Seva as a Way of Life

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“The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Looking at the lives of gurus, both sadgurus and junior gurus, it is clear that they are great examples of Emerson’s principles.  Namadeva Acharya’s motivations in all his endeavors in life, both spiritual and mundane, were based on these principles.

I was born in the 1940s. We were raised in the Forties and Fifties in a culture that was based on the principles in the Emerson quote. Those principles are are very grounding and were part of our generational impetus to rebel against the obvious abuse of a war with no purpose and an effort to make the USA live up to its claimed purpose in the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. This led to our response to injustice and participation in the Civil Rights movement, supporting Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta in the farm workers union, and later the Second Wave of Feminism. During that time, I never heard people question why they were on the planet in the way younger people do. The Sixties and Seventies were also a time of spiritual questing, and many explored different ways of life and beliefs to satisfy the perennial inner spiritual drive of all humans.

One of the major reasons that younger people think differently is that major media, particularly television, deliberately in the late Seventies morphed into All Propaganda All The Time. I was working at WCBS-TV in NYC in 1977 and saw a huge change at that station, which got rid of all the investigative journalists and those who would not read exactly what was on the prompter and also changed their public service programs to be less inclusive of non establishment ideas and people. Later, stations dropped those programs entirely. The principles of advertising were used to persuade viewers that protesting, resisting were useless. Newscasters did not chit-chat but read the prompters, which said literally, “Oh, you can’t fight city hall” and other phrases to discourage protest and create the impression that resisters are wierdos. Shortly afterward in the Reagan era, the intensive propaganda plus advertising urged everyone to find their happiness in stuff. Everyone was urged to become Yuppies. Kids who saw this in nearly every tv show, grew up not with Emerson but with extreme materialism.

I am very happy as an old activist to see the engagement and activity of the Millennials and others more recently to make positive changes in America and the world.

I hope lots of people see this essay and re-think why they are so unhappy, then reject the pop culture all around us.

A good life is a life in balance.  If we nurture our souls and have devotion to the Divine, seek knowledge, and serve others, which is Raja Yoga, the highest path to mukti (liberation from the rounds of rebirth) then we will be fulfilled and know we have lived life to the best of our abilities.

Happy New Year!

 

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About Satyabhama Ashley-Farrand

Satyabhama met Satguru Sant Keshavadas in December 1980 at his Temple of Cosmic Religion in Washington, DC. She also met Thomas Ashley-Farrand/Namadeva Acharya (1940-2010) the same evening, and a year and a week later they were married by Satgurus Sant Keshavadas and Rama Mata. Satyabhama studied with Sant Keshavadas and Rama Mata and with Namadeva for the next 3 decades. She became a Vedic priest in her own right in the mid-1980s and worked with Namadeva Acharya in performing and teaching ancient mantra techniques and spiritual practices. In 2008 and 2009, like Namadeva Acharya, she received guru diksha to be a guru from Satguru Rama Mata, Sadguru Sant Keshavadas' widow, to whom he passed the lineage in 1997. When Namadeva Acharya discovered that his death was imminent, he told Satyabhama that he wanted her to continue their mission of teaching the dharma, and he gave her a powerful initiation to enable her to teach his workshops with his spiritual energy. Since then, she has continued to travel and teach and also to manage the Gayatri Temple in Beaverton, Oregon, with the encouragement of Satguru Rama Mata and her family. Satyabhama has a B.A. from New York University and a Law Degree from Southwestern School of Law. Dedicated to serving God through humanity, she is a certified mediator and maintained a private law practice from 1981-2007. Prior to her law practice, Satyabhama worked to further the status of women through her involvement with the National Organization for Women and the National Women's Political Caucus. In 2004, Satyabhama assumed management of Saraswati Publications, LLC and Sanatana Dharma Satsang, Inc., a 501(c)3 religious organization. She is committed to making the world a better place in which Divine Law becomes the law of life.

4 responses

  1. Well said.

    Saw a sad sight today while looking in a restaurant window: three small children each wearing a headset connected to a color coordinated monitor. As their parents are, the children were engrossed in individual programs. Have to wonder how such children will relate to the real world.

  2. I cut the cord on our tv when the kids were younger. It was because their grades had slipped from the honor role after I became a single parent. I was concerned and I wanted to be closer to the three of them. They were 16, 14 and 10. We played board games and read books. After Sunday service we’d come home and have a family meal. Then once the table was clear and the mess cleaned up we’d give a little report to each other about what we were reading. Vonnegut said he liked the face to face conversations and the connection to other humans. I do to.
    When the next report cards came out and they were back on the honor role I hooked it up again. But we didn’t turn it on as much as we had. We continued with weekly meetings and sharing with each other. It could have been a teaching tool. Greed and manipulation has hurt our youth and our world. Sadness wells up in my heart when I see so many on their phones. How can we stop this?