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Selfless service

Selfless service or Seva (Punjabi: ਸੇਵਾ) in Sikhism, its ordained philosophy, in Sikh scripture, the theology, and hermeneutics is a service which is performed without any expectation of result or award for performing it. Such services can be performed to benefit other human beings or society. "Seva is an old Sanskrit term, which originally referred to the service performed by members of the low castes to those of the higher castes". A more recent interpretation of the word is "dedication to others".[1]

In Shia Ismailism, a branch of Islam, Seva is described as doing volunteer work for others out of your heart. Ismailis have a system of Time and Knowledge Nazrana (TKN), where we donate our time and our knowledge to wherever it may be needed. Nazrana means special gift and it derives from the Persian word Nazr which means offering or gift.

Religious significance

Kar Sewa at Durbar Sahib.

The idea of selfless service (seva also sewa) is an important concept in a number of religions because God is perceived as having an interest in the well-being of others as well as oneself; serving other people is considered an essential devotional practice of indirectly serving God and living a religious life that is a benefit to others.[2]


The term is used in military awards such as, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), and institutions like Seva Foundation, Gandhi Seva Sadan, Seva Development and Seva Bharati.

See also


  1. ^ Schlecker Markus, Fleischer Friederike (June 14, 2013). Ethnographies of Social Support. p. 180. ISBN 1137330961.
  2. ^ Sewa, Selfless Service