Seva or Selfless Service
Selfless service is the inner expansion of the outer ritualistic worship
Spiritual traditions emphasize on doing selfless service because it is the inner expansion of the outer ritualistic worship. In ritualistic worship an individual focuses or identifies the un-limited or unconditional Pure Consciousness in the limited conditioned form of an object, like an idol or a symbolic image. This is the basic logic of idol worship.
Next stage of inner evolution occurs when the individual identifies the same un-limited or unconditional Pure Consciousness in all the limited conditioned forms that appears as insentient objects, microbes, plants, animals, birds and fellow human beings. In ritualistic worship an individual expresses "Love" towards one object, which expands to all other objects that he encounters. Without this expansion one's inner growth gets retarded.
Without Seva or selfless service an individual remains stuck with the outer ritualistic worship. For example, if some one gives fruits or milk that was meant for a ritualistic worship, to a hungry person, is a sign of seeing pure Consciousness or God in another individual. Not seeing the same Consciousness in any thing other us is immaturity.
Vedic culture especially is ingrained with the concept of respecting or identifying equally all sentient and insentient beings. When some one feet accidentally happens to step on or hit a living object or even any non-living being does the gesture of touching the object and place the hand on head or chest. This act is a symbolic gesture of treating every thing as once own self.
Core of Selfless service is the sharing attitude because one does not differentiate oneself from other. Seeing oneself in others is the sign of inner growth that is the basic principle of Selfless service. This expansion of seeing oneself with others occurs first at the body level, then at the mind level, the intellect level and finally at the awareness level. This give rises to different types or kinds of selfless service that we see around.