onam message

Create an empire of happiness

Onam is a Time of Joy, Love, Kinship & Devotion

August 28th 2015 — Amritapuri Ashram

The following has been extracted from Amma’s Onam message.

Onam is a festival of unity and sharing. A festival takes place when our heart overflows. Onam is a time when joy, love, kinship and devotion overflow. The breeze of Onam starts caressing us as soon as the Malayalam month of Chingam starts. In fact, people begin to feel joy even in the final days of Karkitakam. The rays of the sun start piercing the clouds in the sky. Flowers everywhere start smiling. Butterflies start flitting about. There is only joy everywhere. Here, we share that joy and love with others. Happiness increases when we share it with others.

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All of us rejoice when the month of Karkitakam ends and Chingam begins. Karkitakam is a time of spiritual practice and austerities when we stay home and worship God. While the earth bathes in the monsoon, Keralites bathe in the Ganga of Wisdom that is the Ramayana. Sometimes, without thinking we may curse the rains of Karkitakam, but we must never forget that it is only because of the torrential rains of Karkitakam that we have the flowers and harvests of Chingam. Moreover, it is the month of rain that helps us to appreciate the following beauty of Nature. This shows us that behind every celebration lies a period of sacrifice and austerity.

All of us are experiencing our own little pains and sorrows in life. Nevertheless, amidst all these, we still usher in Onam with joy. How is it possible? Happiness is a decision. If we so decide, we can create an empire of happiness. This is because happiness is our true nature. The lamp of happiness is ever aflame in our hearts. We must take care not to block this light with the closed curtain of our desires.

 

Happiness is a decision. If we so decide, we can create an empire of happiness. This is because happiness is our true nature. – AMMA

At present, climatic patterns are changing. It is becoming hotter. There is less rain. The seasons are becoming erratic. In order to live in harmony with Nature, one should love all beings. One must uphold dharma. Dharma used to be the very heart of Onam. Our estrangement from our culture of dharma is the reason for all these irregularities. In the past, people were content with what they received. They were able to find contentment in small things. This is the very message of Onam—the message of sacrifice, simplicity and charity.

The story of Mahabali is also a tale of sacrifice and austerity. It is only because of Mahabali’s self-sacrifice and surrender that he is still remembered today. Each year, we welcome him along with the Lord. Even though Onam actually is the day when Lord Vishnu incarnated as Vamana, we think of Mahabali more than the Lord. This reveals the greatness of devotion and sacrifice. However, initially, there were flaws in Mahabali. He thought all of his accomplishments were exclusively due to his effort. Having such an attitude is like allowing salt to fall into milk; it ruins any sweetness. It is the Lord’s duty to save His devotee from such a predicament. In the end, Mahabali was discerning enough to realize his folly. With this realization came total surrender. His life also teaches us that we must realize our own follies and strive to correct ourselves.

After he had surrendered everything, all that Mahabali asked the Lord was that he be able to see his subjects happy. Mahabali’s love was not confined to words. He did not have any selfish ulterior motive. Such love is very rare in the world today. Many speak loving words but their intentions are impure.

We have heard it sung that during the time of King Mahabali’s reign, all people were considered equal, but that equality was not merely external. It indicates an internal equality—an equal vision that comes from knowledge. External circumstances will constantly change. Happiness will alternate with sorrow. We should try to cultivate an attitude of equanimity and acceptance.

As Onam approaches, we usually see the liquor sales soaring. The Kerala Government’s ban on liquor is a good step. However, this ban will only become effective and complete when there is an internal change in man.

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In olden days, Onam itself was our intoxication. However, today, so many people get drunk on Onam that they consider that to be the bliss of Onam. People in Kerala annually consume more liquour than those in any other state. Alcohol is destroying our health as well as our relationships. If the person drinking is from a poor family, the family is financially ruined.

Onam celebrates the memory of a past golden age. We also have the hope that such a golden age will return in the future. However, what happens when we get into the celebratory mood of Onam? We forget both the past and the future and live completely in the moment. In fact, life exists only in the present moment. The present moment is our only wealth. We should strive to properly utilize it, with awareness and alertness. Whenever we do this, the spirit of Onam will immediately awaken within us. Any memories of the past we have should awaken only positivity in the present. This means that we should try to remember only positive things people have done for us. Remember how they may have encouraged us or helped us. Try to draw energy from such memories and live in the present moment. What is essential is to make the present moment meaningful. If we do this, our life will naturally be filled with new sprouts, flower buds, blossoms and fruits. Happiness and prosperity will pervade. The spirit of Onam will be there for us every day.

Onam is a symbol of external and internal beauty. Happiness and beauty will be present only in a mind that is devoid of negative emotions. Therefore, may the shadow of negative emotions such as hatred and sorrow leave our minds. Instead, let our minds be filled with the golden light of love and happiness. Let the dark clouds of poverty and conflict lift, and let the world awaken to a new dawn of peace and prosperity. In this way, let the true message of Onam spread all across the world. May Onam be continuously celebrated in the mind of humanity. May the Paramatman, shower grace for this to happen.

gurupurnima blessing

Guru is the embodiment of the Scriptures

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31 July 2015, Amritapuri

Gurupurnima was celebrated with much devotion and enthusiasm at Amritapuri today. Many devotees came from different parts of India and the world to be with the Guru.

Amma’s Padapuja was performed by Swami Amritaswarupanda with the chanting of Guru Gita and 108 Names. All the swamis garlanded Amma, Amma showered blessings upon every one.

 

gurupurnima blessings

Amma addressed the overflowing hall on the significance of the principle of the Guru. The following remarks are excerpted from her address:
“The Guru tattwa (Guru principle) is eternal. Gurus lived these ideals in their lives. The disciples observed this and tried to live those ideals in their lives as well. God and the Guru are one. However, the Guru principle that elevates the soul to the state of liberation is beyond the divine principle. There is nothing whatsoever that the Guru needs to gain or do. He guides the disciple out of compassion alone.


“The disciple has innumerable weaknesses and tendencies. It takes boundless patience to lead such a disciple. Sacrifice and austerity are ever ablaze in the Guru’s life. Every word from such Gurus is scripture. Their very life is scripture. They are also the ones who impart vitality to the scriptures.

“Spirituality starts with compassion and ends in compassion. When we put a stone in a pond, ripples radiate from the stone and touch the shore. They then come back and reach the center. It begins with the center and ends with the center- the bindu. This central point is Love. ”

After the talk, Amma sang the bhajans, “Sakala Kala Devate Saraswati Devi,” and “Guruvadi vani sun lo” and at the end asked every one to dance to the last bhajan “Bolo Bolo sab mil bolo Om Namah shivaya.” She then led the assembled crowd in a silent prayer for world peace. After that, Amma started giving darshan till 10.43 pm.

Earlier, before Amma’s padapuja,  Swami Amritaswarupananda addressed the gathering, spoke about Amma’s greatness as the Guru.

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Yoga helps us to reconnect with nature and God

Amma’s Message for the first-ever‎International YogaDay

“Today is International Yoga day. Previously, people did not need to have a special day for performing Yoga because Yoga was part and parcel of their lives. Unfortunately, now we need special a special day to remind us to perform Yoga, just as we need a day to remember our mother and father.

“In the olden days, people would wake up in the morning, bow down to mother Earth and then, facing the sun, they would chant prayers and perform Surya Namaskaram. The whole time they were praying, they were exposed to the rays of the rising sun. Today, in many countries, out of ten people, six or seven have Vitamin D deficiency. It is postulated that vitamin D deficiency may be one of the precipitating factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Some may argue that even people with normal vitamin D levels get Alzheimer’s disease. This is true, but studies have shown that a majority of people with this condition have Vitamin D deficiency. It is also thought to be a cause of depression, which may be why the incidence of depressive disorders is higher in countries that have less sunlight.

“Yoga is beneficial for our health, physical beauty and mental discipline. It helps reduce our cholesterol, and through this, it helps maintain cardiac health. It increases our bone strength. This is especially important as the incidence of arthritis and osteoporosis is on a steep rise. It even helps improve our memory power.

“It is important to do balanced exercise for at least ten minutes a day. Along with this, we also need at least 10 minutes of sun exposure per day. Nowadays, everyone goes from their air-conditioned home to their air-conditioned car and from their air-conditioned car straight to their air-conditioned office. So, we have very little exposure to our natural environment. Some people tell Amma that they bought a $50,000 car for their child to drive two miles to a gym, where they spend around $1,000 dollars a year for gym membership. This sounds funny but it is quite common. It would be much more productive to just walk to the gym. If people would just walk outside in a park for two miles or even less, they wouldn’t need to spend all this money, they would get the same, if not more exercise, they would get fresh air, exposure to sunlight – all in all, they would be much healthier. Not only that, they would conserve petrol/diesel and reduce harmful emissions, thereby helping to protect the environment.

“Too much of anything is also a problem. So many people in tropical countries are suffering from heat stroke and skin cancer. So, we need to create a balance.

“Yoga also creates powerful spiritual vibrations. These vibrations positively affect both us, as well as others. It is like entering a perfume factory. Even after emerging, the sweet fragrance will remain on our body, pleasing both to others and us. When we perform yoga with complete awareness, it purifies each and every cell in our body.

“The purpose of Yoga is for our inner well-being. It does not belong to any particular faith or religion. It was passed on to us by the ancient seers for the well-being of humanity. Yoga helps us to reconnect with nature and eventually become one with God.”

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Environmental conservation is not so much part of mankind’s dharma towards Nature

Excerpts form Amma’s Vishu message.

15 April 2015, Amritapuri

Vishu is an expression of our culture’s deep connection with Nature. The Kani Konna flower, the Kani Vellari vegetable and all the various fruits of Vishu are not only are associated with a successful harvest, they also symbolize the love and respect our ancestors had for Nature.

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Sanatana Dharma teaches us that the creation and the Creator are not two but one. Nature is a visible form of God. Our birth-mother might carry us for two or three years, but Mother Earth allows us to tread on her our entire life. Our birth-mother might allow us to spit up on her during our childhood, but Mother Earth receives our waste throughout our life. She forgives our mistakes and continues to give and give.

In the past, Nature was like Kamadhenu—a wish-fulfilling cow. Today, that cow has become sick and old and is stumbling towards death. We alone are responsible for this. Our indiscriminate exploitation of Nature can be likened to sawing off a tree branch on which we are seated.

Along with festivity, every Vishu reminds us of our losses as well. Agriculture all but vanished from Kerala. Even the vegetables used in our Vishu decorations are imported from other states.

We need to regain the inner connection that we had with Nature. We need to protect Nature. We need to awaken from our inertia. A tree offers fruit and shelter. It also purifies water and air. It even gives shade to the one who cuts it. Educate our younger generation about the importance of tree planting. Usually, on Vishu, the elders in the family give the children Vishu-kaineetam [Vishu pocket money] and wish them a prosperous New Year. Along with the Vishu-kaineetam, from now onwards, please present children with a gift of a sapling,  Vishuthaineettam, as well. {news}

Some of the students from our college say, “Amma, we used to think of Nature as inert. Now, we feel life in it. Previously, we would pluck leaves unnecessarily. Now we don’t even feel like plucking even a single leaf. If we do, we feel a kind of electric shock within. We don’t harm Nature anymore.”

So, love for Nature can be awoken and cultivated.

Those who farm will continue farming wherever they go. Even if they stay in a small room, they will plant something in the corner. Because they have become habituated to loving Nature, the tendency to grow plants and vegetables will not leave them.

Without Nature, neither human beings nor human civilization can exist. Nature is our very life’s breath. Environmental conservation is not so much part of mankind’s dharma towards Nature, as it is a part of his dharma towards himself. Why? Because without Nature, human beings cannot survive.

May the Paramatman bless my children so that the right attitude awakens within them.

 

 

2015 shivaratri

Keep the head cool, heart warm

18 Feb 2015, Amritapuri

Shivaratri was celebrated at Amritapuri with enthusiasm and devotion last night. Around midnight, Amma held a special bhajan session and led the assembled crowd in singing soulful Shiva bhajans. Before concluding, Amma asked even everyone to stand up, forget themselves and dance to the tune as she sang “Bolo Bolo Sab Mil Bolo.” After the bhajans, Amma led everyone in a beautiful visualization and meditation for world peace. She asked each person to pray with utmost sincerity, and if possible to shed a few tears in prayer, for the peace and well-being of the whole world.

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Speaking on the occasion Amma said, “For those who are immersed in myriad thoughts of worldly life, all holy days are occasions to remember the God, the Supreme, and to become more aware of the ultimate goal of life. When many thousands of people remember the Divine with a one-pointed mind, perform actions dedicated to God, and engage in worship, the very environment becomes pure. Then, thinking of God becomes effortless for others, too.

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“In one respect, Shivaratri is different from other festivals, which give importance to prayer and worship. But Shivaratri emphasizes sacrifice and austerity. It is also a day to remind ourselves about the goal of life and to examine how far we have progressed in spiritual life. At present, most of us give considerable importance to food and sleep. Shivaratri conveys the message that one should set such preferences aside and enshrine God instead in our hearts. If we can dedicate at least one day a year to giving God utmost importance in our lives, treating this as a sacred pledge, the resulting samskara (impressions) will certainly help to make our lives more God-oriented gradually.

“Shivaratri, which is celebrated at the end of winter, points to the arrival of spring in India. There is an inner meaning in this. When the light and warmth of knowledge thaws the mind that is benumbed by inertia and ignorance, the flowers of joy and peace start blossoming. The change of seasons is characteristic of the outer world. However, if we try, we can control our inner weather and temperature, and even make it unchanging. To do so, spiritual knowledge is necessary.

“When we are steeped in the pains and pleasures of this world, we do not think of the Lord of the Universe, who bestows everything on us. When we experience creation, we do not remember the Creator. We are bewitched by the maya (delusory power) of creation. As a result, we lose a great opportunity to experience supreme bliss. It is difficult for someone who is predominantly tamasic (dull) or rajasic (action-oriented) to discover the divine principle hidden in creation. Such a mind pursues creation as an inexhaustible mine of material pleasures. On the contrary, the attention of a person who is predominantly satvic (calm) turns God-ward. By observing the vows associated with Shivaratri, one fosters sattvic qualities.

“Lord Shiva is Gangadhara, the bearer of river Ganga. He holds the Ganga, which is of the nature of immortality, on His head eternally. Ganga is synonymous with gentle coolness. No matter how turbulent the situation, the Lord’s head and inner realm remains peaceful. Though the head is cool, the heart is always warm with compassion for the world. In order to save the world from the detrimental effect of the all-destructive Kalakuta poison, Paramashiva, the Supreme Lord, drank it. Through His personal example, Lord Shiva teaches us that what we need is a cool head and a warm heart. But what we see in the world today is the very opposite: most people are hot-headed and cold-hearted. Everyone’s head is heated up by worldly thoughts, and the heart has become frosty with selfishness. If our head is cool, we can face the most adverse circumstance peacefully and turn it to our advantage.

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“Not only on the Maha Shivaratri day, let us remind ourselves everyday that “I am not this limited ephemeral body. I am Shiva. My true nature is the Supreme Consciousness.” Let us revel in this thought and experience. Just as the world of plurality disappears at night, may we be able to transcend our thoughts and the mind and perceive Lord Shiva, or the Shiva Tattva (Shiva principle), or the true Self everywhere. May the light of knowledge put an end to the darkness of ignorance. May my children be able to see everything in themselves and themselves in everything. This is the real message of Shivaratri. May my children have the strength and grace to realize this. Amma offers this prayer to the Paramatman.”

– Sakshi

kanyakumari Amma

Why Non-Hindus are not allowed inside Temples

21 Jan, Kanyakumari, Bharata Yatra 2015

Rooftop Satsang at Amrita Vidyalayam – Kanyakumari

The tour group sat around Amma in the evening. After bhajans and dinner, one Italian lady who has been touring with Amma said, “I was living in Chennai for some time and I developed devotion towards Goddess Meenakshi. I got a chance to visit the Temple on the first day of Amma’s Madurai program. I bought a flower garland as I entered the Temple, but I was stopped. They told me that only Hindus are allowed. I felt sad. I met the manager. He said that if I had certificate I would be allowed in. I didn’t have any. It was painful. I handed the flower garland to a devotee and came back to the Ashram with heavy heart. That evening, I got a chance to give Prasad to Amma while sitting next to her during darshan. A person brought a trident studded with Rudraksha beads. He gave it to Amma. He placed a beautiful crown on Amma. The crown had image of Meenakshi and he said loudly, ‘Meenakshi! Meenakshi!’ I was thrilled. I felt I was in Meenakshi’s presence.”

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Amma responded, “Don’t feel sad that you were not let inside the Temple.
“Meenakshi is the Atma Tatwam, and it was because of your innocence and devotion that you got this experience. Daughter! Though the Temple doors were closed for you, if the doors of the heart are open, Devi will get revealed from within. Isn’t your experience a proof of this?

Amma went on to explain the reason behind why some of Temples don’t let non- Hindus inside.
Amma said, “There are many reasons. If non-devotees are let inside the Temple, they might not respect the sanctity of the Temple. They might spit or they might enter into the Temple with shoes on – making the premises dirty. In countries like Japan they use different shoes indoors. The shoe used outdoors is not used inside the house. The same is true with certain hotels as well. Just as we have different etiquettes in different places, Temples too have their own etiquettes. Non-devotees might not respect those etiquettes. If etiquettes are broken, that might affect the sanctity of the Temple and certain long purification rituals need to be done to restore the sanctity.

“The Temples that are consecrated by ordinary people can be compared to fish in a fish tank. One needs to feed the fish, replace the water regularly, and the tank needs regular maintenance. Similarly regular pooja and rituals are needed to maintain the sanctity of those Temples. However, Temples consecrated by Mahatmas can be likened to fish in the ocean – fish in the ocean don’t need any human support. Similarly, the sanctity of such Temples doesn’t get affected.

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“Actually, Temples such as Meenakshi’s were consecrated by Mahatmas. Still, they follow strict etiquettes because the Temple was invaded by Muslim rulers multiple times. The wealth was plundered. Many idols were disfigured by the attackers. They cut off the hands, noses and breasts of the idols. For more than 60 years the main idol in the Meenakshi Temple was kept hidden to protect it from the attackers. Even British and invaders from other nations have looted idols of many Temples. Maybe it is because of this that they don’t let non-Hindus into some Temples. However, Hindus and devotees who know spiritual principles might follow the etiquettes will fully. That is why they are allowed.

“Many years ago, when Amma visited the Guruvayoor Temple, western daughters who were dressed in saris were let in.

“Actually, God doesn’t need any protection from human beings. The power of the Prime Minister is much more than (above) the security guards and the police who give protection to him. Though the Prime Minister is far superior, it is the responsibility of the security guards to guard the Prime Minister. Similarly, it is the responsibility of the devotees to protect the Temple from attackers.

-Sakshi

2015 madurai satsang

How to get established in Tatvamasi

17 -18 Jan, Madurai, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2015

After Amma had distributed prasad dinner at her Madurai ashram on Jan 16, she encouraged her children to put questions to her. Amma said that the quality of the questions asked indicates the spiritual evolution of the questioner. She said, “To know the taste of the sugar inside a bag, there is no need to taste the entire stock. It is enough if we try a sample from the bag. To check if the rice is boiled inside a bowl, there is no need to examine all of it. It is enough if we test one or two grains. Similarly, to know the spiritual evolution of the disciples, it is enough to hear a few of their questions.”

 


 
Amma continued, “In olden days the disciples asked the Guru about Mithya (the changing or unreal nature of the world), or they might request the guru to elaborate on Tatvamasi (Thou Art That), and the Guru might give an answer in one or two words. The disciples contemplated on this reply and wrote elaborate commentaries about it. Actually, the Guru’s answer can be likened to a small key which is enough to open a big treasure chest containing priceless treasures.”
Encouraged by Amma’s words, one of the devotees requested Amma to elaborate on the Upanishadic statement Tatvamasi (Tat – Tvam – Asi; Thou Art That).
 

 
Amma said, “It is very easy to repeat such statements. But one needs to realize the truth indicated by them. Just as the electric current passing through the bulb is separate from the bulb, your true nature is different from your body. Of course, the light comes through the bulb but it doesn’t belong to the bulb. Your true nature is the Atman. If you realize the pure self, you become an all-knower. (Knowing that the Atman is the essence of all things and beings).

“Suppose a person by the name Madhavan passes by. One might say, ‘Madhava is passing by.’ And, if he dies and people are carrying his dead body, one might say, ‘Madhavan’s dead body is passing by.’ What is that which enlivened Madhavan’s body? It is the indwelling consciousness. That is your true nature!

“Usually, people answer the phone by saying, ‘Hello! I am so and so speaking’. Everybody says ‘I am’ while answering the phone. ‘I am’ is universal. The ‘I’ is the indwelling consciousness.

“Say, there are 1000 pots of water kept in a place. And the sun is shining brightly. We might see 1000 suns reflected in those 1000 pots of water. Actually, there is only one sun. Similarly, the Atman is just one. This Atman is all-pervading.

“The all-pervading nature of the Atman is indicated by the Upanishadic statements ‘Tatvamasi‘ and ‘Ishavasyam Idam Sarvam‘ (All of This is Pervaded by Divinity). To awaken to this truth, one needs to contemplate constantly. Right now, our attachment to the body, mind and intellect is very deep.”

In order to explain this, Amma told a story, “Once, three people named Madhava, Govinda and Keshava were walking. One person called from the back, ‘Hey! Madhava!’ and Madhava turned back. Next he called, ‘Hey! Govinda!’ and Govinda turned back. Then he called, ‘Hey! Keshava!’ and Keshava turned around. Finally, the person called, ‘Hey! Monkey!’ and all three of them turned back. This shows that the identification with our animalistic tendencies is still very strong.

“Merely repeating scriptural statements is not enough. It is not enough to say ‘flower’- we need to become like a flower. If we write ‘honey’ on a piece of paper and lick it, we won’t experience the taste of honey. Similarly, merely verbalizing scriptural statements is not enough. One needs to get established in the truth. You have to become That.

“Selfless service purifies the mind and makes a person fit to imbibe scriptural knowledge.

“The Puranas say that when the milky ocean was churned, the goddess of wealth, a horse, and a divine elephant appeared first. Then the deadly poison emerged. Out of compassion to save the universe, Lord Shiva consumed the poison. Only after that, the Ambrosia came out. The story indicates that only when we develop the attitude of acceptance even to poison, do we become fit to receive the Ambrosia.

“Therefore, contemplation, selfless service and the attitude of acceptance are qualities most needed to become established in Tatvamasi.”

– Sakshi

2015 madurai

Selfless Service is the Pongal that reaches Amma

16 Jan, Madurai, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2015
It was almost 10 pm when Amma arrived at her Madurai ashram from Chennai. Amma distributed prasad dinner to her children and said, “You must have been hungry, haven’t you?” The devotees replied, “The hunger vanished when we saw Amma.” Amma added, “So, Anbu (pure love) satiated your hunger.”

After serving prasad, Amma asked “What day is today?”

“Today is Maatu Pongal1 the devotees replied.
“So, yesterday was Makara Pongal2, right?”
“Yes!”
Amma looked at the lady sitting right in front of her and asked, “Did you eat Pongal3 today?”
“Yes, Amma” said the lady.
“Did you also bring some for me?” Amma asked with a mischievous smile.
The lady started shedding tears.
Amma asked why she was crying.
By now, her crying was uncontrollable. Her husband stood up and said, “Amma, I told her that Amma might ask for Pongal. I wanted her to make Pongal for Amma. But, as usual she disobeyed my words.”
Amma and the entire crowd burst into laughter.
Amma said, “So, Meenakshi is the ruler, correct?4” Once again the devotees responded with loud laughter.
The husband then added that due to her seva at the ashram, his wife did not find time to cook Pongal.
The lady said, “When my husband told me to cook Pongal for Amma, I thought, ‘Will Amma ever relish Pongal cooked by an insignificant person like me? Amma has millions of children all around the world all wanting to offer something more significant to Amma. My offering might be nothing compared to what others are giving.’
Amma corrected her, saying, “Please don’t think that way. Nobody is insignificant to Amma. Selfless service is the real Pongal. While you were doing seva, you were constantly thinking of Amma and that is the real Pongal. Amma had already relished it.”
Through this simple yet meaningful incident Amma not only revealed that she is always with her children, constantly aware of their words and thoughts, but also that every act of selflessness and pure love reaches her directly.
– Sakshi

1. a festival in honor of cows

2. Tamil New year festival {read more}

3. sweet pudding prepared on Pongal day

4. though Meenakshi refers to the goddess of the Madurai Meenakshi temple, Amma meant to say that the wife was dominating the household.

kovai bhajans

Why did Krishna steal butter? Three birds in one shot

8 Jan, Kovai – Bharata Yatra 2015

Amma arrived at the Kovai ashram in the morning, but the tour group didn’t arrive until the evening. At dusk Amma sat with the devotees and volunteers of the program along with the big tour group. Amma sang a few bhajans and started distributing prasad dinner – chapathi, idli and curry. She asked people to share a joke or story with spiritual significance.

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Two or three people spoke about their life experiences. One teacher from Amrita Vidyalayam mentioned a mischievous boy in kindergarten. The boy had a bad habit of stealing significant objects in the class room. First the teacher tried to lovingly tell him that it was wrong. But the boy didn’t take her seriously. So she had to be strict with him. During Sri Krishna’s birthday celebrations the students narrated different stories about Krishna. This particular boy stood up and asked his teacher, “If it was alright for Krishna to steal, why shouldn’t I?” Another child supported him saying, “That was why Krishna was born in the prison.” The teacher was shocked to hear this. She prayed fervently to Amma and felt strongly that Amma answered her from within. She replied, “Actually, the gopis prayed to Krishna daily to visit their homes and steal their butter. Answering their prayers, Krishna came and stole their butter.” The teacher was amazed to read a detailed response from Amma (about this particular Leela of Sri Krishna) in the next issue of Matruvani. She thanked Amma for providing the answer to her.

Amma decided to elaborate on the philosophy behind this to the children so that their faith in Krishna was not lost.

Amma said, “Sri Krishna was not a thief. Just as the Sun doesn’t need the light from a candle flame, Sri Krishna never needed anything from anyone.

“Some of his childhood friends were poor. As Krishna and his friends went out to play, the friends complained that they were hungry. So Krishna visited the houses of different Gopis, took the butter and offered it to his friends. He didn’t do it for his own sake.

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“Secondly, the family members of the Gopis were not fond of Krishna. They thought that Krishna was a mere cowherd boy. But the Gopis had deep devotion for Krishna. They longed to offer butter to Krishna, but were forbidden by their family members. Even while churning the butter, the Gopis prayed to Krishna to accept the butter as their token of love. They stored some butter in pots and left to sell other milk products such as buttermilk, butter and cheese.

“By stealing the butter, not only did Krishna answer their prayers, but also stole their hearts. That was why he was known as chitta chora, stealer of hearts. As the Gopis went out for business they thought constantly, ‘Will Krishna visit my house today? Won’t he grab his share of butter?’ Thus they were constantly thinking of Krishna.

“By engaging himself in the divine sport of stealing butter from different households, Lord Krishna hit three birds in one shot. Apart from satiating the hunger of his poor friends, Krishna responded to the prayers of the Gopis and helped them to think of him constantly.”

– Sakshi