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Religious Studies

Sikhism: concern for others

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Most religions give guidance about how we should treat other people. The Sikh faith teaches that service to the community is important.

Sewa

It is an important aspect of Sikhism to provide a service to the community, including the Sikh community (Khalsa) and others. All Sikhs should be prepared to give up some of their time, talents and energy to help others. Sikhism requires service to Waheguru (God), to the Khalsa and to all of humanity.

Sikhism teaches that people should try to become less self-centred (manmukh) and more God-centred (gurmukh) and should live their lives in the selfless service of others (sewa).

True worship consists in the meditation of God’s name.… There can be no worship without performing good deeds.

Guru Granth Sahib

There are three different parts of sewa:

  • Tan: physical service, eg, working in the langar and helping to look after the gurdwara.
  • Man: mental service, eg, studying the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and teaching it to others.
  • Dhan: material service to other people, eg, giving money to charities or giving time to help people who are in need.

All of these must be done because a Sikh wants to serve Waheguru and not for personal gain. So by performing sewa Sikhs serve God and the world.

A place in God’s court can only be attained if we do service to others in this world… Wandering ascetics, warriors, celibates, holy men, none of them can obtain moksha without performing sewa.

Guru Granth Sahib

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