True Meaning of Seva
Words of Wisdom
• Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita,
Na hi kascit ksanam api jatu tisthaty akarma-akrt |
Karyate hy-avasah karma sarvah prakrti-jair gunaih || (3.5)
It means that nobody in the world can remain without doing anything. We have to do at least something. And whatever we do, we should do using our Viveka (discretion) or discrimination, and we should not be guided by the impulses of the mind. When you have come to this world, do something good that benefits everybody. Do not stay entangled in thinking only what you will get.
There is nothing for you to take away from this world. You have come to give. You have come here to do something beneficial for everybody. And you should all get together in doing service. Do not complain that ‘I do not get any fun or pleasure in doing Seva’.
Doing Seva for the sake of deriving pleasure or some sort of satisfaction too is a very poor approach in life. If you are doing Seva because you get some sort of pleasure or enjoyment from it, then you will not sustain it for long. You serve because you have to. If you serve only to enjoy, then you are being selfish. You might have heard this short story before. Once a lady asked a Christian priest, ‘Father, what does service mean?’ The priest replied, ‘My dear, say you see an old lady trying to cross a busy road all by herself. Then helping her to cross the road safely is service’. So when someone heard this, they went out on the streets to look for such people who were trying to cross the road. But they did something quite opposite. They would approach elderly people and ask them, ‘Do you wish to cross the street?’ Though they said, ‘No’, these people forcefully held their hands and took them to the other end of the road (Laughter).
When the elderly person moved a little ahead, another person approached her and asked the same thing, ‘Do you wish to cross the street?’ When she again said ‘No’, he said, ‘No, no! You have to cross the street. I wish to do some service’. So the poor old lady was taken from one end of the road to the other and then again back to the same end. This happened some four or five times. She got frightened because of this. So, this is not seva. Seva means to do something for someone else without expecting anything in return. It means to do without the desire of any reward in return