A QUICK FIRE SOLUTION
Sewa works in many ways. It is definitely a precursor to self esteem.
Besides that, it is also a demonstration to the inner bodies, of the efforts being made by the physical body to evolve itself and its spirit body. The status of the Karmashaya also changes towards positive. Further, it elevates you in terms of your Guna mix. Your Sattva Guna increases in a percentage to your two lower Gunas. It almost works like a collaboration between the various bodies and levels of consciousness of a particular being.
There are different levels of doing Sewa. Helping people with material necessities like food, shelter and clothing is very beneficial. Those who are in need will certainly be more than obliged and grateful. Whether they show gratitude or not at the physical level doesn’t matter. The gratitude will definitely be reflected on an unconscious level and the emotion attached will lead to transference of energy (in the form of their blessings) thereby making you slightly more aura rich.
Several Options for Sewa
Another great service is education. Someone over a hundred years ago helped educate my grandfather. This led to the education and improved lifestyle of several families. My father sponsored the education of several children. I continue to do the same. By the time I close the chapter on life the results will be as follows. The education of my grandfather would have led to the education of over 1000 children. Pretty good equation don’t you think? Imagine how one family has shown gratitude. Add to that the gratitude felt by most of the members of this family for that one benefactor. I am convinced that the benefactor would not even know his spiritual earnings from the service. But the cosmic consciousness would know that. His unconscious mind and the hard disk namely the Karmashaya would certainly be updated with this deed.
As you have guessed correctly, service or Sewa works as a multilevel marketing concept. There are direct benefits and there are additional benefits in the style of a commission that is accrued.
Providing healing to both men and animals/birds is enriching. Helping alleviate somebody from physical suffering gets a huge reward in terms of gratitude. The blessing that one can attain by helping free someone of the disease that is making them miserable in body and mind is not measurable (however at this point it is important to note, and note very carefully, that you should not accept the reward or gratification for any service performed if you want to retain its value).
In the ancient times people who gave their daughter’s hand in marriage, never ate either cereal or salt in the home of their married daughters. The reason is very simple. Giving a daughter’s hand in marriage to a family is called ‘Kanyadaan’, and this is considered to be the greatest act or gift of charity.
Gurudev instructed us never to eat or take obligations from someone to whom we offered a service or charity. His lesson was about doing service but never accepting anything in return. He also insisted that we should not take personal favours from such people. In fact, as we evolved in his eyes, his instructions changed to not eating anyone’s food besides our own and not accepting obligations and favours whenever possible.
There are two lessons in this for me, or for you, and that is never to accept a return for the service you render. The service you render should not have an agenda of a personal gain attached. Nor should the service you do be paid for, otherwise the value of the service gets diluted (I know this is not going to appeal to many readers who think that selling a product at a subsidised rate is a great service to the buyer. We will continue to have different opinions on this subject and that is justified).
At a more evolved level of consciousness, you may want to discard the idea of having done good deeds, or any deeds for that matter, and accept those as a part of your destiny and that of the recipient’s. This kicks in at the stage of non-doership (more on this in chapter 5).
There are many other kinds of service that are performed by various charitable and non-profit organisations. These include a host of services like micro-finance, forming cooperatives for earning, running institutions for specifically disabled people, helping communities to learn self-reliance by teaching them various skills and crafts, facilitating people in getting employment, the list is never ending. When people collectively contribute to this cause the benefits of the service are collectively distributed. At an unconscious level, we are all connected and so the recording of these deeds and the accrual of the benefits is not such a problem.
Spiritual healing and spiritually helping people gain required benefits by giving them blessings is considered the highest form of service performed by Saints. I have seen Gurudev perform this kind of service for over a decade, and for the benefit of hundreds of thousands of people. He did that himself and he also empowered over 100 people to do the same, in different locations all over the country and abroad.
This kind of service gets you the highest effort- to- reward ratio that you can conceive. One of his disciples can provide relief to several hundred people in just one day. Imagine what a hundred can do!
This is a very interesting quote which is a part of the teachings of Guru Vashisht to his disciple Ram. This is a part of the Yog Vasistha, probably one of the most brilliant books in the history of mankind (Translation by Swami Venkatesananda).
“Austerity or penance is self- inflicted pain. Of what value is charity performed with wealth earned by deceiving others? Only they derive the fruits of such charity! Religious observances add to one’s vanity.”
Guru Vashisht believed that service to others and realisation of the eternal truth are the only purposes of spiritual life and everything else is insignificant. Though I agree with him wholeheartedly, I do believe I would rather be empathetic and accept people at different stages of climbing the ladder.
There are different stages to spiritual education like there are to formal education. Lucky are those who reach one stage and then decide to move on to the next. But one thing is for certain; service to other life forms is service to the Consciousness Supreme and service to the self. So stop reading and thinking, stop analysing and evaluating, put this book down, do a good deed or plan one on paper and make a commitment. After your spiritual break, pick it up again, because there is more to come.
The icing on the cake was Gurudev himself. He was in the final stages of meditation at Santokh Sar in Amritsar. He had left home after marriage to pursue his spiritual attainments. He heard a voice in the Atmosphere (called Akashwani) which said that he needs to go back and live a family life and that’s where his final attainments would take place. He did. And that is what happened.