Sewa: Selfless Service




- David Dhanoa


Sewa is one of our three pillars of Bhakti (Devotion) according to our way of life in the Sant Nirankari Mission. What does it mean? Why is it important? How can you do it?


Sewa means "selfless service". The word selfless is composed of two words "self" and "less", so in other words "less the self". The self here means false ego or the false self. According to the Brahm-Gyan, our real self is God which is represented as the soul in each being in the universe. Our personality, mind etc is our false sense of identity which is the perception of us through the eyes of maya (creation, or illusion in some senses). Most of what we do in our life has an objective or goal. For example such as to go to school to get an education, besides acquiring knowledge, I would say that majority of parents encourage a good education because it leads to a good career or business which in turn leads to money. So we go to school, work etc to earn money as the end goal. This satisfies our ego-self or personality which we identify with when we are in body-consciousness. But Sewa is different; here we are doing an activity without any goal or objective other than our Satguru would like us to do it and to serve mankind. In other words, we are doing this for the OTHERS. Until we reach a full enlightened consciousness where we are one with the Formless Lord we see the OTHER which is what is written here.


Sewa is done through Tan (body), Man (Mind, Feeling, and Emotions etc), Dhan (material things, ie money). So physically, mentally, and materially we can serve others. Baba Avtar Singh Ji used to say, " If you have a problem with your health, to physical sewa (construction, cleaning etc), if you have some emotional or mental issue help someone who has a similar problem and do simran, if you have money problems donate money to the Satsang and help the needy". Why is Sewa important? Sewa for many thousands of years has been a practice in many religions of the world and all of the prophets and saints of the world encouraged its practice.


Datavyamiti Yaddanam Deeyatenupa KarineDeshe Kale cha Patrecha Taddanam Sattvikam Smarutam


"That gift which is made to one who can make no return, with the feeling that it is one's duty to give,and which is given at the right place and time and to a worthy person, that gift is held sattvik" (best type).


Bhagvad Gita (chapter 17, verse 20)


Earn with hundreds of hands,and distribute with thousands" (Atharvaveda 3 -24-5)


But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,


14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."


Luke 14:13-14


If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?


18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.


I John 3:17-18


Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah's cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. Prophet Muhammed ( Hadith)


In the midst of this world, do seva, and you shall be given a place of honor in the Court of the Lord.


Says Nanak, swing your arms in joy! (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji p26)


A person, who devotes himself to the service of others, creates for himself a niche in their hearts Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj


When we serve others we are serving nothing other than ourselves. Through the eyes of Brahm-Gyan there is only ONE, Nirankar, Allah, God, Jevovah, Tao, Paramatma, Shiva, Hari, Govind etc., which pervades all of creation and every particle and atom. If this Supreme Spirit is everywhere, within us, without us there is even no distance between anything or anyone in the universe, there is only ONE. So when we are serving others we are serving ourselves, but not our false selves but the real self which is God or the soul. In a recent interview, Baba Hardev Singh Ji was asked why he refers to himself as Dass or servant. Babaji replied that he is the servant of Nirankar and that he sees the divine spark of God in each and every individual so he is also the servant of humanity. My dear saints, this is an example for what he wishes for us to develop as well !


This type of thinking is what leads into Sewa. In Sikh history there is one Gursikh who leads in an example of what Sewa really is, his name was Bhai Khaniya. He used to give water to wounded soliders in the battlefield, but what was unique was that he would give water to both his own army and the opposing armies as well. The soldiers of the Sikh army went to the Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji to complain about this Gursikh. The Satguru listened to the complaints and then asked that Bhai Khaniya be brought to the darbar. When Bhai Khaniya was brought to the darbar, the Satguru asked if the allegations about him were true and that he was serving water to all without distinction. Bhai ji responded that he was not aware who he was serving because all he saw was the Satguru ( Nirankar) in all he served. History declares that Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji hugged him and pronounced him a true Brahm-Gyani and told rest of the sangat that this is what a real sewadar should be.


So how can we do Sewa ?


- Help people physically

- Help someone cross the street if they need help

- Help Mahapurshas in the Bhawan (cleaning, construction etc)

- Donate your time to a soup kitchen or place where they cook for needy people

- Donate clothing or time to organization which will help the needy

- Help People mentally and emotionally

- Listen to people when they have problems

- Give people hope in times of distress

- Pray for people and help them get through there obstacles

- Help People Monetarily

- Donate money to Satsang

- Donate money to organizations which help the poor or needy

- Donate money to hospitals


The above are some examples, but basically help anyone and everyone you can whenever and with whatever they need. In the end of the day THEY (others) are really GOD.


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