Be the Cause

Letter to Manav Sadhna

Hello Manav Sadhna Family,

Through your well wishes, the Seva Café is doing well. Many people are having life enhancing experiences here. During the launch of the Seva Café, one woman was actually in tears after we brought her a meal. Last night was the third Seva Café that we have conducted. There are many more stories that I can possibly share. Every time I looked around the room, all I saw was smiles, I thought to myself that this is a place where Love resides. Last night I saw a homeless man sitting on one of the tables outside. I went up to him to see how he was doing. I explained the concept of the Seva Café and he was literally moved to tears. He said he knew all about pain and suffering because of living on the streets. We brought him his meal. Afterwards, he left 93 cents on the table to pay for a future guest’s meal, it was all the money he had on him.

Many more stories to reflect on. One of our friend’s aunt passed away last week. The funeral was yesterday, after the funeral the family decided to come and join us at the Seva Café. I placed the Share the Love box on their table and we as a group all decided to take money out of the box and do something meaningful with it in the coming days.

I can’t even begin to share how the volunteers themselves are doing. Recently a friend of ours, Sudi, washed dishes for 5 hours straight, he even had to carry dirty water from one room to another because the plumbing pipes were clogged. He must have gained something through that experience because he agreed to come and serve every single Saturday. Another friend drove 1 hour to be with us yesterday, after sitting for four minutes he decided that he was going to wash dishes for the rest of the night. Another friend of ours came by during the first week just to say hello. He kept saying that he needed to leave the entire night but ended up staying with us past midnight. You couldn’t get him away from the dish washing sink. I spoke to him afterwards and he mentioned the hard time he was having at another non-profit he works at. He was literally feeling burned-out and had decided to take a break from his non-profit work… he said that being at the Seva Café rejuvenated his spirit and he felt a new force of inspiration to do good in the world. He too has come back every single Saturday. Its hard to put into words what happens here. Watching Niyati wipe the tables down at the end of evening was one of the most peaceful experiences I had. As if somehow the universe itself was guiding every single stroke of her hands.

Thank you for providing us with the inspiration to get this started. It is already beginning to affect people in a very positive way. We know that with everything we do here, we are tied to everything you do there. Many of the local folks that have visited the Seva Café in Ahmadabad have been supporting this effort here. Please let us know how the Seva Café is doing there in Ahmedabad andzif there is anything we can do to help from here.

Some stories of the Seva Café are here and some comments from guests will be added here as well:

With as much love as we are capable of,

Washing Dishes as Seva

Serving at the Seva Café last weekend was an opportunity and a privilege. Usually when I volunteer, it is for an expected end goal such as cleaning up a neighborhood or helping the underserved. However, prior to coming in on Saturday, I knew serving at the Seva Café, was about serving simply to serve. For this reason, I knew serving at the Seva Café would be an interesting and exciting experience……and it didn’t disappoint.

My role on Saturday was dishwasher. To be honest, I wanted to be a server, only because I’ve never had a job in the service sector and I always enjoy new experiences. My presumptions about washing dishes were the following: 1.) I’ve done dishes before, 2.) I do dishes almost everyday, and 3.) There is nothing intriguing about doing dishes. And yes, I was wrong.

Though I wanted to be a server, I knew I would come into Seva Café and fulfill my role, whatever it was, with no expectations. It didn’t matter what my role would be, I would just come in and do it. To me that’s what giving is about. To me that’s what life is about. No expectations. There is nothing more pure than that idea. For example, when you give just to give, no strings attached, no end result desired (maybe only for the satisfaction of completing an action), that is pure. Similarly, when you live just to live, complete a duty just to complete a duty—that is pure. Not to say you shouldn’t care, but you should care about the actual action rather than the result.

So when I found out that there were problems with the plumbing and the water wasn’t draining, but rather backing up into a little hole, and had to be scooped up with a small container, I didn’t mind. I had the mentality of fulfilling my role with no expectations. And as any job or duty, you try to complete it properly.

As I was washing dishes, I overheard a conversation about Karma, and began to relate Karma to washing dishes. I’m not really a believer in Karma, or rather I’m a bit unconventional in my beliefs of Karma. Nonetheless, Karma is too much in the future for me to consider or believe. So when people say the action of “goodness” will bring good Karma for whatever reason— the goodness will be returned to you in a tangible manner in the future or a better life in your next life— I’m not much of a believer. For me Karma is more of a reproduction of mentality. For instance, consider what the Seva Café is about—serving. The benefit of serving, whether it is of the mind, body, or soul, is Karma in itself. Meaning, the mentality of the action of serving, or any action for that matter, is its own Karma. As said before, giving just for the satisfaction of giving is Karma. I hope this makes sense.

While serving at the Seva Café, I also witnessed true teamwork, where everyone was there for each other, selflessly, all working towards a common ideal… serve. That is true teamwork—working with and for each other towards a common ideal.

Experiencing the purity of serving just to serve and the purity of teamwork, I was appreciative and grateful of the opportunity to work on Saturday. I am honestly intrigued with the concept of the Seva Café and the principles it is based on. The mentality of the Seva Safe is good Karma.


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