The Sanskrit word Seva translates directly as “thread”, implying that all things are connected in the thread of existence. To engage with one is to engage with the whole. Likewise, to serve one is to serve the whole.
In its current use, seva is a spiritual practice of selfless service, springing from two forms of yoga, Karma Yoga which is the yoga of action, and Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of worship inspired by divine love. Seva can be as simple as helping a child cross a street, or as difficult as caring for refugees in a war torn land a world away. Nevertheless, seva is one of the most profound and life changing of practices. However we chose to express our own unique seva practice, we ultimately test our altruism and put our spiritual knowledge into action.
Through the spirit of selfless action, when we have nothing to gain and nothing to lose by not doing, performing Seva all the time to our family, and our activities, we attain that height of realization whereby our mind becomes absorbed in God. The practice of Seva becomes a path to self-realization which is the essence of yoga.
Seva should be done with no expectation of reward or even acknowledgment of the work that is done. We serve not to convert or save a soul, but simply to serve and for no other reason. No strings attached. No carrots. Make yourself invisible and do acts of kindness without expectation of return, coming from a place of love.