This is the third step in the eight-fold spiritual practice in Gurukrupayoga (Path of Guru’s grace). It is important to serve God as service unto the Truth and not merely as an activity, so as to be able to get maximum spiritual benefit. Serving God mechanically for the sake of doing it or because we have committed ourself to it, will not bring the desired spiritual benefit.
We should be constantly aware that satseva is service unto God (Guru) and so we should perform each activity as our spiritual practice. We should apply ourselves wholeheartedly to serving God (Guru) and do it as perfectly as possible. In short, spiritualizing any activity for obtaining God’s grace is known as satseva.
In spiritual practice, chanting has 5% importance, satsang has 30% importance and satseva is 100% important. What makes serving God so important ? This is because while serving God, the seeker has the opportunity to practise all the eight-fold steps of spiritual practice. For example, while doing satseva we can pray and chant. We are already in satseva while serving God. Since we are doing God’s work, we are sacrificing our time, money, mind, intellect or body depending on the type of satseva we do. Serving God also gives us an opportunity to increase our spiritual emotion.
When we do satseva with other seekers, we get an opportunity to become aware of our personality defects and ego manifestations, and we can take steps towards eliminating them. It also helps in developing closeness with other seekers and hence, helps in developing the quality of expansiveness.
Source: Fortnightly English Sanatan Prabhat
Cleaning temples, serving Saints are two examples of satseva.
Spread of Spirituality : Best satseva
1. Let us take an example : Preparations are going on for a programme and everybody is busy with cleaning or decorating the place, cooking or cleaning utensils. When we are cleaning the place and a new person joins the group busy with cooking, we will not feel closeness for him. Instead, if he comes forward to assist us in the cleaning then we will feel drawn towards him. The same is true about the Guru. The singular mission of Gurus and Saints is to inculcate an attraction for Dharma (Righteousness) and spiritual practice in society, to inspire all to practice and to spread Spirituality. If we perform this task according to our potential then the Guru feels, ‘He is mine’. Such a thought in the Guru’s mind itself is the heralding of His grace (Gurukrupa).
2. Once a Guru gave some wheat grains to two of His disciples and said to them, “Preserve these grains carefully till I return”. On His return after a year, the Guru approached the first disciple and asked him, “Have you preserved the wheat carefully ?” Replying in the affirmative, the disciple brought forth the container with the wheat grains and showed it to the Guru saying, “The wheat You had given me is just as it was”. Then the Guru approached the second disciple and asked him the same question. The disciple took the Guru to a nearby field. The Guru was overjoyed seeing a field flourishing with the wheat crop. In the same way, we should spread the Name and the spiritual knowledge imparted by the Guru.
We should note the following points on satseva.
A. Seva has to be unto the Absolute Truth that is the God Principle. Seva does not take place wholeheartedly till the spiritual level of 60% is attained. Until then it occurs intellectually, as a part of spiritual practice.
B. By giving precedence to satisfying someone else’s needs, gradually own needs become less and the seeker is able to withdraw from worldly distractions.
C. Seva of the non-truth, for example, serving the medically ill is performed considering the non-truth as the Absolute Truth. Besides, by serving the non-truth a ‘Give-and-take account’ is generated, and there is ego that ‘I am performing this seva’. As a result, it is not of much use as spiritual practice. As against this, seva unto the Absolute Truth helps in overcoming ego. Guruseva (Service unto the Guru) is performed to destroy the ego.
While serving the Absolute Truth, when the spiritual level of a seeker rises to 55% a Saint accepts him as His disciple.