(12 Oct '00)
(from Amma’s benedictory address delivered on the occasion of her 44th birthday celebration)
Countless people of different natures come to Mother. Many of them have family problems, most of which are related to trivial matters. If only we had a little patience, many problems could be solved or avoided. One day a couple came to Mother. The wife had a problem in that she occasionally went out of her mind and didn’t know what she was saying. This happened when she was tense. The woman loved her husband very much.
Understanding the situation, Mother said to the husband, “It is enough if you try to be a little patient. Even if my daughter says something that is completely inappropriate, understand that it is caused by her illness. Just be patient with her, and in due course she will be cured of her affliction.”
But that son was not prepared to relent. His attitude was, “She is my wife, isn’t she? So why should I submit to her?” And because of this attitude, what happened? The woman’s illness got worse until her family finally had to come and take her away. That son’s life was ruined. He took to drinking and wasted all his money on alcohol. His life became hell. If he had only been prepared to relate to his wife, if he had only treated her with love and with patience and had tried to understand her problems, it wouldn’t have turned out like this. So, my children, we should learn to move forward in life by adjusting to the circumstances.
When Mother travels abroad, some of Her Western children ask, “Why are women treated like slaves in India?” Mother tells them that it’s not like that at all, that in India the relationship between husband and wife is rooted in love.
It is said that a wife should have three qualities: she should be a mother, a friend and a wife. The husband shouldn’t insist that she behave in only one particular way. A woman shouldn’t be treated like a bonsai tree, grown in the pot of man. Such a tree will never be able to grow to its full size. When you prune the roots, you are, in a way, killing the plant, for you are preventing it from really living. No bird will ever nest in that tree, no fruits will grow in it — it will always be slender and weak.
If we instead were to transplant that three out in the open soil, we’d see how quickly it would thrive and how strong it would become. This can be compared to the situation of women. There is a unique strength in women, but we have to allow that strength to develop. Women shouldn’t be confined in small pots by men, and their roots should never be pruned. If the inherent power in a woman is allowed to develop, she will become the shelter of her family and society — she will become a shelter for the whole nation.
We should all become one. This is the attitude we should cultivate. Life is meant to be shared; it isn’t meant to be kept to ourselves. Mother remembers a story. There was a man who was mad about horseracing. Owing to this he finally went bankrupt. He said to his wife, “My entire business is lost. What will we do now?” His wife said, “We’ll live on whatever is left. But one thing: from now on you will not go to any more horse races.” “I agree to that,” said the husband. “But you have to do something as well. You have to stop buying expensive clothes, because we no longer have the money to spend on such things.” “Alright,” said the wife. “But one more thing: We have a chauffeur who we can’t afford. You know how to drive, so we don’t really need a driver, do we?” “Okay,” said the husband, “we’ll get rid of the chauffeur. But do you really need the cook to help you in the kitchen? We should give her up as well. I will help you in the kitchen.” The wife readily consented to this. In this way, they changed their lives, avoiding all unnecessary expenses. In time, they managed to make up for the losses they had suffered, and they reaped success in life.
This is the attitude we should cultivate. Our hearts should be united: we should become one. We shouldn’t cause division amongst ourselves by saying, “Who are you to talk like that!” or “Who are you to advise me!”
Love is India’s greatest wealth. Love is the very foundation of life. Ninety percent of the physical and mental problems that people face today originate from the suffering and the sorrows of their past. Many people are walking around with deep wounds. Medical science has no medicines to heal that suffering. But a panacea does exist for all of those wounds; and that panacea consists of us opening up our hearts to each other and sharing our thoughts and feelings. One person should try to understand the problems of another and try to bring them some relief. When love and mutual understanding grow among us, our problems will automatically be reduced.
Yes, love is the very foundation of life. Not recognising this and ignoring love is the main cause of all our afflictions. Just as food is essential for the growth of the body, love is essential for the blossoming of the soul. Breast milk is essential for a baby’s health, but love is the food for the soul; it provides you with an inner strength and power that no physical nourishment can give. This is the idea that all of Mother’s children need to foster.
Recently, India celebrated the 50th anniversary of her independence. Mother was in the West at the time. In all the aeroplanes they provide newspapers. Mother’s children would read articles about India and say, “Mother, see what they have written about India! They say it is a very backward country, that people are starving and everywhere there is dirt and pollution.” On the tour we’d stay in one place for only three days, and then we’d travel to the next place. And everywhere it was always the same negative picture being painted of India in the newspapers. Finally, when Mother reached Europe, we read a paper that said, “It cannot be said that there is no progress at all in India. Of course some progress has been made compared to the days of independence.” Even such recognition is rare.
My children, on this occasion of the 50th anniversary of our independence, what is it that we really need to do? We need to make a wholehearted effort to uplift our nation.
Those among you who are addicted to smoking should make a decision to give it up, and those who have taken to drinking should make a resolve to stop. If the youth of our time resolve to take money they would otherwise spend on undesirable things, and use it to provide shelters for the homeless and to help the suffering in different ways, it will be a great boon for this nation. They could, for example, provide fees for the destitute youngsters who, lacking the necessary means, have been forced to discontinue their education. They can help to get rid of the pollution in the villages by cleaning the streets and drains. If each one of us makes an effort in this way, India can be made into a great, prosperous nation. The whole world can be converted into heaven! Those who are wealthy amongst us can take care of and save those who are poor. Today, no one is taking any initiative in this direction. Mother would like Her children to take the first step.
Mother’s children should be ready to work without any expectations. This doesn’t mean that you have to relinquish everything. Eat as much as you need, sleep as much as you require and talk as much as necessary. However, it is selfish to do any of these things in excess. People say they drink and smoke because they want to be happy, but real happiness is within you, and is not to be found in external things. When you realise this, you automatically give up the desire for such things. You will then be able to set apart the money you otherwise would have wasted, and with that money you can serve the poor. Thus your life will be of benefit to others. And you will also receive God’s grace and compassion. We shouldn’t create the opportunity for the people of other countries to criticise us in the newspapers. This is a resolution you can make.
Mother is not interested in worldly celebrations. My children should realise the purpose of their lives. If any of you are ready for this, it would give Mother far more pleasure than any celebrations.
In England there was a statue of a great saint standing with his arms outstretched. Below the statue the words were written: “Come into my arms!” During the Second World War, the statue lost its two arms in a bombing raid. When the war was over, people noticed that the arms of the statue were missing. But the sentence underneath was still there. Some people suggested that the statue be replaced by another. Others disagreed and said that the arms could be mended. But an elderly man came forward and said, “Let the statue remain as it is. We don’t have to do anything.” “But how would that agree with the sentence that is written below the statue?” asked one of the others. The old man said, “Let us add one more sentence. Let it say: “Come into my arms! I have no other arms than yours.”
This is what is needed. God’s arms can work through us. We don’t have to wander in search of God — we should bring Him into our hands, our tongue and our heart. Thus we should become God. If we make even the slightest effort in this direction, it will be a greater achievement than anything in the world. Every night before we go to sleep, we should reflect on whether we have done anything good for anyone that day. And if we have hurt anyone, we should repent. If Mother’s children do these things, it will give Her tremendous joy, rather than seeing money spent on celebrations.
Many people who have come to Mother have become ready to lead a life of renunciation. Many people have given up drinking and smoking, and many have given up living in great luxury. As a result of this, they have been able to do a lot of service for mankind. Of all of Mother’s children begin to think in the same way, we can transform the whole world into heaven on earth. So let us make an effort!