“Work Is Worship” Swami Vivekananda’s Philosophy of Seva and Its Contribution to the Gandhian Ethos

  • Jeffery D. Long


This chapter seeks to develop a foundation for a Hindu theology of liberation in the philosophy of seva, or selfless service, developed by Swami Vivekananda. It shows the continuities of Vivekananda’s understanding of seva as part and parcel of a path to God-realization with ancient Indic sources such as the Bhagavad Gītā, the Dharma Śāstras, Buddhism, and Jainism, all of which seek, in varying ways, to reconcile the currents of renunciation and worldly engagement present in Indic thought. It then examines the equally strong continuities of Vivekananda’s thought and the “constructive program” of Mohandas K. Gandhi, arguing that Gandhi essentially implemented the ideal for which Vivekananda had provided the theoretical underpinnings in Vedāntic metaphysics. One can say that Gandhi translates the thought of Vivekananda into action.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffery D. Long
    • 1
  1. 1.Elizabethtown CollegeElizabethtownUSA

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