by SS Sat Bachan Kaur Khalsa, Española NM, from the SDI Ministry Summer 2017 Newsletter
“Your reliability will give people the courage to trust you. Their trust will give you the power to carry a situation. A leader carries and serves people. Learn to lead as a ‘seva;’ people will love you, and you will continue to expand.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (February 2, 2004)
Seva is the path to merger with God without ego. Therefore a life of seva creates a deep joy. The purpose of life is to be happy and this guarantees it. It is the expression of our deepest heart-felt gratitude to the One who covers us always. He takes care of us with every breath, preserves our honor, and showers us with infinite blessings.
Our constant longing is to show this gratitude, through our reverence and devotion to God, Guru, Siri Singh Sahib Ji and all that is good in life. The way we do this is through seva!
“I am just a fool, O Nanak, but the Lord has appointed me to perform His service.” ||3|| Siri Guru Granth Sahib – Page 449 line 13 (Bhai Manmohan Singh translation)
To be the slave and servant of God brings immense security. This is the only boss we want. Sometimes people ask me why there are so many references to slave and servant in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
I answer that even though in the vernacular these words have a bad connotation, in the world of spirituality and the realm of our Gurus, they represent the best connotation: humility, surrender and faith.
Service to God’s Will has its own built-in rewards and benefits. With the recognition of these blessings comes the necessity to become more and more appreciative; appreciation turns to gratitude; gratitude turns to devotion; devotion turns to love; love turns to merger.
Service and Joy
I love this quote by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore:
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
By God’s glance of Grace we have been saved and even our honor has been preserved! How do we honor and serve Him who preserves our honor? We have so many failings and we continually make mistakes but Guru, in His kindness and compassion, keeps giving.
Embracing this humility we take nothing for granted. We recognize that we won the biggest lottery ever conceived. We want to give back. We strive to share our blessings , our time, our resources, our energy, our hope and our love with everyone. This is seva.
Whenever we sacrifice ourselves and live to uplift others, to elevate situations and to grace environments , these are the moments of seva; they bring the spark and miracle of grace, and this is our connection to God. This is seva.
Giving Hope to All
Every conscious act that brings out the best in others serves to give hope, so needed in today’s insecure world. These loving gifts of hope heal everyone, including ourselves. Witnessing the countless acts of seva that others perform with such sweet humility, day after day, we are all touched with fairy dust.
Magic happens. Goodness becomes exponential. We are all beads on one Mala and the Creator is the string which holds us all together.
Seva is our own best medicine for all that ails us. Seva is spiritual medicine. You can be social or you can be silent. Serving together forges the deepest bonds with others. I love it when a young man says to me “Oh, yes, I will see you at seva!” Seva gives purpose. Seva joins you to your Guru, who takes away your pain.
Many years ago Jerry, our jeweler friend from Los Angeles, gave me a white gold necklace with many tiny S’s strung along it, embedded with diamonds. At first I was delighted, as it reminded me of an ID bracelet (that I had never owned!) that was so popular when I was a teenager in the 1960s.
At last I had my ID “necklace,” with an “S” for Sat Bachan! Someone looking at it one day asked if it was a “$” sign. In response, I re-framed my ID necklace to be my “Sa Sa” necklace (Punjabi for the letter “S”).
Following the precedent used in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib of the Gurmukhi letters representing ideals, my ever-expanding “Sa Sa” list currently represents : Siri Guru Granth Sahib, Siri Singh Sahib Ji, Sadh Sangat, Sadhana, Sat Nam, Sukh Sahej, Service, Santokh, Shanti, Simran, Soul and Seva.
S – Servant and Slave
E – Effortless Energy
V – Verifies Values
A – Authenticity of the Servant who bows to the Ultimate Authority – God!
Living life through the eyes, hands, and heart of seva allows us to surrender to our faith and be carried by the miracle of Guru Ram Das. It doesn’t get any better than this. Wahe Guru!