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.
While offering seva
for the very first time in Shree Muktananda Ashram, I learned about the meaning of gratitude. I learned that the words thank you
, said to me every time I offered seva,
were not just a polite expression. These two simple words grew into an abundance of gratitude and communicated all the love present. I carried this love and gratitude with me throughout my stay at the Ashram and gave it freely and in abundance. This deepened my connection with my heart and the heart of the Ashram.
Both gratitude and love continue to guide me every day in my life and work. I have come to understand that I can experience these wonderful qualities whenever I choose to focus on them—and that they increase when I share my heart with others.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for giving me this experience through the practice of seva
a Siddha Yogi from Nijmegen, Netherlands
Serving recently as a visiting sevite at Shree Muktananda Ashram moved me deeply. I felt I learned so much from offering seva
with others. I experienced the importance of discipline in seva
, and I saw that one can be disciplined in numerous ways. I learned the importance of watching my inner dialogue so that when I speak, I can be poised, confident, uplifting, and succinct. I understood that no matter what comes my way, I can remain centered and able to approach even challenging situations with equipoise.
a Siddha Yogi from North Carolina, USA
Since I started following the Siddha Yoga path in 1987, I have always offered seva
at the local Siddha Yoga Meditation Center. Every week I went to the Center to offer seva
and have satsang
. Then, when Gurumayi gave the Message for 2018, "Satsang,"
something inside me expanded. Now I feel I am offering seva
at every moment in my life, not only at the Center.
My attitude towards my worldly life has changed completely, and I can have satsang
in the middle of a busy day at work. My daily life is now the place of my sadhana
, the place I offer seva
. This new understanding makes me more free.
I realize that it is my attitude which makes the difference between seva
and work, between worldly life and spiritual life.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for this great gift of deeper understanding of my life.
a Siddha Yogi from Thun, Switzerland
When I went to a Siddha Yoga meditation center for the first time, I did not know anything about the Siddha Yoga path. When I arrived, I was greeted by some smiling and kind people, who I later discovered were hall monitors offering seva
Since I had arrived early, I sat quietly and waited for the beginning of satsang
. As I waited, I was filled with a desire to be like those hall monitors, and I rose and stood beside one of them. The woman turned to me and asked if I would like to offer seva
. I said yes. Then she showed me the place where I should stay. So, from my first moments on this path, I started offering seva. Seva
was my first Siddha Yoga practice.
Looking back, I realize that it was during that moment of strong desire to offer seva
that I experienced spiritual awakening and felt the presence—the darshan
—of the Guru.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for being so compassionate and offering me the blessing of being able to serve you.
a Siddha Yogi from Niteroi, Brazil
When I offer seva
, I experience sacredness, a connectedness within, and one-pointed attention on what I am doing.
I want to bring this same awareness to my work as a teacher. I am inspired by remembering the reason I teach—to serve children—and by remembering that, through the work of teaching, I am serving God.
a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA
Recently, while serving at Shree Muktananda Ashram as a visiting sevite, I was assigned to a seva
area that was new to me. Due to the compassionate communication of the supervisor and the loving attitude of all my fellow sevites,
I felt I was able to be productive and, above all, to learn a lot from the experience.
I understood that seva
is a life-transforming alchemy. While offering seva
I experienced gratitude, awareness, vigilance, inner strength, focus, timelessness and—essentially—happiness! Now that I am home, all these qualities are helping me in my daily sadhana,
and particularly in my meditation practice.
Thank you, Shri Gurumayi, for giving me the opportunity to experience your love and the love of the Siddha Yoga sangham
while offering seva.
a Siddha Yogi from Udaipur, India
A recent period of seva
has provided me the gift of self-confidence and a greater belief in my abilities. There are often times when I feel anxious or unknowledgeable about a particular task that I may be asked to do. I find afterwards that I’m very capable, and if there are things I didn’t know, or was unsure about, other sevites showed great compassion and patience when I was learning those tasks. Receiving such great compassion and understanding in these situations inspires me to offer the same compassion and understanding to others in my daily activities.
a Siddha Yogi from Michigan, USA
I recently offered an extended and focused period of seva
. As I offered this seva
, I kept in mind a quotation I saw on the Siddha Yoga path website from Gurumayi: “Whatever you do, remember to do it with excellence. There’s got to be heart in it.” This phrase is powerful for me: I wish to strive for excellence while always remembering to keep my heart moist. With this in mind, I felt more confident in the seva
I was offering.
Now that I am back to my normal routine, I have gained confidence in my work and home life. As I strive for excellence in my work, I know that keeping my heart in the picture is just as important as "getting the job done." In my home life, I am happier and more confident in my parenting skills.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for the gift of seva
a Siddha Yogi from Minnesota, USA
As I was reading the shares here about seva
, I felt that a huge mass of shakti
created by all the sevites around the world is transforming this planet day by day.
I’m so grateful to be immersed in this gift—the practice of seva
a Siddha Yogi from Madrid, Spain
Recently I have begun to notice whether I am offering seva
with a pure heart that does not want anything in return, or whether I have a private agenda in my offering, an expectation that is waiting to be fulfilled. As I have contemplated shaktipat
and become more aware of how much I have received from Gurumayi on the Siddha Yoga path, I have noticed that I can access a place inside my being that is full, that is lacking nothing. I have resolved to serve from that place. It is such a freeing experience.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for the Siddha Yoga practice of seva
, which guides me to access the inner light.
a Siddha Yogi from Hinwil, Switzerland
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