Is it Really Seva?
I believe in seva. Seva, or selfless service, is a way we scrub off karma that might negatively affect spiritual progress. The question I’m asking is, should I do seva with the idea that this will end the endless cycle of births and deaths? Or should my intention be to serve with no thought of reward or praise or even “good feelings” within myself? Which intention has more meaning for my spiritual advancement? I have heard Yogiji pray, “Oh God, bless me with service no one knows of but me and thee.”
I have done seva with the set up crews at Winter and Summer Solstices and it has truly been its own perfect reward. In fact, it was hardly even work! It was a joy because of the people I worked with and the work I did, which served everyone by providing clean bathrooms, working showers, a pristine tantric shelter, etc.
I remember when Yogiji walked by the bathroom at his cabin at Lake Winona (a previous Winter Solstice site) as another plumber and I were trying desperately to solve a “drainage” problem before he arrived. There was no smile from him nor words of praise—just a look that connected deep in my soul. There we were working on something so ‘first chakra,’ and a saint looked at us and just saw two saints. Regardless of how many brownie points that was worth in the akashic records, I can honestly say that I have gotten more out of such seva than I have put into it. It makes me wonder—is it really seva if I benefit more than the people I am serving?
The last year that I headed the Summer Solstice grounds crew, Yogiji came up to inspect the site. It was an honor to host him and make sure he had a comfortable chair to sit on, and food was provided, and to introduce him to the crew members. He said only a few words to me that day, but I felt more than rewarded. I felt as though my job was done not for my benefit or even for his, but for the many people who arrived a few days later. They knew only a very few of the crew and for me, that was fine.
Karta Purkh S. Khalsa, B.S., M.A.has been theDirector of the 3HO Kundalini Yoga Center of Missouri, Inc. since 1980. He has taught Kundalini Yoga since 1976. He is a certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer for Levels I and II, an Adjunct Professor at UMKC, a published writer, and award-winning photographer. [Karta Purkh's weblog]