Tell everything to God
“No matter who causes you grief, take your complaints to the puja room (family shrine), where your real friend is. In addition to your husband or wife, you should have a friend — and that friend should be God. Even if your husband or wife makes you unhappy, tell that to God, and not to anyone else. If your neighbour picks a fight with you, go to the puja room and complain, ‘Why did you let him treat me like that? Weren’t you with me?’ Open your heart and tell God everything. Then it becomes a satsang.”
“When someone makes you happy, tell God about that too. Forgetting God in times of happiness and remembering Him only in times of sorrow is not a sign of true devotion. We should be able to see that He gives us both happiness and sorrow.”
Remember God while performing actions
“Children, remember God while doing actions. (Amma points to a man who is leading ducks through the backwaters.) There is hardly any room in the boat even to keep his legs properly. It is such a small boat. Standing in the boat, he will row with a long oar and lead the ducks as well. Making noise by slapping the oar on the water, the man will guide the ducks if they stray. At intervals, he will smoke a cigarette. He will scoop out any water entering the boat with his feet. He will also converse with the people standing on the bank. Even while doing all these things, his mind will always be on the boat. If his attention wavers even for a moment, losing his balance, the boat will capsize and he will fall in. Children, like this we should live in this world. Whatever work we are doing, our mind should be centred on God. This is easily possible through practice.”
“You can lead a truly spiritual life while remaining a householder. You will be able to enjoy the bliss of the Self, but your mind has to be on God all the time. Then you can easily attain bliss. A mother bird will be thinking of the young ones in the nest, even when she is out looking for food. Similarly, you have to keep your mind on God, while engaged in all worldly actions. The important thing is to be completely dedicated to God or the Guru. Once you have that dedication, the goal will not be far away.”
Practice renunciation from the beginning
“A householder who wishes to lead a spiritual life after completing his responsibilities in the world should exercise renunciation from the very beginning, because it won’t come easily. Renunciation demands constant and long-term practice. He or she may not be able to relinquish everything externally; therefore, he or she should try to be detached from within. The mind should not get too involved in things. In order to keep this spirit of inner detachment, lakshya bodha (awareness of the goal) is very important. Whatever happens in the house or outside, one should always contemplate and pray in this manner: ‘My goal is far beyond all these silly and trivial worldly problems. O Lord, please do not push me into these conflicts and arguments. Give me the strength and courage to be in the midst of these problems and still remember You and remain detached. Let me try to work through them as part of my duty, but let me be untouched by their vibrations.’
9 May 2003, Amritapuri
When Amma is at Amritapuri, the schedule for Friday is well known: Amma comes out at around 11 or 11:30 a.m. to the temple hall. She leads a short meditation, and then conducts a question-answer session during which She switches back and forth between being the questioner and the answerer. Everybody faithfully gathers in the temple hall to enjoy these precious moments.
From 10 a.m. last Friday morning Amma’s peetham was ready in the hall, surrounded by a multicolour carpet of asanas. Many people reserve a place to sit by leaving their meditation mats in the hall while they do seva elsewhere. A few of us were there, sitting in meditation, but most were finishing their seva in order to be free around 11, when Amma usually joins us. But 11 came, then 11:30, then 12, 12:30 then 12:50! Wasn’t Amma going to come out at all today? The bell announcing Her arrival didn’t ring, no messages had come, no information, not even a hint.
At 12:50 the news flashed in the temple and around the ashram: “Amma is at the beach. She is calling everybody for meditation there!” The usual rush and bustle, like baby chicks dashing after the mother hen, found everyone running towards the newly constructed Ayurveda building and the expanse of sandy beach between the building and the sea, dotted with newly planted coconut palms.Amma was on the top floor of the building, on a balcony facing the beach. Gazing at the ocean She was in a contemplative mood. She was told that some devotees had seen dolphins in the ocean two days back. Excitedly She had exclaimed, “Yes! They used to come in the old days when I was meditating here!” An eagle flew close to the balcony, then rushed towards the sea. “He is looking for food,” Amma commented.
Now, as everyone reached the beach-side building, Amma Herself placed Her chair in the middle of Her gathering children, choosing a spot under a high coconut tree.
After making sure that all Her children had come and were properly seated, Amma sat in meditation. With the sound of the waves breaking against the shore so nearby, Amma extended the meditation for longer then usual.
During the satsang which followed, Amma said that many complain to Her that their original zeal in sadhana has faded away with time. She responded that it is the duty of the devotee to keep the spirit of devotion alive, by praying and confiding in the Lord at all times in all situations, not only in difficult or exalted moods. Effort should be maintained continuously. If the doctor prescribes that you drink a large amount of water daily, you have to do it even when you are not thirsty.
Many of the ashramites keep careful notes of Amma’s satsangs, and while She is talking you can see their heads bent, pens leaping across the page in an effort to keep pace with the torrential flow of Amma’s wisdom. After She answers a question, Amma often says that Her answer is not complete, and She would like Her children to connect the points or complete the picture. Of course we never feel that Amma has left anything unclear, but it Her way of getting Her children to speak up. Today, in a show of humility and affection, Amma listened carefully to Her children.
It was nearing 3 p.m. Amma took the microphone and started singing “Bhajo Re Bhajo.” It created a wonderful ambience and soon everyone was clapping and singing in rapture. Was it because of the special natural surroundings, or due to the sadhana that Amma had performed in this very place? The fact is that that Friday afternoon on the beach had created a deep impact in the hearts of all, and a stronger echo in their souls. Will such blessed moment’s come again? Will She call for meditation here more often? This is now a cherished desire in everyone’s hearts.
“Bhajans are prayers in the form of songs, rich in meaning and full of devotional content. When one sings a bhajan wholeheartedly, they completely forget themselves and become one with their longing for the divine; this is meditation. In this modern age with distractions galore, traditional meditation and contemplation are not possible for everybody, but anyone can sing bhajans. When sung with concentration and devotion, bhajans awaken the innocence deep within us and we feel the divine in our hearts.”
“While singing the divine name, you should always keep the eyes closed; otherwise, the eyes, persuaded by the mind and tempted by the objects, will run after them. Children, behold the inner light; it cannot be seen if you look at the external light.”
“The bliss of singing the divine name is something unique. It is inexpressible. Amma is not at all hesitant to take any number of births to sing the name of the Lord. There is no question of gaining total and complete satisfaction in singing the Lord’s name. That is why even those who have reached That State will come down and sing the glories of the Lord with the attitude of a devotee. That is something which one will not feel fed up with at all.”
“Darling children, to gain concentration in this age of Kali Yuga (material age), bhajan is easier than meditation. By loud singing, other distracting sounds will be overcome and concentration will be achieved. Bhajan, concentration and meditation, this is the progression. In fact, constant remembrance of God is meditation.”
“Children, bhajan sung with one-pointedness will benefit the singer, the listener and also Mother Nature. Such songs will awaken the listeners’ minds in due course. If bhajan is sung without concentration, it is a waste of energy. Bhajan is a spiritual discipline aimed at concentrating the mind on one’s Beloved Deity. Through that one-pointedness, one can merge in the Divine Being and experience the bliss of one’s true self.”
“At dusk, the atmosphere is full of impure vibrations. This is the time when day and night meet and is the best time for sadhaks (spiritual aspirants) to meditate because good concentration can be attained. If sadhana is not done, more worldly thoughts rise up. That is why bhajan should be sung loudly at dusk. In this way, the atmosphere will also be purified. Children, at dusk sing bhajan while sitting in front of a burning oil lamp. The smoke produced by the wick burning in oil is a siddha oushadha (perfect medicine). We inhale the smoke and the atmosphere is also purified.”
“God alone is eternal. Our life’s goal is to attain Him. You should not forget this. Singing the Divine Name is the best way. One should imagine that one’s Beloved Deity is standing everywhere in the room. One should pray, ‘O Lord, are You not seeing me? O God, please take me on Your lap. I am Your child. I have no one but You as my refuge. Do not abandon me but always dwell in my heart.’ Devotional singing is the spontaneous music of the soul. Nobody can resist the inspirational qualities of such music penetrating one’s heart when it is sung with concentration and devotion.”
“Children, sing from the depth of your hearts. Let the heart melt in prayer. The joy of singing the Lord’s name is unique. This bhajan is for us to pour out all our heart’s accumulated dirt. Leave aside all shyness and open your hearts to God.”
“Mental purity will come through constant chanting of the divine name. This is the simplest way. You are trying to cross the ocean of transmigration, the cycle of birth and death. The mantra is the oar of the boat; it is the instrument you use to cross the samsara of your restless mind, with its unending thought waves. The mantra can also be compared to a ladder that you climb to reach the heights of God-realization.”
Question: “Amma, long ago, a spiritual master would put a potential disciple through rigorous tests before giving him a mantra. Amma, You don’t do that. Why do you give us mantras without first testing our competency?”
Amma: “Simply because Amma loves you! How can a mother not want to help her children! However incompetent her children may be, a mother can only be compassionate towards them. Children, you are Amma’s own, and Amma wants all Her children to reach the ultimate goal. This is why She gives you a mantra. You don’t need to analyse the reason; just make use of the mantra by constantly chanting it, and it will take you to the state of realisation.”
“Children, do not forget to always repeat your mantra. In the beginning japa should be done in a low voice. Later it can be done moving the lips slightly. Finally it should be done mentally. Thus japa should be practised constantly with each breath. Then japa will go on even if we don’t attend to it, even in sleep.”
“The period of sadhana is like climbing a high mountain. You need a lot of strength and energy. Mountain climbers use a rope to pull themselves up. For you, the only rope is japa. Therefore, children, try to repeat your mantra constantly. Once you reach the peak, you can relax and rest forever.”
“It is always advisable to obtain a mantra from a Self-realized master. Until then we may use one of the mantras of our beloved deity like ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’, ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’, ‘Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare’, ‘Hari Om’, ‘Om Parashaktyai Namaha’, ‘Om Shivashaktyaikya Rupinyai Namaha’ or even the names of Christ, Allah or Buddha.”
“Deciding to chant the mantra a certain number of times daily will help foster the japa habit. We should always keep a mala (rosary) with us for doing japa. A rosary can be made of 108, 54, 27, or 18 beads of rudraksha, tulasi, crystals, sandal, gems, etc., with one Guru (main) bead. We should resolve to chant a certain number of rosaries daily. Children, we should always chant the mantra in our minds while walking, travelling or working.”
Be Committed to Your Mantra
“When Amma gives you a mantra, She sows a seed of spirituality within you. She transmits a part of Herself into your heart. But you have to nurture that seed by meditating, praying and chanting your mantra regularly, without fail. You have to be totally committed. The natural way to get yoghurt is by adding a spoonful of yoghurt to warm milk. Having added the culture, you let it stand for some time, and thus, all the milk is transformed into yoghurt. In the same way, Amma has transmitted part of Herself into you. Now you have to let the milk stand; you have to attain a state of inward stillness by constantly repeating your mantra and doing other spiritual practices. Your entire being will thus be transformed and you will then realise your divine nature.”
“First of all, all of us must have love and respect for our mantra, the mantra that was given to us by our master. Always repeat the mantra that was given to you wherever you are, whatever work you are doing irrespective of time and place. Without talking unnecessarily, chant your mantra. Have love for your mantra. These mantras will help us to purify the mind and are vehicles to take us to the Supreme.”
“Children, don’t be disheartened if you don’t see results in spite of all your effort. Each chant of the mantra has an effect. You are just not aware of it. Even if you are not achieving one-pointed concentration, you will still benefit by meditating at a regular time. Through constant japa, the impurities in your mind will disappear, without you even being aware of it, and your concentration will increase during meditation.”
Write the Mantra Daily
“It is a good practice to write at least one page of mantra daily. Many people get better concentration by writing than by chanting. Try also to inculcate in children the habit of chanting and neatly writing the mantra. This will help to improve their handwriting, too. The book in which the mantra is written should not be thrown around; it should be carefully kept in our meditation or shrine room.”
Perform Mantra Japa with Alertness, never Mechanically
“Do japa with alertness, never mechanically. Each repetition should be like savouring a sweet. In the end, you will reach a state where even if you let go of the mantra, the mantra won’t let go of you.”
“The mantra should be chanted with great attention. Focus either on the sound of the mantra or on the meaning; or you can visualise each syllable of the mantra as you chant. You can also visualise the form of your beloved deity while chanting. Decide the total number of times you will chant the mantra each day. This will help you to do japa with determination. But do not chant heedlessly, just to reach a certain target number. The most important thing is that your mind is one-pointed. Using a mala will help you to count and also to maintain your concentration.”
The Power of Mantra Japa
“Both sitting 10 hours with eyes closed and chanting the divine names with concentration for one hour are equal.”
Question: “Mother, is it beneficial if one chants mantras even without knowing the meaning?”
Amma: “If you chant your mantra without knowing its meaning, it has its own power. Even then, it is better if it is chanted with shraddha (loving faith) and love. Concentration also is necessary. A mantra will have a special power if it is received from a Satguru, rather than choosing it oneself. Once you get into a bus or train, it will take you to the destination even if you don’t know who the driver is or which company manufactured the bus or train or from where the spare parts are available. It will drop you at the nearest bus or railway station, and from there it will be only a short distance to your home. Similarly, a mantra will carry you to the threshold of God-realization. From there you can easily reach the ultimate goal.”
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