16-ammakrishna-f

Perform your duties wholeheartedly with an attitude of surrender and detachment

25 August 2016 — Amritapuri

When we think about Lord Krishna, what are the first thoughts that enter our mind? Different people will answer in different ways. This is because Lord Krishna won’t allow himself to be confined within our limited thoughts and ideas. But one thing is clear: Everything about Krishna is sweet, alluring and beautiful.

16-ammakrishna

We often talk about the many facets and roles of Lord Krishna. An unparalleled protector of dharma, a skilled political strategist, advisor of the great Bhagavad-Gita, an unbeatable warrior… These are some of them. But Krishna—who, indeed, was all of these—was also love incarnate, the giver of love. The magnetism of his love enticed not just the gopis and gopas, but all of creation as well. Nature herself was charmed by the sweet notes of his bamboo flute.

The Supreme Truth is beyond thought and word. However, when the Supreme assumes a human form, accepting all the shortcomings and limitations inherent in such, and comes into our midst, we are provided with an opportunity to tangibly touch the Supreme, to know it. Not only Sri Krishna’s words, but his every movement, his every look and mood, conveyed the fullness of spiritual wisdom. His very presence was a spiritual experience. Every action of his illustrated the principles expounded in the Vedic scriptures.

It is impossible to explain the sweetness of honey with words, but just tasting a drop of honey will give us the experience of that sweetness. Similarly, in the presence of an avatara, the Supreme Truth is revealed and shines forth. Doubts turn into faith, faith turns into knowledge, and knowledge expands into experience. Avataras do not take birth and live on earth like ordinary people. They continue to live forever in human hearts as the very culture of the society into which they manifested—as the very guiding light of the world.

Their guidance stands true for all time, all countries and all people. Lord Krishna’s teachings are just as relevant today as they were 5,000 years ago. The Krishna-influence pervades and pulses in all planes of Indian culture and in the daily life of its people. Our literature, music and art are enlivened by his touch.

Lord Krishna’s life is full of paradoxes. The eternally free Lord was born in a prison. He played all the pranks and mischief of a capricious child, but also accomplished great feats beyond human capacity. He was crowned king and became the lord of the world, and yet he surrendered in defeat before the devotion of his devotees. He was an extraordinary grhasthashrami [householder], yet he maintained the pure chastity of a sannyasi.

On the occasion of the royal rajasuya yaga conducted by Yudhishthira, in the august presence of rishis and kings, Lord Krishna let Yudhishthira wash his feet as the guest of honour. Yet, the Lord was washing the feet of the other guests a short while later.

“Do what you do with complete involvement, yet remain detached”—this was Sri Krishna’s way. It is like a person lowering a bucket into a well to draw out water. Even though the bucket is immersed in the water, the bucket is firmly in the person’s hand. Even though one may be in the world, one is not bound by it. A boat does not sink because it is in the water. It sinks when the water is in the boat. Even though Sri Krishna lived in the world, he was never bound by anything.

As Arjuna’s charioteer Sri Krishna advised the Gita. He gave Arjuna his vishvarupa darsahan—the vision of his universal form. Yet, the very next moment, we see him as a charioteer, attending to Arjuna’s horses. Who else but the Lord could hold things so seemingly opposite in the palm of his hand?

A person who has worked as an officer may not be willing to work as errand boy. He may protest, “How can an officer like me do such menial work?” Sri Krishna became a child when he was amongst children. He became a youth in the company of the young. He danced with the gopis and became their friend. When his friends were hungry, he stole butter from the gopis houses to feed them. In fact, the gopis wanted Sri Krishna to steal the butter from their houses! Hence, through this lila he was able to kill two birds with one stone. One cannot find a mahatma who played as many roles as him.

Karma and the result – what to do?

Through his own life, the Lord illustrated the greatness of any type of work. No other spiritual teacher has expounded the value of action as much as Lord Krishna:

“O Arjuna, I stand to gain nothing in all the three worlds, yet I am continuously engaged in action. At least for the welfare of the world, do action. Perform your action with no desire of its results.”

Some people ask if this means that we should work without expecting to be paid. No, it does not. When we sow a seed, it may sprout or it may not. We may sow seeds at the right time. We may dig bore-wells and make sure that the crops get enough water. Regardless, if there is a flood just before the harvest, everything will be lost. Many people commit suicide when their actions don’t bear the expected fruit. But if one is prepared to face both kinds of results—failure and success—then one won’t fall to such extremes. Krishna’s advice is very relevant here. There is no point losing ourselves in grief. We only have the right to put in effort. The results are not in our control. Thus we should accept whatever comes to us as the fruit of our actions. His advice was to live in the world while understanding its nature. Through this, we develop the capacity to view things from a distance.

Usually, people work to fulfil their selfish desires. However, when we perform an action even for a short while without expecting anything in return, it purifies our mind. It is difficult to live selflessly. What makes us selfish are our desires. Amma does not say that it is wrong to have desires. Because many of us lack spiritual understanding, it is impossible to live without desires. We will desire food when hungry; there is nothing wrong in that. We may want money for our livelihood; that is not wrong. It is only when our desires become too many and we become ready to exploit others in order to satisfy them that desires become problematic.

If we incorporate the attitude “I am just an instrument in God’s hands,” then the burden of karma will fall away from us entirely. Only when a pen is in someone’s hands can it write letters. It does not write on its own. So too it is with a paintbrush. It does not paint on its own. Someone has to hold it to paint. We have to be like a pen or a brush in the hands of the Divine.

The Lord always wore a peacock feather on his head. What is its meaning? It means that the Lord carried all the world’s responsibilities and actions as if the were as light as a feather.

Krishna taught Arjuna that behind every action is God’s power. If we abandon the feeling of doership and surrender to being an instrument in God’s hands, that divine power will flow through us. If we become like a pipe attached to the tank, all the water in the tank can be used for the sake of many through us. When we become a zero, we truly become a hero. Whatever we want will become possible, and we will be freed from all anxiety and fear. The Lord called this capacity as karmasu kaushalam—“dexterity in action.” This is one of the most important teachings the Lord gave the world.

There are similarities and differences between the earth and Lord Krishna. The earth attracts everyone and so does Sri Krishna. However, while the earth pulls everyone down, Sri Krishna draws one and all up to the heavens. “Perform your duties wholeheartedly with an attitude of surrender and detachment. Be happy, smiling and enthusiastic in life like a child.” This was Sri Krishna’s message.

The birth of Sri Krishna

In reality baby Krishna should take birth in our hearts. It is not enough if we have faith in the doctor and take the medicines as prescribed by him. We need to follow the diet he prescribes as well. Only then will we fully regain our health. Similarly, to overcome the disease of birth and death, we have to follow certain yamas and niyamas—do’s and don’ts. Only then will the divine love or Sri Krishna take birth in our heart. May the light of the divine presence grow in your hearts, eliminating any darkness within. May this light overflow towards the whole of creation. May divine grace bless my children.

– Excerpts from Amma’s 2016 Krishna Jayanti Satsang

16-iday-f

Independence day with Amma

India’s Independence day celebrated at the Ashram with great enthusiasm. Little children gave small flags to Amma and the AYUDH group gave a big flag around mindnight at the end of darshan. Amma did pranams and waved the flag with lot of love and respect.

16-iday2

16-iday1

15th August 2016
Amritapuri

16-vasanabox-f

The Vasana Box

26 Jul 2016, Amritapuri
Usually, when we give gifts to someone, it is as an expression of our love towards them, or to celebrate a certain occasion. When we give gifts, we try to give someone something that they do not have. However, when we give gifts to a Mahatma, it is considered an offering. Offerings such as food, clothes, etc. are like the son gifting his father using his father’s own credit card; we are simply offering items which the Guru already owns. In the case of a Mahatma, who possesses the knowledge of the Self, what can we possibly give? The only thing we can offer that they do not already own, is the gift of our Vasanas (tendencies).

16-vasanabox

And that is exactly what a devotee presented to Amma the other day in Amritapuri. When Amma came to the stage for bhajans, there was a red box kept on her peetham. She took that box, and read the box’s label aloud. It was inscribed, “the Vasana box.” Amma opened the box and started taking the contents out one by one. Inside the box were slips of paper, as well as clothing and other objects with notes attached. On each slip of paper or note, a different feeling and emotion was written on it. One note said “laziness.” The next: “anger.” There were more: “lust,” “depression,” “greed,” – the list went on. Rivalry. Jealousy. Hatred. Money. Taking them out of the box, she read them out one by one. Her face lit up with an innocent smile – the happiness of a child receiving a gift on her birthday. For the rest of us to receive gifts with such delight, it would have had to have been a box of diamonds.

As it turned out, the ashram resident who created this box and offered it to Amma, had been listening regularly to Amma’s manasa puja instructions, wherein Amma says that we have to offer everything at the feet of the Lord. It was this instruction that inspired him to offer his vasanas to Amma.

It was a beautiful moment, and it showed us what truly makes the Guru happy: to see a disciple conquering his/her vasanas, and moving forward along the spiritual path.

– Sakshi

16-tokyo-f

Students will feel and learn about living ‘rich in heart’ under Amma’s guidance

18-20 July,  Tokyo, Japan – America – Canada – Japan Yatra 2016

After her extensive tour of North America and Canada, Amma reached Tokyo the capital of Japan. Amma’s programs were held for 3 days in Tokyo at Belle Salee Shibuya Garden Hall.

Student Volunteers from the Japanese student organization IVUSA have been actively participating in MAM’s free housing project. Every year group of students from IVUSA come to India and physically participate in the construction of free houses.  Mr. Shimomura Makoto, Director of IVUSA came to welcome Amma and express his gratitude to Amma.

“Now 3,300 students of Kyusyu university are involved in our volunteer activities. Our first meeting with Amma was 1998. We came to know about Her housing project in South India and happily participated in the construction. Also, we were involved in Amma’s housing project for the Gujarat earth quake and Tsunami housing projects in South India. It is true that Japan became very rich in material aspects. Now, students are feeling and learning about living ‘rich in heart’ under Amma’s guidance and instruction. We want to continue putting Amma’s Indian activities central in our activities. I express my congrats from bottom of heart to all of Amma’s charity activities.”

Amma led the devotees in prayer for world peace, meditation, bhajans and satsang.

This years Gurupurnima was also celebrated here. Amma gave a message on this occasion {news}. Swamiji did Amma’s Gurupada puja and chanting of 108 names. Amma gave prasad to all present. She was also interacting with the ashram centers via a webcast.

Inspiring Pink

During Darshan, Amma received a young man Taka Aki. He is very special.

Due to birth complications, Taka Aki was afflicted with a severe case of cerebral paralysis. Intellectually he is just like any one else, but he has very limited control over his muscles and is thus constrained to a wheelchair and has difficulty even speaking. Back in 2006, during his university studies, he joined one of their regular trips to India to volunteer with Embracing the World building houses for people in need. This has been a dream of Taka Aki’s since he first met Amma in 2003. But due to his condition, traveling to India always seemed unrealistic to him. In Tokyo, he moves about freely using a motorized wheelchair and communicates via computer. But if he came to India he knew he would have to leave these supports behind, and he did not want to be a burden for others. For two years, Taka Aki told himself that traveling to India was simply not in the cards. However, in his final year as a university student, he decided he had to try.

Taka Aki getting Amma’s darshan

The first day onsite in the Indian village of Nagapattinam was no different than any other at a construction site in India—extremely hot with lots of heavy manual labor. There was nothing that Taka Aki could do. His wheelchair even got a flat tire and he had to be pushed and carried along the dirt roads and over the thorny bushes. He simply sat in the shade, watching everyone else and longing for an opportunity to serve. {news}

Then the next day someone suggested that maybe he could paint. He was thrilled by the idea and immediately agreed to try. Soon, a few people carried him onto a scaffolding, taped a paintbrush in his hand (he is unable to grip things), and he was ready to go. Someone guided his hand into the paint bucket and then, with great effort, he moved the brush back and forth along the wall. Paint was flying everywhere, spraying anyone within range, but no one seemed to mind or even moved out of the way. The scene was too inspiring to leave. A small crowd began to gather, and tears came to many people’s eyes. One of the site supervisors was visibly touched and, with his hands over his heart, said, “This is real service.”

Taka Aki spent the next several hours painting. Every so often the scaffolding would be shifted so that he could reach another section, and different people took turns supporting him on the scaffolding and helping him to dip his brush. Throughout the day the other students continually shouted encouragement. By the time the sun began to set, the house had been transformed from the lifeless gray of cement to the inspiring pink of the horizon.

-Tulasi

 

 

16-toronto-f

Amma in Toronto

July 11-14, Toronto, Canada – America Yatra 2016

Amma has been touring length and breadth of America for the past 6 weeks.

After finishing her programs in North America, Amma and the tour group reached Toronto in Canada, the capital of Ontario state. Sri Dinesh Bhatia, Consul General of India garlanded Amma and welcomed Amma to Canada. Mrs Indira Harris, Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament, garlanded Amma on behalf of the Ontario government.

16-toronto-3

23rd Prime Minister of Canada Hon. Justin Pierre and His wife Madam Sophie sent a special welcome letter to Amma. It was read out by their representative.

Each year Amma Canada has been awarding financial support to deserving youth. The financial aid helps youth to take up higher studies at a university. Amma awarded this year’s Financial support for Higher education, to Mr. Dipesh.

16-toronto-2

Also, Amma conducted Spiritual retreat in which thousands participated in prayer for the world peace, meditation. Amma personally distributed prasad to all of them.

16-toronto-1

 

-Tulasi

16-gp-f

The Guru-disciple relationship is an everlasting connection

From Amma’s Gurupurnima message

If we try to count from the beginning of the Guru-disciple tradition, tens of thousands of Gurupurnimas’ must have been celebrated by disciples. Celebrations are mere road signs, pointing us in the right direction. To understand the meaning of these celebrations, we need to go beyond the external pujas and traditional practices performed on this day.

16-gp1

There are many relationships in human life. But, the relationship between a Guru and disciple cannot be counted as one of these worldly relationships. In reality, the only bond of love that is eternal and indestructible is the Guru-disciple relationship. In other relationships, the predominant factor is bondage. But, there is no bondage in the Guru-disciple relationship, because the Guru is the doorway that leads us from all bondage to ultimate freedom.

16-gp4

All human relationships are like two small streams flowing along side of each other. The Guru-disciple relationship is entirely different. The disciple’s experience is that of a person standing under the powerful flow of the Ganges as it falls from the heavens onto the hair of Lord Shiva and from there onto Earth. The Spiritual master’s divine presence and endless flow of grace helps to purify the disciple.

16-gp2

In reality, the Guru is a mere presence. If someone were to ask, “Is the Master the body or the Self?” there would be no correct answer. The Guru is always in a state of oneness with the Supreme Self and hence has no feeling of ‘I’ or ‘mine’. Once the ego is destroyed then the physical body becomes like an empty shell. It has no connection with the Self. So because of this, the Guru cannot be the body. But, this is also incorrect, because we can only see the Guru’s body. The truth is that the Spiritual Master is merely a presence, like the infinite sky.

16-gp3

For the Guru who has gone beyond likes and dislikes, there is no thought of, “I am the Guru and you are the disciple. I am superior and you are inferior.” The Master has no demands or requirements. Looking at it in this way, we will see that there is actually only the disciple in this relationship. The Guru should become the light of the full moon that never sets within the heart of the disciple. The Guru-disciple relationship is the everlasting connection we make with this divine presence.

– excerpts from Amma’s Guru Purnima message – 19 July Tokyo 2016

16-dc-f

Amma in Washington DC

8-9 July, Washington, D.C, America Yatra 2016

Amma held two days of programs at the Marriott Gateway in Chrystal City, Arlington, VA.

During the programs, local devotees sang bhajans, and put on a wonderful dance depicting stories from Amma’s life.

16-dc-1

16-boston-f

Amma in Boston

5-6 July, Boston, MA, America Yatra 2016

Amma held two days of programs of Satsang, Bhajan and Darshan at the Best Western Royal Plaza and Hotel in Marlboro, MA. During the program, local devotees sang bhajans and danced.

 

 

 

16-ny-f

Amma in New York

1-3 July, New York, America Yatra 2016

Amma returned to the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City for the 5th consecutive year to hold three days of programs. Thousands of people from the metropolitan area came for Amma’s darshan. 71 students from Columbia University’s Spirituality Mind Body Institute also came to see Amma and inquired how they could help with Embracing the World.

During the programs, local devotees sang bhajans and put on traditional Indian dances.

On the road from Chicago to New York, Amma stopped with the tour group to meditate and sing. Here she is singing in praise of the Creator who is one with creation.

-Tulasi

 

 

16-chicago

Amma in Chicago Ashram

27-29 June, Chicago, IL, America Yatra 2016

A freshly painted hall welcomed Amma to her Chicago Ashram as she returned for the 5th consecutive year. She led all in Meditation, Bhajans gave talks and Darshan on these two days.

16-chicago2

During the first day of programs, area Satsangs put on a number of cultural programs. Bala Kendra students chanted Gita, put on a performance medley depicting the stories of Haunman, Ganesha, and Krishna, and sang bhajans. They also put on a performance embracing Amma’s message that kids these days are spending too much time on electronics. In the play, kids learn that playing outside, helping nature by planting trees, and doing seva together is more fun and beneficial.

16-chicago1

Local Chicago AYUDH youth sang bhajans and put on a dance about Krishna and Radha. Members of the Chicago area satsang peformed a Kaikottikali dance, followed by a fusion of Marathi, Gugurati, and Bhangra style dancing.

16-chicago3

At the end of the day program, Amma sang two new English bhajans and one new Punjabi bhajan, then danced briefly before leaving the stage.

-Tulasi