Seva, it means "voluntary service", service without any expectation of reward or recognition. It is service with a smile, a genuine heart-felt, heart-warming smile. When we perform seva of the Lord, we give our love and attention to Him, out of our "asakti" (attachment) for Him. Just as we treat out child, with asakti, and devote a lot of time and energy, without even thinking of it as such, similarly, we should devote our life to God without thinking of it as being an "effort". It should be "sahaj" - effortless, almost second nature to us. We are so devoted to our lover / child / parent, we can almost tell what they are thinking before they even have a chance to say it. Even if we are doing something, we can tell when the child is up to some mischief. It is our attachment to the person that makes us to one with that person, that we can self-associate with them and know what they are feeling or thinking even without the use of spoken language.

Just think, if we can do this with mortal humans, and have such a sense of love and fulfilment, how much greater will the sense of fulfilment be when we can do this with the immortal God !?! If only we can associate with God in the same way that we associate with our human relations, we can "tell" what He is thinking, how is He feeling !! What a buzz that would be !

This is how the great rishies tapped into the feeling of the universe and could understand the pain and pleasure of every creature. It is a great responsibility and a great burden to have this knowledge - self association with the universe is a major achievement. This is the "sarvatma bhav" of the great Acharyas of India. It is this that Shri Vallabh exhorts us to achieve.

In seva, our oneness with the Lord should be such, that we can "feel" the Lord communicating with us. We can "hear" Him asking us for things, just as our child / lover would. He can play mischief with us, we can scold Him, and make-up with Him too ! It is a great feeling ! As seva is from the heart, how can anyone write about it ? Your feelings are your own, and no one, but no one can tell you how your seva will pan out.

Having said this, a good many of us do not communicate with the Lord in this way.

For us, the seva performed by the great Acharyas is the guide as to how seva should be done. We emulate the seva, as offered to the Lord by the great Acharyas of the past and present. In all havelies, like Nathadwara, there are extensive records of which seva was performed on what day by which Acharya of Pushti Marg. Accordingly, those of us who are not yet directly inspired by the Lord, offer the same seva as offered in the past.

However, this should not be a limitation on us and we should strive to achieve that oneness with the Lord, so that we too can perform true seva to the Lord. Seva, in which the Lord Himself is an active participant !

Bhagwat Shah


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