Growing up, my family spent a lot of time at the Gurdwara. Many times, my parents would remind me and my brothers to help at the Gurdwara and do seva. This would include washing dishes, sweeping the floor and pouring langar. I remember a time, where I was just not in the mood (teenage angst). I groaned and grumbled to my father how unfair it was that we always had to do something and couldn’t just relax. My father didn’t get upset but rather told me to stop what I was doing and go do whatever else I wanted to do, while he took over washing the dishes. I didn’t understand what was going on. Why was he letting me just go do something else? Was I going to get in trouble later?
After a few hours had passed and my dad still did not get upset with me, I started to feel bad and guilty. I asked my dad why he just let me do whatever I wanted. He explained one of Guru’s teachings of Gur Kee Seva that has always stayed with me.
ਕਰਿ ਸੇਵਾ ਭਜੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ॥
Do seva – selfless service; follow the Guru’s Teachings, and vibrate the Lord’s Name,
SGGS: By Guru Arjan Dev Ji in Raag Gauri Ang 176
It’s not just the action of performing the seva, but rather, performing seva with a selfless heart, with Waheguru always in mind and heart, that makes Seva truly a wonderful thing. He explained by me being resentful while doing Seva is no good to those you are helping, our sangat or myself. I understood then that without having joy in our heart and remembering Waheguru things we do become meaningless. Seva is about selflessness and remembering Waheguru – this will help to ensure the tasks we perform have more meaning and impact in our everyday lives.