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'SEWA' ~ Part I of II

Bhai Gurdas ji states in above line, if one is not performing 'Sewa' (service), your hands + feet are- Dhrig, ...


ਵਿਣੁ ਸੇਵਾ ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਹਥ ਪੈਰ ਹੋਰ ਨਿਹਫਲ ਕਰਣੀ॥
vin saevaa dhrig hath pair hor nihafal karanee.
Without service, cursed are the hands and feet, and useless are other deeds.

Bhai Gurdas ji states in above line, if one is not performing 'Sewa' (service), your hands + feet are- Dhrig, Dhrig translated is like having a curse. Also anything else one does is fruitless performing to him.

ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਆਗੈ ਰਾਖਿਆ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਕਹੈ ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਚਾਖਿਆ ॥ 1343 ਮਃ1
tan man Dhan har aagai raakhi-aa. naanak kahai mahaa ras chaakhi-aa.
I place my body, mind and wealth in offering before Him.
Says Nanak, I have tasted the supreme, sublime Essence of the Lord.

Guru Nanak, founder of Sikh faith by offering in service, body, mind and Dhan-valuable resources, feels great pleasure and realizes essence of lord.

ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਧਨੁ ਸਭੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਗੁਣ ਹਉ ਕਿਆ ਗਨੀ ॥
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਮ ਤੁਮ ਗੁਰਿ ਖੋਈ ਹੈ ਅੰਭੈ ਅੰਭੁ ਮਿਲੋਗਨੀ ॥ 883 mÚ5

tan man har kaa Dhan sabh har kaa har kay gun ha-o ki-aa ganee.
                                                              kaho naanak ham tum gur kho-ee hai ambhai ambh miloganee.

Body and mind belong to the Lord; all wealth belongs to the Lord; what glorious virtues of the Lord can I describe?
Says Nanak, the Guru has destroyed my sense of 'mine and yours'. Like water with water, I am blended with God.

Above are three different, unique and strongly expressed experiences of Bhai Gurdas ji, Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan Dev ji on 'Sewa'. Evidently they have given very high place to Sewa in their life. Let us study what all good Sewa does to our lives and why Guruji made it part of the three fundamentals o f Sikhi. Three fundamentals are:

1. Meditate on virtues of Creator, called "Naam" in Guru Granth Sahib. This clearly means practicing the fundamental until perfection in once life and to be happy always-ever. Word successful is used in currant terminology. 2. Honest Living or Earning sincerely through appropriate actions - we earn everything- education, reputation etc. Earning Honest Living is blissful in itself. 3. Sharing; with needy person, who may be easily visible. Deeply thinking, it is making an extra effort to share with the people of the world. We need to use all resources carefully so that nothing is wasted and available to whole humanity, sarbat ka bhalla means we need to act sensibly for humanity.

What is the recipe or quantity of each of three parts combined that makes life good -happy or successful? As in above examples.

For the word 'Sewa' in English, the literal translation word is 'Service', though in English language this word is used In variety of ways like for church service, service of vehicle, etc. Charity is quiet appropriate to substitute but it has become synonymous with giving away money today. I will continue to use word 'Sewa' only, so that one may not loose deeper meaning and value in Gurmukhi 'sewa' implies.

'Sewa', third 'Means' of Sikh fundamental as explained in Guru Granth - A Universal scripture.

What is 'Sewa'? Kinds of 'Sewa'? Advantages of 'Sewa'?

With one's own experience, one may compile the results as per their wishes and decide - what 'Sewa' suits you. As seen in the pictures below 'Sewa' can be done by a small child, an uneducated person, a handicapped person can also do it, it can be done by anyone without any discrimination of sex, age, creed, social status, intelligence level etc.

Just like ultimate goal of all beings, without discrimination is happiness. The service can be from serving water, fanning using hand fans, which have become rare these days, taking care of very poor by feeding or of very ill providing treatment. Though I have used a few pictures to support my above statement, 'Sewa' can't be depicted in pictures.

The picture of Bhai Kaniya depicting - carrying of 'water musk' says nothing to a child today. He does not know, what is a 'water musk'? The war fields do not look like as in the picture either today. The person doing 'Sewa', his compassion can't be even x-rayed. Truly dedicated to 'Sewa', do not perform 'Sewa' for a picture. One may change 'Sewa' type and at any time. According to your age and income i.e. capabilities, it also happens that size and volume of your 'Sewa' will adjust itself.

SmilesOnFaces (106K)
Guru Nanak's (founder of Sikhi) prescription to achieve Bliss is extremely simple. This translates make a habit to provide Service. Physical ' Sewa' - Service leads to spirituality- and Happiness.
(Note the smile on faces in above candid pictures)

'Sewa' - teaches following Virtues:

Compassion, Caring, Humility, Patience, Contentment, De-attachment.
All of above virtues are necessary for a successful living.

sqIAw1 min sMqoKu aupjY dyxY kY vIcwir](466)
sutheeaa1 man su(n)thokh oupujai dhaenai kai veechaar
dwnI1 mnu`KW dy mn iv`c ^uSI pYdw huMdI hY jdoN (auh iksy loVvMd nUM) kuJ dyx dw ivcwr krdy hn[
In the minds of the virtuous1, contentment is produced when they think about giving (to the needy person).

hir AriQ jo Krcdy dyNdy suKu pwieAw](pMnw 1246)
har arathh jo khuruchudhae dhaedhae such paaeiaa[
jo pRBU dy rwh qy Awpxy Dn nUM Krcdy hn qy (loVvMdW nUM) idMdy hn auh suK pWdy hn[
Those who spend their wealth in the Lord's way find peace through giving.

jy loVih cMgw Awpxw kir puMnhu1 nIcu sdweIAY](pMnw 465)
jae lorrehi chu(n)gaa aapunaa kar pu(n)nuhu1 neech sudhaaeeai.
If you desire your good-perform giving and feel Humble.

Simply, above are strong but clear statements of others experiences.
Let us try do 'Sewa' for experience for some time and for knowing of the result.

'Sewa' (Charity) helps in Peace and opposite of peace is: stress, tension, sadness, depression, etcetera or Peace is equal to Happiness. If there is peace then only happiness follows. If you are happy, it is due to peace in your surroundings. Peace and Happiness are synonyms.

By Serving one can find total Peace and starts on way of Happiness, which is ultimate goal of one's Life.

ijn kau poqY1 puMn pieAw iqnw guru sbdI suKu hoie](pMnw 316)
jin ko pothai1 pu(n)n paeiaa thinaa gur subudhee such hoe.
They who have treasured1 charity attain peace through the Guru's words. (316)

Guru is advising for 'Sewa'- Serve in ordering tone for our own benefit.

ਨਿਹਕਪਟ ਸੇਵਾ ਕੀਜੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੇਰੀ ਤਾਂ ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਸਰਬ ਸੁਖ ਪਈਐ ॥
nihakpat sayvaa keejai har kayree taaN mayray man sarab sukh pa-ee-ai.
Serve the Lord open-heartedly, and then, O my mind, you shall find total peace. (861)

ghaal1 khaae kishh huthhuhu dhaee. naanuk raahu pushhaanehi saee.
O Nanak! He who earns by the sweat1 of his brow and gives with his hand something in charity, alone, knows the true way of life. (Happiness-purpose of Life)

How much passion we should have for 'Sewa'-'Serve'.

ਜੈਸੇ ਹੰਸੁ ਸਰਵਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਰਹਿ ਨ ਸਕੈ, ਤੈਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਜਨੁ ਕਿਉ ਰਹੈ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਵਾ ਬਿਨੁ ॥
jaisay hans sarvar bin reh na sakai taisay har jan ki-o rahai har sayvaa bin.
As the swan cannot live without the lake, how can the Lord's slave live without serving Him? (369)
How can one-you not have this habit?

How much may we invest in 'Sewa"?
nwnk AgY so imlY ij Kty Gwly dyie](pMnw 472)
naanuk agai so milai j khuttae ghaalae dhaee.
Guru Nanak says-"In the next world, one receives that one gives here (to the needy) from what one earns by hard and honest work."hy nwnk! Agly jhwn iv`c mnu`K nUM auhI ku`J imldw hY jo auh AwpxI imhnq dI kmweI ivcoN (loVvMdW nUM) idMdw hY[
'So that our future is secured and we get back in future.
' This implies or means that everything, circulates-recycles in realm of creation.

Only knowledge about God will not lead to heavens or happiness. Compassion is important.

Bhagat Parmanand, Maharastra Brahmin. (1483-1593)

qY nr ikAw purwnu suin kInw ]
AnpwvnI1 Bgiq nhI aupjI BUKY dwnu n dInw]1]rhwau](pMnw 1253)
hy bMdy! qMU Dwrmk pusqkW nUM sux ky kI kmwieAw hY? qyry AMdr pRBU dI sdw kwiem rihx vwlI1 BgqI pYdw nhIN hoeI qy nw hI qMU BuiKAw nUM dwn id`qw hY[

thai nur kiaa puraan sun keenaa. anupaavunee1 bhugath nehee oupujee bhookhai dhaan n dheenaa.
So what have you accomplished by listening to the Puraanas? Everlasting1 devotion to the Lord has not welled up within you, and you have not given alms to the hungry. (1253)

'sqIAw' dw ArQ hY 'dwnI mnu`KW' [ "sqI dyie sMqoKI Kwie"
"Satti de Santokhi khaye'

Three ways to do 'Sewa': Tann, Maan and Dhan. There are seven places in guru grant sahib where Tann, Maan & Dhan is stated.
Page 47, 256, 587, 804, 883, 1243 & 1343

All three means would lead to blissful living. If one can't do equally well in all three or at the same time, through- one only, one can be successful in achieving the goal.

Normally people know the literal meaning of all three words and according to their own personal feel do whatever suits them. Some adults don't use 'Tann' at all and if they do use any, it is so other people should be able to see them. You will note that they have a physique and age of a body builder but distribute spoons in Langar. There are people who spend thousand rupees on bringing 'Roohafsa/ Sharbat' on a Gurpurab day but may not serve a glass of water. And then there are people like me who do not do it with 'Mann', and want to write their name on items such as pots and fans they give to Gurudwara.

ਹਸਤ ਪੁਨੀਤ ਹੋਹਿ ਤਤਕਾਲ ॥ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਜਾਹਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਜੰਜਾਲ ॥
hasat puneet hohi tatkaal. binas jaahi maa-i-aa janjaal
The hands are sanctified instantly. 185-Guru Arjan

And if you have served your parents:
Jin maat pita ki sev keeo; Tin aur ki sev keeo na keeo.
"it does not matter if those who serve the parents, engage in any other service or not".

jYsy mwq ipqw kyrI syvw srvn kInI, isK ibrloeI gur syvw ThrwveI ]
jYsy lCmn rGupiq Bwie Bgq mY-koit mDy kwhU gurBweI bin AwveI ]
(Gurdas ji)
In actuality they will always serve others as well- because service of the parents is training for service in the wider sphere. In addition to satisfaction obtained by doing service, one develops humility. A proud person can never engage him/her-self in service; instead s/he expects to be served. If s/he does, s/he usually thinks of rewards or returns - business style.

Voluntary service is a virtue and is appreciated by all. However one should not serve to earn acclaim or any other benefits. It should also not impart a sense of pride for service rendered. Guru Nanak says that donors usually have two types of expectations:

ਹਸਤੀ ਸਿਰਿ ਜਿਉ ਅੰਕਸੁ ਹੈ ਅਹਰਣਿ ਜਿਉ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੇਇ ॥
hastee sir ji-o ankas hai ahran ji-o sir day-ay.
The elephant offers its head to the reins, and the anvil offers itself to the hammer;

ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਆਗੈ ਰਾਖਿ ਕੈ ਊਭੀ ਸੇਵ ਕਰੇਇ ॥
man tan aagai raakh kai oobhee sayv karay-i
just so, we offer our minds and bodies to our Guru; we stand before Him, and serve Him.

ਇਉ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੀਐ ਸਭੁ ਰਾਜੁ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਕਾ ਲੇਇ ॥
i-o gurmukh aap nivaaree-ai sabh raaj sarisat kaa lay-ay.
This is how the Gurmukhs eliminate their self-conceit, and come to rule the whole world.

ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਜਾ ਆਪੇ ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰੇਇ ॥੧॥
naanak gurmukh bujhee-ai jaa aapay nadar karay-i.
O Nanak, the Gurmukh understands, when the Lord casts His Glance of Grace. ||1|| Third Mehl: 647

ijvyN hwQI dy isr qy kuMfw hY qy ijvyN Ahrx (vdwn hyTW) isr dyNdI hY, iqvyN srIr qy mn (siqgurU ƒ) Arpx kr ky swvDwn ho ky syvw kro; siqgurU dy snmuK hoieAW mnu`K ies qrHW Awpw-Bwv gvWdw hY qy, mwno, swrI isRStI dw rwj lY lYNdw hY[
Interpretion in Gurmukhi by Sahib Singh ji is very clear thus added. Translated-The elephant offers its head to the reins, and the anvil offers itself to the hammer; similarly in alert/ conscious condition by offering body and mind, (This is how) the Gurmukhs eliminate their self-conceit, and come to rule the whole world.

- Langar for poor, Feed Hungry-Provide Cover or shelter.

hir kY AriQ1 Kric nh swkih jmkwlu shih isir pIVw](pMnw 698)
har kae arathh. khurach neh saakehi jumukaal sehehi sir peeraa.

Those who can`t spend (wealth) in the name of 1God, bear the pangs of death on their head. (698)

Money includes materials given in kind. Service done by the mind is devotion i.e. when one is motivated to serve as a spontaneous response. One does not wait to be asked to serve; he finds out what is needed and does the needful on his own. This is the very basis of selfless service.

ਸੇਵਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ 1343
sayvaa surat sabad veechaar.
Selfless service and intuitive awareness come by reflecting upon the Word of the Shabad.

Would Forgiveness and Smile be a 'Sewa'?
According to our guru ji both Forgiveness and Smile will be 'sewa' and both have big advantages.
Forgiveness: If forgiven with (Maan) your enemy turns into friend and your body is healthy. Smile is foundation of a good relationship.

maneh na keejai ros jameh na deejai dos nirmal nirbaan pad cheeneh leejai.
Do not harbor anger in your mind, or blame.

The word is formed from Sanskrit 'Sat' and 'Aas' word core which means to leave from hands.
Sewa = CHARITY- dwn puMn

inrBau1 hoie Bjhu Bgvwn]swD sMgiq imil kIno dwnu] 201
nirubho1 hoe bhujuhu bhuguvaan. saadhhusu(n)gath mil keeno dhaan.

Meditate on the Supreme God fearlessly1. Meet the holy persons and give gifts of Lord's meditation to others. 201

hir kw nwmu iDAwie suix sBnw no kir dwn] 135
har kaa naam dhhiaae sun subhunaa no kar dhaan[
Remember and hear God's Name, and bestow it as alms unto all. 135

In other words a sense of pride for rendering service is not virtuous; it negates the good deeds. Service is considered an adjunct of remembering God. God lives in humanity and hence service of humanity is service of God. The inspiration for this comes by praising God i.e. recounting it's virtues, which man tries to emulate. Being able to serve should be considered a blessing in itself. It also leads to a virtuous life. Guru Nanak says:

So service is the path to God: Service of humanity leads acceptability with the Creator. You shall find peace, doing 'Seva' -selfless service.

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