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.

14ramzan
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.

****

Negotiating the Supermarket of the Mind

June 5, 2014 — San Ramon, California, USA

Extracted from Amma’s question-and-answer session in San Ramon

Question: I have a question about negative thoughts and emotions. I find myself wondering what the right attitude is and how to prevent negative thoughts and emotions from affecting my life and affecting others.

12sr

Amma: When you go into a supermarket, you see so many things—some you want and some you don’t. Regardless, you don’t hunt down the manager and interrogate him as to why he stocks things you’re not interested in buying. You just focus on what you came to buy. Similarly, when the various thoughts come, you need to be alert and aware and use your discrimination to decide which are helpful with respect to attaining your goal and which are not.

This effort, inquiry and discrimination must come from within. We must ask ourselves what is helpful and what is not. We cannot always ask the guru. If an egg is opened from the outside, it will be destroyed, but when it opens from within, new life is created.

Seeing everything as God is real puja bhava – Amma

15 May 2014 – Amritapuri

It was the day before Amma would leave on her two-month Japan-North America Tour. Amma was meeting all the ashramites in the Kali Temple for a final meeting. After addressing several administrative- and seva-related matters, Amma suddenly raised a question: “What is the relevance in doing puja?” Apparently, someone had made a comment that puja [ritualistic worship] was not necessary in an ashram where the focus is atma-vicara—contemplation on the Self.

Amma said, “When we are children, we learn what a parrot is by being referred to a picture. Once we learn, the picture is no longer required. Similarly, every learning process has multiple steps. So, puja is yet another way to focus on the universal consciousness.”

Amma then asked some brahmacharis who perform puja as a form of selfless service to speak from their experience. One of them said that Amma had always told him that it was the attitude with which he performed puja that was the most important thing. “Doing puja with the right attitude brings happiness to both the pujari and to the one who has requested the puja,” he said. “When we perform puja, we begin with samarpanam—where we dedicate the worship to the universal consciousness. When we perform puja in this manner, we find that stillness of mind is created. Even in ashrams solely devoted to studying Advaita, puja is accepted as a step to obtaining mental purity.”

“That’s correct,” Amma said. “Advaita is the foundation. “Even Sri Sankaracharya, who propounded Advaita, consecrated so many temples where puja was to be performed. He never rejected puja. The aim of puja is to help us gain control over our mind. Just like mantra japa, puja is also a way to put forth effort. If one says doing puja is against Advaita because it involves identification with doer-ship, then mantra japa is also against Advaita. With such logic, a so-called Advaitin cannot do japa or pray. Don’t all of those spiritual practices involve duality? Without duality, there can be neither guru nor disciple. There isn’t even any scope to contemplate “I am the Atma” because, in such contemplation, there still a limited individual thinking—isn’t it? Even in mananam [Vedantic reflection], there is duality.”

Amma then began speaking about the Brahmasthanam Temples built by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math and consecrated by Amma. “The Brahmasthanam temples were constructed because devotees wanted to do something that would help reverse the decline of people maintaining puja rooms in their homes,” she said. “The idea is that they are places where devotees can gather, participate directly in the worship, hear some satsang, share food as prasad and provide opportunities for people to help the downtrodden—help poor village children get educations, provide care for neglected elderly… This is why Amma set up those temples. But don’t forget the foundation, which is that the puja is a means to gain mental purity.”

Amma then continued saying, “We need to see life itself as a form of puja. Live with that puja bhava—the attitude of seeing all your actions as worship and accepting all the experiences that come to you in life as prasad. Knowing that everyone and everything is a manifestation of the Atman, regardless of whether someone scolds you or praises you—that is verily Advaita. We need to cultivate the ability to accept everything as grace. Or cultivate the ability to see the negativities of others as reflections of our own flaws. Such attitudes are puja bhava. Ultimately, puja bhava is seeing the Self, or God, in everything. Even though initially this is difficult, gradually the feeling of oneness arises.

“A staircase is needed only until we reach the higher level. For Amma, there is nothing to reject; everything is accepted in love. Considering the feelings of others, spiritual aspirants should learn to love all, respect all, and feel everyone’s difficulties as their own. Some people do not have the good fortune to have sweetness in their lives. Understanding this, you should share the sweetness you’ve been fortunate to receive with others.

“Like the crow in the parable that could only drink the water in the fluted vase if it dropped rocks in it first, we should invoke god within with the required effort. Gaining control over our mind is the goal. All of the various forms of spiritual practices are means to achieve that common end. So, Amma cannot reject any of them. They were established by the rishis, and the rishis were not fools. Seeing God in all forms, they accepted all forms as appropriate means for helping the mind gain focus. If one looks into the depth of all the various spiritual practices—even just singing bhajans to oneself—you will see that they are not different from the Atma; they are, in fact, keys that open us up to that truth.”

—Sakshi

Even in failure there is a lesson to learn – Amma

​Amma Addresses 2,000 10th Standard Students as Part of Sadgamaya Summer Camp

May 10, 2014 – Amritapuri

There are two types of education: education for earning a living and education for life. When we study in college, striving to become a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer—that is education for earning a living. But education for life means learning how to lead life, how to overcome obstacles in life without losing enthusiasm, how to live for the benefit of society and for the world. For this, we need to develop spiritual understanding: a deeper understanding of the world, our minds, our emotions and ourselves. Most people learn about the external world, but never try to learn about themselves.

Our school years are an occasion to imbibe good lessons and create the foundation for a good life. We can learn not only math, science and English, but other important lessons as well—lessons of friendship, cooperation, compassion, discipline, obedience, respect for elders, patience, speaking kind words, not wasting… There are so many such good lessons to learn. We can learn these things not only from our teachers but also from our friends and our own contemplation.

In fact, the important thing is to maintain an enthusiasm for learning throughout our life. Even in failure , there is a lesson to learn. Understand it and move forward. In fact, if we can cultivate faith, enthusiasm and patience, we will never really fail in life.

The purpose of education is not to just create people who can understand the language of machines. The primary thing to be attained is samskara—spiritual culture. This is being forgotten. For mere sophistication, education is not required. Even tribal populations are proud of their tastes and fashion.

In certain circumstances in life, we have to say “yes.” In others, we have have to say, “no.” Currently we are saying “no” to the things to which we should be saying “yes” and vice-versa. This is creating many problems for us. The Ramayana and Mahabharata teach us about this.

 

A compassionate heart helps us become a vessel that is capable of receiving God’s grace. Those who remove thorns from the paths of others are in fact also showering flower petals upon their own path. We should always maintain the humility of a beginner. Only a beginner can grow. Along with this, we need optimism and to put in effort. If we have these, we will go far in life.

(Excerpts from Amma’s message to the students)

Amma Initiates Pongala Festival at Srayikkad Temple

2 May 2014 – Srayikkad, Alappad Panchayat, Kollam

At the request of local villagers, Amma initiated the Rohini Pongala Festival at the Paschimeshwaram Temple in Srayikkad this morning.

Around 8:00 a.m. Amma walked the two kilometres up Beach Road to the Paschimeshwaram Temple in Srayikkad. The villagers had decorated the roadway with streamers, rangoli, flower petals, lit oil lamps and other decorations.

Upon arriving, Amma entered the temple, circumambulated the installed deity and then lit the fire to the first clay pot of payasam [sweet pudding]. Hundreds of village women had gathered to participate in cooking payasam as part of the festival worship, bringing the clay pots and ingredients from their own homes as per tradition.

After lighting the fire, Amma spoke about significance of temple festival:

“It is unshakable faith in God and devotion that makes the coastal people the mantel-bearers of our blessed culture,” Amma said. “Don’t forget that, don’t allow it to be destroyed. We should be dedicated to passing down this culture to our children and society.

“Pongal means ‘to overflow.’ The time when humankind’s love for nature and nature’s love for humankind overflow—that is Pongal. Human beings make nature happy by having good thoughts and doing good actions. Nature blesses humankind with a bountiful harvest. When the universal mind and the individual mind overflow and become one—that is what Pongal is symbol of.

Matru-devo bhava, Pitr-devo bhava, acharya-devo bhava atithi-devo bhava—‘May you see your mother as God, your father as God, your teacher as God, your guests as God’—this is what Sanatana Dharma teaches us. Respect everything, worship everything. Why? Because there is nothing other than God. May this Pongal Festival be an opportunity for you to you to instill this culture and God deeply within and spread it without.

“Temple festivals are, in fact, festivals for everyone living in the area. Even people working far away will return home in order to participate. Everyone will sit together, eat together and remember old times together. On such occasions, we experience the joy and exuberance that occur when hearts come together. These temple festivals are sacred moments that help us to establish love and unity and nourish our relationships.

“Amma would request all of you to come to this temple every day, sit together, pray together, perform archana together and circumambulate the temple a few times together without fail.”
To the delight of the villagers, this was second time in the past month that Amma has participated in the local temple functions {news}.

–Sakshi

What is Sakshi Bhava?

Friday, 18 April 2014 – Amritapuri
Seashore Meditation and Question & Answer

Question: Amma, what is sakshi bhava [witness attitude]? Is it no emotions? No sadness, no happiness? Or is it constant bliss? Once, some time back, I was depressed, and then I didn’t really feel anything. In a way, it was like being a witness, but I don’t think that is meant by sakshi bhava. So, what is it, Amma? Is it that you don’t feel anything, don’t care about anything but, yet, still, somehow feel happy? Amma, could you please explain?

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Amma: When you become sugar, then there is nothing but sweetness. Likewise, in true sakshi bhava, there is bliss alone.

It’s not that emotions don’t come, they will be there, but you see them, as if from a distance, and they don’t affect you. So, when anger begins rising up in you, you are able to see it very clearly. You witness it and this helps you to remain calm and not translate that emotion into action. Reflecting on the truth that we are not the body or the mind but are the atma [the true self], we can use our viveka [discrimination] to reject that emotion as baseless.

Witnessing like this and keeping our distance from our emotions, is for our own safety. Visiting a zoo and seeing the animals in their cages is a blissful experience. But if you open the door the cage and let the animals out their cages it will be disastrous. It is the same with the mind.

When you understand the nature of the world and its objects, you will see things and remain detached, like a witness, and accept them. For example, a crow may evacuate upon us, but we don’t get angry at the crow. You just go wash your dress and move forward.

Children, in deep sleep, we are in a state of bliss. Sakshi bhava is that same state, yet we are fully awake. In deep sleep, there is no “I,” no “mine.” It’s only when we wake up that all these things come: “my bed,” “my sandals,” “my pen,” “my clothes”… It is when we are overpowered by these “I” and “mine” thoughts that is the source of all discord. In sakshi bhava, you are able to see that this “I” and “mine” have no real substance. Thus, you always remain peaceful. When you understand that there is nothing other than you, there is no scope for disturbance. At present we are totally identified with our individual mind. We need to expand: from the individual mind, to the societal mind, to the mind of the entire universe. You may feel as if you are just a seed, but understand that there is a tree dormant in every seed. Realize that and become the tree.

In sakshi bhava, it is not that there are no thoughts or emotions. Just as there are waves in the ocean, there will be thoughts in the mind. But since you know how to swim, you are able to get in the water and blissfully move about them.

 

We must always have a place for others in our heart

16 April 2014, Ashramam, Kollam
Amma was invited to light the lamp and inaugurate this year’s Kollam Pooram, a massive annual temple festival hosted by the Sree Krishna temple, Asramam. Attended by a large number of people, the festival is marked by delightful spectacles including elephants colourfully decorated with rapidly inter-changing ceremonial umbrellas (kudamattom), traditional drumbeats (melam) and pyrotechnics.

With throngs of participants looking on, Amma lit the ceremonial lamp and gave the benedictory address. In her speech, she said, “Amma is really happy to participate in the Pooram celebrations. The people of Kollam forgetting all differences and working together with love, understanding and faith is what makes this celebration so special. May this attitude be also reflected in each of your actions in your day-to-day life. In this way, not only this day but each day of your life will become a celebration.”

In her 15-minute address, Amma stressed the importance of cultivating a vision rooted in spiritual understanding and universal values. She also talked about the importance of seeing God everywhere, and the way that will translate into a compassionate attitude and a life filled with divine grace. “Temples are places where we can feel the presence of God. That’s good, but it is not enough just to see God in the temple – we have to see God in every aspect of Creation.” Amma continued, “We must always have a place for others in our heart. In fact, it is this compassion that makes us receptive to the factor of divine grace in our life.”

On her way to the festival, Amma visited the Sree Krishna temple proper and spent some time there. The festival itself is held at the Asramam Maidanam, one of the biggest festival grounds in Kerala. The massive crowd of festival participants was framed by 15 elephants in full regalia on either side, representing the nearby Ganesha and Devi temples.

This is a historic occasion. Amma is attending this kind of festival for the first time. The people of Kollam and the festival organizers expressed their sincere gratitude for Amma’s presence, and their hope that with her blessings, the Pooram festival will become an international event for peace and harmony.

– Kannadi