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Sewa International- Experience Firsthand, Selfless Service

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When a TV Channel approaches the Chapter Coordinator of the Sewa International, Phoenix Chapter, on May 4, 2021, at 2pm, to interview at 4pm to know more about what activities are being carried on  by the Sewa International to deal with the COVID-19 global human crisis, and particularly in India in the wake of the surge of 2nd wave, the coordinator immediately sends a  message in Sewa International, Phoenix Chapter, WhatsApp group, ‘I am extremely busy today till 5pm. Would Co-coordinator or a member of the advisory Board meet the TV channel please’.

Does it give you a flavor of what Sewa International is about!

It is about Sewa  Volunteers too busy.

They prefer to continue working off the camera.

Everyone in Sewa knows what is going on in Sewa.

Isn’t ‘Service above Self’ or call it Self- less service?

‘Service above Self’ or Self-less Service don’t gel with 21st Century experiences generally. Doubts and apprehensions overwhelm. Could it be? Could it be really?

And the answer is yes. Sewa International is one organization where you may have firsthand self-less service experience.

Volunteerism is the foundation of self-less service. Except for a few solitary employees at the national office, Sewa International, USA and its Chapters, 44 in total as of the day, are 100% run by Volunteers.

 Who are Sewa International volunteers?

Young, old, men, women, all educated, technically highly qualified, a good mix of all the society.

 Why do they volunteer?

Scientists would say to experience ‘helper’s high’.

Truth is elsewhere and much deeper. That is their Hindu Value System as they say,  “We are Hindu Faith based 501 c (3) Non Profit Humanitarian charity organization.”

What is Hindu Faith?

Hinduism being the oldest continuing civilization of the world, or as some would call it the mother civilization of the world, has some very distinguished elements of faith. For the sake of brevity, I may mention only one, the most fundamental, namely,

The Creator of all on this planet and beyond is ONE.

Since Creator is ONE, all are the sons and daughters of the same ONE. All are equal. Each one is part of one family ‘Vasudaivktumbkum’. They pray for and are concerned with the well-being of all, irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, race, color, creed, sex, age, faith, and belief, etc. In USA, these kind of  protected classes have been added under Fair Housing and Other Laws in not too distant a past.

What is Sewa Volunteers’ Pledge or Commitment?

Sewa International Volunteers pledge to serve above self so that all be happy, all be free from illness. It is not just in and for India. It is for and all over the world. If you take one more look at the pledge for Service, you may notice the three levers of service above self or self-less service. You yourself can acquire that state of mind by inculcating three things, namely,

‘Sanyam’ is Self- Restraint or Self- Control; ‘Sahakar’ is performing as a group; ‘Sahyog’ is collaboration or working with others. As the tagline goes: Together we are better. After all, by our togetherness we supplement and complement each other.

Sewa International does a number of critical activities. To know, may please visit www.sewausa.org

The most impactful, touching the life of hundreds and thousands all over the world are:

  1. Volunteer Development
  2. Youth Development
  3. Yoga and Wellness
  4. Family Services
  5. Disaster Relief

And they do it without any discrimination. An appendix given at the end summarizes major disaster relief projects undertaken by Sewa International, USA since its inception in 2003.

The Practical Philosophy of Self-less Service

If helping others makes human happy, provides them with their dose of endorphins,  helping others without any expectation in return is the surest recipe of happiness. It is the unfulfilled expectations that make us unhappy. No expectation, no unhappiness. In Hindu philosophy it is called Sattvic act. Depending on the intent of the doer, any act may be Sattvic, Rajasic or Tamasic. Tamasic brings pleasure by giving pain to others; Rajasic is treating others nicely as you like to be treated; Sattvic is  doing good, irrespective of  return, positive or negative. It is like unconditional mother’s love.

If you say helper’s high is a reward itself. So, what is self- less? Self-less is enjoying the process without attaching with the outcome, positive or negative. Bhagwad Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 47 can help you further clarify. You may consider joining Sewa International to experience firsthand self-less service or service above self. They value your time and talent more than your money.

 


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