What is Seva?

"One should see any opportunity to serve as a rare and precious gift... and never waste such an opportunity.”

 

— Amma

Selfless service

Seva is a word from Sanskrit, one of the ancient languages of India. Seva is best translated as “selfless service.” This kind of service is done simply for the wellbeing of others and the world, without intending any personal gain or benefit.

 

A spiritual practice

There are many spiritual practices one can follow, such as prayer, meditation, or attending temple or church services. Selfless service is a spiritual practice that works in harmony with other practices. Amma explains that, “only action performed with an attitude of selflessness can help you to go deeper into meditation. And real meditation will happen only when you have become truly selfless, because it is selflessness that removes thoughts and takes you deep into the silence.”

 

Gaining selflessness

While we may not start out with a completely selfless attitude, Amma offers us encouragement. She says:

 

Amma's humility and selflessness are profoundly inspiring

Action performed with a spirit of selflessness is far superior to action performed with selfish motives. A person who is inspired by the ideal of selflessness is less attached to the action and more dedicated to the ideal of selflessness. This attitude of selflessness has a beauty of its own. As you feel the bliss and joy of selfless action more and more, you enter deeper and deeper into a state of selflessness and meditation.

 

So in the beginning, just feel inspired by that very ideal. Love the ideal; be inspired by it. In the beginning it is a conscious and deliberate attempt. As you feel more and more inspired by the ideal of selflessness, you start working from your heart. By the very performance of the work, a joy will spring forth from deep within you. Eventually it will become spontaneous.