Seva: A Personal Experience
Karla Lopez travelled to Muddenahalli from Tlaxcala, Mexico for Swami´s Birthday, representing Mexico at the Youth Meet in 2019. It was her first visit to India and her English was limited, but as a Spiritual Healer she saw, heard and felt more than most. Here is her story:
“Something I have learned from Swami is that the name does not matter when we talk about Seva. I learned from Him that when we really want to serve, we are going to have to overcome a lot. He questions you lovingly: ‘Do you really want to serve?’ And the phrase that has stayed with me, just like a tattoo is: “Love all, Serve all”! I know Him as Baba, as Swami and as Guru. The name does not really matter to me. If people want to call me Karla, a spiritual life coach, then that is what I am; but if you want to know who does the Seva, I am only the instrument of Sai Baba!
I asked Baba to give me words and let me know what He really wanted people to hear in this article. He told me to talk about my experience, about everything I saw, everything I learned. He told me: sing to them, ‘You have learned many things, and that works for Seva’. Then He showed me what I could talk about; He spoke about service and said that it is to ‘polish’ us. That sometimes we want to do Seva, but we are not willing to go the extra mile, to give more. Because it is hard for us to get up early, to put aside our personal activities or jobs or take time away from the family, in order to help others. So when these things are hard for us, it is strange; because it seems like we have doubts about serving, without considering that at the same time, it is really a service for ourselves. Because we are going to let go of things we believe, things in our daily life, let go of our ego that we think we need in order to become who we really are. Become that aspect of love; He says that service is love; that is what I learned. So that service begins also with me, letting myself give. And when I allow myself to give, my family also wants to give along with me, and we become not one or two, but an entire family serving our Earth, our own Mother Earth. And our Mother begins to serve us!
We are often confused about Seva, doing things that take us out of our everyday routine, without taking into account that just doing housework is Seva. We are doing it for ourselves, but also for our family. And that fulfilling love is shared with others. So we begin doing service for others and we begin sharing ourselves. That is what nourishes us and we begin to nourish others when we take the time to prepare food, or when our hands begin to give everything that we have to share. For example, serving breakfast, or feeding those in need, nourishes us internally and projects externally to help others.
In Muddenahalli, wanting to be as close as possible to Swami, we forget that He is always near. Not because Swami passes near us or we see Swami. No! From the time we begin to think about Swami, He is with us and instructs us on how to do Seva, by either feeding someone, or guiding them to get the food they need. Whether it be spiritual nourishment, just a word, a message from Baba or that food they need; breakfast, lunch or dinner. All of this is service, but the ingredient in that service is love. It is letting go of what we think is holding us back from doing it.
My experience with Swami was restful. When I went to Muddenahalli, I felt loved and protected. It was my time to receive and it was a loving experience, receiving His attention! Later, I felt in harmony and recognised. This is very important. I learned how important it is to recognise what we have done. I saw how all the Seva being done was recognised and applauded; and not from the ego. I saw everything as Seva that is done and is being recognised and applauded. The applause is to recognise what is happening: that in reality what is happening is what we are asking for. Because so much is being done; everyday there are more hospitals and schools and that is what should be applauded, because that is Seva!
So I have a ‘before and after’ with Swami resulting from my trip to Muddenahalli. It was definitely recognising the importance of recognition. To recognise as a group what is happening around us and to be conscious of appreciating what others are doing and give them love so that they continue doing what they do. Because everything counts, from the most basic to how it grows.
All that energy filled me and motivated me. I learned to commit, to follow a routine and to give thanks each day; to see how many of us are doing Seva with the same intention of giving on a daily basis.
As the youth representative of Mexico, Region 4, I realised the importance of having a goal, Swami´s goal, and working to meet it. Many spoke of their projects, but there was often mention of what they lacked, not what they had and what was possible. In the end we became aware of how, by working together, sharing our resources and communicating, we can achieve our goals. So that they do not remain just good ideas.
From my point of view there should be more emphasis on the importance of discernment in what we are doing. Swami talks a lot about feeding the hungry, but this is not limited to giving them something to eat; it should also include a kind word like, ‘Good morning,’ ‘I brought you some breakfast’ sing to them so that they know that when they were hungry and asked the Universe for divine intervention, there was Baba singing to them and feeding them!”