Letter from John
Dear Seva Cafe Family,
July 28th marks the day that Seva Cafe was officially set in motion. The basic idea originated from Swami Shantanand of Rishikesh who had an epiphany that an “eat what you want, pay as you wish” restaurant would be a good way to spread a higher message of trust and goodness out into the world. He started a high-end Indian restauarant in Singapore called Annalakshmi and others would soon follow. When the idea to create a cafe next to Gramshree came into being, it was his inspiration that sparked another inspiration – why not try it in Ahmedabad? If a cafe was to be borne here, surrounded by such love-filled projects like those of Manav Sadhna and Gramshree, why not make this cafe one that also transcends?
Ironically, on the same day that this idea was set in motion, Swami Shantanand passed away. Perhaps it was just coincidence or perhaps his vision had somehow been fulfilled. We will never know.
An inspired idea is one thing. Applying the day-in, day-out dedication and unwavering commitment to keep that inspiration alive and translate it into a tangible reality is something altogether different. Something like the Seva Cafe cannot just come into existence anywhere. It requires a fertile ground of love and a dedicated community to constantly breathe that love and life into it.
And that is what you all have done. In one year, so much faith and care and goodness and trust and dedication has been planted into a place that exists for the simple purpose of providing a different kind of nourishment to those who enter its space. Though the numbers may not yet have added up, the amount of transformation that has taken place as a result of all this goodness is astounding. Everyday people walk out of the Seva Cafe very different then when they walked in. It has planted countless seeds of what is possible and what is most valuable. It has helped activate a greater community of Seva in Ahmedabad and it has been a transformative place for those who serve, allowing each of you to grow in humility and grace.
We will never know all the ripples that have come from all your efforts, but it is certain they are many and beautiful. Because of the purity of spirit going into and sustaining the Seva Cafe each and every day, it has inspired a group in Auroville to open one as well, called Indus Valley, and it inspired the BeTheCause group to open a sister site in Los Angeles, California.
When you read Sukh’s words about the enormous impact the experience has brought, you can know that your dedication – your light – has lit others and the collective glow is now so much brighter. When you hear Nirali talk about the miraculous effect of this place in Los Angeles, you can feel very proud. They did it. Those 16 who came to Ahmedabad were so moved by the generosity they received, and what they did about it was the highest compliment they could have given. They gave birth to that spirit in America. And they did it with absolute brilliance, capturing the magic, the love, the spirit in its purest form.
I was very fortunate to share in the experience of Seva Cafe in Long Beach on its opening night and I was awed by the beauty of the night. Sukh says that it has only gotten better. And I believe him.
I want to thank everyone for putting so much love, care, and beauty out into the world. Perhaps from a day to day perspective, it may not seem like you are doing much, but in truth, what you are doing is transforming the world. We can’t always see it, but it is happening and the more love that everyone gives, the stronger it grows, the more it takes root, the more it takes over, The world could go in many directions. We can only do our personal best to make it go toward love. When it does, when it hits that tipping point where a tide of goodness begins to take over, perhaps noone will ever know the cause.
It’s up to each and every one of us to be that cause – doing so is our own salvation, our own metamorphosis, and the evolution of everything we know. Thank you everyone. My gratitude is beyond words.