Amma has often indicated a disinclination towards her “birthday” and the related celebrations. Amma’s dharma is to view everyone as equal and to love and serve them. As far as Amma is concerned, there is no greater celebration or enjoyment than that. However, Amma is overjoyed to see all her children together here after the Covid-19 pandemic. This is not just a physical reunion. Amma can palpably see and feel the union of hearts here, with the love of my children spilling over and merging into a flowing river.
This brief interval between birth and death that we call “life” becomes relevant and meaningful only when our actions are good. By “good actions,” Amma means performing our duties towards nature, towards our fellow human beings, and towards other creatures as well.
The pandemic has taught us many lessons. Or, rather, it has tried to teach us many lessons. Because right from the beginning of creation, nature, or God, has been trying to teach us many lessons. Had humanity only taken heed, we might have circumvented many serious challenges we are currently facing.
Every calamity—be it a pandemic, natural disaster or climate change—urges humankind to cultivate three things: 1. Cooperation 2. Companionship 3. Communion. That is, we need to move in cooperation with our fellow human beings, in companionship with nature, and in communion with God. Failure do so—at least a little bit—will negatively impact all of our actions.
It is human habit to try to resolve conflict through negotiation and compromise. Now we are trying the same approach with nature. Negotiations and compromises may work when it comes to conflicts between people, communities, political parties and nations, but they will not work with nature. The only effective method with nature is to approach her with humility, devoid of arrogance, with a bowed head and a heart filled with friendliness and reverence.
We may forgive someone who has hurt us, but we never forget the hurt. Such is the law of nature. Nature is a synonym for “patience.” Mothers forgive the ignorant mistakes of their children and continue to lavish their love and affection on them. But humankind has been tormenting Mother Nature for generations now. All this time, our mother has been patiently forgiving us. She has continued to pour her compassion and love on us over and over again.
But this won’t continue much longer. Because we have begun to see Mother Nature’s compassion, patience and other virtues as her weaknesses and limitations. We have forgotten the truth that nature is a powerful force—just as capable of retribution as redemption. Perhaps Mother Nature has begun to realise that being patient will not improve humankind. Therefore, let us learn to bow our heads in humility to nature. Let us learn to treat nature with love and respect.
True friendship between people blossoms when they are able to embrace and welcome disagreements and criticism with an open heart. Effective coexistence is born from this friendship. True coexistence is built on the perfect awareness that humans should collectively share this Earth, its natural resources, and its abundance with their fellow beings and fellow creatures.
Is there any place in the world where there are no contradictions? Do we not observe contradictions even within one individual’s conduct and behaviour? In a household of four members, one can encounter not merely four viewpoints but potentially 400. This is because each individual mind is really not just one, it can be split into a hundred, having hundreds of different characteristics.
And in an office? An office is undoubtedly a supermarket of contradictory opinions. Knowingly or unknowingly, humans are able to accept all these contradictions of the mind and take them in stride. They are also adept at stirring up trouble in vulnerable places, where they feel they can exploit for personal gain. The majority of problems in the world today are “created” in this way. Ninety percent of the world’s problems could be alleviated if individuals, communities and nations adhered to their respective dharma and allowed others to adhere to theirs.
When the diverse-looking nature sings its song of harmony and unity, we alone lack the ear to hear it, the heart to enjoy it. The beauty of this creation is in its diversity. Sanātana Dharma has always acknowledged and accepted this diversity. Our ancient seers never saw any contradiction in diversity. Nor have they denied it. This was because they possessed the wisdom to experience the universe’s diversity as but various names and forms of the One.
In a garden, there may be many flowers of different colours and shapes. There may even be some flowers that are poisonous. But the honeybee sees past the differences and gathers only the nectar from each flower. Similarly, our ancient seers taught us to perceive the unity beneath the diversity.”Amma
In a garden, there may be many flowers of different colours and shapes. There may even be some flowers that are poisonous. But the honeybee sees past the differences and gathers only the nectar from each flower. Similarly, our ancient seers taught us to perceive the unity beneath the diversity. In this vision, there is no hatred or desire for vengeance. There is no anger or sadness. It is a vision wherein one sees only goodness in everyone.
Each one of us has the ability to appreciate the beauty in differences. For example, a symphony is produced from a set of instruments that produce entirely different sounds. When we hear the symphony, don’t we forget everything and enjoy its harmonious melody? In this way, everything we experience around us reveals both the contrast and the beauty in diversity.
No one can break God’s divine law. All laws created by humanity are insignificant before God’s law. If a person were to declare, “I do not believe in the law of gravity,” and jump off the 10th floor of a building, would he be able to break this law? Never. Instead, even if he survives, all his bones will probably be broken. God’s law, simply stated, is: “We all have to reap the fruits of our actions at some point of time.” This is the law of nature.
At some point of time or another, every single person will come face-to-face with intense challenges in life. This may be in the form of the death of a loved one, loss of our wealth and security, a major failure, a life-threatening accident, a crippling illness, betrayal by a person we placed our faith in, abandonment by a person we truly loved… it can be anything.
When such trials and tribulations arise, we shouldn’t fall apart. We should try to recognise that these are situations to awaken our inner strength and try to move forward. In reality, in this journey of life, we have an intimate and invisible friend who is always by our side. This intimate friend is God. If we place our faith in this friend, there is no place for fear.
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 need to develop patience and perseverance to awaken our inner potential. If we using a super computer worth millions—capable of handling the accounting for all the establishments in a city—for mere household accounting like vegetables, milk, etc, then we are drastically underutilising the machine’s potential.
Similarly, human beings, who are embodiments of supreme strength and happiness, use this precious life in pursuit of trivial joys. Both a porter and a scientist use their heads for their work. The porter only uses it to carry luggage, but the scientist uses it to unfold the mysteries of the universe. In this way, we all have the same inner potential, but we have to develop it fully.
When a thought rises in our mind, it immediately manifests as words or actions. There is no time gap between our thoughts and actions. For example, if we get angry at someone, we don’t make the time to understand the other person’s circumstances. Often, we immediately react by shouting at them or even throwing a punch. There is no gap between the thought and our words and actions.
When we act without understanding the other person’s situation, we often become fools ourselves. If we have no control over our fleeting emotions, we will be setting ourselves up for such dangerous situations. When the light of awareness shines, there will be a time gap between our thoughts and our actions. Seeds that are left to roast under the sun, will never sprout.
Similarly, in the light of awareness, the seeds of our vāsanas [latent tendencies] will not sprout. When this gap is present, we will acquire the capacity to forgive and stand aside from the situation with a witness-attitude.
Our mind is like an old car. In an old car, if you are driving fast and hit the brakes, it will stop only after crashing into something. Similarly, our mind doesn’t listen to us. If we tell it not to do something, it will do exactly the opposite. And if we tell it to do something else, that thing it won’t do. This is because the mind is not under our control.
We can make hundreds of thousands of matches from a single tree. But we can burn down an entire tree with just a single match. Similarly, a single negative thought or word has the power to destroy the entire world. This is why Amma always reminds us to have awareness in each and every word, action and thought.
This human life is meant to be born in love, to live in love and to eventually end in love. In truth, there is no end to pure love. Love connects every being in creation. Whether humans or animals, it is the power of love that binds a child to its mother and a mother to her child. Unfortunately, today, even though most of us spend our entire lives in search of love, we typically die without ever finding it.
In reality, the feeling that is the closest to our True Self and most familiar to us is love. It is our true nature. By “true nature,” Amma means that which cannot be changed. It may be temporarily hidden from us, but it can never be destroyed. No one can ever destroy its effulgence. It is forever within us, as our essence—an inseparable part of our being.
Amma believes that the rising prevalence of substance abuse among the youth, the availability of sexually explicit content on the internet, and certain violent video games pose a greater threat than a potential third world war.
This is the reason parents should give their children a good value system from a very young age. Parents should light the lamp of knowledge in their children’s hearts when they are young. It is their example that will shape the children’s character. This is why we should all try to be virtuous in our actions. Whether we know it or not, someone may be trying to emulate our example in their lives.
The more space we create for others within our heart, the more happiness we experience. The more our ego grows, the less happiness we experience. The law of nature and of life is selflessness. This is why people who cannot control their ego and selfishness cannot wholeheartedly enjoy life—because they are trying to live against the law of nature.
Human beings are just a tiny speck in this infinite universe. On the other end of the spectrum is the boundless power of the cosmos. While the entire universe and all its creatures are moving forward in harmony in synchronicity, we should remember that we are the only living beings trying to move against this flow.
Conversely, when we move with the law of nature, by living selflessly, we automatically become peaceful and happy. Life is short. In this small span of time, at least we, ourselves, should be able to be happy and bring happiness to others.
Life is short. In this small span of time, at least we, ourselves, should be able to be happy and bring happiness to others.
Humans have learnt to swim like a fish and fly like a bird. But we have forgotten how to walk and talk like a decent human being. Even an earthworm takes birth, procreates and dies. What are we doing that is any different, even though we have a higher human birth?
At least the earthworm fertilises the soil during its life. Humans, on the other hand, leave this world only after exploiting the earth and polluting the environment. We need to reflect on what we are able to give to the world, rather than focussing on what we are able to take from it.
When love fills the heart and overflows, flowers of peace will blossom all around us. When we line our eyes with the collyrium of unity, all differences will vanish. The royal path to a beautiful and inclusive world is the way of equal vision. As this equal vision increases in society, the lost harmony of the world can be regained. Amma offers a prayer to the Paramātmā (Supreme Self) that this vision of unity may shine in all her children!