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 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.
has helped me to become more steady and contented in my daily life.
Through offering seva
, I’ve noticed dramatic and remarkable changes happening within me. To my amazement, limitations and insecurities have been disappearing, and I often experience instances when my mind and body become enveloped in a deep and sweet stillness and serenity. I notice that I respond more and more to others without reacting and with a clear mind. As I offer myself to the practice of seva
, I feel that my whole being is being wondrously transformed, as layers of invisible impurities clear away, revealing more of the divine being who’s been hidden underneath.
New York, United States
In my recent years of offering seva
as a visiting sevite at Shree Muktananda Ashram, I have seen the people offering seva
in my department putting Gurumayi’s teachings into practice. Again and again, I have witnessed them embodying the virtues, conducting themselves with courtesy and respect, clarity and precision, and aiming for the highest standard in all things. Seeing this has been consistently uplifting, encouraging, and inspiring for me. It has shown me the power of the Siddha Yoga culture and the support it provides to me and to each individual to rise to the highest level in attitude and conduct. I have experienced how fertile a field for creativity such an atmosphere – inner and outer – can provide and how contagious this positivity can be. I am so grateful for this experience, and I intend to keep applying what I have learned to all areas of my daily life.
New York, United States
During my recent seva
visit to Shree Muktananda Ashram, I found that the seva
I offered allowed me to focus in a new way on the third line of Gurumayi’s Message for this year. I found myself repeating the same actions nearly every day and this helped me to change my perception of repetition. I discovered how wonderful it is that each and every day these same actions have to be performed—because a new element is revealed each time they are done. Each time it is a new experience.
My understanding of seva
has also deepened. I learned that it is okay to make mistakes; the important thing is to learn from them. I also learned that one of the most important attributes that allows someone to offer seva
with excellence is the utmost attention and respect for every detail.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for further deepening my understanding and love of the practice of seva
New York, United States
Each morning before I begin to offer seva
at Shree Muktananda Ashram, I recommit to my life-purpose statement: “I am here to serve exuberant joy.”With this clear focus I am able to notice when my mind attaches itself to the outcome of a particular task. In that moment I have a choice: to focus on the outcome, allowing my attachment to the fruits to influence the seva
—or to focus on joy. Holding the awareness that seva
is a spiritual practice alongside “I am here to serve exuberant joy” makes it easy for me to re-engage with joy and bring that
energy to the task, as well as to the team with whom I am offering seva
. In this way the tasks seem to advance by themselves, and the seva
becomes infused with a lightness and sense of fun.
I continue to rediscover that my sadhana
deepens exponentially as I strengthen my commitment to the practice of seva
. This supports my ever-quieter mind in connecting with the essence of joy inherent in each moment.
New York, United States
Through offering seva
as a visitor at Shree Muktananda Ashram, I have been able to see where I hold myself back, where my mind turns negative, and where I don’t give of myself fully. I’ve also come to experience the space, objects, and people around me as external aspects of myself, such that my interactions and approach to all now reverberate within the inner space of my heart.
As a result, any impurity in my mind or actions inevitably creates a subtle inner friction, separating me from a state of serenity and from union with the divine. Via my experience within myself, I’m better able to perceive my impact on the outer world of people, objects, and spaces.
From these seva
experiences, I’ve also grown more aware—while back at work in the world—of moments when my mind wanders, when my stance of serving slackens, and when I’m not giving my fullest and my best. My awareness and practice of realigning are growing more consistent and, with that, my alignment with grace returns.
New York, United States
During one experience of offering seva
, my mind became silent and I experienced the sweetest bliss arising from my heart. This blissful silence enveloped me for a long time as I offered all of myself to the seva
and to serving the highest. From this state, I could see recurrent moments when my reactive mind had hooked into negative thinking. It became clear that, in those instances, I had lost connection with the flow of grace. Yet as I guided my awareness back to my heart, my breath, and the mantra, my connection to the flow of grace readily returned.
This practice of residing in my heart, immersed in the mantra and my breath, without hooking into any thoughts at all, has stayed with me in daily life. Whenever I remember to let go of thought, to move into the heart space, and to reconnect with the breath, I am offered increasing access to the flow of grace, and to the most scintillating and nourishing states of silence and bliss.
New York, United States
I love that seva
is not merely work. When I offer seva
, a power greater than myself carries me, and I have found that I am capable of so much more than I had thought.
London, United Kingdom
Recently I prepared to offer seva
by contemplating this practice. First I read Gurumayi’s talk “Seva
Creates a Pond of Nectar.” Then, with my heart full of love and enthusiasm and my intention before me, I focused on my seva
task. I embraced the need to be disciplined and to call on my highest understanding. Through offering seva
in this way, I felt my sadhana
deepen as I experienced joy and love for all. I could feel this experience of seva
connecting me with my inner self.
I understood that just as I performed this seva
with no expectation of reward, I can integrate this same approach in my day-to-day chores. As I offer my work with heart, sincerity, and focus, then I can enjoy the work and whatever benefit it brings to others.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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."