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on Service

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All religions have service to humanity as one facet in the jewel of their teachings, as Bhagavan Baba Himself says:

“How can anyone contemplate on God - who loves the poor and the grief-stricken - and yet be cold-hearted when the poor and the grief-stricken are around them? Love for God must be manifested as love for man, and love must express itself as service. Service to man is service to God. When God comes embodied as man to serve man, how delighted He must be to find man himself taking up the role and serving brother-man to get rid of disease, distress or doubt!”

Here is a quiz which presents the common thread of love expressed as service, found in all world faiths.

1.The Bible teaches Christians how to do seva correctly: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

What is the Bible’s advice for Christians while doing seva for the needy?


2. From Deuteronomy 15.7-11, Jews learn how to serve the poor: “If there is among you a poor man, one of your brethren, in any of your towns within your land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him, and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.... You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him; because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and the poor, in the land.”

What do the Jewish scriptures teach on how one should view someone who is needy and poor?


3. The Qur’an speaks on seva in this way: “Be kind to parents, and the near kinsman, and to orphans, and to the needy, and to the neighbor who is of kin, and to the neighbor who is a stranger, and to the companion at your side, and to the traveler, and to [slaves] that your right hands own.” Qur'an 4.36-37

The Qu’ran also highly praises families who do selfless seva. What does the Qu’ran say about the motive behind such families who do seva?


4. In the Bahá’í Scriptures, Abdu'l-Bahá teaches seva thus: “Be ye loving fathers to the orphan, and a refuge to the helpless, and a treasury for the poor, and a cure for the ailing. Be ye the helpers of every victim of oppression, the patrons of the disadvantaged.

Think ye at all times of rendering some service to every member of the human race. Pay ye no heed to aversion and rejection, to disdain, hostility, injustice: act ye in the opposite way. Be ye sincerely kind, not in appearance only.”

According to Abdu'l-Bahá, what should one center their attention on while doing seva?


5. Sikhism is founded on principles of ‘Sarbat da bhalla’ - working towards the "common good of all". For Sikhs, this means reaching out to serve and uplift all of humanity as an expression or devotion to the Creator. This point is highlighted by the Guru in many places, while it also explains the spiritual benefits of doing seva and the ways in which one should perform it.

According to the Guru Granth Sahib, besides doing seva, what is one of the three things that can help one attain salvation?


6. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna extols seva thus:Every selfless act, Arjuna, is born from the eternal, infinite Godhead. God is present in every act of service. All life turns on this law, O Arjuna.”

According to Krishna, what happens to one who has found the joy of doing seva?


7. In the Jain dictum parasparopagraho jivanam, which means, "souls render service to one another”, lies therein the central theme governing Jain philosophy; the welfare of the whole universe, not only of humanity. It teaches us to love and help one another for the benefit of all. It preaches that having friendship with all living things, amity between all humanity and all life is the true wealth of our planet.

What facet of spirituality is described in one of the Jain scriptures Kundakunda, Pancastikaya? “To be moved at the sight of the thirsty, the hungry, and the miserable and to offer relief to them - is the spring of virtue.”


8. Buddha once said, "When you see someone practicing the way of giving, aid him joyously, and you will obtain vast and great blessings." A disciple asked: "Is there an end to those blessings?" The Buddha said, "Consider the flame of a single lamp. Though a hundred thousand people come and light their own lamps from it so that they can cook their food and ward off the darkness, the first lamp remains the same as before. Blessings are like this, too."

The Buddhist scripture Itivuttaka explains the nature of a person who is fit for seva thus: “There are three kinds of persons existing in the world: one is like a drought, one who rains locally, and __________.”


9. In the Gathas, what is the prerequisite for Zoroastrians in order to be worthy of serving mankind?


10. During an All India Conference in November 1970, Swami said someone once asked Him a question about seva: “We are serving others, relieving their pain or misery. We are feeding the hungry, poor; we are engaged in many good acts; are these not sadhana?”

Swami replied by giving an example: “But, this is not service to others, it is service to yourself. A person may invite all of you Office-bearers for a dinner! And he may declare afterwards, 'I gave a dinner to all the delegates.' He too sat and ate with all the delegates and so, he served himself too, when he served the others, did not he? He derived joy as a result of the dinner he arranged and so, it was a piece of service rendered to himself ultimately.”

According to Swami, what is the cause of desiring to do seva?


Dear Reader, did you like this quiz? Is it too difficult? Is it interactive enough? Would you like more such quizzes? Please help us in serving you better by writing to mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.

- Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 7 Issue 03 - MARCH 2009
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