The importance of seva and spiritual discourses by Pujya Sunilbhai Gandhi




Undertaking mahatmya yukt seva[1] and attending sabha to listen to spiritual discourses are the cornerstones of satsang. Both are required to progress spiritually.


Pragji Bhakta (Bhagatiji Maharaj), carried out tremendous physical seva. Often, he barely slept 2 hours a night, but Gunatitanand Swami said to him that that this was well and good, but where is your mind? In other words, whilst doing seva was his mind on God or elsewhere? This is where spiritual discourses are important as well as doing seva.


Actually, seva and spiritual discourses are the opposites of the same coin: If we only do seva then our satsang is only half done because our spiritual progress will be held back due to a lack spiritual knowledge. If we only listen to spiritual discourses, then our satsang is also incomplete because we may gain theoretical spiritual knowledge, but we cannot perfect our sadhana (spiritual journey).


What is the importance of seva? With seva, our old fate is purified. By simply serving God and His devotees, quite literally ‘a death sentence can be reduced to a thorn prick’[2].  The strong desire to enjoy material things slacken. Through seva, over a period of time those things that were materialistically important to us become less so, that is, we start to develop a more spiritual outlook, and we feel a greater sense of inner peace and happiness.


However, even though we may be sincere in carrying out such seva, still our own swabhav and material desires, which can be very powerful, can drag us back to materialistic thoughts and actions. This is where spiritual discourses give strength to our soul, and helps us to resolve to fight back against such shortcomings. Certainly, through spiritual discourses, we get spiritual enlightenment. However, this does not mean that with spiritual discourses alone we can overcome our ego, whereby we think that we are superior to others and that only our standpoint is correct, and also thinking ill of others. In fact, through spiritual knowledge, these traits can sometimes actually increase.


Seva is the furnace for purification. Maharaj will inspire incidents to test us and purify us – in satsang we shouldn’t expect everything to be smooth sailing. This is why especially in the Swaminarayan faith, a lot of functions and samaiya are held so that we get an opportunity to do seva. Our theoretical spiritual knowledge gained through discourses can only be perfected through such tests. Equally, we stand a better chance of passing those tests through spiritual knowledge. Hence, both are essential.


Mahatmya yukt seva and spiritual discourses leads us to true spiritual understanding. Through such understanding, we act only to please Guruhari Pappaji Maharaj. Shreeji Maharaj has said that He likes those who have such spiritual understanding because they know things as they are, and that they will do His work. This is the importance of seva and spiritual discourses, and this is how we can make strides in our sadhana.


Sahajanand Swami Maharaj ni Jai.

Guruhari Pappaji Maharaj ni Jai

[1] Selfless seva realising the glory of God and His devotees

[2] Vachanamrut G I 70

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