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.


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.”


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}.


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?


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

Vishukkani – Even in the midst of difficult times, happiness can be found

15 April 2014, Amritapuri

Excerpted from Amma’s message during the occasion of the Vishu Celebrations at Amritapuri

Vishu is a festival that is deeply connected to our culture and to nature. When we hear the word Vishu, what first come to mind are images of the golden kanikkonna flower and vishukkani. The importance placed on taking in the darshan (vision) of vishukkani—the traditional cornucopia of Vishu—upon waking Vishu morning symbolizes the importance of entering the new year seeing goodness and thinking good thoughts. Whatever activity commences with the remembrance of God will be auspicious. Taking in vishukkani upon waking helps us begin the new year with the darshan of God and nature.


The belief is that this auspicious vision will bear fruit that will stay with us throughout the year. Even in the drought and heat of the summer, nature is able to bring forth golden kannikonna flowers. This is nature’s teaching to us: Even in the midst of difficult times, happiness can be found.

On Vishu morning, in every house, the mothers and grandmothers go to each room and wake up the children and other family members. They cover their eyes and lead them to the altar room. When everyone is standing before the image of the Lord, they remove their hands. The children open their eyes and behold the beautiful form of the Lord and the different facets of the vishukkani. Their hearts fill with devotion and enthusiasm. That is like a deposit that they then can draw upon throughout the year.

Another meaning of the word Vishu is “being equal.” Vishu takes place when day and night have the same duration. Thus, it symbolizes how we should be able to accept both joyful and difficult circumstances with mental equanimity. Ordinary people become egoistic in success and lose strength when painful experiences occur. The reason we lose our mental strength is our failure to put God first in our life; these days, our first priority is the external.


Life can bring us any kind of experience at any time. It can be criticism; it can be praise. It can be joyful circumstances; it can be sorrowful ones. It can be success; it can be failure. Anything can come at any moment. This is what life is. If we are to face these varied experiences with equanimity, then we should be prepared to give up our likes and dislikes.

When difficult times come, some people take solace in thinking that they are reaping the fruit of selfish actions that they have performed in the past. This is a good attitude. Another practical approach is to accept all of our experiences as God’s prasad. To cultivate this attitude, we must first see all of our actions as offerings to God. When we surrender all of our actions to Him, we will then start being able to accept everything that comes to us in life as prasad in return. Then we will be able to see all experiences equally, transcending attachment and aversion.

The greatest jail is our ego. Currently we are imprisoned in this self-created jail. A bird in a golden cage—provided with all types of food and toys—is still deprived of the all-expansive sky. Children, let us try to come out of this jail called the ego.

Vishu is an occasion to remember how important it is to love and serve the Creator through the creation. My children, strive for this. We should also love nature. There is so much pollution in the atmosphere today. In the olden days, when someone had a wound, they would apply cow dung to it to help it heal more quickly. If we were to do this today, the wound would only become infected. What once was medicine has today become poison. Our air, our water, our food—everything has become polluted. When you chop down a tree without a true necessity, you are, in fact, building your own coffin.

Let us use our time in a manner that is beneficial for ourselves and others. Let us try to do what we can. Let us reach out to nature and our fellow human beings. May we help make this world a tree full of flowers of happiness and fruits of peace. May every day in your life be filled with the joy and auspiciousness of Vishu.


Sri Rama is an excellent role model of dharma and values

Amma’s message on Sri Rama Navami

Children, when adharma is at its peak and dharma is disappearing, avataras take birth to uphold dharma. Thousands of years ago, Sri Rama, who was born on the ninth day of the month Chaitra, is believed to be dharma itself in a human form.


Avataras teach humankind through the example of their life. Therefore, they will have limitations; they may have to pass through tests and obstacles, just like other people. Through this, they teach us not how to avoid problems, but how to safeguard our ideals and values when we find ourselves in the midst of problems. They show us how to face life’s tests with mental peace and equanimity. Through this, others find the inspiration to move forward along the path of dharma.

Many ask, “If Rama was the all-knowing Lord, why did he chase after the golden deer? Didn’t he realize it was Mareecha’s illusion? It was because of this that Ravana was able to kidnap Seeta.” Understanding human nature, Sri Rama chose to take birth as a human being. Thus, like other humans, he displayed a mix of knowledge and ignorance, strength and weakness. Once a game begins, we cannot just change the rules in the middle.

This reminds me of a story: A prince was playing Hide & Seek with his friends inside the palace gardens. The prince was totally and blissfully immersed in the game. Forgetting everything else, he was intent on finding his friends. Despite searching intensely, the prince was unable to locate even one of them. A servant who had been watching the children play asked the prince, “Why are you going through so much trouble to find your friends? If you order them to come before you, won’t they all come out of hiding?” Hearing this, the prince looked at the servant with sympathy and said, “If I do that, what fun would be left in the game?”

Like all humans, we can see joy, sorrow, hardships, problems and limitations in the lives of mahatmas. They behave like this so that others can come closer and establish relationships with them on a personal level. In truth, defeating adharma is not the foremost priority of avataras. Their primary goal is to nurture devotion in the hearts of humankind. They attract people through their captivating leelas.

Since our childhood, our life has been founded on relationships. Our first relationship was with our mother. Then with our father. Then with our siblings, friends, coworkers and acquaintances. Thus, for us, who are predisposed to forming such relationships, building a relationship with God and worshipping Him is natural. This is how Sri Rama and Sri Krishna earned their place in the hearts of humankind. Through them, a culture of devotion has grown in the world.

There is a lesson for us to learn in how Sri Rama willingly faced every situation that arose in his life. How should an individual behave towards his parents, his siblings, his friends? How should a leader behave towards his followers? How to stand firm in the face of moral trials? All these can be learnt from the life of Sri Rama. Sri Rama did not become overjoyed when he learnt that he was to be crowned successor to the throne. Similarly, when he lost the throne, he did not fall into despair. Moreover, Sri Rama only had love and respect for Kaikeyi—the cause of his exile. Thus, Sri Rama is an excellent role model of dharma and values for us to emulate in life.

Spiritual practices set you free

Monday, 7 April 2014, Amritapuri, Seashore Meditation and Question & Answer

Question: Amma, how can I have self-discipline without being too hard on myself?

Amma: Daughter, if you have the desire to build a house, what will you do? You will think about how you want it to look, you will sit with the architect, do all the planning and build it. Won’t you? It’s no different when you have the desire to know the Self. When the desire to know the Self arises, you will start doing all the things that are required to attain that goal and start avoiding all the things that will take you away from it. The more love you develop for the goal and the more you understand the need for the various disciplines and spiritual practices, the easier it will be to adhere to those disciplines and practices. The love for the goal is like the petrol in your tank. It is what gives enthusiasm, energy and vitality in your practices.


Sometimes when the mother or father needs to do some work, they cannot keep their eye completely on their child. So, then, they may give him some crayons or some toys. This way the child can continue to play but the mother knows where he is and what he is doing. The mother knows the child is safe. Similarly, it is the mind’s nature to be active. The point of doing spiritual practices is not to limit our freedom, but to give the mind an activity that helps it and protects it.

When we fly, the stewardess will make us wear our seatbelt. She has nothing to gain by that. She is not doing it to torture us. She is doing it for our safety and protection. Similarly, at first, adhering to spiritual disciplines may seem to take away our freedom, but really it is taking us to freedom—true freedom. When we study the scriptures, we will develop the right attitude towards such disciplines. We will understand the need for them in order to attain our goal. We will understand that they are not for God’s benefit or the guru’s benefit, but for our benefit. The more we understand the benefit derived from them, the more inspiration and enthusiasm we will have to do them.

In order to make sure they are adequately prepared for their exams, many students will make a timetable. It is helpful for spiritual aspirants to do the same thing. You have a goal – to know your True Self. You know certain things need to be done in order to attain that goal. How much spiritual practices you do and how strict you are in doing them—that is your choice. But once you have decided what you want to do, making a timetable and adhering to it as much as possible is a practical way to help you achieve your goal.

If you really have real control over your mind—the same level of control you have to the television when you have the remote control in your hand—then there is no need to do any spiritual practices. But most of our minds are not like this. They are more like old cars; there is a big gap between the time we hit the brakes and when we actually stop. In fact, we usually stop only after we’ve had an accident. We may want to show someone love, but we are not able to do so.

Don’t feel sad that you cannot be as disciplined as you would like to be. Do what you can. Don’t be sad about what you are not able to do. Don’t push yourself too hard. Don’t suppress or judge yourself. Give the body the food and sleep it needs. There is nothing wrong in that. But don’t overly pamper yourself either. There may be lapses in your discipline. We may fall down. But we shouldn’t allow it to make us feel frustrated. When you fall down, instead of lying there on the ground thinking how comfortable it is, remind yourself of your goal. Get back up and keep moving forward. Never accept defeat.

Brahman is the Principle of Love

04 April 2014, Amritapuri
Seashore Meditation and Question & Answer Session

Question: Amma, if everything is Brahman—if I am Brahman, you are Brahman, the microphone is Brahman—then what is the need for all these spiritual practices aimed at purifying the mind?

Amma: Son, tap water is water, the water in the backwaters is water, seawater is water and filtered water is also water. But do you drink all of them? No. Similarly, water can be 10 degrees, 20 degrees, 40 degrees, 100 degrees… But only boiled water will purify away all the germs. Brahman is the principle of love. That love is like a ladder with several rungs. The lowest rung of love is selfish—like when you love the cow because you love the milk. When the cow dries up, you sell it to the butcher. It is also love, but a low-level love. From there we have to rise to true love, to selfless love.


It’s true: Everything is Brahman. But are you able to see that truth when being scolded, criticized, mocked, even beaten? If you can remain peaceful and maintain your mental equipoise in such circumstances, then there is nothing more to purify. Until then, practices such as meditation, chanting mantras, etc, are required.

Once there were two sadhus. They had been fasting all day and were hungry. Earlier, they had received some food as alms, but they were waiting until the sun set to eat. They came to a river and decided to stop for the night. One sadhu wanted to take a bath before eating. When he entered the water, the other sadhu started to eat. When he had finished his share, he was still hungry. He thought for a moment and then decided to eat the other sadhu’s share as well. When the other sadhu returned, he asked where his food was. The first sadhu replied by referring to a verse in the Bhagavad-Gita, saying, “Whether you eat it or I eat it, the same vaishvanara fire is digesting.” Understanding that this meant that he had eaten all of the food, the second sadhu picked up a stick and started beating him. The first sadhu yelled, “Stop! What are you doing?” The second sadhu replied by citing another Gita verse: “Weapons do not cleave the Self, fire does not burn it….”

Children, you cannot use aham brahmasmi [“I am Brahman”] as a justification to trample on the rights of others. On the contrary, one who truly knows aham brahmasmi cannot even think of hurting others. When you know that you are Brahman, the hunger of other people becomes your hunger. The sorrow of other people becomes your sorrow. The joy of other people becomes your joy. If this is your experience, then there is nothing more to purify.

We should see everyone and every situation in this world as a mirror. At present, when someone scolds us, we feel sorrow. When someone shows us love, we feel joy. So, use that to understand that when you scold others, they also feel sorrow, and when you show them love, they feel joy. In this way, we can learn from our experiences and expand our sense of self.

If you can see goodness everywhere, then there is no need for chanting mantras, doing puja, or any other form of spiritual practice. You don’t need anything.

If you see that someone has fallen into a ditch and you say, “He is Brahman, the ditch is Brahman” and keep on walking, then there is something wrong with your understanding. If you really see him as Brahman, you will help him out. Compassion will arise within you.

If someone scolds you, mocks you, gets angry at you, you must invoke that knowledge and discriminate “I am not the body. I am not the mind. Who is there separate from me with whom to become angry?” and maintain your equanimity. If you can do that, then that is sufficient.

Until then, we need to continue doing spiritual practices and other observances that will help us purify the mind.

At this same time, just because everything is Brahman doesn’t mean that we will go drink sewer water. Knowledge should be practical. We should see the frog as a frog and the elephant as an elephant. See the dog as a dog, the cat as a cat. Don’t see an elephant as a frog or a frog as an elephant. Understand the nature of this world and the things in it and accept. Knowing the nature of a dog, you won’t be surprised when it barks. Barking is a dog’s nature. If you know firecrackers are about to go off, you won’t be shocked when they explode. But if you don’t know, you may even faint.

Children, we need nitya-anitya vivekam—the ability to discern between what is permanent and what is temporary. At the same time we need practicality. This is why it is important to study the scriptures.

Once there was man who learned from his guru that everything is Brahman. One day he and his brother were walking when a dog charged toward them. The brother ran, but the man stood firm. His brother said, “Hey! Run! It’s a rabid dog!” The man still didn’t move. The dog bit him. The next day he complained to his guru, “Hey, you told me that everything is Brahman. I thought, ‘I am Brahman, the dog is Brahman. Why should I run?’ But still I got bit.” The guru responded, “Why couldn’t you see your brother who was instructing you to run as Brahman as well?”

Until you have proper insight, you need to put in effort to purify your mind, you need to discriminate neti neti—“Not this, not this.” You need to study the scriptures.

Speak good always, do good always, think good always. Stay away from bad influences. This is how we should live our life.