Sewa – Selfless Service
Sewa means selfless service and is at the heart of Sikh life. The willingness to serve others helps Sikhs to turn away from self-centredness or being Manmukh. When Guru Nanak was born, there were different religions around him, such as Islam and Hinduism. Guru Nanak believed that God was One, and there are many different ways of approaching God. As Sikhs believe in the Oneness of Humanity, many believe that there are different paths to God, and each individual can find their way, with all paths deserving of respect. The Divine Spark you have explored within this module is believed to be within everyone, regardless of their faith path.
The Langar is an example of Sewa, and shows the belief in equality and the oneness of humanity in practice. The Langar was introduced by Guru Nanak because of his belief in the equality of all. The Langar is a free meal, which anybody is welcome to receive. In the Gurdwara, there is usually a kitchen where volunteers will prepare and cook the food for the Langar. This food is always vegetarian, which means that all people of all faiths and none are able to eat.
The film below was put together to highlight the importance of the Langar:
The video here is of the Langar Outreach Project, which shows the work of Sikhs in London supporting their local community:
As Sikhs believe Waheguru created all living things on earth, and earth itself, one way Sikhs offer service is through caring for the planet and all living things.
EcoSikh is a movement dedicated to responding to the threats of climate change, working around the world to mobilise a commitment to looking after Waheguru’s creation. You can read more about EcoSikh on their website here: https://ecosikh.org
The video below is an example of one of the many projects EcoSikh embark on. This video shows the planting of sacred micro forests, known as Guru Nanak Sacred Forests:
In the video below, Jaskiran Kaur Bhogal discusses her understanding on the environment from her own Sikh Faith.
What does selfless service mean to you?
Do you carry out selfless service in your own life? How so?
What are your thoughts on the Langar? Have you every visited the Langar?