Reflecting on the Sublime Practice of Seva

A Letter by a Siddha Yoga Student

September 1, 2015

Dear Siddha Yogis,

It is my pleasure to share with you that the teaching focus for the month of September is the Siddha Yoga practice of seva.

Seva is an ancient spiritual practice. This Sanskrit word means to serve, honor, and worship. On the Siddha Yoga path, seva is selfless service offered to the Guru and performed as a pure offering, without attachment to the results of one’s actions.

This past summer, I celebrated 30 years of following this beloved Siddha Yoga path. In that time, I have offered seva in many different ways. For example, I have served on staff and as a visiting sevite in the SYDA Foundation Dakshina Department and as finance coordinator and satsang host at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in San Diego. I have always cherished the practice of seva as a way to express my gratitude to Gurumayi for her boundless grace.

I have been reflecting on how my understanding and experience of seva is illuminated by Gurumayi’s Message for 2015:

Turn
Inward
Meditate
Easefully

Several years ago, I was invited to offer seva as the host for the Global Siddha Yoga Shaktipat Intensive in honor of Baba Muktananda’s Mahasamadhi. I knew I was invited to serve in this role because of my experience and expertise as a public speaker. Yet, this particular seva felt like a stretch for my skill set and would likely take me out of my comfort zone.

While I was pondering how to respond to the invitation, I reminded myself that this was no ordinary work—this was seva and, no matter what, there could only be learning and growing. Besides, I loved offering seva! So, I accepted the invitation with an enthusiastic "Yes!"

The preparation for hosting the Shaktipat Intensive required one-pointedness and focus, and I was fortunate to be offering seva with supportive and respectful teammates. Their love of the Guru inspired me. I made a firm resolve to offer my whole heart and all of my enthusiasm to the seva and to put my self-doubts aside. I decided to make an effort to see God in myself and to ask for grace every step of the way.

In the weeks leading up to the Intensive, while at times it was challenging for me, I had an experience of amazing transformation. I was constantly communicating with my team, listening to feedback, and applying what I learned. Something significant was happening on the inside too. I began to notice that in the short periods I was not focused on seva, whether I was taking care of my children, working, or doing household chores, my mind was completely still. Usually, I would have been fatigued with all that I had on my plate, yet every part of my life was energized. From the stillness and quiet of my own mind came a newfound joy that had spread from the inside out.

During this project, I committed to sit for meditation every day no matter how busy I was. I was amazed at what I experienced with that commitment. When I would sit to meditate, without effort I would fall into very deep states where my body and my thoughts were completely still. In this space, sometimes I would feel my own heart pulsating with love and a quiet energy. Other times, there was just utter stillness; nothingness. It was glorious! I would come out of meditation filled with awe and gratitude, completely rejuvenated. This was such an amazing shift of perception for me. Before, I thought I had to work very hard in meditation to still my mind. By carrying the same intention with which I performed seva into my meditation practice, it too became completely effortless and full of joy. The experience of seva and meditation had become one and the same.

During this month of September, I invite you to learn more about the practice of seva by studying the teachings on the Siddha Yoga path website and Gurumayi’s talk "Seva Creates a Pond of Nectar" in her book Enthusiasm.

May the practice of seva unfold great joy within you!

Warm regards,
Nandani Bhargava
A Siddha Yoga Student

About Nandani Bhargava

Nandani Bhargava has been following the Siddha Yoga path since 1985, when she participated in a Shaktipat Intensive in Montreal, Canada.

Nandani serves as a visiting sevite in the SYDA Foundation Dakshina Department and as a host for satsangs at the Siddha Yoga meditation center in San Diego, California. During the 1990s she served as an SYDA Foundation staff member at Shree Muktananda Ashram in the Dakshina Department and as a logistical coordinator and content producer for Siddha Yoga courses. Over the years, Nandani has also served as a member of the steering committee of the Siddha Yoga meditation center in Montreal, as finance coordinator and a member of the board of directors at the Siddha Yoga meditation center in San Diego, and on the planning team for Kishor and Yuva retreats at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland.

Nandani has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from McGill University in Montreal and a master’s degree in financial management from National University in San Diego. She works as a finance and accounting manager in San Diego, where she lives with her husband, Normand, and their children, Chaitanya and Neel.

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