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The shabad "SEVA" is one of the most commonly used terms in Sikh circles. It used by everybody for all sorts of reasons, scenarios and actions.
Yet, it is a sacred term, one which Guru refers to many a time as a blessed action and instruction:
Param pad paaiyaa sevaa gur charnee || (One) obtains the supreme awareness, serving at the Guru's Feet.
We see many people today give themselves or be given, the accolade 'Sevaadaar'. Do you think this title should be an easy thing to achieve? Should we be redefining Guru's sacred terminology... in use, meaning and in action?
The debates will not cease to exist, so long as ego does not cease to exist. Guru gives his Sikhs a way of coming together under one understanding, that is by replacing 'ManMat' with 'GurMat'.
So let us start a tradition of asking the Guru about SEVAA:
Why should we do sevaa?
Gur seva bin gẖor anḏẖaar bin Gur mag na paae|| Without serving the Guru, there is only pitch black darkness. Without the Guru, the Way is not found.
What is 'the Way'?
Gur sevaa te naame laagaa|| Through sevaa of Guru, one becomes attuned to Naam.
HOW do we do sevaa?
Gur kee sevaa sabaḏ veecẖaar|| Guru's sevaa is done by contemplating the 'WORD'.
What will be the outcome of doing sevaa?
Param pad paaiyaa sevaa gur charnee || (One) obtains the supreme state (awareness), doing sevaa at the Guru's Feet.
Those who can truly do seva and become deserved of the title 'Sevadaar' are few and far between.
Doing sevaa in the more popular sense i.e. at the Gurdwara, for Charity etc is by all means a good thing. But for many it can be and does become, dangerous. Because if sevaa is done without following the Guru's divine instructions (above) our sevaa will give rise to hankaar (pride) and strengthen our haumai (ego). It is only by his grace (living his wisdom) will our 'sevaa' ever be accepted in the divine court.
Before you undertakes the external, undertake the internal.
Gur sevaa te sadaa sukh paaeaa|| Through sevaa of the Guru, I have found eternal peace.