Service is that which we all do in the world. Nothing new has been explained or described in the shastras and the Vedas. However, the actual meaning of seva is that which is done for the sevya, for the happiness of the recipient of the service. Just a small correction has to be made. That’s it. This is the philosophy that pertains to seva of God and Guru.
As regards to seva to anyone in the world, you all know that we serve anyone with our self-interest in mind. Whether our interest will be gratified or not will all be seen later, but we serve someone in hope. That service could be to mother, father, brother, wife, husband, son or neighbor. We do service to anyone with our self-interest in mind, therefore, it is considered service to our own self. On the contrary, service that is done without the desire for our own happiness or self-interest, rather the motivation is to please the person that is being served, is true seva. In other words, one kind of seva is that which we do to ourselves and the second is that which is done to that person who is being served.
First of all, the actual form of seva is associated with God and Guru. Secondly, even if anyone does service for the happiness of another material being, someone may claim, “I don’t care for my own interest. I only care about serving that person.” How so? There is a wealthy man who distributed fifty blankets to poor people. Now by giving away the blanket he is not expecting that the poor person will come and work for him. He thinks, “The poor man is suffering in the cold. God has given me enough wealth, so I must give away fifty blankets in charity.” So there is no selfish motive in this situation, is there? No, there is not. Nevertheless, there is a selfish motive hiding in this. What is it? “God will be pleased. My next life will become prosperous. I will receive quadruple. I will not return to this world as a poor person.”
Even if we selflessly serve anyone for our whole life, our mother, father, brother, then we will attain them after death, not God. In service, we have to attach our mind. It will not be considered service without the attachment of the mind, it will be equal to unpaid labor. Thus, the outcome of such an attachment is material. It is worthy of criticism.
For this very reason, service to God and Guru is known as real or true service. Read more about How to do Service To God And Guru.