Service to poor is best Birthday present says Amma

Excerpted from Amma’s 61s Birthday Satsang, September 27, 2014, Amritapuri

As far as Amma is concerned, there is nothing different about this day. Like every day, Amma will see her children, listen to their sorrows and console them. Today is just another day like that. Therefore, Amma has only one thing to tell you: ‘Our lives should be of some benefit to the world. We should sincerely love and console at least one life, for at least a moment, without any expectations.’

We are living in a world where various individuals, societies, caste communities, religious groups and countries are segregating themselves from each other. For their own happiness and pleasure, they are competing to make each other cry. It’s startling when we realize that the world we are living in today is one wherein even elderly women with one foot in the grave are not spared from cruelty and abuse. There are groups preaching a form of terrorism even more savage than that of primitives. They stand ready, aiming to make human life completely miserable.Therefore, in today’s world, there are no guarantees. Anything can happen to anyone, at any time, at any place.

At present, the human race is caught in the midst of many serious problems: global warming and other natural disasters, unemployment and economic recession. Many countries are trapped in the grip of poverty and famine. New infectious diseases are arising; infant mortality is increasing. There are more incidents of suicide and psychological problems. These days, for the sake of money, people are ready to do even the cruelest things. For many, amassing money by any means, satiating themselves with liquor, and delighting in the pleasures of the senses without any discernment are the very goals of life.

Our youth are leading lives devoid of any fundamental human values. Our family lives and the relationships between husbands and wives, etc, are becoming a mockery. We see mothers and fathers completely unable to discipline their children, and children totally forgetting their dharma to their parents. If we don’t awaken and act now, there are grave dangers waiting for humankind. Currently we are acing as if we are in a hurry to embrace these dangers, rushing straight towards them.


If you probe into the source of most of the problems in the world, you will find only one answer: lack of love and compassion. A lot of effort is being put forth to find a vaccine to stop the spread of the Ebola virus, which in some African countries has become like a nightmare, destroying thousands of lives. However, currently, a much more dangerous virus is at large—a virus that is devouring countless lives every day. This is the virus of hatred. We need not search far and wide to find a cure for this virus. The vaccine is readily available inside each and every one of us: love and compassion. Love and compassion not only provide us with strength and vitality, they also uplift everyone around us. Love is the divine medicine and compassion is the mrita-sanjeevani—the remedy for death.

We very often hear people ask, sadly, “Why is our world in such a state? Why has our country declined in certain areas?” We are forgetting an important truth: The world includes us as well. Thus, we should see that we are also playing a role in making this world better or worse. Consequently, if we try, we can make this world a better place. One of the reasons for the current state of the world is that many people are ready to take whatever they can, even if it means harming others, but when it comes time to sacrifice for the general social good, they run away from their duties.


One of ancient Bharat’s valuable contributions to the world was the invention of number zero, but now our country needs to add a few things to that zero: zero-poverty, zero-illiteracy, zero-waste, zero-crime, zero-violence against women, etc. If we can make strides in these areas, India can become a role model for many other countries.

Thinking about the current state of Bharat, one of the things that comes to Amma’s mind is the increase in crimes against women. Statistics say that the incidents of these crimes have increased by 27 per cent in the past year. Some of us see these as “women’s issues,” but this is something of concern for the entire society. Why? Because women are the very foundation of society and the very foundation of the family. A nation can only truly be called advanced when the security and wellbeing of its women are ensured. Boys should be taught from a young age to respect and support girls. Along with this, women need to awaken and arise. This is the need of the hour. The time when woman were viewed as weak and helpless is over. The progress of the world rests in the rise of knowledgeable, self-confident, capable and compassionate women. Women have the power to create a new world now, while working side-by-side with men.

Just as we hear of alcohol addiction and drug addiction, today there is also Internet addiction. Misuse of the Internet is one factor contributing to the increase in crime against women. No doubt, the Internet has caused a technological revolution in all spheres of life. We cannot discount all the achievements that have come through it. However, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the negative effects that have arisen from its misuse. So many relationships and lives have been destroyed due to this addiction.

Another thing that we need to be aware of is the preservation and protection of Nature. Natural disasters like the recent landslide in Maharashtra and the floods in Jammu-Kashmir are constantly haunting us. When these tragedies take place, it isn’t God that needs to be cross-examined in the witness box, but man. In reality, every natural disaster is a warning from Nature that we need to rectify our ways. We should not ignore these warnings.

In today’s world, life has become very mechanical. Two people living under the same roof often live devoid of love and happiness, unable to understand or truly acknowledge the other. In the olden days, it was different. While there were no mobile phones back then, the communication that happened through love was perfect and transgressed all barriers of time and space.

We need to enjoy every moment of our life, aware of how precious it is. Life does not become meaningful by chasing after sense pleasures like an animal. It only becomes meaningful when we spread happiness to others. It is this understanding that makes a human being truly human. No one knows how long he will live. Therefore, as soon as possible, we should complete all the good actions we are supposed to. Let’s not postpone anything for tomorrow.

Devotion and compassion towards the poor and the needy go hand in hand. They are like two sides of a coin. We should look around us and reach out to people who need our help. If we are able to help even just one person, we can bring about a big change in their life. If my children can become ready to share their lives with the poor and the needy, that would be the best birthday present Amma could ever receive.

Life should flow incessantly like a melodious song

Amma’s Krishna Jayanti Message

15 September 2014 — Amritapuri Ashram

If there has ever been a person whose description was beyond words, it was Sri Krishna. He was a great jnani, the embodiment of strength, love and compassion, incomparably beautiful, wisdom personified, and perfect in his actions.


Amma leading a bhajan session at midnight, Sri Krishna Jayanthi celebrations

He also was the protector of all, an incomparable genius and an expert in many arts. He viewed the world with sama-drshti—a vision in which all are seen to be of one and the same divine essence—and was also a great philosopher and expert psychiatrist. His fame and influence were all-pervading. He was adored by all and yet was an example of humility, always interested in serving others. He was a great leader, yogi and eternally young.

Furthermore, Sri Krishna was a wonderful orator whose presence, words and actions radiated an irresistible charisma. He was a great administrator, diplomat and a valiant warrior. This wonderfully handsome presence handled all situations with a smile on his face.

Even after having enumerated all these qualities, Sri Krishna’s description remains incomplete. He was all this and much more. It doesn’t take much reflection to see that there was no one else in history like him. He transcends description, transcends thought.

If someone were to ask us to name one person who could serve as a role model for everyone, everywhere, there can only be one answer: Sri Krishna. People capable of accepting, embracing and loving life—irrespective of the situation or experience, be it good or bad—as Sri Krishna did are extremely rare.

Even his form offered a message: the flute always at his lips, the enchanting music endlessly flowing forth from it, the never-fading divine smile, the feet that were eager to dance, the eyes brimming with compassion, the body that radiated inner beauty. He was an embodiment of supreme love.


Devotees dancing to the tune of Amma’s bhajan

This is Sri Krishna’s message: Life should flow incessantly like a melodious song. Just as the dancer becomes one with the dance, we should allow our life to become one with its incessant flow—making it a blissful confluence of happiness, beauty, compassion and creativity. The flow of a river is musical, beautiful and blissful. It accepts everyone, treating everyone the same. Whether people use it for drinking or bathing, whether they worship it, spit in it or dump waste into it, it doesn’t discriminate against them. This was the message of Sri Krishna’s life as well.

May the divine teachings of Sri Krishna inspire my children to use their bodies, emotions and intellects in the service of others. May my children see themselves in everyone, and see everyone in themselves. May divine grace bless all of my children.

– Excerpted from Amma’s Sri Krishna Jayanti satsang.

Onam connects us with eternity

7 September 2014 — Amritapuri Ashram

Extracted from Amma’s Onam satsang.

There are certain things in life towards which attraction never ends. These are the good things that awaken enthusiasm and freshness whenever we think about or experience them. For example, the sea. No matter how many times we look at the sea, we never feel it’s enough. There is an aspect of eternity in the sea. It’s the same with the sky. The bonds we feel with the place where we were born and towards Nature in general are also like this. We always see newness in them. It’s the same with the bond and attraction we feel towards Onam.


There is something in Onam that touches and awakens goodness and happiness in us. For a Malayali*, the mere thought of Onam awakens enthusiasm and feelings of celebration. Maybe we feel this attraction because of how intertwined Onam is with our eternal culture and Nature itself.

Certain aspects of Onam are unique. It is a chain that links together the past, the present and the future. We celebrate Onam to remember the good times that have been lost to antiquity—memories of an age when prosperity, equality and brotherhood prevailed. Onam also awakens expectations for the return of such an age in the future. Onam belongs to the present as well because when we celebrate it we forget everything and live in the here and now.

At the same time, Onam is not just an occasion to celebrate and enjoy. It’s also an occasion to remind us of the importance of certain values: the importance of sharing, of protecting Nature, of humility and self-sacrifice, the importance of surrendering ourselves to God, the importance of being charitable and of performing our actions in a spirit of yajna. These are some of what Onam teaches us. In fact, questions like “Did Mahabali really exist?” and “Was there even a Kerala in Mahabali’s time?” are not that relevant. The important things are the values and teachings that Onam conveys. Our celebration of Onam will only truly become meaningful when we put in effort to firmly imbibe these values in our life.

In our country, festivals are not mere occasions for celebrating and enjoying. They are means to help us transform every aspect of our personal and social lives into things that will advance us towards Self-realization. More than being for our enjoyment, their aim is to help us spread dharma, values and the remembrance of God in society. It’s painful for Amma when she sees how far people are straying from this goal. Worse yet, the tendency to use festivals like Onam as mere occasions to drink and make merry is increasing every year.

Even though Mahabali was a very good person, he had some shortcomings. His attitude was, “I’m a great emperor. I’m the ruler of the three worlds. No one does as much good as I do.” In reality, we do not have any power of our own. Mahabali did not understand that it is only because of divine grace that we are able to accomplish anything. Vamana asked Mahabali for three feet of land. Mahabali replied, “I’m the owner of the three worlds. Don’t ask me for such trivial things. Ask for anything, and it will be given to you.” This is the attitude many develop when they start gaining fame, position and prosperity in life. It’s not enough if we perform good actions; we have to do so humbly, without ego. Remember, even Olympic champions have to lower their heads when standing on the podium to receive their medals.

When someone writes a great book, can the pen claim any greatness? If a judge sentences someone to be hanged, is the pen responsible for the verdict? No, the pen is just an instrument. We should be aware that, similarly, we are all just instruments in God’s hands.


The Onam festival is an expression of unity. When everyone comes together to draw and decorate the pookkalams, to cook the feast, to take part in the Onam dances and games, all differences fade away. Unity is the pillar of progress and harmony in society. It is not enough if we are united on Onam. We need to be able to abide in such ideals throughout our lives. But what we see in today’s society is only selfishness and self-imposed segregation.

Onam is also a celebration that reminds us of our dharma towards Mother Nature. Not so long ago, the Onam pookkalams were decorated with so many varieties of flowers. Thumba, thechi, mandaram, hibiscus, jasmine and many other varieties of flowers could easily be found around many of the houses. But in recent times flowers are seen less and less. As such, we see people using colored powder, coconut flakes and sawdust to color their pookkalams. Soon, we may even see pookkalams made of plastic flowers. These may be colorful, but they will lack the beauty and fragrance of real flowers. In olden times, nearly every house had a swing. Now the tree on which the swing was tied has disappeared. Today, in order to sit on a swing, children have to go to a park. To prevent such situations, we have to put in dedicated effort with the spirit of unity.

Let us try our best and leave the rest to God’s will.

* Malayali – One who speaks Malayalam, the language of Kerala state.

War is our creation, not God’s

23 August 2014 — Amritapuri Ashram

On Friday, a devotee visiting the ashram from Berlin told Amma that when she is around Amma, she is aware of the spiritual truth that God is pervading everything. She said she draws a lot of strength from this understanding, but when she returns home, she gets overwhelmed by all the war, violence and disease she sees happening in the world. She asked Amma to tell her how to remain aware of God’s love and all-pervasiveness in these war-torn times. The following is extracted from Amma’s answer:


Amma: There is nothing new about war. It has been happening since the beginning of creation. But we must realize war is man’s creation, not God’s. God is patience, love and compassion. In God, there is no dvaita bhava [no feeling of something other than one’s self]. There is only love for all beings. It is because people lack the proper  understanding about God that there is war. We cannot blame God for something we created.

Once a drunk-driver caused a horrible accident. The police started to haul him away. The man protested, “Hey, why are you arresting me? I didn’t do anything. It was because of the petrol that my car lost control.” We shouldn’t be like this, blaming God for our actions.

As we take what we need in our daily life, we should remember all the innocent people suffering from the violence of war and terrorism–the children who have lost their parents, the parents who have lost their children, the maimed and injured… The pictures we see on the news of mothers crying over the dead bodies of the children are too much to bear. But we cannot bring back the dead. We can only pray that their souls find peace. The ones who really need our prayers are those left behind. Let us pray that they gain the peace and mental strength to move forward in life.

We cannot say what change we will be able to bring about, but we should try. Spiritual understanding is what is needed: Take only what you need, give the rest to help others and understand the nature of the world. Amma is trying to bring about this understanding in people. If you plant 100 seeds, maybe only two will sprout. If you plant 1,000, maybe 10. But that itself is a change–isn’t it?

Focus on a higher goal and overcome all attachments

15 August 2014 — Amritapuri Ashram

Yesterday, after meditation, Amma was asked a question about how to love without expectations like Amma does. The following is a short excerpt from Amma’s detailed answer.

Amma speaking

Amma: Human birth is meant for realizing our oneness with God. Yet, during the course of our life we develop so many attachments. These attachments give rise to expectations. And when those expectations are not fulfilled, sorrow, anger and the desire for revenge result.


When two people fall in love, they rarely understand each other’s hearts. They don’t understand that, just like they are, the other person is also seeking love. Really, both of them are like beggars, begging for love. They each desire love, yet neither of them is willing to give love. This leads to problems in the relationship, even divorce. Remember, they are not jnanis [knowers of the Self]. They have not studied the scriptures.

We should understand the nature of people and the objects of the world. For example, we know that if we touch fire, we will get burned. So, we are very careful when we handle fire. We should have similar awareness when it comes to relationships in life.


If we dedicate our life to a higher purpose, such as realizing God, then all attachments will wither away and fall off. God is a state wherein there is no duality. When there is only oneness, where is the scope for attachment or non attachment? The essence of Sanatana Dharma is to see Narayana in nara–to see God in all of humanity–and serve Him. You will also come to this state.

Multiple Dharmas, One Goal

18 July 2014 — Amritapuri, Satsang at the beach

Question: Amma, it is said there is only one dharma [duty]—to realize the Self. But I seem to have so many dharmas—family dharma, office dharma, social dharma… Is there really only one dharma?

Amma: For a spiritual person, the goal of life is to know the Self. Otherwise, what is the difference between a human being and a worm? A worm also eats, sleeps and procreates—doesn’t it? If the left hand is cut, the right hand soothes it, applies medicine and wraps it with a bandage. There is no sense of “other” there. A spiritual person moves like this in the world, seeing other’s pain and joy as their own. If a 1,000 pots of water are placed outside, the sun will reflect in each and every pot, but there still is only one sun. Similarly, a spiritual person understands that there is but one Self reflecting in each and every being.

Amma at the beach during satsang

Lower emotions may arise, but try to overcome them through effort and prayer. If you can do that, then your only dharma is spiritual liberation. Liberation is not something to be gained after death. It is something to be experienced even when you are alive.

A spiritual person understands the nature of the world, the nature of relationships and the nature of the mind. Even people who marry Miss Universe sometimes get divorced. When she got married, many suitors were sad. Then, when she is available again, they are happy. But the fellow who married her, he is happy once the divorce is finalized.

Once a man was visiting a mental hospital. One patient was sitting in his padded cell banging his head against the wall, repeating over and over again: boom-boom… boom-boom… boom-boom… The man asked doctor what was wrong with him. The doctor said, “Oh, he was in love with a woman named Boom-Boom, but she left him. Since then, he has been like this.” Towards the end of his visit, the man saw another patient who was also banging his head, saying boom-boom… boom-boom… boom-boom… The man asked, “Was he also jilted by a woman named Boom-Boom?” The doctor said, “No, this is the man that Boom-Boom ultimately married.”

So, happiness is not in the object. A spiritual person understands such truths.

Whatever dharmas you may have, whatever you may do for a living, your goal should be Self-knowledge and Self-realization. Strive for this. Be sure that your actions are never harmful to others.

Understand that everything is the Self and serve others. In order to purify the mind, selfless service is required. Then, grace will come to you. The impulse to help others is a higher state of mind. The beginning and end of spiritual life is compassion.

Have the attitude: “I am just an instrument; God is working through me. Whatever is needed will be provided by the Him.” Do all your actions—be it cleaning a gutter, taking care of your parents or social service—as worship. Accept everything that comes as God’s grace. In order to live like this, you must carry the flashlight of Self-awareness. In reality, nothing exist other than the Self.

IAM Meditation Technique in Moscow

The first IAM Technique course in Moscow took place on between May 17 and 18, 2014. A total of 57 people attended the two-day course.

Moscow residents had been waiting for this for a long time and the hall in the center of the city was fully packed. Everybody felt like being part of one big family.

At the end of the first day no one wanted to leave the hall. Most of the participants stayed there and sang bhajans for another hour and a half after the end of class. The course was led by Dayalu, one of Amma’s disciples, who has been residing in Amritapuri for more than 12 years.

The IAM Technique course aroused great interest among the local participants. They asked many questions to Dayalu and he gave detailed answers to all questions with patience and very good sense of humor. The participants received the information about Amma and her teachings with open hearts. The atmosphere of the workshop was very positive.

The first ever IAM course in Russia took place in 2011 in St. Petersburg.

Build a bridge of love and universal brotherhood

27 July 2014, Amritapuri

Minority Commission of the Govt. of India Member, Shri. Thykkuttathil Zakkeer met Amma today in Amritapuri along with his family during darshan. He offered to Amma a Ramadan gift of a plaque engraved with auspicious prayers from The Holy Quran along with sweets and fruits.

He also invited Amma to share her thoughts on the eve of Eid al-Fitr. Amma shared the following message in response to his request.

“Sacrifice, charity, compassion and knowledge – these are the values imparted by all mahatmas and scriptures. Prophet Muhammad and The Holy Quran ask us to follow these very principles. We have to take this message  into our heart. This does not mean just acquiring an intellectual understanding. Rather, we should translate these principles into action in our lives. In so doing, we will feel love and compassion for our fellow beings.

“The exchange of Ramadan gifts symbolizes both giving and receiving. Through this process of sharing, we build a bridge of love and universal brotherhood. That feeling of love and unity is something we should strive to maintain forever, throughout our lives.

“The sun doesn’t need the light of a candle. Likewise, God doesn’t need anything from us. Even so, for those who are suffering, let us go to their level, listen to their problems, strive to understand them, and console them. That is the best way to receive God’s grace. Like the moonlight of Ramadan, may our hearts also fill with the moonlight of love. May this love be the guiding factor for the whole world.”

– Tulasi

Ensure that the flowers that are our children bloom

17 June, Santa Fe, New Mexico — America Yatra 2014
Extracted from Amma’s question-and-answer session.

Question: Amma, your presence has brought fragrance to our lives. I would like to know: How do we bring your fragrance to the West, where the children are suffering so much due to drugs and violence? If Amma would say what it is to be done, we will take up the work with full sincerity to help bring up not only this state but the whole country.

amma satsang

Amma: You can make a difference if you really want to. It is human nature to imitate the people we look up to. This is why we see so many people imitating the fashion and looks of certain athletes and movie stars. Understanding this, everyone should try to become a good role model because, no matter who we are, there is definitely someone, somewhere, watching and imitating us. First and foremost, we must set a good example in our homes for our own children because people pick up almost all of their good and bad qualities from their home. So, parents must lay a strong foundation of values for their children by living those values themselves.

One thing you can do to help the youth is to form small groups and visit houses. Maybe you can visit 10 houses a day and counsel the children there. Talk to them, advise them, give them some spiritual teachings. Help them to recognise their weaknesses and to understand the potential consequences of their destructive behaviour. In this way, you can help the children cultivate awareness. A diabetic may take medicine, but if they keep eating sweets, their sugar level will still remain high. This shows us that dietary awareness is just as important as taking medicine, if not more so. So, we need to help children cultivate awareness of the potential consequences of destructive habits. They need the basic knowledge, but they also need awareness and good judgment.

Tribal children from places in Northern Kerala, like Attappadi, used to regularly be brought to study at our ashram’s boarding school in Parippally. We would take care of them and give them a proper education. But they would often steal small things, like cooking vessels, and then run away back to their tribal villages. They were used to spending their days wandering in the forests, picking flowers and fruits and climbing trees. They were not used to being educated formally in a classroom. Seeing this, Amma decided it would be better to set up small one-room classrooms in their forest villages. Let the kids come and go to these schools as they please. This way, these tribal children began to slowly develop a taste for education. They started to see its importance. Then they would gradually come to the school more and more and more. Ultimately, some of these children have even gone on to become engineers. So, it is possible to gradually create awareness and appreciation in children of things that they may initially not like but are, ultimately, for their own good. Like that, if you form small groups and visit houses and offer some spiritual education, it will definitely have a gradual effect.

Many children, when they are about 15, confess to Amma that their classmates and friends tell them that studying is a waste of time. They tell them to just make quick money stealing or selling drugs. And the youth present the ability to steal and sell drugs as if they were some great talent. This is what is being taught by the world today. So, we must cultivate awareness in our children. Our youth are like flower buds that are meant to one day bloom and spread fragrance to the world. Today, it is as if they are being eaten away by pests. If we don’t want these flowers to be totally destroyed, we must educate them and help them cultivate proper awareness.

Remember, we may not be able to make a monumental change in society, but if we can save even one child, it is a big thing. If only one flower blooms in a wasteland, at least that much beauty is created. If only one tree grows there, at least that much shade is provided. If we can make a change in just one out of 100 children, that is a great accomplishment, and it will have its impact on society. If at first you don’t see any change, don’t get diffident. It will have an effect. A change will come.

The remedy for sorrow

ammaqa11 June, Los Angeles, California – America Yatra 2014

Extracted from Amma’s answer to a question about the true meaning of the statement “no one is your own.”

Amma: When we say “no one is my own,” then “everyone is my own, everyone is an extension of my True Self” is also implied. If we place 100 pots of water out in the sun, we will see a reflection of the sun in each and every pot. But, in reality, there are not 100 suns; there is only one sun. Similarly, it is the one and same consciousness that is manifesting in all beings.

Why do the scriptures and gurus say that everything is one? Because they don’t want us to be sad or depressed, and they know that understanding this fact—which is the truth—will put an end to that sorrow. When we think that we are the limited body-mind complex, then it is only natural that we will be insecure and afraid. And from this insecurity, we will become dependent upon other people. This leads to attachment and sorrow. Our very existence becomes based upon the words and action of others. If they praise us, we soar up to the heavens in happiness. If they criticize us, we fall down to the floor in sorrow. Mahatmas want us to be free of such dependence, and they know that in order to go beyond it that understanding these spiritual truths is essential.

Once a king had a dream that he was a butterfly, blissfully flying here and there. When he awoke, he was confused. He kept asking himself, “Am I a king who dreamt he was a butterfly? Or a butterfly who is dreaming he is a king?” In his confusion, he went to a guru. And the guru said, “You are neither a butterfly nor a king. You are pure consciousness, pure awareness. It is within that awareness that is you that both experiences have taken place. The atma is the only truth. Both the butterfly and the king are dreams.”

Children, we must awaken to this understanding. Then we can see our oneness with others. We must see others as our own Self. That is the only way to overcome the sorrow we are currently experiencing. Amma knows this is not easy, but it is possible with constant practice. Just as we have learned to identify with this name, we need to learn to identify with our True Self.