Binoculars of love

3August 2001, Amritapuri

Have you ever watched Amma’s eyes while She is giving darshan? They seem to have the remarkable ability to be fully concentrated in two or even three directions at once: She will be connecting closely with the person She is holding (you know that feeling that shoots through you when Amma’s eyes lock yours, even for a brief instant!).

The person in Her lap can feel Her loving attention in its full concentration and yet during that perhaps even very brief darshan, maybe while listening, or while murmuring in the devotee’s ear, Mother is sweeping the hall with Her eyes. We can speculate that She has noticed the arrival of someone She has been calling over the ages, checking the work of the line monitors, estimating the size of the remaining crowd and calculating the hugging pace She may need to adopt if She is to finish in time for the next commitment of the hall or of Herself. Even the people beside and behind Mother don’t escape Her attention; a lightening-quick flicker of Her eyes over Her shoulder will tell Her someone has fallen asleep, and quick as a flash She can hurl a candy at the sleeping target’s head (or were you there that time a sleeper’s open mouth presented an irresistible temptation and Amma threw a piece of candy right inside it?!).

With all-seeing Eyes like Hers, why would Amma be interested in a pair of binoculars?

Well, for starters, it was there. Mother has an uncanny ability to see virtually anything that happens to be there at the moment as an opportunity for spiritual reflection and, when She speaks, for teaching. This happened when Amma picked up the pair of binoculars and used it to convey a spiritual point.

Amma had come for meditation and satsang, as She always does at home on Fridays. Someone nearby was holding a pair of binoculars, and She reached out for them. She raised them to Her Eyes, and looked at someone: “You’re very close!” She said in Malayalam. “Mother can see you very close!”

That was enough to spark Her impromptu teaching about binoculars: they bring things that are far away much nearer. Just like love. Amma says that when we love, we don’t feel separation; wherever the one we love is, we feel him or her to be close to us. Hatred, on the other hand, is like a microscope, said Mother; it magnifies the faults in others and magnifies them. Amma encouraged us to turn the binoculars of love on others, and to use a microscope only on our own faults so that we can see them and weed them out.

Around Mother, there is no such thing as just another object or an empty moment!

The notebook

3 August 2001,Amritapuri

Have you seen diligent devotees writing line after line, page after page, of fine, tiny script in a notebook? Then they take the notebooks to Mother, an offering of their sadhana (spiritual practice). It is a notebook filled, every inch of space covered, with mantras.

A few days ago, there was a variation on this theme.

It happened during Mother’s time with the ashramites on Friday, early in the afternoon. She had come to be with Her children: to meditate, answer questions and give impromptu satsang. A resident approached Her, a thin, gnarled, stooped woman whose body is old and whose mind seems that of a child. She and her sister, who takes care of her, have lived at the ashram for some years. Mother welcomed them warmly when they moved in. The girl-woman used to sit beside Mother on Her cot, leaning against Her and watching Her every movement.

If someone would urge her to come away, Mother would say, “Let her stay. She doesn’t get much love. Let her feel my love.”

Love can heal; Mother’s love can make wondrous changes. Over the years, this woman has become less withdrawn and confused, and has begun to learn some things. Like writing. She learned to write – in Malayalam – “Om Amriteshwaryai Namah”, a mantra chanted around the world by Amma’s devotees. This mantra the woman had written in large letters, filling pages in the notebook she handed to Mother.

Mother took the notebook in Her Hand, held it up for all to see, and read aloud: “Om Amriteshwaryai Namah”. She smiled up at the woman, and said, “This is very nice.” And again, “This is really very nice!” She kissed the notebook, and returned it. The woman kissed it too! Then Mother kissed her cheek and handed her a sweet.

Holding the notebook, embodiment of her achievement with Mother’s Grace, close to her bosom, the woman stepped away. She was a clear reminder that Mother has come for absolutely everybody. She accepts each of us exactly as we are, and helps us grow to the fullest extent possible given our effort and Her Grace.

What are we writing in our Notebooks?