Seva: Work is Worship

Seva is a Sanskrit word for selfless service which is performed without any expectation of result or award for the person performing it. The idea of selfless service (seva also sewa) is an important concept in most Indian religions and yogic traditions.

Because God is perceived as having a relationship with others, as well as oneself, serving other people is considered an essential devotional practice of indirectly serving God. Service to make life easier for others. It is one of central tenets of Sikhism. "Living creatures are nourished by food, and food is nourished by rain; rain itself is the water of life, which comes from selfless worship and service." - Bhagavad Gita, 3.14.

Selfless service is also important in Christianity. Jesus often preached it and both Peter and Paul, respectively, wrote about it.

Service (seva) to Maharajji is often service to others and indeed to everyone. Your seva within Maharajji’s ashrams is usually simple. There are prescribed guidelines for caretakers, ashram staff and pujaris. Much of the seva with the ashram revolves around food preparation and distribution, as well as attending to the cleanliness and good order of the ashram. This seva must be done without intruding your personal thoughts into the execution of your duties. One would clear their mind to accomplish these seva duties.

Maharajji said, “Work has to be done. What is to be done tomorrow must be done today, and what is to be done today must be done right now.”

Devotees of Maharajji perform seva for Him in many ways. Deep devotees literally serve Him with almost every action they take. All actions are performed as selfless service to Maharajji. Within Maharajji’s ashrams, seva is performed in food preparation, chai making, food service, dishwashing, cleaning, doing laundry, building construction & maintenance, gardening, caring for elderly and infirmed persons, office work, gathering supplies, and various duties with the temple(s).

Outside of the ashrams, seva is the dedication of all your actions to Maharajji, to the Supreme God consciousness, in whatever form they may take within your job, within your business, within your family, within your community, and in all forms. For Maharajji’s devotees, this means that anything and everything you do is dedicated to Maharajji as seva. When seva is performed, one does everything possible to make the result of the seva as perfect and correct as possible, although you cannot be attached to how the results look to you when all is said and done. Performance of seva correctly is for your own benefit as well as those being served. An important attribute is that within your act of seva is an infusion of Love and positive intention. This Love and positive intention benefits the server and the served.

Maharajji said, “Work is worship.”

You want to spend your time in seva as a meditation upon Maharajji to help you hear what Maharajji wants you to do. The preparation of food has some specific rules. In American culture this has come to be called, “cooking with intention.” Yet intention implies a thought process. With the food preparation of the ashram is a quality of removing yourself and your mind from the equation and thereby being a channel for Maharajji to put whatever intention He wishes into the food. We never taste the food while cooking before it is offered to Maharajji.

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