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Conversation about this article

1: Mohamed (London, United Kingdom), June 04, 2007, 5:52 AM.

In a nut shell, very well written.

2: Shamsh Panjwani (Etobicoke, Canada), June 04, 2007, 6:55 AM.

I belong to another community where Seva is also in the heart, mind and action of these volunteers who keep the community strong and together. This is an excellent eye-opening article and a reminder to those who have deviated from the original concept of Seva. Thank you, T. Sher Singh.

3: Jalal Nathu (Kinshasa, DRC), June 09, 2007, 12:32 AM.

I am an Ismaili Muslim, follower of the Aga Khan. This is an excellent article on Seva. We have the same concept in our community. I believe that we must do seva without any kind of attachment, as the latter is the cause of all suffering. I fully agree with the article. Thanks.

4: Karim Ali (London, England), June 11, 2007, 3:10 AM.

A most excellent article that truly epitomizes the concept of seva and reinforces its meaning to those who occasionally question its value.

5: Nizar (Vancover, Canada), June 11, 2007, 3:39 PM.

An incredibly inspiring article. Each word is golden, each sentence is priceless, each thought is rich beyond compare. A classic by any standard.

6: Dr. Laila Ahmed (India), June 19, 2007, 10:18 PM.

Excellent Article......

7: Shehzad Amlani (Glenview, U.S.A.), June 21, 2007, 2:45 PM.

Very well written. A mirror for lots of people.

8: H. Uppal (Toronto, Canada), August 01, 2007, 10:21 AM.

Poetically written and inspirational.

9: Hukum Kaur Khlasa (Portland, Oregon), August 05, 2007, 7:39 PM.

I Love Seva!

10: Azmina Shivji (Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania), December 19, 2007, 4:42 AM.

Awesome! The essence is in the feelings with which each word, each sentence, each event is expressed. Truly enlightening.

11: Alamin (U.S.A.), December 19, 2007, 8:23 AM.

Your article on Seva has so much inner meaning and soul for everyone.

12: Rahim Dawood (Barrie, Ontario, Canada), November 03, 2008, 8:10 AM.

Fantastic article! Extremely well articulated and an amazing take on the lip-service that is so prevalent in the practice of 'seva' in contemporary times.

13: Jaffer Mawji (North York, Ontario, Canada), January 06, 2009, 10:19 AM.

Very enlightening and well articulated!

14: Karim (Ottawa, Canada), April 21, 2009, 1:48 PM.

Excellent article. Very well written.

15: Nadia (London, England), April 21, 2009, 10:36 PM.

As a Shi'a Ismaili Muslim and a follower of the Aga Khan, it is easy to put this article in context. A very inspiring and beautiful article; I hope we can all work to live up to this great, but also very difficult path of spiritual life.

16: Malek (Calgary, Canada), April 22, 2009, 9:09 AM.

Amazing article! Most people seem to forget what true "seva" is. People who take on seva for official positions, recognition or pats on the back are not true "sevadars".

17: Nagina Bhayani (Karachi, Pakistan), April 22, 2009, 11:56 AM.

This article has taught me, and I think many others like myself, the true meaning of "seva".

18: Zul (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), April 22, 2009, 1:56 PM.

Seva is nor seva unless it comes from the heart. If you need to advertise and want appreciation in the form of a pat on the back or monetary remuneration, then it becomes a job. I pray for those who look after the shoes at the Golden Temple.

19: Gulnar Nanji (Dar Es Salaam,Tanzania), April 22, 2009, 11:08 PM.

Wow! Very beautiful article. When we do Seva, it should be done as "WORK NOT WORDS". I am an Ismaili Muslim, a follower of his Highness the Aga Khan. This concept is in existence in our community and is performed diligently and respectfully.

20: Nashjaf (Calgary, Canada), April 23, 2009, 6:06 AM.

I think this article is a must read for the elderly Ismaili volunteers, who are just there for recognition, and showing off in their uniforms with no idea of seva or any intention of seva. Most of the seva is performed by the energetic volunteers who are the real sevadars.

21: Hardip Singh (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), April 23, 2009, 10:21 AM.

This is well written article. Thank you Mr. T.Sher Singh. Heads of gurdwaras should learn something from this article.

22: Shiraz (Markham, Ontario, Canada), April 23, 2009, 7:41 PM.

Neither a shield, nor a sword, yet a universal expression of peace, happiness and beauty is this wonderful tradition. It is a priceless gift of life which has been given, in preparation for the life hereafter. May we be blessed with the shield of remembrance of our duty, and the sword of our faith and spiritual love.

23: Nazim (Belleville, Ontario, Canada), April 23, 2009, 7:49 PM.

Very well written. A lot of people need to learn from it. Keep it up. Bravo!

24: N.A. Pirani (Mumbai, India), April 23, 2009, 11:56 PM.

Seva is well defined in meaning as well as in spirit.

25: Faride (Kingston, Ontario, Canada), April 24, 2009, 6:07 AM.

Extremely well articulated, but more importantly, from the heart. Thank you for sharing!

26: Ameer Janmohamed (London, England), April 25, 2009, 6:19 AM.

An excellent article on the concept of "seva". A word of caution though! A large number of people who render "seva" in blissful ignorance of its essence would need to disqualify themselves if they did an honest introspection of their motives.

27: Mehdi Valji (Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.), April 26, 2009, 2:17 AM.

Very interesting and noteworthy, as well as take away from this article is: "First, wash the vessel. Next, disinfect it with incense. Then, and only then, is it ready to receive the milk."

28: Shahzad Rupani (Karachi, Pakistan), April 26, 2009, 9:09 AM.

The inner meaning of Seva is to submit yourself. Likewise, I'm an Ismaili Muslim. This concept prevails in our community as Khidmat. An excellent written article.

29: Sherali Virjee (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), April 26, 2009, 12:40 PM.

So very true. This actually spells out the only correct meaning of "Seva".

30: Akbar A. Huda (Karachi, Pakistan), April 27, 2009, 6:24 AM.

Excellent and noteworthy article. "Hum kuch nahee tame chho sarve, sreva tamari hum leyaana ji" - (O Lord, we are nothing, You are everything. We have accepted to serve You ... Hazrat Pir Hasan Kabirdin)

31: Shamsa (Karachi, Pakistan), April 27, 2009, 6:51 PM.

Excellent article.

32: Nassirali Karim (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), April 28, 2009, 1:36 PM.

Very well written. Everybody should read this. Keep up the good work.

33: D. Nur (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), April 29, 2009, 4:05 PM.

This artlcle is an eye-opener for those religious leaders who simply don't know the meaning of seva.

34: Munira Hamirani (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), April 30, 2009, 11:35 AM.

Excellent article. Very well written. This is the true meaning of Seva. Good job!

35: Alnoor B. Kassam (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), April 30, 2009, 3:29 PM.

Seva: The etymological origin of the term lies in various faith traditions of pre-colonial Hindustan. Its essence though is observed to prevail amidst all scriptural faith communities, including the Buddhist and various denominations of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths, as well as the numerous traditions and cultures of African and Hispanic origin. At heart, they all harbour peace-nurturing systems of teaching the ethical ideals of humanity. Anthropology and Sociology studies also find that the essence of selfless service lies manifest in different degrees of, and in varied proportion to, people's economic progress and material security; not to mention educational competence. For the individual, Seva may well represent a unique opportunity for self realization as well as self expression. As such, this article provides a well balanced insight into how the concept, when individually put to practice, may mentor and inspire, but also how if mishandled and / or incompetently manipulated, it may well corrupt motivation for others.

36: Rafique (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), April 30, 2009, 4:47 PM.

An article on "Seva" well worth a read. Thanks, T. Sher Singh, for sharing. Seva indeed is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. Bless all sevadars.

37: Nazlin (Bangalore, India), May 01, 2009, 9:15 AM.

Excellent article. Keep up the good work!

38: Salim Kanji (Toronto, Canada), May 01, 2009, 10:03 AM.

T.Sher Singh - once again, you have won our hearts with this wonderful article. Reminds me of all the volunteers we see at various charity walks, runs and other such events. All those who have commented seem only to do 'seva' at their places of worship. Am I missing something here? Let's think of such volunteery work outside our respective ethnic communities. Is there any chance that the Sikhs and the Ismaili communities work side by side to help the homeless of their own cities?

39: Pervez (Karachi, PakistanA), May 01, 2009, 7:27 PM.

An excellent article.

40: Salim Kanani (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada), May 07, 2009, 8:02 AM.

As the saying goes something like this: The left hand should not know what the right hand does.

41: Malik (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), May 08, 2009, 7:59 AM.

Very effective and inspirational thoughts on what has been discarded by many in the name of seva. A very good article but still, some of the readers could not grasp the esoteric meaning of the article: Seva is a Spiritual Activision - it is solely done for the satisfaction of your spirit,and your spirit is a part of God Almighty. As you said, No Name Tags! But here some of the comments that start with name tags like "I am so-and-so and I am a follower of so-and-so ..." which negates the very soul and meaning of this article. Thank you for the beacon of light, Mr. Singh. Your enlightment is the Grand-daddy of all seva. God bless you.

42: Omkar Nath Channan (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), May 15, 2009, 6:39 PM.

This article wipes out the ego of a person who looks for nothing but acknowledgement.

43: Azmina Pirani (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May 16, 2009, 1:08 PM.

This article, although written by a Sikh, truly epitomizes the concept of Seva purported in the Islamic scriptures. The basic tenets of most eastern religions are not dissimilar.

44: Nasrain Dhanani (Weston, Florida, U.S.A.), May 17, 2009, 10:00 AM.

Seva is with tunn, munn and dhunn. All three are gifts from the Lord. Our creator, when He receives seva from a person who has received the three gifts, when offered back to humanity is considered as a performance of duty. The only seva which is really appreciated by our Lord is when we perform all services with total love for Him, seva that is detached from appreciation expected in return, done with only love in mind, for all souls, believing in oneness of the spirit ... all this makes it true Seva. This article and many comments from fellow readers gives us all great happiness to know that people like you all are silent observers and participants of the Divine Love. Sharing the Light with many more blessings coming to the Universe. I salute the aatma of all.

45: Aslam Mansoor (Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.), May 27, 2009, 12:27 PM.

Nice article ... love it.

46: Rawel Singh (U.S.A.), January 28, 2010, 10:52 AM.

One could look at the issue slightly differently. Whereas seva for the purpose of receiving adulation has no value, even feeling special or proud needs to be avoided. But we are mortals and self-adulation is one of our weaknesses. I have found myself at the crossroads a number of times. The question comes to mind that since I feel proud, is there any use of doing seva? But then I say to myself: if I do not do that, I would be depriving myself of something good. So what I try to do is to thank God that I have been enabled to do what I can, although that pride does show up some times. [Editor: All we need to do is truly try our best, knowing what the ideals are ... But we aren't expected to refrain from doing good deeds merely because we are short of being perfect - no matter by how much!]

47: Amardeep (U.S.A.), January 28, 2010, 11:04 AM.

My question is ... if the situation arises, should one speak a lie to cover up the seva one is doing (to keep it hidden)?

48: Gurmeet Kaur (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), January 28, 2010, 12:36 PM.

Nizar (comment no.5) beat me to it in expressing my appreciation towards this write-up. Now I wish for every Sikh to read it ...

49: K. Singh (Boston, MA, U.S.A.), January 28, 2010, 3:02 PM.

Very well written article. I read this 2 years ago, and again today, and realize more and more that I am doing seva, but with the wrong intentions ... for tax receipts, because I feel others cannot do it, for a slap on the back, or a saropa to be bestowed on me at Vaisakhi. Makes me think why we do seva, and only if we do it with a true heart of doing seva, and expect nothing in reward, is it seva ... otherwise, it is work ... Anyways, to Amardeep: it is only seva that you do with honesty, as said in the article, and lying is not part of the Sikh way of life, so one must not lie. I think a major point of the article is not to boast and brag about the seva you are doing. If you are doing seva and are asked about it, be honest.

50: Gurdev Singh Bir (Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A..), January 28, 2010, 11:10 PM.

Very beautiful and enlightening article from T. Sher Singh. Let's take it a step further, Amardeep and K. Singh, and my fellow readers - let's refrain from saying 'I' or 'we' are doing seva if the situation were to arise. We have to try and get away from this 'I'. We should say 'seva ho rahi hai'; 'Langar di seva ho rahi hai'; 'Guru Ghar di safai ho rahi hai'. At the back of our minds, we should always remember who is blessing us with the inspiration and opportunity to do it.

51: Tejwant Singh (Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.), January 29, 2010, 1:41 PM.

Seva. What a lyrical word! The quest within. To serve. To the needy. To the wanted. To the sick. To the outcast. To the homeless. To the ones living in the shadows. Seva. Needs No recognition. No pat in the back. No chest inflation. All it needs is The love for The Source. Who created this inner desire, To serve. Seva. The perfect music to the ears.

52: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), January 29, 2010, 6:30 PM.

Veer Sher Singh ji's inspiring article has brought about a tsunami of responses not seen before. Seva is an integral part of the Sikh religion as is for most other religious groups in various forms. However there is a proviso. Selfless seva with humility alone is not enough. The humility itself becomes an ego that goes imperceptibly deeper and is most difficult to eradicate. There are hundreds of such stories but let me take just one example: During Guru Arjan's time, there was a powerful wealthy village leader by the name of Teerath, better known as Bhai Manjh. He was an ardent follower of a Muslim deviant 'Sakhi Sarvar' sect. Once passing through Amritsar, he decided to visit Guru Arjan who was known to be spiritually enlightened. Just this brief encounter was enough to show him the real path. He decided to abandon his position as the headman and remouncing his considerable wealth, he plunged into the seva of bringing fire wood for the langar, cleaning dishes and serving the sangat in every way possible, all the while repeating the naam. Apparently this alone was not enough in the eyes of the Guru. He was summoned one day. The Guru asked: Bhai Manjh, where do you eat?" "Satguru, I partake in your langar." Guru Arjan said: "Well then, you are then nothing more than a wage-labourer, aren't you?". Bhai Manjh had sacrificed his position and entire wealth to do seva. Apparently this was not enough in the eyes of the Guru, as some ingredient was missing. Was it, perhaps: 'Ghaal khaa-ay kichh hathahu day-ay, Nanak raahu pachhannah say-ayâ' [GGS:1245] - "One who works for what he eats and shares some of what he has, O Nanak, he knows the path!" Naam Japna, kirat karni and vand chakna? - "Meditate on His name, honest earning, and share with others." This was the standard set by the Gurus for seva. Bhai Manjh now decided to no longer eat in the langar. He decided to collect two bundles of wood, one for langar and the other he would sell to earn his living. He found the real wealth and treasure of Naam that no thief could steal nor any King seize. Culmination of the seva was when one day he fell in a well during a sandstorm. When Guru Arjan heard about it, he ran bare footed together with a band of Sikhs and threw a rope and asked Manjh to pull himself out. Bhai Manjh insisted that wood was first removed lest it should get wet and be of no use in the langar. Guru Arjan was so pleased and said: "Bhai Manjh, your seva has borne fruit. Ask anything you want!" Bhai Manjh's response was that he wanted the Guru to bless him that he should be free from wants and remain always content and at His feet. Bhai Manjh was honoured by the Guru with the words: 'Manjh is the beloved of the Guru, and Guru is the beloved of Manjh. Manjh is the ferry of the Guru who will ferry across the bhujaal the world's ocean.' May I apologize for this longish response. Bhul chuk maaf.

53: Jagjit Singh (Hong Kong), February 01, 2010, 7:45 AM.

Excellent article. Hope people doing seva in our gurdwara in Hong Kong have the same feelings as Bhai Sher Singh ji. True, no one should take advantage of their role or position while doing seva.

54: Naina Vira (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania), June 20, 2011, 10:26 PM.

Thank you for a very inspiring article. Hopefully this will open the eyes of many who have a different perception of seva. I am an Ismaili Muslim and seva in our community is considered to be the utmost priority and pride of the community. Thank you, again.

55: Rozmin (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania), June 21, 2011, 12:11 AM.

God bless you for sharing the very well put and elaborated meaning of SEVA. I believe when you commit to do seva, you put your heart, soul and mind to it without accepting anything in return. May you all be blessed with His holy blessings for devoting yourselves for your seva.

56: Almas (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), June 28, 2011, 12:46 PM.

Thanks. Very true. I want to tell other people who haven't read it about this.

57: Ninny Singh (Mumbai, India), July 01, 2011, 7:13 AM.

Having been born to Sikhism, one feels one knows quite a bit about seva. However, this article not only reinforces all of it but also opens new avenues for thought. Thank you for the beautiful article. I'm indebted to the writer after reading it.

58: Zainub (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), July 12, 2011, 12:21 PM.

Mubarak to the man who articulated the concept so precisely. Our Imam, "His Highness the Aga Khan" whose murid I am, is Himself doing seva regardless of cast, creed and color. He has taught us the true meaning of seva by his actions, but it is impossible for us to be flawless, but we have to try. Mr Singh, you are truly a SHER, to fearlessly articulate the true "esoteric aspect" of seva in real connotation. Some people may feel hurt to be told, but this article is of universal address to all people, of all communities, and all walks of life. Nobody is perfect, but this article will open the "Sleeping Eye" and all those with a bhavna to serve will learn and improve themselves. Thank you, Sher Singh ji. Once again ... wonderful, articulate and timely. Congratulations.

59: Nav Kaur (Australia), June 24, 2012, 7:40 PM.

Thank you, T Sher Singh ji, for sharing such a beautiful message and expressing it in such a manner. Is it at all possible to distribute your piece to my local community? There is a lot to learn from it. For example our local Sikh community newspaper? [EDITOR: You have our permission to republish and distribute it as deemed necessary.]

60: A. Kaur (U.S.A.), June 27, 2012, 11:01 AM.

Some time ago I was trying to explain the concept of seva to a non-Sikh. "Do you do seva?" she asked. I responded, "I can't answer because if I said 'Yes" it wouldn't be seva any more." I believe she got the point.

61: Zarina Bhatia (Birmingham, United Kingdom), February 06, 2013, 6:10 PM.

First of all, I am very impressed by this website the Sikhs have that is so similar to the one I know of and subscribe to on weekly basis. I see many of my Muslim brothers and sisters have commented on this as our respective faiths have so much to share. I end with the link: that I mentioned.

62: Harinder Singh 1469 (New Delhi, India), March 01, 2013, 4:49 AM.

No wonder our parents spend so much time inside the gurdwara premises! Yes, seva is a unique platform to elevate your human and social skills too. Very happy to see the youth today so meaningfully inclined towards seva.

63: Pritam Singh,Grewal (Canada), March 01, 2013, 11:44 PM.

'Gur ki seva sabad vichaar' [GGS:223] - "Service to the Guru lies in reflection on His Message". Genuine seva requires understanding and practicing the essence of gubani. Mere reading, reciting or chanting gurbani is not of much avail. Living it is.

64: Mohan Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), March 03, 2013, 11:30 AM.

'As the elephant offers his head to the goad and as the anvil offers its head (to the hammer). (So) offer the mind and body (to Satguru) and do "oobhee sev" (transcendental seva). By becoming a gurmukh, this is how one eliminates one's self-conceit, and comes to rule the whole universe' [GGS:647]. Here, the aAnvil represents mind and body, to the kind of seva where there is total dedication (surrender) with constant devotion and strict discipline motivated by a lifetime honesty, commitment and loyalty.

65: Jasmeen Kaur (Australia), March 04, 2013, 5:26 PM.

Amazing article. Very well written and delivered with an excellent essence of Guru's knowledge.

66: Kanwarjeet Singh (USA), June 27, 2018, 2:18 AM.

Seva minus humility = wasted effort. Might as well have loitered in the langar hall, socialized and eaten pakorrey!

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