical piece. I just flowed with it as it came. It was lovely. It was like doing the garba. The more focused I got, the more beautiful it became.
A rosebud opens and displays the wonders of nature as it gives of itself to all who come. It gives until it cannot give anymore. It touches all who have been blessed to see it, then in sweet surrender, it offers itself up and dies. This to me is a life of service. We have seen this selfless service reflected in every aspect of Guruji’s life, and now we see this extraordinary lifestyle being carried on through Shri Anandi Ma and Bapuji. What service we can offer is always humbled by what we receive in return. Every moment spent in giving opens us up for tremendous growth potential, forgetting ourselves, and surrendering.
Serving the Guru is not always easy. There was a time that I had not seen the Gurus for about two years, as my husband and I were out of the country. On our return, I made plans to spend some time with Anandi Ma and Bapuji. How excited I was as I began to visualize how we would chat and sit around sharing experiences. However, to my surprise there was a very casual greeting followed by an almost silent lunch! After lunch, Anandi Ma showed me where the cleaning supplies were, with some instruction that after cleaning the walls in the kitchen, the living room also needed to be cleaned well. She then left me there alone, as they had some business to attend to. With hurt feelings, the work was completed, and I decided to sit down for a while. Just then, Anandi Ma came in and said, “You’re finished?” As she looked around, it was plain to see that she wasn’t happy with the work so far. She again left the room, and it was back to work for me for another two hours, after which she said it was nice to see me, and hoped I could come again soon. So it was back to the bus and then the train to my friends and thereafter back on the plane to the Los Angeles. It took me a while to get over that!
Who can understand the Guru’s leela?! Everything focused on serving that day – as they were doing. If we pray and serve without expectations, and offer all we do with love, we will surely receive all the means to carry out the task at hand! May we always have the opportunity to serve, and the wisdom to be grateful for it. Humbly I give my heart and my life to the lotus feet of my Guru.
A slideshow about seva can be found here.