Seva is a Sanskrit word, which refers to the concept of selfless service: the practice of serving others as part of our spiritual growth. A deeper understanding of this concept can be found in its root words: “saha,” meaning “with that,” and “eva,” which means “too.” In combination, the direct translation is “together with,” conveying the deep sense of connection and learning which comes when we act from a place of compassion. When we are “together with” another, experiencing life through their perspective, the desire to assist, care for, and uplift comes naturally.
It is, therefore, the attitude with which we approach Seva that creates change within us. Seva is the open heart in action. Seva is not an act of servitude or coming from a place of feeling “less than.” We are not making up for something we feel is lacking in ourselves, seeking something in return, or attached to any particular outcome. Instead, we offer up the best of ourselves in an endless number of ways big and small. Seva can be a spontaneous act of kindness like carrying groceries for an elderly person, or volunteering to lead story hour at your local library, or through more organized efforts like building schools or houses or participating in community action. We share our time and energy, our talents and abilities, our wealth of knowledge as well as our financial resources to assist in improving the lives of others. In all these ways, we recognize our shared humanity and enjoy a deep sense of gratitude that we have the capacity to do so. We all benefit and grow from the experience of being together with each other in the spirit of oneness.
My own life has been immeasurably enriched through countless joyful experiences with two extraordinary organizations — Cornerstone Project and Manav Sadhna. In that spirit, I invite you to learn more here if your heart calls you to that action.
Every moment holds the potential to experience the sense of purpose and happiness which flows from being together with. Whether locally or globally, seek your Seva!