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From My Heart to YoursFrom my energy fields to yoursReaching Out to the WorldDivination De-MystifiedDvyalok WorkshopsEurekaINTRODUCTION

IN…SERVICE-Transcribe of a discourse on Seva-Service

True service is when the service serves the server!

I truly serve,
In feeling served through my service,

I best reach out, when I reach within in fulfillment

Service serves the server
Or it becomes other things
Duty, responsibility, charity or the granting of favors

Let me serve in this sweet knowing

And thus to be truly… served
I must play my role in enabling my server, to feel served… through his service!
Be it through appreciation or exchange appropriate to the service.
Or his serving becomes other things
Duty, responsibility, charity or the granting of favors

Serves the server
Remember this as the server… or the served… or it becomes other things.

The word ‘service’ first caught my attention some 28 years ago! When my family astrologer was doing what we would today call an esoteric reading of my astrological chart - explaining to me through the combination of houses, planets and zodiacs the purposes of my current life. Somewhere into this fascinating reading (I know now that she had reached my ‘sixth’ house and its aspects) she pointed out to me ‘seva-service’ would play a large part in my life…and frankly I thought she was having a bad hair day! For ‘service’ was far from any ideal I then held…I did not resonate to it…indeed I told her that I was really not the ‘seva’ kind! I apologetically explained how doing things out of a sense of duty was low on my agenda; I confessed to the many scenarios expected of me that I could not do justice to; I confessed to doing things only when drawn to it from within, even going on a limb then, yes…. but not as seva to anyone but because it fulfilled me; because it arose spontaneously from me! I confessed to being perhaps selfish? And as I reeled out examples after examples I recall her eyes twinkling as she murmured something about this being the seeds of seva which will roast and grow in their own time and how I would understand her words years later. To be frank I thought this was just a astrological cop out and the topic forgotten we had continued with the rest of the reading.

But yes I recalled her words, her twinkle, the scenario, the room we sat in with stark clarity when the word service started popping up some 20 years later in reference to my spiritual reaching out; and across time zones my eyes met hers in acknowledgement. And this time I did not ‘forget’ about it…indeed I introspected, contemplated, chewed it like a cow with cud…but would come up with no real satisfactory answers deep within me. I knew I was suddenly involved in what seemed ‘service’;  sure it seemed my 24/7 was about reaching out to ‘others’; but I knew deep within me I was doing it for Self. It was not some duty or responsibility I had accepted with a large generous heart! I was not doing it altruistically to help ‘another’! And every time people applauded spiritual service and its ‘responsibilities’ and giving’ and ‘helping the world’…I would wonder… because for me this reaching out was simply something that happened naturally…because it was something I so enjoyed… because there was no real giving as much as filling?

And then one day, deep in meditation, the essence of service rained onto me like a chant: True service is when service serves the server! True service is when the server is served through his service! And everything went ‘click …click… click’ after that… words, concepts, images flooded my being; it took perhaps a few minutes in our time frame and yet when I try to put it into words it becomes layers within layers… and I hope to put into words what cannot be described but only pointed to…

To begin with I understood the subtle yet all important difference between service - and duty & responsibility. They imply a sense of doing for ‘another’; they imply doing something you feel you must- something that is judged as ‘right’ even if subconsciously-  and in that it is not so much a spontaneous action flowing through you but one that is attached to the doer in you. The joy and fulfillment does not arise from within the activity itself but from fulfilling you as the doer through fulfilling some outside source!  And true service can only be when the action-service is being done from a sense of fulfillment within it- thus when there is no ‘doer’.  No, this does not mean we move away from our duties and responsibilities- there is a time and space for each experience. But just be aware- because consistent awareness helps us to move almost spontaneously into that which we are aware about- so just be aware that service is when you are being served…or it shifts subtly oh so subtly  to duty, charity and the granting of  favors! Think of this from personal examples: when you are doing something for someone as different from when you are doing something with someone.

Service, like all universal truths, can be peeled endlessly like a cosmic onion and understood at several layers- none truer than the other- as each layer makes up the step for the next!  Thus it is important to traverse the entire path- understand each step within -make it ‘yours’ rather than merely academic understanding -and in that arrive at the  point were you  view, understand and enter it as a whole ! So come, let’s peel the cosmic onion on service:

Simply put to begin with, service implies some activity or exchange between the served and the server. And as true service is when the server is served, let’s understand that this ‘being served’ through the exchange can be in myriad ways! It can be a tangible exchange yes –money or its equivalent because the money being received ‘serves’ the server- satisfying him in his ‘service’- thus it becomes something you don’t do for the other but for self!  Indeed this is the beginning of service, because on the material plane material fulfillment is a meaningful part of its experience; and through this fulfillment humanity experiences perhaps its initial bhavna/sense of service. Yet observe, it is service, as you are not doing the act for another; but because the exchange (even if material) makes it rewarding to you! (View the spiritual concept of energy exchange here! For without this fulfillment it could initially shift from service to feelings of bestowing favors, duties or even begrudging the time or effort spent. But through the energy exchange the circle of service is complete- it frees both - the recipient from feeling beholden and the giver (be it a healer or teacher or whatever) from getting stuck in that doership trap!)

Let’s also explore the ‘service’ profession -the so called domestics, employees and others who work in different professions from this point of view! No wonder it is called the service profession! For while these people perform activities for ‘another’- even strangers- they are being fulfilled through the energy exchange –in more mundane words- through their salary !  Otherwise surely they would grudge leaving their homes and work for you! Think slavery and the resentment with which they worked and view the subtle differences. Though this kind of service is usually not viewed in spiritual terms, it is the very beginning or initial experience of seva! For through their ‘salary’ they too are served and indeed in this circle…the ‘others’ growth home or business becomes part of theirs too!  Maybe when we as souls need to embrace seva we choose a life of service in this manner!

Thus we move to another mode of being served, where the exchange is complete and fulfillment present, not through the material exchange but in more intangible ways- through our emotions; indeed another   specialty of our physical plane. Where we are being emotionally served through our serving! In analogy think of lovers, who do things for their beloved- here the seva bhav (essence of service) is prominent as your fulfillment… your being served… is almost total! You can view this deeper in service to your guru or god of course, because it is such a delight to you and not service in the term service is usually used! You do not even view it as doing something for another for you really are not…this is pure seva akin to bhakti!   You can also view it in other relationships - with children, parents, friends etc but be alert: the moment the feeling shifts to “I am doing so much for x,y,z” it shifts from seva! It may then come from a sense of duty, responsibility, or even favors granted; but not true service.  In service you are being served! You are feeling fulfilled …it’s issuing forth from you due to your joy in it….and the gap between the other and you is bridged in this unity of both being fulfilled.

And thus we move to another form of service- where you are served or your fulfillment arises - through joy in the activity itself! When it’s neither the material nor emotional exchange as much as the joy of the activity that turns an activity to seva!  When you write or teach or paint or dance… or do your work, whatever it maybe, however seemingly mundane because you enjoy it! In this fulfillment …it shifts from responsibilities or duties or charity to pure seva. It’s somewhat like a hobby- but here ‘another’ is also the recipient of what ‘you’ enjoy- the circle of joy is extended- to become an interconnected chain!

This is where the concept of dharma comes in - a small deviation - yet not! For dharma is not your ‘duty’! It is your inner calling! What your nature naturally beckons you towards! We each have our purposes to play in the larger scheme, and indeed come with what is commiserate with that  as our very nature, our calling, our desires…! It’s all backwards! So yes some are naturally drawn to business or the army or the medical field or teaching or whatever… but because it is your purpose for the whole it your calling, thus you desire it, and thus you enjoy it, and thus is it your ‘dharma’ …and thus the ensuing activity is service to the universe! Indeed following your dharma becomes synonymous with seva and service rather than duty and responsibility!

In all of the above mentioned ways- material emotional or the pure joy of activity- service is ensuing forth in different ways. And indeed in all them, through your fulfillment, you are bridging the gap between ‘you’ and the ‘other’. Very simply put (as simplistic examples for the sake of explanation only- so please go beyond the words): If you are doing it only for the material fulfillment, it is the service akin to the service industry. If your fulfillment is in the joy and fulfillment of the other towards whom your actions pour out- then it is the service of lover to lover or devotee to guru! If you are doing it for the sheer joy of the activity, it is entering the purer realm of seva! Or dharma! Thus service which initially starts with doing something for another actually finds it peak when there is no other you are doing it for!

While this linear fashion is good to understand service through, your seva or actions are usually a   blend of several - taking service into its higher and higher potentials!  Take this off the academic blackboard and think about it through personal examples: think of an activity which serves you materially, but also fulfills you as it touches ‘another’ and add to that the joy  in the activity itself…what feels so natural…and   you can see the different shades of service . Go beyond words…see the many shades…
-Think of some activity fulfilling to you as it touches impacts fulfills another…and because you revel in the activity itself -yet feeling how much time you devote …just because the material exchange isn’t there? Think of a teacher who loves her work and what she brings to the children but is not adequately paid? 
-Or view the material and emotional being present, but you don’t enjoy the activity! Think of a servant who hates to cook as different from one who loves to!
-Or view where the material exchange and joyful activity is present but you don’t give a damn about touching the other? Think of a public speaker like this? These are only examples for this article but you must go beyond the words and think of examples in your life. Where are you in seva? Where has it subtly shifted charity? Or that lethal granting of favors?  Or to duty & responsibility? It does not become less or bad -duty, responsibility, charity are valid states of being too…just don’t confuse the concepts…move into awareness and what you are aware of will move into you!

And so we come to the concept of seva in spiritual life. Most spiritual orders encourage seva- through an activity the devotees do for the larger group or community. Yet if you are not enjoying it but doing it grudgingly because the  spiritual order demands it, it is not pure seva… no… and yet it is a way to inculcate it!  For those whose path is not gyan…but karma… through action do they learn…and thus was ‘seva’ so prevalent in most Indian spiritual orders! It is a subconscious training…inculcating a deeper essence through actions rather than action through understanding of deeper truths! It is many years after my attempts at the above seva that I understood why seva is a must do in so many spiritual orders!  So yes perhaps its one more way - the seva bhav starts as an homage to your guru or because it was spiritually correct…but gurus know that is only a starting point... that this perhaps enforced selfless activity would aid the non doership in you… into becoming that authentic self less activity as you first do it for your guru and then for the community and through the process ‘you’ move out and non doership… seva moves in…which brings us to the next point!

Because, we are yet at the tip of the service iceberg! Yes even after all these words….all of this makes up only one small aspect of what service truly is. I have thus far only touched on the preliminary aspects of service… and thus all I have said so far is important only due to what it leads to…as the build up to take us where words cannot go!

For service truly touches its higher aspect when an action is being done without volition! When there is an almost choicelessness …when it is just what ‘happens’ through you!  Or what you in this now, seem to choose because it fulfills you for whichever of the above reasons! You can call this a spontaneous beingness… you can call it your dharma…or bhakti…you can view it through the Zen concept of it being as natural as chopping wood and boiling water…whatever you do is then seva…

This is where seva enters the realm of pure being…where there is no you, no other, no activity; it’s not about what fulfillment comes from where; it’s not about non fulfillment either; its not about doing it for another or not doing it for another -no words beloveds so go with it intuitively- true seva is the realm of the flow. Things happen through a ‘you’ – for you are just a medium the universe or consciousness uses for its own purposes! Thus you seemingly desire it…thus you seemingly find joy in it! 

And this is rest in activity! This is play! And in play what motive? What other? Only myriad selves being served in their serving … through participation in the cosmic game!

And even deeper- we get a glimmer how this seva essence leads to the state of no karma! In pure seva… when there is no other… ‘you’ never do anything for ‘another’…good or bad…and thus there is no binding chain of cause & effect with others…! Not even good karma! And think beloveds… the seed of this starts with seva in the above mentioned simple terms!

And even deeper when there is no voluntary action… no doership…’you’ are not doing anything anyways and thus there is no ‘you’ and thus no cause and effect for a seeming ‘you’! And think beloveds… the seed of this starts with seva in the above mentioned simple terms!

And as there is no other or you… events happen…the cosmic play is on…and seva…service…seemingly such a simple word action concept…becomes the stepping stone…the stairway towards stepping out of cause and effect/karma yes…but out of personal consciousness too…

Into universal consciousness…!


And in all of this the most important point is yet to come –yes! The awareness that if service is in being served, allow your servers to truly serve you! How? Serve their serving beloveds! Make it fulfilling for them! Appreciate your servants or workers or service providers! Make their service oh so sweet for them!  Materially pay well….do not bargain so hard that the other only makes what he needs, rather than what fulfills him! If it’s a larger set up assign tasks which the other most enjoys! Otherwise you break the circuit of fulfillment and instead of being the recipient of service…seva…the universal flow…. you becoming the recipient of grudge instead. These are only examples …view it in personal ways.

Next time you are being served, remember true service is in the server being served, and in enabling that for your servers, you once again enter the circuit of real service! So serve your servers… to serve you! 

When I serve I am being served…when I allow the other to be served in his serving …the circle is complete. There is no i and you in this circle.

And even after so many words…so much more is coming...this is just the tip…the trigger to awaken the meaning of service within you… and to get a glimmer of how concepts like service and dharma and desire and surrender and oneness …indeed all the separate concepts we understand piece meal….are just different angles trying to describe the descirptionless …one…truth.

Come, enter into seva and open a door!

Love from my heart to yours Divyaa Kummar
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