Seva – The road to a meaningful Life
November 1, 20196 Minutes

We are all striving to be a little more well off than we currently are – spending most of our lives to do so. Imagine we do realize the dream of being the richest individual in the world. Would there be more riches to gather? Perhaps. But one day, we are all going to leave it behind on our deathbed. So, what can we do with the extra that we have? Take a page out of the richest man’s diary and share it with others. Bill Gates shared a portion of his wealth with the needy – $ 41 billion out of the $ 90 billion of his net worth in 2018.

Guru Nanak believed in sharing what one has with the needy. Once Guru Nanak’s father gave him 20 rupees to start a business. He instructed Guru Nanak to visit a nearby city and buy things. Once he has bought them, he should sell them at a higher price. That’s how one trades and earns money. Guru Nanak along with his friends Bala and Mardana left for the city. After a few days, they reached a jungle where they saw about 20 saints. They were praying but looked frail and thin. Guru Nanak understood that the saints needed proper food. So he bought food for the saints from the money his father had given him. The Guru selflessly sacrificed a huge sum of money – the only money he had – with people he didn’t know.

He bargained the 20 rupees for something more valuable than materialistic profit – the joy of selfless service, known as Seva. The form which doesn’t expect anything in return and yet, in times of need, blesses us with a bountiful of helping hands. He sowed the seeds of gratitude in the hearts of the saints and gratitude multiplies and reciprocates. After all, what good is wealth if it can’t feed a mouth, can’t bring a smile, and can’t help one who needs? We’re all equal in our own ways and where we lack, others fit in the pieces. That’s what a true bargain is. Living together as a community. As equals.

Take the story of Jadav Payeng for instance. When the Mulai Reserve forest situated on the Majuli Island in the Brahmaputra River in the Jorhat district in Assam, was threatened by soil erosion and projects to save it got stalled, a humble farmer decided to take matters in his own hands.

What can a single individual do to save a forest? Plant a tree for 30 years! He devoted himself to planting trees even when he didn’t receive support from the officials. The result? A forest with an area of 1,360 acres!

Today, the forest is now home to Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, elephants, and a wide variety of flora and fauna. What did he give? His time and selfless love. What did he receive in bargain? A home for the hundreds of birds and animals who were previously threatened. A home where everyone lives as equal.

Goodness reciprocates!

Sharing doesn’t have to be large sums of money or goods. Giving clothes that don’t fit us or our lunch to someone who doesn’t have any are all acts of sharing. They aren’t huge and can, in fact, be practiced easily in today’s fast-paced lives. Remember the old smartphone that works perfectly fine but you don’t use it because you’ve switched to a newer model? Give it to the guard or the maid.

Everyday we get many chances to give what we have to those who aren’t as lucky as we are, and there will always be something that we don’t have and others do. True happiness comes through selfless sharing, as the good that you give to the world comes back to you in the form of something better. That’s the circle of sharing. Your one small act may mean the world to someone else just as a gift may mean the world to you.