Sewa means ‘selfless service’. It involves acting selflessly and helping others in a variety of ways, without any reward or personal gain. It is a way of life for many Sikhs and is part of their daily routine. Sikhism teaches that sewa is an act of service towards Waheguru and therefore must be done regularly in order to become closer to Waheguru. It helps Sikhs to become gurmukh and show their faith towards Waheguru.
Sikhs perform sewa in a variety of ways, such as helping the sangat and the local community. Many Sikhs perform much of their sewa by helping at the gurdwara, including cleaning, washing dishes or serving in the langar.
Performing sewa is important because:
One who performs selfless service, without thought of reward, shall attain his Lord and Master.Guru Granth Sahib 286
There are three types of sewa. These are tan, man, dhan.
|Tan||Physical aspect of sewa||This involves physical work and tasks to show selfless service. For example, this could be cooking or serving in the langar, cleaning the gurdwara or helping with gardening.|
|Man||Mental aspect of sewa||This involves a Sikh using their mental skills and talents. For example, this could be teaching people how to read or understand the Guru Granth Sahib, teaching people how to play the musical instruments used during worship or teaching people about the history of Sikhism.|
|Dhan||Material aspect of sewa||This involves Sikhs selflessly helping others by sharing their material wealth. This could be donating one tenth of their income to the sangat or to charities, which is known as daswandh. It could also involve helping others in times of financial difficulty or giving money to the poor.|
All three aspects of sewa are equally important. Sikhs try to complete all three aspects of sewa on a regular basis. However, depending on an individual’s circumstance, a Sikh might be able to perform one type of sewa more than the others.
Through selfless service, eternal peace is obtained.Guru Granth Sahib 125