by SS Har Nal Kaur Khalsa, Espanola NM
Real seva comes from the heart: “Out of love you give selflessly to those who ask and those who don’t ask. When you are a giver, then your faculty and God’s faculty become the same. That is divinity.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (September 4, 2001)
“Love is seva. It’s offering yourself to increase the vitality, the surroundings of somebody, giving somebody grace.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (July 10, 1995)
Love, joy, devotion and inspiration are aspects of a shining radiant body, our 10th body, represented by Guru Gobind Singh.
Any job you do with love of God/Guru in your heart, is seva. You become one with what you are doing. It does not matter if you are cleaning, cooking, gardening, nursing, serving the Gurdwara or a dharmic business, doing community volunteer work, etc. You may do the same thing every day. Whenever you are complaining, it is not seva!
Recall a time when you were plugging along doing what you had to do, and then something changed and everything started flowing effortlessly and smoothly. You were elevated into a very happy or neutral and even divine dimension.This is Guru’s Grace.
At that time, when “you have love in you, you are One with You inside yourself.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (May 22,1993)
Bhakti and Shakti
From doing Bowing Jaap Sahib, it occurred to me that Guru Gobind Singh is a combination of Bhakti and Shakti. The Guru, the Sound Current, chanted with devotion—Bhakti—gives you the inspiration and energy—Shakti!
Every day Guru Gobind Singh’s warriors did 100 recitations of Japji and Jaap Sahib. This is possible because the banis go on automatic pilot from having been chanted so much. That is how each warrior had the strength and stamina to fight single-handedly against 100 or more soldiers. (Reference from a Jaap Sahib course). The Sound Current uplifts and strengthens you and enhances the radiant body.
The Slok of Japji says, “Those who have meditated on the Naam and departed after having worked by the sweat of their brow, Nanak, their faces are radiant in the Court of the Lord.”
“The science of simran is nothing but to have the immense power of seva. Service. Through service you win the world. There is no other way known to man…”—The Siri Singh Sahib (May 5, 1975)
Through simran, you gain the power to do seva. Sometimes it is not easy to chant God’s Name with your every breath, as it dictates in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. How long can you do it? This is a gift of Guru’s Grace.
Seva is enhanced by listening to kirtan, doing ishnaan seva, cooking and serving langar. The Seva Sadhana program in Espanola project is a great example of how a few inspired people can uplift the entire group!
Another way to enhance your seva any time, is to “create all power within you through the virtue of the breath. Feel God within you with each breath and the universe around you with each sound.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (August 8, 2000)
“If you give time to the spirit and soul, you can be more excellent than all the professions in the world. Because as all rivers come to the ocean, every profession seeks spiritual guidance.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (January 10, 1997)
We often think we do not have time to do seva, but the upliftment we get from it helps us to be more efficient and creative when we go back to our other tasks!
When you are inspiring others to do seva, it helps to remember what the Siri Singh Sahib taught. He said: “[everyone] loves their sovereignty. So to be spiritual is to love everyone’s sovereignty and not to control or negate them, but give them something new to help out.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (January 7, 1990)
“You are asking people to do seva to uplift their spirits and help them be more in touch with their souls. It is not just to help you out and get a job done. The biggest gift to a person is to find him/herself. All beings must find their being-ness.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (May 1, 1975)
“What is service? Tolerance towards direction of gainful profit. So it’s a business! You have to tolerate the other person’s nuisance and direct him/her with your energy so that he/she may gain, and thus feel happy. … His/her ultimate gain is that he/she goes into the infinity of the gain and that is God.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (May 1, 1975)
So seva is selfless service done from the heart, with patience and tolerance, to help uplift others into being One with their own being-ness, with God inside themselves.
Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa! Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!
About the Author
SS Har Nal Kaur Khalsa has lived in Espanola, NM since 1977. She has been a student of Siri Singh Sahib ji for 44 years, a minister of Sikh Dharma for 23 years, and a member of Khalsa Council for around 15 years. Har Nal was an RN for 31 years; during that time her other jobs included homecare, hospice, nursing to our children at school in India and at Children’s Camp at Ram Das Puri. She was married to Gurubhai Singh, who passed away on January 30, 2016. For the past two years, Har Nal has worked as the Akhand Path Sevadar for Hacienda de Guru Ram Das. She enjoys traveling, hiking, hot springs, playing kirtan, Dances of Universal Peace, painting (for self-processing), movies, taking workshops, and being with her friends and the Sadh Sangat.