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Karsewa kar-sewa kar sewa kar seva


Karsewa, voluntary contribution of physical labour or service towards constructing, cleaning, renovation or maintaining day to day operations specially in significance to Sikh tradition. Sewa, altruistic service, was preached by the Gurus as a means to Gods-realization. "One who renders selfless service attains to the Lord's presence," says the Scripture (GGS,286-87). Kar may be interpreted in two ways. In Sanskrit as well as in Persian the word means simply act, action, work, operation, labour, service, etc., so that karsewa may mean any physical act, labour or service altruistically performed. However, in Sikh usage the term "Karsewa" is applied to free voluntary labour contributed to building, repairing or renovating projects, undertaken by the Sikh community.

The word kar was taken as derived from the Arabic q'ar meaning "to go to the bottom, to make deep, bottom, depth (of well, etc.)." Kar-sewa is thus applied specifically to the work of dredging or removing by manual labour sedimentary mud and garbage, collected at the bottom of a sarovar, sacred pool or tank, over the years. Sikhs male and female, old and young comes from high or low locality consider it a privilege to participate in kar-seva.

Sikh chronicles describe the Kar-sewa operations at the pool of Nectar, the sacred tank, Amritsar, which lent its name to the city on several occasions. This sarovar was dug initially by Guru Ram Das Ji (1534-81). Being unlined and rain-fed, it soon started getting shallow. Guru Arjan Dev Ji (1536-1606) took up the first Kar-sewa which involoved not only deepening but also brick-lining of it's banks with steps leading down. He had the Harimander Sahib constructed in the middle of it as also the causeway connecting the shrine to the bank. The project extending over several years was executed primarily with voluntary, free labour.

karsewa karsewa

Now Kar-sewa, is also being used in broader means covering overall voluntary contribution of physical labour or say self less service to sikh commuinty & projects carried by several karsewa groups or jathas around India as well as abroad to construct, renovate and maintain Sikh Historical Gurudwaras and current community projects time to time. Their are several self less servants to sikh community as Kar Sewak Baba Gurmukh Singh Ji, Baba Harbans Singh Ji Karsewa wale, Baba Jagtar Singh Ji Karsewa wale to name a few.

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Karsewa kar-sewa kar sewa kar seva
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