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  • Writer's pictureSeva Corps


Updated: Nov 10, 2021

How do we make seva practices part of our own in Latin America?

Seva Corps was created in times of pandemic, in order to serve those who serve and to create a network of connections between people and Seva projects or volunteer service. From the beginning, in April 2020, our work led us to ask ourselves what Seva means in Latin America and what characterizes it.

From direct contact with various Seva projects, mainly in Latin America, and in relation to the teachings of Kundalini Yoga, we have conducted mapping and research studies in thirteen countries in the region.

Below is a Word cloud created with answers to the question: If you could define Seva in just two words, what would they be?

Word cloud from mapping research conducted in 2020

Pillars that identify Seva practices in Latin America

1. Devotion

Image courtesy of Krishan Shiva Singh

Latin American sevadars are characterized by a devotion to the pursuit of justice and a sense of gratitude for the privileges and opportunities they are offered. Immersed in very diverse realities, those who have good living conditions seek to give back and in some way share what they have.

From this perspective, Seva is the way in which one can give thanks to life, to the Universe.

2. Empathy

Image courtesy of Langar Chile

The suffering caused by the lack of resources, a consequence of the constant economic and social crises in the region, has generated a growing social inequality, in the face of which the absence of government action is evident. The majority of the Latin American population finds itself living in conditions that denote unmet basic needs, with no long-term solution in sight.

This experience raises questions:

If we don't help and the government doesn't help, then who will?

This historical context of tragedy and scarcity has created a favorable environment for empathy and solidarity in Latin America. This is why there is a strong presence of voluntary service actions that have been sustained by collective wills over time.

From this perspective, we serve from a call of the soul, as we recognize the suffering of others as our own.

3. Joy of sharing

Image courtesy of Amar Das Social Foundation

In our countries, there is a joy in sharing what one has, a characteristic that probably derives from the indigenous culture of 'Living Well'. What does this ancient practice refer to?

The original peoples (Quechua and Aymara) who lived for centuries in the Andes had in common a vision of the world in which everything was connected. According to this vision, the Cordillera, for example, is a living mountain range and our region is the heart of the Earth.

'Living Well' is a way of inhabiting the planet where all relationships, including the one we have with Nature, are harmonious and cooperative. In essence, our lives are guided by observation, bonding, and the characteristics of Mother Earth: she is abundant, and what is there is enough for everyone. In this sense, it is possible to give and receive selflessly, without fear of losing or not being reciprocated.

This is why mutual support and community are fundamental elements in all contexts of Latin American service. We serve "with our hands full", always thinking of the collective and, for this reason, our service is joyful. We recognize that together we are stronger and we go farther:

Serving is a celebration, it is part of the natural flow of life, where everything is connected and constantly serves.

Image courtesy of Amar Das Social Foundation

We sharing with you these inspiring insights reaffirming the values and pillars that identify all cultures in their way of serving.

Do you recognize any of these values as your own?

How is the practice of Seva understood in your culture?

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