An important statement in Vedanta is “atmanastu kaamaaya sarvam priyam bhavati” Whatever evokes my pleased self I love. Ätmä the self is the most loveable; therefore, ätmä is änanda svarüpa, essential nature of Happiness or Fullness. Änanda svarüpa is ätmä; therefore, ätmä is the most loveable. It is said in both ways. This is what is to be discovered in Vedanta study.
This kämah is a very beautiful word. Kämah can be the object of desire, or you can take it as a desire. The object is desired because of some fascination. It is the meaning of words like ‘priya’, ‘ista’, ‘räga’. Their common meaning is ‘something that is pleasing’. I am always striving to be with the pleased self. This Vedanta statement asks us to discover the pleased self. Even if we understand from the study of Vedanta that ätmä is ananda svarupa, the pleased self unless we clear the kashäya, the technical term for the unconscious inhibitions, they deny self-love, we loathe ourselves and we continue to keep seeking happiness outside.
Seva helps us clear the unconscious inhibitors. Seva and care involves whatever you can do to your own people. So we have a volunteer movement (AIM for Seva). It is a great avenue to work for. In the process of helping the underprivileged who are incapable of giving anything in return we grow out of anger, fear and other expressions of the unconscious. When our seva makes people benefit the pleased self blossoms in us. It all has to do with love for the ätmä. Therefore, we start with self-care. First care for yourself, and then you will understand yourself. Self-care is equal to self-love. Self- love is as good as you have love for others. The more you give, the more you love. The more you love yourself, the more you understand what is going on. Then, your clarity increases.
A yogi by ashtänga yoga gets änanda-anubhava and reaches a state of laya, absorption. A musician can also reach such a state, and can transfer it to those listeners who know music. Therefore, music is superior to yoga. Thus, a musician can cause a thousand people to reach a state of laya. Similarly, Seva has the capacity to bring laya. By introducing the person who has studied Vedanta to Seva, you can make the person feel happy, you can make the person grow spiritually. One who does seva is happy.
You can do seva on your own, but we have a movement already in place in which you can learn and make use of the structure.
(Excerpts from Satsang with Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Arsha Vidya Gurukulam)