The Power of Serving Others

by Guruka Singh Khalsa

In 2002 Yogi Bhajan taught regular evening classes for the Espanola community and we all flocked to those classes with great joy and appreciation, especially since Yogiji was already in ill health and had to make great effort to come and teach us. I remember one evening when he entered, sat down and asked us, “What is the source of all power?” There was a long silence, and then he said “Well?” and people began to raise their hands. “God,” said one person; “sadhana,” said another, “the breath,” said yet another. He kept on shaking his head. After a few minutes he said, “I will give $100 to the correct answer.” After more guessing from the assembled class, and more vigorous head shaking on his part he held up his hand for us to stop guessing. “The root of all power is Seva!”

So what is Seva anyway? I hear you replying “selfless service,” but what does that mean? Lately I’ve come to understand that seva isn’t something that we do. It’s a state of mind. As I begin my sadhana each day I place my forehead on my alter and pray. “Guru Ram Das ji, I am yours and you are mine.” I start each day anew offering myself to my Guru and knowing that he will take care of me and all my needs. “What can I do for you today? Show me what you want me to do today, and I will do it.” Seva means making myself available to people, being present with everyone at every opportunity, and doing the thing that needs doing in each moment, whatever that may be. The state of mind of a servant is to be alert to his master’s needs, to be very intuitive, and to act without hesitation.

At the Masters Touch course a student asked me, “3HO is healthy, happy and holy. I understand things I can do to be healthy, and I feel my wholeness and oneness with God, but what is the way to be happy?”

I said, “The secret of happiness is really very simple. How happy you are is inversely proportional to how much time you spend thinking about your own predicament in life.”

Another student asked me, “Tell me how you know when someone is enlightened. Does their aura change? Is it their power of meditation?” I said, “I know because when they use up the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, they put a fresh roll in its place.”

Seva is each next moment.

10 Responses to “The Power of Serving Others”

  1. Gurkirpal says:


    i was just wondering why the espnola sangat have very deep love for Guru Ram das ji. is your favorite Guru. beacause i always read this blog and always read the name of Guru Ram das ji very frequently.

  2. Guruka Singh says:

    Gurkirpal Ji – I can only speak for myself. It is very, very personal. Guru Ram Das Ji is my protector. He protected me and led me to the Guru’s feet in this lifetime. In 1970 I did not know what a Sikh was. I did not know anything about Sikhi. I had just learned how to meditate. One day in my meditation I had a vision of very big, decorated golden doors opening. I went through and there sat a radiant man with a long beard. He opened his arms and motioned for me to come and sit on his lap. He put his arms around me and hugged me. I knew in that moment that I belonged to him completely and that he was totally taking care of me. I had that experience again when I first visited Harimandir Sahib. It is not something I can explain with words. Guru Ram Das Ji is my personal Guru.


  3. Annie says:

    Gurmustak Singh jee
    I really appreciate your work, I have most enjoyed the audio files that you put up in between the blogs! Thank you for putting up lectures by Yogiji, I m looking forward to hearing and imbibing more in me… its amazingly touching and elevating !

  4. Bhai Sahib, very inspiring post (as usual).

    One quick question, the last paragraph puzzled me. What does it mean?

    Another student asked me, “Tell me how you know when someone is enlightened. Does their aura change? Is it their power of meditation?” I said, “I know because when they use up the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, they put a fresh roll in its place.”

  5. Guruka Singh says:

    Manvir Singh Ji – It means that you are thinking of the next person who will be using the room after you, and taking care that their experience will be graceful rather than simply thinking of yourself. Enlightmenment is when you feel the heartbeat of others above your own and experience at every moment that we are all one with the One.


  6. Prabhu Singh says:

    Just about every Sikh I’ve ever talked to has related very strongly with one of the Gurus. It is our duty to see them all as the same light. However (in my opinion) each physical Guru brought unique gifts and embodied certain qualities stronger. These qualities and these gifts are all part of the same light. It’s not that each Sikh has a favorite Guru, it is just that certain qualities resonate stronger within the individual’s soul.
    I’m not completely sure why, but I think about Guru Gobind Singh all the time. Everyday I think of Guru Gobind Singh and I pray to God that I can be worthy to be called his son. My love for Guru Gobind Singh as my father is so strong I just think about what he did for us and what he gave us and I just want to be like him and never to fail him. I cannot stop thinking of Guru Gobind Singh. Some things I cannot explain on a public forum, including all the reasons for which I remember Guru Gobind Singh all the time.
    I just wanted to say that it’s not about favorites or about distinguishing the 4th Nanak from the 1st Nanak, it is just about the resonance and the karma and all the cosmic laws which cannot be explained or understood by all of us.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Gurmustak ji..

    Once again I just want to say thank you so much for your hard work for putting this blog up I read your blog every single day.. Always find great things..I personally think this is great seva your doing.. I really appreaciate you providing us with video clips and audio.. Just want to say keep up the good work, may god always bless you with more knowledge, so you can share with us.. Thanks

    Kamaljit K

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the great response and clarification, Prabhu Singh! It’s much appreciated.

    I had always found it very strange and intrinsically contrary to a fundamental principal of our faith when people would express a preference for one particular Guru over another. I grew up with the understanding that it was the jot or divine light of Guru Nanak Dev ji that transformed Bhai Lehna Ji into Guru Angad Dev Ji, Bhalla Khatri into Guru Amar Das ji, Bhai Jetha ji into Guru Ram Das ji, etc. It’s not the physical form of the particular Guru that we should be holding so dear and worship but the divine spirit that resided within the body.

    It seems to be a fallacy to think that Guru Ram Das ji or Guru Gobind Singh ji are entities distinct from that of any of the other Gurus. They are one and the same, Nanak I through to Nanak XI.

    Your explanation helps to understand this a bit better, Prabhu Singh. Thanks.

  9. Waheguru Ji,

    Great post, Guruka!

    I think you could also mention the concept of Chardi Kala, cos to me that encapsulates a lot about Sikhi- humility, obeying the Hukam, staying positive and chirpy, being helpful, and also being thankful for your chance to serve Waheguru.

    What do you think?

    – Harminder Singh
    East Lansing, MI

  10. Thanks Bhai Guruka Singh jee for you nice reply to my comment.

    Make sense now :)