The World Hindu Congress concluded in Bangkok, receiving blessings from Amma. The three-day event brought together more than 2000 delegates from 61 countries to examine how to reinstill the timeless values of Sanātana Dharma.
In her official address, Amma emphasised its inherent and expansive vision that interconnects all of creation through love, selfless service, and ethics. She explained that dharma is not a principle exclusive to Hindus. Dharma is the name given by the ancient ṛṣis for that which tunes humanity, nature and God in perfect harmony.
Excerpts from Amma’s address
The Hindu faith is an ancient one that presents a collection of principles and values that have the potential to bring wellbeing and prosperity to all. Sanātana Dharma has always been fully cognisant of the profound connection between human beings and nature. It was the Hindu faith that offered the concepts of dharma and yajña—virtue and self-sacrifice—to the world.
There is a growing number of people today, in whom the wellspring of love and selfless service is drying up. The only solution is to restore dharma. This is the one and only way to save the world and humanity. Gatherings and focused activities like this, accomplished together in a spirit of surrender, are becoming essential.
All around us, we see people functioning like machines—from their waking moment, till they fall asleep at night, it’s as if they are on a battleground, internally and externally. There is no moment free of stress. Work pressure, family problems, worries about their children, income and expenses, anxiety about an internet connection…
In the midst of all this tension, how can we think about dharma or moral values? There is only one explanation. All this stress comes from a single source: neglecting dharma and failing to live by it, even in a minimal way.
We have manmade laws. Above all these, we have a divine law given to us by the universal power that binds all of creation together. This divine law is what we call dharma. We try not to violate manmade laws because we are afraid of punishment.
In a similar manner, violating the law of dharma laid down by the universal power will also have its repercussion as well. Just as gravitational force is a law of nature, dharma is a law of the universe. A nation’s constitutional law can be changed by governments, but the law of the universe, dharma, cannot be changed or amended. When we do our part to protect dharma, it will protect us.
Contrary to what many may think, dharma is not a principle exclusive to Hindus. Dharma is the name given by our ancient ṛṣis for that which connects and tunes humanity, nature and God in perfect harmony. It is a way of life that each and every human being should practise.
What is dharma? Dharma is something that gives maximum happiness to maximum number of people at maximum time. Dharma witnesses all external differences, and considers each in its own place. In this vision, there is no place for hatred or vengeance. There is no despair or anger. It teaches us to imbibe the good in everyone and everything.
Typically, we encounter two viewpoints in the world. First, “I want to secure my rights.” Second, “I must fulfil my dharma—my duty.” Among these, Sanātana Dharma gives importance to the second. The first is the way of conflict and competition. The second is the way of unity, wellbeing and peace. If each person thinks only of their own rights, then the result will be hostility and discord. However, if each person fulfils their dharma, then everyone’s rights will naturally be protected. Peace and prosperity will reign.
Sanātana Dharma gives freedom to every individual to choose their own spiritual path. Not only humans, but the entire world needs diversity. There is a beauty in it. There is a harmony in it. In Sanātana Dharma, diversity and unity blend together. This helps in finding the one undercurrent to the countless diversity seen in the universe. It integrates everything together. Through this, love, beauty and service-mindedness blossom.
Humans and all living beings are waves in the great ocean that is God. It is in this great ocean of God that we take birth, live, die and are reborn. Waves rise up for a mere few moments before they disappear. In reality, the wave is not different from the ocean.
Similarly, human beings, nature and God are not different. All the various conflicts we experience, both internally and externally—our greed to possess everything and the hatred and vengeance we feel—are simply because we are unaware of this underlying oneness.
There is a rhythm to the universe—an imperishable connection between the universe and every living creature in it. The universe is like a vast interconnected network. Just as a small shake in the corner of a stretched-out net will ripple throughout the net, so too—whether we are aware of it or not—our every act sends a ripple to each corner of the universe, whether performed by an individual or a group. We should know that we are not individual islands but links of a common chain.
When we live our life firmly established in dharma, there is no place for thoughts of “I” and “mine.” One who is established in dharma, cannot do anything to harm anyone or nature. A dharmic outlook makes our awareness expansive. There is no feeling of separateness. The individual mind becomes one with the universal mind.
Modern science now acknowledges that all energy is fundamentally the same and that everything in the universe is interconnected. Yet, we often find that so-called “scientific” people themselves are discriminatory and divisive in their outlook. If we indiscriminately pursue machines, we will put our very existence in danger. Incorporating values into our use of technology is important.
We have learned to soar in the skies like a bird and dive deep in the oceans like a fish, but have forgotten how to walk and live like a human being.
There are two types of education: education for living and education for life. Education for living is needed to earn a living. Education for life is the science of facing the challenges of life. It is spirituality.
Today, wherever we go in the world, our first question is, “Will we get internet here?” However, an internet connection alone is not really enough; what we really need is to fix our inner-net connection. In this context, spirituality becomes relevant. Most people put in efforts to change external situations. But what we can in fact change is our mental attitude. When our mindset becomes positive, instead of negative, it can create a change in external situations as well. Spirituality helps us to change our mental attitude.
A life devoid of values is, in a way, underutilising the gift of human birth. For example, say we have a supercomputer. If we merely use it to store our grocery expenses and balance our household accounts, what a waste of capacity it would be. A supercomputer can easily store the data for an entire city!
In these modern days, people seeking peace of mind have made cell phones and intoxicants their “peacemakers.” They have no interest in seeking or knowing the ultimate peacemaker—God. As a result, we are witnessing the progressive destruction of our world. We are not candles dependent on others to be lit. We are the self-effulgent Sun. We are not helpless kittens; we are all powerful lions. We have infinite potential within us.
There are two kinds of poverty in the world today: 1. Lack of food, clothing and shelter; and 2. Lack of love and compassion. We should pay more attention to the second type of poverty, because if we have love and compassion in our hearts, we will whole-heartedly serve and then, the first type of poverty will be automatically alleviated.
Our hearts need to be open and receptive. The heart is like a parachute. If it can’t open, it is dangerous. We should learn to have gratitude towards everything in life. We are indebted to everything in this world—to all that helped us grow and made us who we are today. We should not walk away, refusing to pay heed to the cries of our brothers and sisters in pain. We should do what we can to help them.
We may not need position or wealth to help those in need. All we need to do is offer a loving word, a compassionate glance and lend a helping hand. Just these simple acts can make our lives, and theirs, bright and meaningful. It is what we give, not what we take, that decides the value of our life. If we can bring a moment of happiness to just one person’s life, it will greatly enrich our own life.
Dharma is our mother. Living without dharma is like forgetting one’s own mother’s home address. The lap of Mother Earth is all expansive and all inclusive. No one is ever rejected from her lap. This global society of billions of members should move forward, fortified with the strength of this knowledge and unity. We should transcend the challenges of poverty and discrimination through mutual cooperation. We should develop as a vibrant society spreading peace and harmony across the world.
A very powerful vibration pervades every particle of sand, every atom and the very atmosphere of our country, Bhārat. It is the vibration of Vedic chants and the spiritual austerity performed by countless ancient ṛṣis. It is the pulsation of spiritual power. This is the invaluable speciality of Sanātana Dharma.
Everything in creation is governed by dharma. Bhārat is the land that taught the world the ultimate truth that God is not a remote abstract concept but truly exists within us as our very own breath, our hearing, our sight, touch, taste, thoughts, emotions—our very pulse and circulation. May that abundant source of spiritual wisdom—which has not yet run dry—emerge and surge powerfully like the River Gaṅgā once again, spreading across the land, and purifying the Earth. May we all take a pledge to make it so. May Divine Grace bless you all.
|| oṁ lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhino bhavantu ||