'Sevā: The Focus of a Fragmented but Gradually Coalescing Field of Study'

Beckerlegge, Gwilym (2015). 'Sevā: The Focus of a Fragmented but Gradually Coalescing Field of Study'. Religions of South Asia, 9(2) pp. 208–239.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/rosa.v9i2.31070

Abstract

The study of sevā in the Hindu tradition has increasingly come to focus on its relatively recent meaning of organized 'humanitarian service'. Acknowledging that this is but one understanding that has been attached to this concept, this article traces the emergence of a more clearly defined body of scholarly studies centred on the promotion of the practice of humanitarian service as a sādhanā by Hindu movements and their teachers since the early nineteenth century. Noting links between the study of sevā, social reform in India, voluntary action, and national and international humanitarianism, the article argues for the importance of this branch of study in the early twenty-first century.

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