It is seva that accelerates the sadhana of a seeker and lights the path to God.
There is a saying that it is easy to be a saint on a mountaintop, but the real proof comes when you return to the marketplace. On the Siddha Yoga path, we test our attainment and refine our understanding through the practice of seva, or selfless service. As we work with others in a spiritual environment, we have a practical means to put the Siddha Yoga teachings into action.
During the practice of seva, we perform familiar activities—whether cooking, cleaning, teaching, or working at the computer—with a focus on the Self, with awareness. Siddha Yoga students offer seva at Siddha Yoga retreats, meditation centers, and ashrams, creating a tangible offering of love in action.
In her message for 2000, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda spoke about "uninterrupted loving service" as a way to dissolve that which separates us from the constant experience of divine love. As we cultivate an attitude of service, we learn how to make all of our life's work service to God; all aspects of our life become yoga. Ultimately, we come to understand that serving humanity and serving God are one and the same.
Reading this explanation of seva,
and contemplating the most recent seva
I offered, I can say that seva
has shown me how to apply the principle of seeing God in each other and to integrate it into my daily life.
Having practiced this principle within the environment of the Ashram—on the mountaintop, I now know I can bring it into the challenges of my work environment—the marketplace—as I practice seeing God in others and in myself as well.
a Siddha Yogi from Michigan, USA
When I consider how the practice of seva
has transformed my life, I remember with gratitude the impact of offering seva
when I was a young mother of a large family. It was a very busy time in my life, yet time always opened up to allow me to offer seva
. Being able to do this brought me so much joy. I remember how energized I would feel, how inspired and joyous I was in my daily family life as a result.
A friend asked me once, "How can you offer seva
when you already have so much to do?" I remember answering with absolute certainty, "It’s because I offer seva
that I can do all the other things in my life." And it's because of what seva
has taught me that I have learned to offer all these things as "love in action."
a Siddha Yogi from Adelaide, Australia