Seva also Sewa, short for the word Karseva refers to “selfless service”, work or service performed without any thought of reward or personal benefit. In the Punjabi language the person performing such service is called a Sevadar.
All Sikhs are encouraged by their Guru (Guru Granth Sahib) to perform Seva or Selfless Service. This is not only good for community relations but also is good for the moral uplifting of the person. You will find Sikhs engaged in free service in Gurdwaras washing dishes, cleaning the floors, serving food, etc.
Sikhs are also encouraged to help the community by performing unpaid work in hospitals, ‘old peoples’ homes, community centres, etc. Volunteers engaged in Seva are referred to as Sevadars and for many people this activity forms an essential part of their life, providing spiritual fulfilment and practical benefits.
Sikhism is founded on principles of Sarbat da bhalla – working towards the “common good of all”. For Sikhs, this means reaching out to serve and uplift all of humanity as an expression or devotion to the Creator.
Many other Sikh institutes, such as Guru-ka-Langar, Kirtan, Paath, etc., depend on the performance of Seva by many in the congregation. So the principles of Seva underpin many Sikh values – such is the importance given to Seva in Sikhism.