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Guru-seva 02.04.2019 Seva means a selfless service. If you take a closer look, then you will see that the whole human life is seva. We go to work and sacrifice our time and energy. Later we sacrifice our pay, for example, to our family or to a sales person at the store. We then receive only in order to invest in something else. We may also choose to not sacrifice anything. However, by not sacrificing, nothing will come on its own. 

Patanjali says that if you refuse to accept gifts, that they will come anyway, but refusal is also a form of sacrifice. Not everyone can live this way, refusing many things. Theoretically we can say that we are not attached to anything. We begin to feel attachment when things are taken away. When this happens, we begin to understand what attachment means and that we were not aware of it. We can leave one attachment, but others will appear, and so on, until the understanding comes that this is the game of Shakti and one should not resist it. 

We obtain qualities of those we serve. There are many reflections of Absolute Truth in this world, but when we become attached to them, we can convince ourselves that we serve it, while we do not notice we are in the web of Maya. For this reason there is Guru-seva that allows us to learn, thanks to Spiritual Guru, to recognize the truth and avoid self-deception. When we sincerely serve Guru with dedication, he also serves us by giving to us what is dear to him. This is the knowledge and the experience which he received from his Guru. 

Often people who have illusions accumulated over many years are not able to remove them on their own. A Guru can be a guide in helping to bring light to the situation. Often times these tasks may seem impossible at first sight, that's when sadhaka has to overcome his mind and make brave steps. The one who can quickly recognize traps on his way, is able to stay focused when tested and does not celebrate the obvious success, is called Vira. When trusted, Guru openly says what that particular disciple has to work on. The result of seva is when the  disciple's mind becomes free from attachments and defilements which allows him to perceive the Absolute as it is.

A disciple who is able to constantly leave everything and be in the flow of learning gets true development. Everyone who achieved something in this world were at one point disciples able to learn and sacrifice. Saints and saddhus living in Himalayas and doing nothing at first sight, could change the whole world with their one move, because behind such "nondoing" there is titanic work. However for the average person "nondoing" will have different outcomes. Actions may look similar outside, but are different energetically. That is why we should not externally imitate saddhus and priests, sitting in lotos and performing only pujas. Instead we should perform the ordinary actions. Along with that the selfless service is important. A disciple intuitively should understand what to do. 

When thinking of what is necessary to do for the guru to make him content, eventually a disciple understands that such actions are at the edge of our possibilities. Guru can tell you to perform a lecture for professors which could seem absurd. The mind of a disciple will say it is impossible, but often we ourselves do not know our potential and our picture of ourselves may significantly differ from the reality. 

In Natha tradition there are also certain directions. For example, aughar must honor the guru in the morning and evening, performing a short nadi-puja for a couple of seconds while being close to guru or using murti. If he is a grihastha, he can donate to the temple. There no strict rules here. Usually people who understand the power of the tradition take necessary actions themselves. Sometimes a simple karma or bhakti-yoga can awake mystical abilities in a person. And vice versa, there are examples when doing asanas and pranayama, that practitioners do not get any results in comparison with the amount of effort. The reason is that the last category of people do not develop spiritually, but only on the physical and mental plane, which makes ego rigid. That is why selfless service is important as simple as it may seem. Without mercy from above there cannot be any development. Only when a person's actions are pure, he can feel the connection with the Absolute. 

True sadhaka is pure in heart as a child who never gets tired and does a lot during the day. He can drop all he does and  switch fast into doing other things. 

«Proper» seva happens when there is an understanding of sadhana and all its elements as a whole. But in this world everything often happens backwards.  We go to India, attend yoga classes in our town, get pieces of knowledge and think we know yoga. Then we may attend different classes and notice that all these pieces contradict each other, showing that we haven’t learnt anything and there was no one who helped us develop holistically. Relationship between Guru and student helps to achieve holistic development, this is why Guru-seva is a very important part of sadhana which helps to realize the essence of spiritual growth.

Author: Yogi Matsyendranath Maharaj

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