(26 Jun '01)
Have you tried and failed to stop smoking?
Try this: when you think of having a smoke, smell a lovely fresh rose.
A few days ago in Los Angeles, one of Mother’s sons came for darshan with a lovely fresh scent on his breath. But Amma was not fooled: “Have you been smoking?”
“Yes. Half a cigarette. I put it out to come for darshan.”
“What will you do now?”
“I’ll go finish it.”
“Do you think happiness lies in cigarettes themselves? If it did, everyone should smoke. But many people don’t like cigarettes. So happiness isn’t in the cigarettes. If you look for happiness in an object you will end up only in sorrow. When you smoke, think of the poor people who don’t have enough food, or proper shelter. Just think about the money you waste in smoke. If this money were utilised properly, think how many people would have benefited. You start by slowly reducing one cigarette a day or one in two days. Utilise this money for the welfare of the poor and the needy. It would be better to help them with that money.”
Of course, although Mother’s message was serious, Her words were delivered in that inimitable way She has: there was no tone of scolding or shaming; there was laughter, and Her teasing looks were full of love.
Taking a brilliant, full-blown yellow rose from the decorations on the back of Her chair, She told Her son to sit on the stage behind Her for the rest of darshan. Whenever he thought of having a smoke, he was to inhale the aroma of Her rose instead.
The next day, he reported that he had not really stopped smoking yet. But the desire was less. And for that one period of time that he was sniffing Amma’s rose, he was not smoking!