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.

14rama

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.

14hall

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.

 14meditation

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.

Spiritual life is to become fearless

1 April 2013, Amritapuri

Question: “When I think about the law of karma, sometimes I feel quite afraid.”

Amma: Everything that is born one day has to die. You are not the body. You are not the mind. So, why be afraid? We need to fearlessly strive for dharma. For that, you need dedication and courage.

14amma4

In the military, soldiers are trained in a manner that helps them transcend fear. They have to run amidst exploding bombs. They have to survive in the jungle, eating whatever they can—even snakes. This is the training that transforms them into dedicated and fearless soldiers. They are ready to undergo all this in order to become an offering to the country. Here there is also a training for fearlessness. In fact, we must become even more fearless than soldiers if we are to become an offering to the world. Understanding you are not the body, you should adhere to dharma and live without fear.

If you put your hand in fire, it is going to get burned. If you touch a live wire, you are going to get a shock. It doesn’t matter whether you did so inadvertently or not. Whether our actions are done with or without awareness, they still bear fruit. So, we should be extremely alert. All of our actions must first go through the filter of awareness. Awareness can protect us.

The guru is like a chumatu tangi [a roadside rack onto which travelers can set down their loads]. When a traveler sees one near, the load he is carrying becomes more bearable just because he knows that he can set it down at any time. So, too, it is with the guru’s presence. We know if our load becomes unbearable, we can always set it down. Thus, the guru gives the disciple the strength to forebear.

Children, adversity and death come for everyone. Our prayer should be, “May my mind become capable of only thinking good thoughts and only doing good deeds.” Such people live forever.
– Sakshi

==

[Excerpted from Amma’s Meditation Day Satsang – April 1, 2014]

Laughter & Wisdom on the Seashore

31 March 31 2014, Amritapuri

Around 4:15, Amma came to the beach for meditation with the ashramites and visiting devotees. When it was over, she asked an ashramite from Germany to speak. He told a story about how, when he was helping Brahmachari Shubamrita with a program in Europe, he had taken the opportunity of a question-and-answer session to use the toilet. When he walked back in the room, everyone was staring at him and smiling. It was then he realized that he had never turned off the wireless microphone he had been wearing.

14laughter

Hearing his story, Amma and everyone assembled had a good laugh. Then Amma began to speak:

“Children, there is something to learn from each and every situation in life. These days, we have information but no discrimination; we have knowledge but no awareness.

“A few years back, a devotee came for darshan. He was crying because he had been arrested. He had been suffering from a rash. While he was riding on the train, it began to itch. He began to scratch. A few stops later, two police officers walked up to him and arrested him. He had no idea why. Later he found out that a lady who had been sitting on the opposite berth had reported him as a pervert. The poor man hadn’t realized where he had been scratching!

“Another devotee once told Amma a similar story. He had been laying on the top berth of the train looking at his mobile, which had his girlfriend’s photo on it. But a girl sitting below him had thought that it was her photo. She reported him to the police saying that he had been photographing her against her will.

“What we need is awareness. Most of us act without thinking. And those of us who do think rarely act properly. We lack sraddha [alertness]. When you are hot, you turn on the fan, but if it hasn’t been cleaned properly, then it will only blow dust and grime on you. You spend the day filling the water tank, but at night it is still empty. Why? You didn’t see the hole in the tank’s side.

“Children, try to cultivate awareness with regards to each and every word you say. All it takes is one careless word from a prime minister to start a war. Words have more power than many of us think.”

Amma shared the following story to illustrate her point:

Once a guru was teaching his disciples Vedic chanting. He was so engrossed in his teaching, he didn’t see that the king had arrived. When he realized, he welcomed the king. The king asked the guru, ‘Chanting all these mantras… What is the point? Isn’t it a waste of time?’
A scowl came over the guru’s face. ‘Get out!’ he told the king.
The king said, ‘Why are you getting so upset? I just asked a simple question.’
The guru shouted, ‘I said, ‘Get out!’
The king said, ‘Who are you to tell me anything? I will have you beheaded!’
Hearing this, the guru smiled and he said, ‘Are you so sure there is no power in the chanting of mantras? Just two common words turned you into a killer. What to speak of the power of the repeated chanting mantras, which contain bijaksharas imbued with the sankalpa sakti of our rishis.

“Children, awareness is the essence of spiritual life.”

– Sakshi

Be Compassionate towards nature, bathe the mind in enthusiasm everyday

1 Jan 2014, New Year Celebrations, Amritapuri

New Year’s Eve was celebrated in grand style in Amritapuri. After Amma’s evening bhajans, everyone assembled in the large hall and were treated to a wide range of cultural performances, including Hip Hop, classical Indian dances, and a theatrical interpretation of one of Amma’s satsang stories.

Throughout the night Amma was seated in the middle of the hall enjoying the programs with everyone else around her, including many small children taking turns on her lap. Once the final performance came to an end Amma gave her New Year’s message.

“We have reached the doorstep of yet another year. The mere thought of a new year awakens vibrations of expectation, happiness and celebration. May the flowers of peace and happiness blossom within my children’s hearts. May the fragrance of these flowers pervade the world through your good deeds.

“Over the past year, many events have hurt us deeply. Wars, conflicts, natural disasters, exploitation of women… The list goes on. There was the war in Syria, the hurricane in the Philippines, the destruction in Uttarakhand… the horrific images of these tragedies continue to flash in our mind. We hold many discussions and write a lot about the challenges currently faced by humankind, but we have yet to truly become aware of them. Many people talk a lot about environmental preservation, but true greatness lies in putting these principles into practice and actually doing something about it. Over the past year, we have destroyed 12.5 million acres of forests. How long will it take us to regenerate these forests? Is it even possible? Scientists call forests “the lungs of the planet.” We should have the awareness that polluting rivers, oceans and forests is no different from injecting poison into our bloodstream. The same human beings that are supposed to be responsible for protecting nature are actually responsible for its destruction. Amma has a request: When we make our New Year’s resolutions, we also need to make a resolve to show compassion towards nature. Every small effort we make towards environmental conservation is precious because it actually aids in sustaining life. It is more precious than any kind of material wealth. Through our schools, we can awaken in our children an interest in protecting nature, just like the interest we’ve awoken in them for amassing money.

“Just by turning the pages of our calendar, nothing is going to change. It is the impurities of anger, lust and jealousy within us that turn “good times” into “bad times.” We need to have a higher goal in life. Imagine a ship is sailing on the ocean with its sails angled to perfectly catch the wind. But if the captain does not know which harbor he is to dock his ship, he will just keep on sailing. Without a destination, no matter how fair the sailing, it will all be in vain. It is our goals that give us enthusiasm, strength and energy. They make us alive.

“We need a daily routine to help us towards our goal. If spirituality is our goal, we will try to nurture good thoughts. We will try to do good deeds. We will not brood over unnecessary thoughts. We won’t become jealous seeing another person’s success. We won’t be bothered about the various things going on around us; we will only try to do whatever we can. We will read spiritual books and attend satsangs.

“Death is constantly in front and behind us, like a shadow. Our body is like a rented house. At any moment, we could be asked to vacate. Instead of leaving kicking and screaming, we should be ever ready to leave with joy and laughter. Before death overpowers us, we have many important tasks to complete. Life is an opportunity to look back and evaluate our progress and, at the same time, to look forward and focus on action. Why have we embarked on this journey of life? What is our goal? Are we moving along the right path? Or have we lost our way? The dawn of a new year is a time for self-introspection and firm resolves.

“We bathe every day to stay clean. Enthusiasm is like a bath for the mind. It’s not enough to feel enthusiastic and cheerful only on New Year’s Day though. We need to maintain this feeling throughout the year. When we wake up in the morning, we wash our face and prepare ourselves for the day. No one wants to appear dirty or ugly. This is usually the first thought of our day. But we need to clean our mind as well. We need to wipe away the dust of our negativities. Then, not only our lives, but also the lives of everyone around us will become beautiful. If this is our attitude, the entire world will thrive as if a new spring is awakening.

“May Amma’s children become messengers of love and peace. Amma prays that all of her children’s lives are filled with peace and happiness. May grace bless one and all. Let us chant “Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” — May all the beings in all the worlds be happy — together. It is difficult to remove darkness, but in the presence of light, darkness spontaneously disappears. Likewise, may the lamps of love and compassion burn bright in the hearts of all of Amma’s children. May the Paramatman (Supreme) grace us with strength.”

As her message concluded with the prayer that all world should strive towards a peaceful 2014, Amma began singing Khusiyom Ki Bahar. All sang along with Amma in a prayerful mood culminating in the final chorus of ‘Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu.’

Then the mood became more upbeat and joyful as Amma lead everyone through Meri Jhopadhi De while a sea of bodies swayed side to side clapping to the rhythm of the song. For the last song many people could no longer contain their joy and stood up and danced while Amma sang Tannana Tannana. The hall was fully rocking as the song continued to build momentum until everyone was out of their seat and jumping and dancing with joy. After the final Mata Rani Ki was chanted big pots of payasam were brought to Amma and then distributed to one and all.

– Kannadi

Sri Krishna is Protector of Dharma and Jagat Guru

28 August, Amritapuri – Krishna Jayanthi Celebrations 2013

Like each year before it, the day of Krishna’s birth was celebrated in Amritapuri in a very festive atmosphere and music and bhajans were everywhere; it was a true celebration.

Early in the morning after crowds of people paraded through the ashram enthusiastically singing namavalis and Gopuja was performed.

Little gopis and gopas and krishnas were seen all around the ashram as many took the opportunity to dress up on the occasion and join a large procession led by the ashram elephant Lakshmi.
The procession began in the afternoon and first passed all around the ashram before proceeding to the Kuzhithura Sri Krishna Temple

Amma came to the big hall and gave darshan to all those that had come for the festivities. Then once all the preparations were made and the procession had returned to the front of the ashram, Amma joined with everyone to participate in the Uriyadi games. Amma sat on the temple steps and sang bhajans as everyone crowded around to watch the young participants try their best to break the small clay pots suspended from high above.

Right from Uriyadi everyone followed Amma back to the big hall for the evening bhajans which were highlighted by several beautiful Krishna bhajans. But the main event was still to come. After dinner, Amma came back to the stage for the grand finale. Amma gave her Sri Krishna Jayanthi message which was played on the big video screens.

 

“Sri Krishna Jayanti reminds one of the soul’s immortality.”

“The birthday of an ordinary person reminds us of the transience of human life, whereas that of a divine incarnation like Sri Krishna reminds us of the soul’s immortality” said Amma in her Krishna Jayanti message in Amritapuri.

“Lord Krishna’s life is a light illumining the way to the Supreme. God assumes a human form in order to teach how humankind may rise to the level of God. Like a mother who helps her toddling child walk, God accepts all the limitations of a human body for the sake of leading us. By assuming a human form, divine incarnations demonstrate how human beings ought to live” Amma said.

” Whereas the gopis, Arjuna, Udhava and Viduran became devotees of Krishna, Kamsa, Sishupala and Duryodhana rejected Him. Pointing to this, Amma said, “A mirror clearly reflects sunlight, whereas a piece of charcoal does not reflect sunlight at all. However, the sun does not discriminate between the mirror or charcoal piece, but shines equally on both.”

“Lord Krishna, who adorned himself with a peacock feather, continues to shine even today as the protector of Dharma and as the Guru of the world.
Through his life, Sri Krishna demonstrated the duties of a son, disciple, king, servant, teacher, friend and householder. It is this fullness and expansiveness that makes Krishna a purna-avatar, a complete manifestation of divinity in human form. Jagat Gurus (world gurus) are those who teach truth and dharma through their lives. Krishna expressed different bhavas to captivate different kinds of people. His teachings helped to uplift people of all levels, and they illumine the paths of knowledge, devotion, action and yoga. If we give up our ego and surrender to the Lord, He will protect us in all circumstances,” emphasized Amma.

Then as the clock approached midnight chanting from the Srimad Bhagavatam filled the hall as a Bala Gopala Puja was being performed on stage. Right at midnight, the hour of Krishna’s birth, Amma began singing beautiful Krishna bhajans in a very celebratory and joyous mood, including: Agatanayi Vishnu Devan, Nanda Gopan and Katitayitaram. Then Amma asked everyone to stand up and forget all their worries and dance with arms raised as she continued to sing: Bhajo Re Bhajo, Manamohana Gopala and Bandha Krishna.
After the bhajans, by 1am Amma served sweet payasam as prasad to one and all.

The disciple awakens from within, it is like a rebirth happening

22 July 2013, Amritapuri

After many years, Amma was physicially present for Guru Purnima in Amritapuri. Even though she had just arrived the previous day from her two month-long world tour, Amma came to the stage at 10.30 am for the function. The celebrations began with Amma’s Pada Puja, which was performed by Swami Amritaswarupananda accompanied by the chanting of the Guru Gita and Vedic mantras.

After the Pada Puja and chanting of Amma’s 108 names, all the Swamis offered a garland to Amma. Amma’s Guru Purnima message was then shown on the video screens.
In the message Amma said: “One may ask, “The scriptures say that God is within us and not different from our true nature. Then why should we seek refuge in a Satguru?” It is true that God is within us. We are, in truth, the embodiment of Sachidananda—pure existence, pure consciousness, pure bliss. But have we experienced this truth? No, it is being veiled by our ego. We hold the key to the massive treasure chest within us, but that key has become rusty due to a long period of lack of use. Just as we remove rust from a regularly key by applying grease, so too we have to remove the rust of our ahamkara and vasanas—our sense of “I” as a limited body and mind and our deep-rooted tendencies. This will help us realize our true nature. It is for this purpose that we seek refuge in a Satguru.

13guru-05

This physical body of ours is nothing but a bundle of meat wrapped up in skin. It has nine doors. And we think “This body alone is me.” Moreover, we continually nourish this misidentification. The ego wants to make us feel superior to others and wants others to show us respect.Everything is God’s creation—except the ego. That is our creation. We have to find a way out of this creation of ours. A wave or a bubble in the ocean is, in reality, not different or separate from the ocean. But what if the bubble clings to the idea that it is just a bubble, not the ocean?In a similar way, we need to remember: “I am not just this bubble of body, mind and ego. I am the ocean itself.” This remembrance can be achieved only through engaging in continuous spiritual practices.

When we bow down to a Satguru, we become free from the ego.The truth of our True Self gets revealed. We experience that we are not different from God. God is our true nature. Everything else can be attained by self-effort, but the only way to be freed from the ego is through humility and surrender. The seed and the tree are not different from each other. The whole tree is contained in the seed. But unless the seed goes under the soil and germinates, it will never become a tree. Similarly, when the spirit of surrender dawns in a disciple, freedom from the ego takes place naturally.

However much the guru tries to awaken the disciple, unless the disciple is ready to awaken from within, it will never happen. It’s easy to awaken someone who is sleeping, but it is impossible to awaken someone pretending to be asleep. When you break an egg by force, it puts an end to a life, but when the shell breaks from within, life is created anew. In a similar way, when the disciple awakens from within, it is like a rebirth happening. He or she awakens to their true nature. Being with a Satguru is like being a chick being warmed by the body of the mother hen. The guru’s presence creates the favorable climate in which the seeds of divinity within the disciple can sprout. The guru provides us opportunities. It is up to the disciple as to how they are used.

Once a guru knocked on a disciple’s door with a lamp in his hand. The disciple said, “Open the door and come in.” The guru said, “I cannot do that. This door can only be opened from within.” And so it is: the disciple has to open the doors of the heart to permit the entrance of the guru’s light.”

Hari Bol!!! Hari Bol!!!

After the talk, Amma asked everyone to stand up and dance to the tune of Hari Narayana. As the song’s tempo continually sped up, people cheered and shouted Hari Bol!!! Hari Bol!!!

Amma then led everyone in a prayer for world peace. She asked every one to visualize flower petals of peace showering down all over the world, spreading light everywhere. Amma then led all in chanting Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu.

Then Amma spent the rest of the day receiving all the thousands of people that had come to the ashram to see her after a two month absence. The darshan finally came to an end at 4:35am the following day.

-Sakshi

Take a small step, bring a small change in our Life – Amma

New Year Celebration at Amritapuri

1 Jan 2013, Amritapuri

The New Year’s Eve programs in Amritapuri began cultural performances . The first was a traditional Indian dance, followed by a woman singing a French interpretation of Amma’s Tamil bhajan ‘Anbumiku chinthaikalal maalai thoduthen’ accompanied by a guitarist. There was another traditional Indian dance after which came a breathtaking fire dance. Children of Ayudh International closed the performances with a wonderfully choreographed dance. Children of all ages danced gracefully across the stage to the tune ‘We are the World.’

A number of colorful balloons were released in the hall. Shrieks of joy could be heard as children of all ages tossed the balloons into the air.

Amma lead everyone in chanting Lokah Samastha Sukinau Bhavantu, imagining flowers of peace showering down on children playing everywhere. Firecrackers could be heard in the distance as villagers rang in the New Year.

After chanting, Amma gave her New Year message and it was translated into English.
“Every experience is like a guru; it is said that life is like a maha-guru. First, life gives us many tests. We learn many lessons from these tests. We can draw inspiration from last year’s experiences. We can learn from our mistakes, correct them and move forward.”

“Today, the only reason children study is so that they can get a good job. They have no real desire to learn and grow as human beings. Children are repeatedly told study, study, study. Along with this, they also need to be instilled with values. If values are not instilled at a young age, this world will become populated exclusively by asuras; there will be neither human beings nor devas. Children today lack the role models that the previous generation had.”

“The birth of the New Year is an occasion for us to reflect upon the passage of time. It is at this moment that we become aware of the value of time. The truth is: Death has been incessantly following us since our birth. Before Death conquers us, there are some important things we need to complete. What is the reason for this journey of life? What is our goal? Are we moving along on the right path? Or have we lost our path? It is time for us to reflect and take some firm decisions.”

“The greatest journey begins with the smallest step. Let each one of us welcome the New Year by making small changes in our life. If we are all able to do that, then will be able to usher in a new age of love, compassion and selflessness. Let us surrender our prayers to the Paramatman, and as one mind, move together towards the same goal” Amma reminded all.

Following Amma’s Message, Amma had everyone play patty-cake to ‘Bandalo Bandalo’. Dao Dao Dao came next . Surrounded by children still clutching balloons, Amma then sang one of traditional Kerala tunes. The air was filled with ecstatic joy and bliss. But in addition to Amma clapping her hands and waiving them in the air, Amma held the microphone close to her mouth, and, cupping her hands, started to beat box. The minutes stretched into eternity as everyone was dancing and clapping along. Thousands of arms raised up in the air as Amma then shouted out ‘Mata Rani Ki…..Jai’ over and over again to end the evening’s celebrations.

After Amma left the hall, Prasad was passed out.

What a wonderful way to start the New Year! May each of our coming days be filled with such bliss and joy!

-Kannadi

Prayer Message for Newtown

Amma’s message and prayer for the victims of the school shooting in Connecticut

“The whole world has been shaken by the gruesome act of violence that happened at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty innocent little angels with their whole lives in front of them and six staff members who did their best to protect the children are no longer with us today.

No words can console the parents and the near and dear ones of those lost in the tragedy. We can only embrace them and shed tears along with them. Let us assure them that our hearts, spirits and thoughts are with them in these most difficult moments of their lives.

Let us pray for the departed souls to rest in eternal peace; let us pray for the parents and the family members to find the inner strength to accept the situation and face these difficult times without breaking down. Let us visualize flowers of peace being showered on the whole world; let us wholeheartedly pray that such incidents never occur again in the future in any part of the world.

Also, Amma would like to see parents embrace their children with compassion and care, letting them know that you are there for them. Make sure they have the right kind of values in their life, values that will give them mental strength and peace. Let us try our best to weed out the seeds of negativity and violence from sprouting in young minds.”

|| ॐ लोकाः समस्ता: सुखिनो भवन्तु ||
Aum Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere live in peace and happiness.

—Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma)