Tanuja Seva

 

 

Seva, serving the Lord, is a fundamental dharma (duty) of every soul. 
Seva can be Tanuja, Vitaja or Mansi.
Tnauja is the seva rendered physically to the divine.
Vitaja is offered via financial / material support of seva.
Mansi seva is carried out in the mind, using all the power of the mind to create the ultimate bond between the soul and the universal spirit.   

 

To guide us through the basics of seva, Shri Vallabhacharyaji and Shri Vitthalnathji advised us to offer seva 8 times a day.  We are taught to treat the Lord as a living breathing being, and hence the seva we offered was as if the Lord is walking, talking and living amongst us.  So the 8 sevas were spread out through the day, from the morning till the evening. 

1) Mangala – gently and lovingly, wake up the Shri Krushna from His slumber.
2) Shringar – bathe and dress the Lord in accordance with the seasons and festivals.
3) Gval – send Shri Krushna out to play with his friends and herd the cows in Vrindavan.
4) Raj Bhog – serve the main meal of the day at mid day.
5) Utthapan – wake up the Lord after his afternoon siesta.
6) Bhog arti – offer him snacks and get ready to get back from the forests of Vrindavan
7) Sandhya – welcome Shri Krushna home at dusk along with his cows and cowherds.
8) Shayan – lovingly, gently, put Shri Krushna to sleep for the night.

  

Depending on our bhava, this was further expanded to incorporate the Vraj lila of the Lord. 

Vatsalya – we can take care of the lord as mother Yashoda or Nandababa
Madhurya – we can serve the lord as one of is beloved gopies
Sakhya – we can play with the Lord as one of his gopa-sakhas.
Dasya – we can serve the Lord as a sevak in Nandalaya.

 

Vatsalya –

As a loving parent, get up before your child gets up.  Having got ready yourself, ready the things your beloved child will need when He gets up.
1) Gently, lovingly, with soothing words, awaken the “apple of your eye”.  Coax him to wake up by offering him food and toys.  Remind him about the games he wanted to play with his friends today.  Tell him his cows await his arrival in the gowshala.
Once he is up, brush his teeth, offer him breakfast and remove the evil eye by encircling him with light from the arti.
2) Bathe your child, dress him in clothes and jewellery He would like to wear ; clothes that will keep Him warm in the winter and cool in the summer. 
3)
Before his friends come to play, offer him a snack so that he won’t feel hungry whilst playing with them..  4) His lunch should be healthy and filling.  It should provide him with all the energy he will need for the rest of the day.  Feed your loving son with your own hands.  Remember to send enough lunch so he can share it with his friends in the forests and groves of Vrindavan !
5) Having rested sufficiently in the afternoon heat, wake up your darling child with loving words.
6) Help your beloved son get his cows together before heading back home.
7) In the gathering dusk, welcome your beloved son as he comes home from his filial duties of the day.
If the svaroop is too young for herding duties, let Him come join you as you welcome Nandababa and the other cowherds returning from the forest..  8) After the evening meal, put your son to bed.  Listen to Him as he replays the days events for you, telling you how His friends tricked Him or how He wrested with “monsters” in the forests of Vraj.  Tell Him soothing stories from Vedic and Puranic mythologies to help put Him to sleep.  Pat Him, caress Him, sing lullabies, cover Him with a blanket as He falls asleep. 

 

Madhurya –

Untangle your clothes from your beloved and get up well before Him.  Having readied yourself first, get things His things ready for Him. 1) With loving, soothing caresses, soft words and great gentleness, awaken your beloved.  Give Him breakfast and encircle Him with light, so that you may gaze lovingly at your beloved.
2) Bathe and dress Him in clothes and jewels He likes, are comfortable and enhance His handsomeness.
3) Boys will be boys !  When His friends come, no matter how much He loves you, He is sure to go with them.  He has strenuous herding duties in the forest, so offer Him a snack to sustain Him till lunch time.
4) At lunch time, make any excuse to deliver the meal in person and feed Him with your own loving hands.  Fan him, play chess and chopat with Him till He falls asleep.
5) When your beloved wakes up from your sweet embraces after His siesta, offer Him fresh cool water and a health snack. 
6)
Once ready, make a move to return from the groves of Vrindavan, back to Gokul. 
7)
Greet Him and his cows as they return home.  Milk the cows before preparing the evening meal.  He is sure to make any excuse and come in the cow-shed to join you as you milk His favourite cows.
8) After the evening meal, talk loving with your beloved Lord as he falls asleep in your arms.

 

Sakhya –

1) Wake up, get ready and go help Yashodaji wake up that sleepy-headed friend of yours. 
2)
Hurry him along though, otherwise he will take forever to get dressed and all of you will miss the precious "play-time" !
3) Once he is ready, go out with Him to play in the pastures and groves of Vrindavan.
Hide and seek, gend, chase are but a few of the many games you want to play together, so decide what you will play today !!
4) Lunching with your friends, sharing the meal, laughing, joking, having fun (make sure one cheats at chopat) !  This is the life !!
5) Resting under a banyan tree in the afternoon heat is ideal after a full day’s play.  But you must wake up your friends and herd the cows back home. 
6)
There are LOTS of cows to take back to Gokul.  Help your friend herd the cows back.  All the cows want to be near Krushna, just as all of you do.  Keep order in the herd and help take the cows back.
7 and 8)
Once the cows are back in the cow shed, have your evening meal with your friend Krushna, talk about the fun you have had today and bid him good night as you plan for a fun filled day tomorrow.

 

Dasya –

As a good devoted servant, wake up well before your master.  Get things ready for your Lord’s breakfast, bath and clothes for the days.  
1) Wake up your master with utmost care and humility.  Once the Lord is awake, do the arti to remove the evil eye and offer him snacks He will need before playing with His friends. 
2) Gently, lovingly, bathe your Lord and master.  Help him get dressed.  Use clothes and jewels that your master commands you to bring to him.
3)
Get everything ready for the herding duties of your Lord and master.  Prepare His stout staff, cane, shawl and snacks. 
4) Take the midday meal for your Lord and Master, where ever he may be - in the house or the woods of Vrindavan.  Offer the meal to your master with all the humbleness, love and respect due to Him.  Once the Lord has eaten, lay out his game board for him to play with his friends.
5) After his siesta, gently awaken your Lord and get things ready for him to come home.
6) Assist your Lord to bring home the cows.  Help His mother and friends milk the cows.
7) Prepare the evening meal and clean up for the day.
8) Prepare the bed for the night.  Smooth down the sheets and play gentle music for the Lord to fall asleep. 

 

Often, we "do not have time" to carry out all the sevas throughout the day.y.  So vaishnavs sometimes perform all the 8 sevas at a single sitting – from waking up Thakorji in the morning to putting Him to sleep at night, all within half an hour. 

It is important not make seva mechanical, following rituals for ritual sake.  Seva should be spontaneous, fun and should bring us joy
.  Seva should bring us closer to our svaroop, leading us back to our "svabhava" of Sat-Chit-Ananda.

 

Mansi Seva

Bhavas in Pushti Marg

Here is a more comprehensive list of "love" and some of the bhavas that go with it.

 Bhagwat Shah ©

Pushti Marg

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