Satyananda Yoga Center

Seva (Karma Yoga)

 
"NEVER, NEVER SAY: 'I HAVE HELPED THAT MAN.' FEEL AND THINK: 'THAT MAN GAVE ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE. THIS PIECE OF SERVICE HAS HELPED ME TO PURIFY MY MIND. I AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO HIM.' - SWAMI SIVANANDA  

 

 In order to attain success in yoga, practice is necessary. Same with karma yoga - yoga of virtuous action and seva, selfless service. 

 Yoga does not force us to run away from towns, cities and villages. It is not to be found in caves, forests, or mountain herbs. Nor to be found in the Himalayas. Yoga does not force us to flee from our worldly careers to solitary places. It tells us to resist unrighteousness, to develop uplifting virtues and to try to attain self-realization in and through the world. 

 "Do all actions without the expectation of their fruit" is selfless service, a nishkama karma yogi. To work without attachment to the task. Work for others without expecting anything. To expand one's heart and think that this whole world is our own self.

Innitially, this may hurt a bit, due to it being a new concept. But when the bliss of karma yoga has been tasted, we can never leave it.

The force of karma yoga induces us to work with more and greater zeal and enthusiasm. One begins to feel the whole world as a universal concept - no separation. Immense inner strength is gained. The heart will be filled with sympathy, mercy and pure love.

 

At first our actions may be selfish. It may not seem possible to work without motive. However, with persevering with karma yoga, more actions become unselfish, selfless and unmotivated. The delight and joy spreads and increases in serving others, doing good to others, helping others. Karma yoga, seva does not bind us as action with motive or actions performed with attachment & expectation do. Karma yoga & seva destroy selfish motives which stem from egoism, hatred, jealousy, envy, superiority. In their place humility, pure love, sympathy, compassion, tolerance, mercy develop.  

 

The amount of magnificent work performed by karma yogis or sevaks such as Mother Theresa, Mahatama Gandhi, Sri Sankara, Buddha, Jesus, Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda is tremendous. The whole world remembers them with reverence. Can any selfish motive be attached to their actions? They lived for rendering service to others.

 

Any real progress in yoga starts in selfless service. The sense of separateness is annihilated. The knowledge of the Self is attained. Karma yoga and seva are preparation for the receiving of light and knowledge.

 

Every action is a seed sown, a samskara. So why not create good samskaras through seva and karma yoga?

 

How best may we utilize our energy, intellect, education, wealth, strength, anything else for the betterment of others?

 

Karma yoga & seva help us to be a little more patient, a little more forgiving, a little more charitable, a little more loving & a little more devoted to service.

 

Through karma yoga, seva we are able to bring some solace where there is affliction, strength where there is weakness, light where there is darkness, hope where there is despair, to understand the suffering of others, to be ever ready to help.

 

Atmabhava, cosmic expansion, universal compassion on a grand scale, of bhakti yoga too develops with karma yoga, seva.  

 Taken from excerpts of 'The Yoga of Selfless Service' from YOGA, a Bihar School of Yoga publication of Sivananda Math, Year 8, Issue 4, April 2009, Ganga Darshan, Munger, Bihar, India.

www.yogamag.net

The third chapter of the Bhagvad Gita is on Karma Yoga. A commentary exists by Swami Sivananda.  

 
There are plenty of seva, karma yoga opportunities to serve in Bihar School of Yoga Ashram activities in Rikhia, Jharkhand and in Ganga Darshan, Munger, Bihar
 
 Also through the many seva opportunities of Sivananda Math.
 
Please contact Sivananda Math, PO Rikhia, Dist Deoghar, Jharkhand 814112, India for instruction on the manner in which this seva may be performed and for permission to stay at the Bihar School of Yoga Ashrams in Rikhia & Munger in India. There is also a list of items that are accepted for donation to Sivananda Math, under Sivananda Math on the website www.yogavision.net 
 
Thank you. 
 

"Harmony of Head, Heart and Hands" Bihar School of Yoga,
 
Swami Satyananda Saraswati.