Question: Amma, you are established in the Self. Why, then, do you pray? What need is there for you to do sadhana (spiritual practices)?
Amma: I have taken this body for the sake of the world. It is not for myself that I have come to this world. If I say, “I am an Avatar,” and keep aloof, what would be the purpose of My birth? My aim is to guide people and to uplift the world — that is why I have come. If you wish to communicate with people who are deaf and dumb, you have to use signs and gestures. If you were to say, “I’m not deaf or dumb, so there’s no need for me to make those signs and gestures,” then those who are deaf and dumb wouldn’t be able to understand anything you say. For them such gestures are necessary. Similarly, in order to uplift the people who are ignorant of the Self, one has to go down to their level. One has to teach them through the example of one’s own life. For ordinary people, spiritual practices, such as singing bhajans, selfless service and meditation, are necessary. It is to uplift them that I assume many different roles. All those roles are played for the sake of the world.
People travel to the ashram by car, train or airplane. I never say that you have to come by one particular mode of transport. Each person should use the means that are the most suitable for him. Likewise, there are many paths leading to Self-realization. I instruct each person in the path that is most suitable for him, which is determined by his samskara (innate tendencies). Students who are talented in sciences should choose one of the sciences in college. They will be able to learn the subject faster than others, and can easily progress in their studies. Similarly, those who are intellectual and able to read and understand the scriptures will be able to contemplate the scriptural truths and advance along the jnana marga (path of knowledge). However, it requires a subtle intellect and considerable knowledge of the scriptures to achieve this. An ordinary person will not be able to do so. Many people who come to the ashram for the first time are not even familiar with the word, “spirituality.”
What will such children do? To understand the Bhagavad Gita has to have good education or have had some contact with spiritual people. Only those who have studied the scriptures can overcome the trying situations in life, by contemplating spiritual truths such as “neti neti” (not this, not this). How can I reject those who are unable to do any these? Those who do not have such accomplishments should also be able to advance on the spiritual path. They, too, need to be uplifted. In order to help them, I have to go down to their level and guide them, according to their mental make-up. Many people who are illiterate come here, as well as people who are literate but too poor to buy any books. People who have learnt just a little come here, as well as those who have read a lot but aren’t able to practice anything in their lives. Amma has to guide and uplift each one according to one’s calibre. What we call Brahman is pure experience — it is life. It is a state in which one is able to see everyone as one’s own Self. That should become our very nature. Rather than thinking that we are flowers, we have to become flowers. We have to strive to become flowers. We should make the realization of the Self our very life. Realization cannot e achieved through studies alone. The purpose of studying is to gain the ability to practice, and that is more difficult than reading books. The sages who lived in the past demonstrated great spiritual truths through the examples of their lives.
What we call Brahman is pure experience — it is life. It is a state in which one is able to see everyone as one’s own Self.
But these days, people engage in verbal arguments after having read and memorized a few books. In truth, prayer and worship are also the way to attain Brahman.