Until 8 am in France

28 – 30 October 2000, Paris, France

Paris has traditionally been the site of the largest darshan programmes in Europe. Year 2000 is no exception. Many of the people who came to be with Amma each day were newcomers. The Holy Mother wanted to receive every single person and the morning programme could stretch on till 5:00 p.m., only to return after a short while for the evening programme at 7:30 p.m. Fuelled by Amma’s love, the crowd would remain watching her until 3:30 a.m. Everyone enjoyed the beautiful French style decorations made with utmost care by the local devotees, who even decorated the restrooms! Well rehearsed bhajans sung by a group of children were an added delight. On Devi Bhava day, a huge wind and rainstorm descended on Paris, making global news. This did not deter Amma’s devotees, who arrived in droves for the Devi Bhava. It was the largest crowd ever to attend Mother’s darshan in the West. The Bhava darshan lasted until 8:00 a.m.

1 – 3 November, Toulon

From Paris, Amma’s tour family had a long scenic drive to Toulon in the south of France. A few lucky ones woke up to look outside and see the snow-covered Alps to the East. This year Toulon hosted Amma in a beautiful large, new hall. The devotees were treated to a play, skilfully enacted by the local devotees in splendid costumes. The grand drawing of different prizes for the Europe-wide raffle was held in Toulon. One fortunate person even won a return ticket to visit Amma in India! The raffle was a delightful success not only for the winners, but also for the people who benefit from Amma’s many charitable projects which the proceeds from the raffle help fund.

Deepavali in London

24 – 26 October, London,

Amma was in London on Deepavali day (festival of light). As She arrived for the Devi puja, she was greeted by a great array of lights and colours before entering the hall. Local devotees, about twenty on each side, waved brightly coloured sparklers whilst chanting “Om Amriteshwaryai Namah”. Children and adults alike spelled out the words “Amma” and “Om Namah Shivaya”, by waving their sparklers in the cool evening air. Amma stepped out of the car smiling and walked to the hall with her arms outstretched towards her children, showering them with her grace. Amma’s concluding Devi Bhava darshan in the English capital went on till 7 AM the next morning.


Unity is Peace: Amma’s address on 50th anniversary of the UN

Amma’s address at the Interfaith Celebration in honour of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, delivered at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, 21 October 1995.

Unity is Peace

Salutations to all those present, who are verily of the nature of Supreme Love.

Amma would like to take this opportunity to express her appreciation for the dedicated efforts of those serving the United Nations and the Temple of Understanding in the interest of world peace. May their work find growing support amongst the people and nations of the world.

To grow and develop is the slogan of all nations and individuals in the modern age. Isn’t it good to grow and develop? Certainly! Those are the signs of real life. Life itself would wither away if there were no growth and development. Without these two factors, life has no meaning. Many countries have experienced amazing economic growth. Nevertheless, there remain unending problems within these countries. There may exist external threats from other countries as well. In general, people in every country are unsatisfied and restless, their minds are filled with fear and suspicion. The world is burning like a volcano; people and nations are ready to trample and destroy each other if given the opportunity.

Amma is not saying that goodness and good people have completely disappeared from the face of the earth. There are, of course, virtuous people and organisations like the United Nations, that are striving hard to restore the lost peace and harmony of this planet. But the goodness in the world is not growing at a pace to withstand the rapidly growing forces of evil. We have forgotten the love, concern, and trust that human beings are supposed to show each other. “As long as I get what I want, I don’t care how it’s done!” This is how many people think, and the thoughts of each individual are reflected and become part of the collective thoughts of a nation.

Life has almost become a battlefield, where there are no near and dear ones, but only enemies. Those fighting side by side today, later become divided and can be found fighting each other. The ego and selfishness of man has turned human relationships into a cheap businesslike endeavour. Our concern for our fellow beings has been lost. Our qualities as real human beings are being sacrificed.

Many countries claim that they have made great progress in many fields. This may be true, but as a whole, their growth is stunted. A country may be growing externally, but the inner soul is becoming weaker.

A person is very handsome and has an attractive personality. But what if he is actually gravely ill? What if this same man happens to be dying of heart disease? This is the condition of many countries: the outer facade is greatly embellished, but the inside is falling apart.

There was a time when human beings would gaze at natural phenomena in utter wonderment. As time went on, they began observing and inquiring deeper into these phenomena, rather than simply watching them. Now, in this age of science, man is striving hard to dive deep into the mysteries of the universe. Science and the intellect has reached its peak. Yet there is one thing that remains unknown, beyond man’s reach, and that is the infinite power of the Inner Self. Man remains ignorant of the truth that the Universal Power exists within himself. This belief has not yet taken root in him. The Supreme Truth can only be known through faith and meditation. Science, which so far has developed through the human intellect, can only be perfected through meditation. Only through the knowledge of the Inner Self can science reach its highest peak.

Let our effort to discover our own essential nature—that indwelling Universal Power—be a characteristic feature of the new millennium we are about to enter. Let this be recognised as one of the important goals of the next century. We have nothing to lose by trusting the infinite power of the Self, except the bondage of our own ignorance. The chain of limitations that binds us must break, in order to open our hearts, to know each other, and to understand the pain and suffering of others by putting ourselves in their place.

As far as modern science is concerned, the entire world falls into two categories: the known and the unknown. In the future scientists may discover much of what is not yet known. But it is the unknowable, that which is far beyond the intellect, that we must seek to discover, and that is God, or our own True Self.

We may deny God, but the intellect cannot prove or disprove God. A god under the control of the intellect is not what we need. – Amma

We may deny God, but the intellect cannot prove or disprove God. If the intellect were able to prove God’s existence—if the intellect could contain God within its grasp—it would only mean that the intellect is greater than God. If God could be understood through the intellect, then God and religion wouldn’t be necessary at all. Science and the intellect would be enough. A god under the control of the intellect is not what we need. What we need is faith in a Supreme Power that controls the entire universe, that is beyond the mind and senses, and which makes even the intellect function. We should enquire into the very Source of that Power, which exists within ourselves. Faith in that Cosmic Power, together with meditation to know that Supreme Power, alone will help us attain knowledge of the Self, unity, peace, and tranquillity.

That Power is the very substratum of our existence—and our existence cannot be denied. The truth “I exist” is self-evident. You may deny God by saying, “God is just a belief,” but existence cannot be refuted. That existence, that Cosmic Power, is God. God has no separate hands, legs, eyes, or body, other than our own. He moves through our hands, He walks with our legs, He sees through our eyes, and it is He who beats within the heart of each one of us.

This universe is one, not many. Man has divided the world into fragments, not God. It is man, who, through his thoughts and actions, creates turmoil and disintegration in the natural, harmonious unity of the world. Each atom serves as a building block of this universe and is intrinsically connected to every other atom. This planet where we live is not an isolated entity functioning separately from the universe. Everything is part of the Whole. When something good and elevating happens somewhere, those vibrations are reflected in the one Universal Mind. In the case of an evil act, negative vibrations will be reflected. The intensity of the reflection depends on the intensity of the good and bad actions we perform. Unfortunately, in the modern world, human selfishness and evil have become predominant. As a result, the vibrations of the one world family reflects that negativity.

The people dwelling on this planet are the life of this world. We should show the same eagerness to create harmony in the inner world, as we show towards material progress in the external world. The thoughts and actions of the people give each country its power, vitality, and its peace.

In the past, nature protected, nourished, and sustained us. But, man’s unintelligent interference and selfish exploitation of Mother Nature has upset her delicate balance. This is manifesting in negative effects throughout the world. The rain, wind, and sunshine, which used to come in proper proportion and season, now come irregularly, often with devastating effects. It is our responsibility to restore the lost harmony of nature.

People, especially the younger generation, are becoming addicted to drugs and other intoxicants, thus losing their vitality, creativity, and capacity to benefit themselves and the world. The younger generation, which is meant to blossom and give fragrance to the world, is instead withering away in the bud stage. One generation has already strayed from the path of righteousness. In order to rebuild a healthy and wholesome society, the children must be taught moral and spiritual values. This emphasis should be integrated into the world’s educational systems.

Redressing these crucial conditions, which affect the future of the world, should be recognised as an important goal of the 21st century.

The life force that pulsates in the trees, plants, and animals is the same life force that pulsates within us. The same life energy that gives us the power to speak and to sing, is the power behind the song of the bird and the roar of the lion. The same consciousness that flows in and through every human being, lends its power to the movement of the wind, to the flow of the river, and to the light of the sun. How can there be any sense of difference once this subtle principle is understood? When we evaluate our growth and development in the light of this great Truth, we may wonder whether we human beings have really developed or grown at all. The progress that we see today is divided growth. Only some parts are growing—the world as a whole remains unhealthy. We cannot call this real progress.

Let us take the human body as an example. The body as a whole, with all its internal and external organs, must grow in proper proportion to maintain its health and well-being. If the head alone grows, while other parts of the body remain undeveloped, such a person would become deformed and unhealthy.

The same principle applies to the world. Like the body, the world is a whole, a unity. The different nations are its different organs. Yet, today every country is concerned only with its own progress. The traditions and feelings of other nations and their people are completely ignored. If each nation is an organ, a part of the one world body, how can the growth of just one country be considered whole and integrated growth?

Human beings categorise and compart­mentalise all areas of life. These divisions in the minds of individuals can cause division in the family, which in turn will be reflected in the society, in the nation, and in the whole world. This attitude of division is spreading like a contagious disease. The entire human race is being divided. People are becoming divided both internally and externally. It is a far cry from unity and integration. The reason for this division and confusion is our ignorance of the essential principle of life.

One and the same rhythm and tune pulsates within all of creation. Once we realise this truth, all the contradictions and differences will dissolve and disappear. Then we will hear the eternal music of the Self, both within and without. The divine flower of peace, love, and tranquillity will blossom, and its fragrance will spread all over the world.

We have forgotten that working for the restoration of peace and unity in this world is the first and foremost duty of all human beings. To fulfill this duty, we must grow spiritually along with our material progress. Each nation should develop an attitude of oneness, giving up feelings of division. Each country should take steps towards material prosperity by planting its feet firmly on that foundation of oneness.

Each country should make a conscious effort to be more sensitive towards other nations. We should see each nation as an integral part of every other nation. Only when we make the effort to understand the difficulties and the pain of other countries, can we act and work together in the unitary spirit of love. Only then will this world grow perfectly, as a unity, as a whole. Such growth alone will bring equanimity, brotherhood, and peace. Otherwise, the result is weakness and deterioration. No real growth will occur.

This world is like a flower. Each nation is a petal. If one petal is infested, does it not affect all the other petals? Does not the disease destroy the life and beauty of the flower? Is it not the duty of each one of us to protect and preserve the beauty and fragrance of this one world flower from being destroyed? This world of ours is a big, wonderful flower with many petals. Only when this is understood and becomes deeply ingrained in us, will there be any real peace and unity. The tug of war between nations is like a tug of war between the petals of a flower. Competition between the petals will only result in all the petals withering away. The entire flower will be destroyed. Division will only dissipate our energy and vitality; real power is to be found in unity, not in division.

The entire world will become our family once we realise our oneness with that Universal Power. Once this knowledge dawns in us, we can no longer work for just a few people, or for a single community, or for one particular nation. Once we realise this truth, the entire universe becomes our own abode. All of creation becomes our own. We behold that everything is pervaded with God-consciousness, with the Supreme Divine Power. Everything is seen as different names and forms of that Divine Power. This universe becomes our own body; the different nations and its people become parts of our universal body. People who experience this are beyond any division. They become totally undivided and integrated personalities. Such personalities are the embodiments of pure, untainted Love. Expressing that Divine Love through all their words and deeds, they inspire people and transform their lives.

Together we are a power, an undefeatable power. When we work together, hand in hand, with love,…and we will see the birth of peace. – Amma

Together we are a power, an undefeatable power. When we work together, hand in hand, with love, it is not just one life force but the life energy of countless people, of the group, that flows in harmony, unimpeded. From that constant stream of unity, real progress will take place, and we will see the birth of peace.

A drop of water cannot be a river; a river is formed by numerous water drops. It is the joining together of countless drops that creates a flow. The real flow of life lies in unity, in the oneness that arises out of love.

Let us pray and meditate together. That is the way to reach the shore of peace. When we meditate and pray as a group, the life energy of all of us will harmoniously flow to a single stream spreading a divine fragrance soaked in the sweetness of love. This will create vibrations of peace and unity in the atmosphere. Attuning our minds with the one Supreme Power and forgetting all thoughts of division, let us open our hearts and sincerely utter the following prayer: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. Let all beings in this world and in all the other worlds be peaceful and happy.

During such moments of prayer, the vibrations of the prayer will reflect in the minds of everyone, thus giving peace and tranquillity.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti. Peace Peace Peace.


Amma Graces 50th Anniversary of The United Nations 1995

Amma graces Interfaith Celebration
50th Anniversary of United Nations

Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, 21 October 1995

Amma was invited to speak at the United Nations Conference on Visions for the 21st Century, timed to coincide with the 50th Anniversary Summit of the United Nations. The Temple of Understanding and the Council of Religious and Interfaith Organisations sponsored this conference, a forum for religious leaders, diplomats, NGOs, and educators to present their visions for the next century. A conference statement was presented to the UN while the 50th Anniversary Summit was still in session.

St St Johns Cathedral

The interfaith assembly was inspired by the acknowledgment of the need for “the political to be informed by the spiritual.” The UN and UNESCO were urged to provide a new paradigm of thought which centres on the responsibility for fostering global values of caring, compassion and tolerance. The thirty-two speakers included religious leaders from various traditions as well as several heads of state and scholars. Other religions represented were Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Baha’I, and Akuapim Traditional Religion of Ghana.

In addition to giving Her address on “Unity is Peace” at the Cathedral of St. John The Divine, New York. Amma shared a discussion panel with Nobel Peace Prize winner, Oscar Arias, ex-President of CostaRica and Dada Vaswani, head of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. Later that evening, Amma and several of Her senior disciples walked together in a procession with other religious leaders inside the cathedral. Each tradition presented a prayer, song or a dance in celebration of the divine unity of all. There was a valedictory peace invocation led by the spiritual leaders representing each religion, and Amma, representing the Sanatana Dharma chanted the mantra Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu (Let all beings in this world and in all the other worlds be peaceful and happy) as everyone joined in.

Amma’s presence during the presentations was dazzling, and Her unique message was refreshing to ears yearning to hear the Truth which only a Mahatma can give.

‘My Seva Children!’

20 – 22 October 2000, Waregem, Belgium

Belgium was a short drive from Germany. Local devotees and the travelling group worked together to transform the enormous room into a darshan hall. What a glorious surprise it was when Amma visited the dining room the night before the first programme. All those who were busy doing seva were blessed with a prasad dinner served by Amma herself. Amma even stayed to eat dinner with her “seva children” as she calls them. Most of them had not slept during the Devi Bhava in Bonn the night before, but they all forgot their fatigue as they watched Amma played with mesmerised delight. A very special feature of the Belgium Devi Bhava was the wedding of two close devotees. The Holy Mother beamed happily throughout the ceremony. After the Devi Bhava, she wasted no time in continuing her example of selfless service. When the inner temple curtains opened, Amma had already started the work of cleaning. She showed absolutely no strain, though she had just given darshan throughout the night.

Meditation is like a tonic

Question: Can meditation be harmful? It is said that a person’s head becomes heated when he meditates.

Amma: It is always better to be taught by a Guru how to meditate. Meditation is like a tonic. A tonic nourishes the body. The tonic comes with certain instructions. If you just ignore the instructions and swallow the whole tonic, it can be dangerous. Most tonics should be taken only according to a doctor’s instructions. Similarly, we should meditate according to the instructions of a Spiritual Master. The Guru first makes an assessment of your mental and physical disposition before prescribing the form of sadhana that is most suitable for you. Some people can meditate for any length of time without any problem. But this is not the case with everyone. Some people, in their initial enthusiasm, will meditate or do japa continuously for long hours, without following any rules of regulations. They do this out of a sudden urge. But it will make them lose their sleep and their head will get heated. This happens because they are meditating more than the body can tolerate.

Everyone has a limited capacity, depending on the state of their mind and body. If 500 people are crammed into a vehicle that can seat only 100, the vehicle won’t be able to run. And if we put double the amount of grain allowed into a mixer, it will overheat and become damaged; it may even burn up. Similarly, if you, in a surge of initial enthusiasm, do japa and meditation indiscriminately for long hours, your head may get heated and many other problems may arise. That is why it is advised that one should learn these practices from a Satguru.

We often hear people say, “We are God; everything is within us.” But those are just words. It doesn’t come from experience. The capacity of each instrument is limited. A 10-watt bulb cannot give the light of a 100-watt bulb. Spiritual practices have to be done according to the capacity of the body and mind. You have to be careful so that you don’t exceed the limit.

If you buy a new car, you shouldn’t drive it at the maximum speed at the outset. Only gradually should the speed be increased. Some restrictions have to be followed; otherwise the car will get damaged and become useless. It is the same with sadhana. A beginner shouldn’t meditate and do japa excessively, foregoing sleep in the process. Meditation, japa, physical work and studying the scriptures should all be done gradually in a regulated way.

Some people are prone to mental illness. If they meditate too much, their body will get overheated and this will enhance the agitation of their mind. They should be advised to do mainly physical work. If their attention is channelled towards physical work, it will help to reduce their mental agitation. Being engaged in work, their mind will wander less and can be controlled. If they are allowed to sit in meditation without doing any physical work, their problems will only become worse. But if their illness isn’t serious, they can meditation for 10 to 15 minutes a day — that will be enough for them.

Thus there are many types of people with different natures. Each individual has to be given different instructions. If you learn how to do spiritual practices like meditation just by reading books, you will not know what restrictions are required specifically for you.

Suppose we go to the house and there is a big dog outside. We will call the owner of the house from outside and wait until he has come and tied the dog up, so that it cannot harm us. But if we don’t have any patience and just open the gate and try to enter, the dog will bite us. Similarly, it could be dangerous if we just go ahead with our spiritual practices, without accepting the advice of a wise, experienced person.

A spiritual aspirant is on a journey through a forest full of cruel, ferocious animals. He needs the help of a guide who knows the path through the forest. Isn’t it best to have someone with us who can tell us, “There’s danger ahead. Be careful! Don’t go that way; go this way instead?”

It is useless to blame God when we suffer the consequences of acting on our own whim. A person under the influence of alcohol was driving a car. The car went out of control and hit a pedestrian. When the police arrested the driver, he said, “Sir, it wasn’t my fault that the car hit that person! The petrol is to blame!” We are doing much the same thing if we blame God for the dangers that we face owing to our own lack of caution.

There is a dharma (right conduct) for everything, and we should move in accordance with that dharma. Meditation has its own methodology. The spiritual masters have laid down the rules and methods for each type of practice. One should choose the type of spiritual practices that are most suitable only after taking into consideration the physical and mental propensities of the aspirant. The same method will not suit everyone.

Anybody can learn a theory. However, to be successful in the practical tests you need the assistance of a learned instructor, because it is difficult to master it on your own. In the same way, the seeker needs a Guru who can guide him or her on the spiritual path.

The children’s stage

13 – 18 October 2000, Munich and Bonn

After Zurich Amma’s next two stops were in Germany. Three days in Munich, and two days in Bonn. It was the turn of Amma’s German children to enjoy Her presence and the showers of love and attention that She was offering.

The Munich programmes were a treat for the musical ear. The local satsang group played inspiring music accompanied by the harp, guitar, flute, recorder and, surprisingly, the trumpet. One evening, as the satsang was about to begin, a child clambered onto the stage and right into Amma’s lap. She welcomed the child, who was soon followed by at least thirty more children! The whole stage quickly became a sea of adorable, innocent faces completely surrounding Amma. How refreshing it was to see our beloved Amma enjoying the happy crowd of tender admirers. The children sat with Amma during the entire satsang and were well rewarded for their patience: Amma gave each child darshan and prasad before bhajans began.

After the Devi Bhava in Munich, Amma and the bus full of devotees following the tour drove to Bonn. In Bonn, as at all the tour cities, Amma’s devotees could be seen working long hours preparing and serving food to all. At every stop in Europe, Amma gives darshan to many long-time devotees as well as to hundreds of people who are meeting Amma for the first time. As Amma sits until she has received the very last person, her programmes have been extremely long. Amma has been taking special care in each city to make sure that no one is excluded from receiving her darshan. Between programmes, after reading the countless letters given to her, Amma is left with hardly any time to rest. Still, often at the end of each evening, Amma makes time for fun, and asks someone to stand and sing a song. Between the impromptu performances and stories told, all are blessed to join our beloved Mother in playfulness and hearty laughter.

During the Devi Bhava darshan in each of the two cities, Amma was beaming like the sun and in a very fresh mood. All those present enjoyed the special blessings of Amma showering flower petals on all at the end of the darshans. In Bonn, Devi Bhava ended at 5 AM. Amma seemed not to want to finish the darshan and leave. After darshan She stayed for a long time in the hall, and helped clean up the place!

Scripture classes

When Amma leaves for Her world tours, the ashram continues to be a hub of activity.

Recently a brilliant, visiting lecturer, Swami Anubhavananda, conducted classes at the ashram. Mixing humour and dramatic language, his talks inspired profound reflection. He gave lectures on Srimad Bhagavad Gita and on ‘Panchadasi’ a Vedantic text. He spoke for four and half hours daily for ten days.

Swami Amritagitananda Puri gave classes on the Isavasya Upanishad. He gives the classes simultaneously in Malayalam and English. Swami Amritagitananda’s classes are always interesting, especially when he relates stories about our favorite subject – Amma!

bring God into our hands, our tongue and our hearts

(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!

Good actions bring good results, bad actions bring bad results

(From Amma’s benedictory address delivered on the occasion of her 44th birthday celebration)

It is said that our life should be like an eye, for the eye has the ability to adjust its power of vision. Whether the object is far away or nearby, the eye adjusts itself in order to get a clear view. So too we should cultivate a mind that is able to adjust itself and be in harmony with any situation in life. This is possible through understanding spirituality. If we are to be in harmony with trying situations there should be peace on our heart.

Only a peaceful heart can be in concord with various situations. This peace ensues from meditation. Amma often says meditation is as valuable as gold. Material prosperity, peace of mind and self-liberation ensue from meditation. The time one devotes to meditation is never wasted.

Now a days we have become like obedient machines. That is not what is needed. We have to become human beings who are alert and discriminating. This alertness and discrimination will arise only from proper spiritual understanding. If ordinary life is like riding vehicles along the highway, spiritual life is like flying in an airplane. The vehicles moving along the road never leave the ground and soar to the heights. However the plane soars up to the sky after moving along the runway for a while. Spiritual life takes us to the heights of experience. When one is in the heights, one gains the power to look upon everything as a detached witness.

Many people say, “I have never knowingly committed any wrong, yet I have to undergo so much suffering.” Children, one thing is certain, we will reap only what we have sown. The results of actions performed by us can never be obliterated. If a calf is set free, it will locate its mother from amongst thousands of cows. Similarly, the result of each and every action will come to the doer. God has not created anyone just to punish him.

In one family there were three brothers. Their parents had passed away. All three brothers were graduates, however, they couldn’t find any employment. A rich man took pity on these brothers and employed them in his firm. He also allowed them to stay in his house. All three brothers were given the same work. After a while one of them began to take bribes from customers. The owner cautioned and censored him many times, still he continued with his wrong ways. Finally he was demoted to the post of a peon. Clearly, he did not deserve a higher post. The second brother was diligent in his work. He was honest as well. However at the end of 30 days he would ask for his salary. He would not wait for even a day. As he was diligent and honesty, he was promoted to a higher post. The third one was different from either of his brothers. He would do the work diligently and honestly and with total care. When he was offered his salary at the end of the month, he said, “No, sir, you gave me food and shelter, you gave me clothes and you gave me whatever I needed. Therefore what need do I have for the salary.” He refused to accept the salary and continued to serve his master. After a few years the owner died. In his will he had assigned all his wealth to the third brother who had served him selflessly. Thus we see that the honest, diligent man was given promotion, the dishonest man we demoted, and the one who served his master selflessly asking nothing in return, became the master of everything. Similar is our predicament. Whatever we enjoy or suffer is the result of our own actions.

Life consists of two things: performing actions and reaping the results of our actions. If good actions bring good results, bad actions fetch bad results. Actions are not only what we perform with our hands and feet, but what we think as well. To revile or abuse others is to perform bad actions. That will eventually result in our suffering. Hence what we suffer today is the result of our own past actions. This does not mean we should engage in self pity, brooding that we are sinners. As our present suffering is the result of our past bad actions, we should resolve that we will not do such deeds anymore, but will devote the rest of our life to performing good and selfless deeds. Instead of despising oneself as a sinner and good for nothing, one should begin a life of compassion and service to others. That is the easiest way to find peace in our lives.

It is not due to our will that anything takes place in this world. If we lay 10 eggs, seldom do all 10 hatch. If it has been our will that determines everything, all 10 would have hatched. Therefore let us cultivate the attitude of offering everything to the Supreme will. That spirit of surrender should dawn in us. That should be the goal of our life.

Some people question, “Doesn’t Lord Krishna exhort us to work without getting any wages?” The answer is “No.” The result of any action will not be as we expect it to be. Hence if we look to the result with expectation, we will inevitably come to grief in the end. Of course, the result of whatever we do will sooner or later come to us, but it will not be as we imagine. That is why the Lord asks us to be detached. The Lord asks us to cultivate such an attitude, so that we may not suffer, but reap the full benefit of what we do. Life consists of both sorrow and happiness. When a pendulum swings to one end, it is only gaining momentum to come back full swing. Similarly, the swing to happiness will not rest there forever, but will return to sorrow. Spirituality teaches us to harmonize both sorrow and happiness and go forward in life. Only a person who knows swimming can enjoy himself in the waves of the ocean. The one who doesn’t know swimming will succumb to the waves. Similarly if we understand spirituality, which teaches us how to move forward in life unruffled by adversities, we will be able to maintain a smile on our lips in all situations. Eventually we will be able to reach the goal as well. Krishna was teaching us how to reach the goal without being defeated by circumstances.