We define the terms “selfless”as that which is not performed primarily for ones own benefit and “work” analogous to “useful service” simply as any physical act resulting in gain.
Though defined the grasp and depth of sewa is far more implicit. Naturally it leads to questions such as “Why?”, “How?” and “To whom?” amongst many others. These are important questions that have been considered, debated and contested in depth. The answers have come from and have led to some of the most fundamental aspects of dharma.
The motives that inspire human beings to do an act of Sewa have been varied and many. The feelings of compassion, feeling of humanity, and sympathy are usually mentioned as reasons why human beings do Sewa. The cardinal principle is that God is residing in all beings human, animal, bird or plant. The same God who is present in me is also present in other beings. Therefore serving man and other beings is serving God.
As mentioned, this extends to all beings whether human, animal, birds, plants or any other. It also includes the environment and living in harmony with nature.
To What Extent?
This is a very difficult question. To what extent should a person give his time, efforts and wealth in charity? Is there a limit charity? All wealth is given by God and a person receiving or collecting it should not go on accumulating or hoarding it. To hoard more wealth than what a man needs is a sin. The wealth not needed by man should be given to others for use. One can amass wealth with hundreds of hands but distribute the same with thousands of hands.
Paropakaraya Punyaya, Papaya Parapeedanam
“What ever conduces to the good of others is noble deed and should be followed”
Iswarah Sarva Bhutanam Itruddesha Arjuna Tishtati
“The same God who is present in me is also present in other human beings.”
Shatahasta Samahara, Sahasrashasta Sankira
“Earn with hundreds of hands, and distribute with thousands.”
Datavyamiti Yaddanam Deeyatenupa KarineDeshe Kale cha Patercha Taddanam Sattvikam Smarutam
“That gift which is made to one who can make no return, with the feeling that it is one’s duty to give, and which is given at the right place and time and to a worthy person, that gift is held sattvik.”
You can do the same!!