Amma is a humanitarian and spiritual leader who has dedicated her life to spreading a message of peace, love and tolerance. Through her daily interactions as well as her global addresses, she is guiding us towards personal and spiritual upliftment and is advising us on how to face our current world challenges. Whether it is climate change, poverty, intercultural tensions or women’s rights, Amma invites each one of us to participate in a more altruistic and responsible society.
Amma says, “The whole world is like a flower. Each petal represents a nation. If one petal is infested with pests, all the other petals soon will be affected as well. Then the beauty of the whole flower will suffer. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to protect and nurture this flower. Therefore, all nations should advance together, hand in hand, sharing and adopting each others’ worthy contributions and examples.” As such, for the peace, wellbeing and harmony of all nations, we must adopt the ancient Indian ethos of vasudhaiva kuṭaṁbakam—viewing the entire world as one big family.
Amma says people from all nations and religions become victims to the ravaging effects of human enslavement and experience extreme abuse and suffering. Their physical and mental pain does not differentiate between language, race or skin colour. These victims are just a single group of humans, struggling against the clutches of endless sorrow and emotional suppression.
The human mind has created many divisions in the name of religion, caste, language and national boundaries. Let us try to create a bridge of all-encompassing pure love to break down these self-created walls.
Amma says, “The essence of all religions is love, compassion and recognising the underlying divinity that serves as a substratum to this world and human existence. However, tragically, many people are overly focused on external traditions, which vary from religion to religion. In doing so, they are forgetting the essence. This is why the diverse religions, which were originally meant to foster peace and unity, have become instruments of war and conflict. If everyone were to adhere to the essential principles of their religion, without being overly concerned about its external aspects, then religion could become a pathway to world peace.”
Amma says, “Like our two eyes, men and women are equal. Could one ever say that the left eye is more important than the right? Or the right more than the left? Men and women are meant to complement one another — to function in harmony and cooperation. Only when their essential equality is appreciated and they treat one another with mutual love and respect will society attain peace and prosperity.”
In Amma’s vision, all of creation is a manifestation of the one True Self. Spirituality is the path of grasping and assimilating this ultimate truth. When one realizes that everyone is an expression of themselves, then they will reach out to help the poor and suffering with the same alacrity with which they currently reserve for their own limited self and immediate family. In Amma’s words, “It is like how when our left hand is injured, our right hand immediately comes to its aid—to caress it and apply medicine if needed. This is because it does not see the left hand as different from itself. If we have spiritual understanding, this is how we will react when we see others suffering.”
As Amma says, “Mother Earth is serving us; the sun, the moon and the stars all serve us. What can we do in return for their selfless service?” This profound statement reflects the interconnectedness of all life on Earth. Amma’s advocacy for sustainable development resonates with the belief that we must reciprocate the gifts nature is bestowing upon us. Thus, in Amma’s view, we have to mitigate climate change and ensure our social-outreach programs foster equality. It is only when we recognize our responsibility to Nature that we begin paving paths toward a harmonious future. It is acting with compassion that ensures a legacy of wellbeing for generations to come.
“There are two types of education,” Amma says, “education for earning a living and education for life. When we study in college, striving to become a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer, that is education for a living. But education for life requires an understanding of the essential principles of spirituality; it is about gaining a deeper understanding of the world, our minds, our emotions and ourselves.” Amma feels that in today’s world, importance is only being given to the former. But we have to ensure our children receive both types of education.
“The creation and the Creator are not two,” Amma says. “Just as all golden jewelry is nothing but gold, just as all earthen pots are essentially nothing but clay, just as every wave is basically water, so too it is the Creator that has become this world.” Amma says it was because of this outlook of viewing the creation as God’s manifest form that in ancient times there was no specific need for environmental preservation. Protecting Nature was part of worshiping God and life itself. The Creator was seen through the creation, loving, worshiping and protecting Nature as the visible form of God. We should try to reawaken this attitude.
Amma says the younger generation possesses tremendous energy, and if that energy is properly channeled, they can perform wonders; they can even change the world. However, in the modern world where universal values such as compassion, service-mindedness, honesty, humility and patience are waning, and the use of drugs and alcohol are on the rise, far too many young people are perishing without ever even beginning to fulfill their potential. What our youth require today is strong role models who can guide them to becoming the shining lights of goodness, universal values and positive change they are destined to become.
In Amma’s view, a good leader will always lead by example—becoming one with the people, understanding their hearts and approaching their problems with compassion. See the pain of others as your own pain’ see their joy as your joy. Thus, it is only when we have the attitude of a humble servant that we can become a true leader.
Love & Compassion
“The feeling closest to our True Self is love,” Amma says. “Our lives are meant to be born in love, to be lived in love, and to eventually end in love. Tragically, even though most of us spend our lives in search of love, the majority die without finding it.” Spirituality is the means to discover that love, understanding that it is our true essence. When that love is discovered to be our very nature—the nature of all beings—it naturally flows outwards as compassion.
When Amma was a young girl, seeing the poverty and suffering in those living in neighboring houses, she contemplated the nature of suffering. An inner voice told her that ultimately people suffer due to negative actions performed either in this or past lives. Contemplating further, she realized that while people suffer due to their karma, it is our dharma [duty] to help them. Thus, in Amma’s view, each of us has a responsibility to serve society—protecting the environment, serving the poor and needy, helping the elderly, educating the youth, taking care of plants and animals, etc.
Amma says that, in reality, there is only one source of happiness—our Inner Self. All experiences of happiness gained through the external world are but blurred reflections of that original source. She gives the example of a dog chewing a bone. “When the dog’s gums bleed, it thinks the blood is coming from the bone. Chewing on and on like this, thinking it is getting more and more blood from the bone, the dog can even collapse due to loss of blood. When people lack discernment regarding the sense pleasures, they can find themselves in similar circumstances.” Spirituality is understanding the true nature of happiness and the true nature of the world and living accordingly, trying to establish yourself in the inner bliss that is everyone’s true essence.
Managing the Mind
The mind is meant to be an instrument to serve us. However, for the majority of people it has become the master. Amma says this is like the tail wagging the dog. Through spiritual practices like meditation, chanting a mantra and prayer, etc, one can increase their power of concentration as well as develop a more relaxed mental state in general. In Amma’s own words, “We should gain as much control over our mind as we do over a television when its remote control is resting in our hand.”
Fulfilling our Potential
Amma says each of us has tremendous inner potential—much more than we know—lying dormant within us. We need to put in effort to make it manifest. With optimism, dedication and self-confidence, our inner goodness will gradually unfold and bloom forth.
Unity in Diversity
As per traditional Indian spirituality, our true nature is one of eternal blissful consciousness, and everything we experience arises from us, is sustained by us and eventually merges back into that True Self. However, due to our confusion regarding our nature and that of the world, as well as other obstacles such as mental lethargy, intense likes and dislikes, agitation and other negativities, we are unable to experience this eternal truth. Spiritual practices such as meditation, chanting a mantra, prayers, rituals and service done with a devotional attitude are all means of purifying the mind of such obstacles, leading us toward the goal of true spiritual understanding. Each practice has its place. In Amma’s own words, “If the two wings of a bird are devotion and spiritual actions, spiritual knowledge is its tail. Only with the help of all three can the bird soar into the heights.”
C20 Inauguration : Amma's message
C20 Speech : Amma's talk
Interfaith Alliance : Amma on how to install Spiritual Values to Transform the Human Mind
Stanford : Amma's talk on Compassion
Amma’s New Year Message 2022
Amma’s message on International Day of Peace
Amma’s Pearls of Wisdom
A Mahatma (great sage) was once asked : “ Are you sure you will go to heaven when you die? “
The mahatma replied : “ Yes, of course.”
“ But how, do you know? You are not dead, and you don’t even know what’s in God’s mind. “
” It is true that I have no idea what is in God’s mind but I know my mind. I am always happy wherever I am. Therefore even if I am in hell, I will be happy and peaceful.” Replied the Mahatma.
That happiness and peace verily is heaven. Everything depends on our mind.
The Power of a Kind Word
Once there was a man who had a congenital heart defect; he was born with a hole in his heart. When he got older he couldn’t work. His wife left him and his children abandoned him. Once he went without food for two or three days. Finally he decided to beg for food. But as he approached people, they would start yelling at him and calling him names.
The man felt extremely depressed. “I can’t live like this anymore,” he thought. Although he was about to commit suicide, he was unable to control his hunger. “Let me ask a few more people,” he thought to himself. People were passing him on all sides. “Can you please give me something?” he begged one passer-by.
The passer-by stopped and tried to find some money, but realized that he had forgotten his wallet. “Oh, no!” he said. “I’m sorry. I have nothing to give you. I forgot to bring my wallet.”
Hearing this, the man said, “Don’t worry. You’ve already given me something.”
“What did I give you?” the passer-by asked.
“Your kind words,” replied the man. “They have filled my stomach. Now, even if I don’t eat anything, I’ll be able to walk. Until now, whenever I asked for alms, people only shooed me away. Only you stopped and spoke a few words of sympathy. Now I feel satiated even without eating. I had actually come here to commit suicide. But knowing that there are people like you in this world gives me the strength and hope to go on living.”
Alexander the Great
Alexander was a great warrior and ruler who had conquered nearly one-third of the world. He wanted to become the emperor of the entire world, but he was defeated in battle and fell sick with a terminal sickness.
A few days before his death, Alexander called his ministers and explained to them how he wanted to be buried : he wanted openings made on both sides of his coffin, through which his arms should be kept hanging out with the palms turned up.
The ministers asked him why he wanted this to be done. Alexander replied that, in this way, everyone would come to know that the great Alexander, who had strived his whole life to possess and conquer the world, had left it totally empty-handed. he had not taken even his own body with him.
Therefore, they would understand how futile it is to spend one’s whole life chasing after the world and its objects.
The broken Statue
In a village there was a beautiful statue of a Mahatma (great sage) with outstretched arms. On a plaque beneath the statue, these words were inscribed, “Come into my arms.”
Over the years, the arms broke off. The villagers loved the statue and were very upset. They gathered together to try to decide what to do. Some suggested that the statue should be taken down. Others objected, saying that new arms should be made.
But, finally, an old man stood up and said, “No. Don’t worry about making new arms. Leave it without arms.”
The other villagers responded, “But what about the plaque underneath? It says, ‘Come into my arms.’”
The old man replied, “No problem. Just below the words ‘Come into my arms,’ you should add, ‘by letting me work through your hands.’”
We must become the hands, eyes and ears of God. Our inspiration, strength and courage must come from God. Then, fear, doubt and sin will never stain us.
The Car and the Ditch
A vehicle fell into a ditch. The driver got out and, grabbing his meditation cushion, ran to the top of the nearby hill, sat in the lotus pose and began to pray, “Please, God, let my vehicle come out of the ditch!”
Opening one eye he peeked across to see if his vehicle had risen. Seeing it had not, he intensified his prayers.
A voice resounded from the skies, “Son, try pushing the vehicle as you pray.”
So, plain faith is not enough; faith should be coupled with effort.
The Horse and the Well
Once, a farmer had a horse. One day the horse fell into a deep, dry well. The poor horse began crying from inside the well. The farmer tried many methods to rescue the horse — all to no avail. Finally, the farmer said to himself, “Actually, there is no use in rescuing this horse. By the time we pull it out of this well, it won’t live much longer and it will no longer be able to do any work.”
So, the farmer decided to leave the horse in the well and just cover it over with dirt. He hired some workers to help and they began shovelling dirt and mud into the well. But after some time, the neighing of the horse became very loud, almost as if it was celebrating its victory. The farmer came out to see what was happening.
What had happened was: As each shovel of dirt fell onto the horse’s back, it would shake the dirt off and use it to take a step up. Thus, taking one step after another, the horse finally reached the top of the well. It then stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
In this world, many people will throw mud at us in the form of their words and actions. Without falling into despair, a spiritual aspirant should be able to shake their minds free from this dirt and convert them into stepping stones. Only then will we be saved from the “well” dug by others’ criticism and be successful in life.
The old Man and his Phone
Once, an old man went to a phone repair shop. He handed his mobile to the shopkeeper and said, “Please, see if there is anything wrong with my phone. I’m unable to receive any calls from my children.” His fatherly heart was unable to even consider that his darling children, whom he loved so much, were not calling him. Parents like to believe that their children are regularly calling them but that the calls are just not coming through because of some problem with their phone.
Our debt to our parents is unrepayable. We must consider any opportunity we get to serve and care for them as God’s grace. Amma often hears people say, “I wish my parents were still alive. I feel so guilty today when I think of how I neglected them when they were alive.” Make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent an opportunity for such a feeling to ever arise within you. The past can never return. While they are alive, we must do our duty to love and care for them to the best of our ability.
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Amma has local centers and groups all over the world. Connecting with people near you is a great way to develop your practices and engage with people near you who share your interest in Amma and spirituality.