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Perform your duties wholeheartedly with an attitude of surrender and detachment

25 August 2016 — Amritapuri

When we think about Lord Krishna, what are the first thoughts that enter our mind? Different people will answer in different ways. This is because Lord Krishna won’t allow himself to be confined within our limited thoughts and ideas. But one thing is clear: Everything about Krishna is sweet, alluring and beautiful.

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We often talk about the many facets and roles of Lord Krishna. An unparalleled protector of dharma, a skilled political strategist, advisor of the great Bhagavad-Gita, an unbeatable warrior… These are some of them. But Krishna—who, indeed, was all of these—was also love incarnate, the giver of love. The magnetism of his love enticed not just the gopis and gopas, but all of creation as well. Nature herself was charmed by the sweet notes of his bamboo flute.

The Supreme Truth is beyond thought and word. However, when the Supreme assumes a human form, accepting all the shortcomings and limitations inherent in such, and comes into our midst, we are provided with an opportunity to tangibly touch the Supreme, to know it. Not only Sri Krishna’s words, but his every movement, his every look and mood, conveyed the fullness of spiritual wisdom. His very presence was a spiritual experience. Every action of his illustrated the principles expounded in the Vedic scriptures.

It is impossible to explain the sweetness of honey with words, but just tasting a drop of honey will give us the experience of that sweetness. Similarly, in the presence of an avatara, the Supreme Truth is revealed and shines forth. Doubts turn into faith, faith turns into knowledge, and knowledge expands into experience. Avataras do not take birth and live on earth like ordinary people. They continue to live forever in human hearts as the very culture of the society into which they manifested—as the very guiding light of the world.

Their guidance stands true for all time, all countries and all people. Lord Krishna’s teachings are just as relevant today as they were 5,000 years ago. The Krishna-influence pervades and pulses in all planes of Indian culture and in the daily life of its people. Our literature, music and art are enlivened by his touch.

Lord Krishna’s life is full of paradoxes. The eternally free Lord was born in a prison. He played all the pranks and mischief of a capricious child, but also accomplished great feats beyond human capacity. He was crowned king and became the lord of the world, and yet he surrendered in defeat before the devotion of his devotees. He was an extraordinary grhasthashrami [householder], yet he maintained the pure chastity of a sannyasi.

On the occasion of the royal rajasuya yaga conducted by Yudhishthira, in the august presence of rishis and kings, Lord Krishna let Yudhishthira wash his feet as the guest of honour. Yet, the Lord was washing the feet of the other guests a short while later.

“Do what you do with complete involvement, yet remain detached”—this was Sri Krishna’s way. It is like a person lowering a bucket into a well to draw out water. Even though the bucket is immersed in the water, the bucket is firmly in the person’s hand. Even though one may be in the world, one is not bound by it. A boat does not sink because it is in the water. It sinks when the water is in the boat. Even though Sri Krishna lived in the world, he was never bound by anything.

As Arjuna’s charioteer Sri Krishna advised the Gita. He gave Arjuna his vishvarupa darsahan—the vision of his universal form. Yet, the very next moment, we see him as a charioteer, attending to Arjuna’s horses. Who else but the Lord could hold things so seemingly opposite in the palm of his hand?

A person who has worked as an officer may not be willing to work as errand boy. He may protest, “How can an officer like me do such menial work?” Sri Krishna became a child when he was amongst children. He became a youth in the company of the young. He danced with the gopis and became their friend. When his friends were hungry, he stole butter from the gopis houses to feed them. In fact, the gopis wanted Sri Krishna to steal the butter from their houses! Hence, through this lila he was able to kill two birds with one stone. One cannot find a mahatma who played as many roles as him.

Karma and the result – what to do?

Through his own life, the Lord illustrated the greatness of any type of work. No other spiritual teacher has expounded the value of action as much as Lord Krishna:

“O Arjuna, I stand to gain nothing in all the three worlds, yet I am continuously engaged in action. At least for the welfare of the world, do action. Perform your action with no desire of its results.”

Some people ask if this means that we should work without expecting to be paid. No, it does not. When we sow a seed, it may sprout or it may not. We may sow seeds at the right time. We may dig bore-wells and make sure that the crops get enough water. Regardless, if there is a flood just before the harvest, everything will be lost. Many people commit suicide when their actions don’t bear the expected fruit. But if one is prepared to face both kinds of results—failure and success—then one won’t fall to such extremes. Krishna’s advice is very relevant here. There is no point losing ourselves in grief. We only have the right to put in effort. The results are not in our control. Thus we should accept whatever comes to us as the fruit of our actions. His advice was to live in the world while understanding its nature. Through this, we develop the capacity to view things from a distance.

Usually, people work to fulfil their selfish desires. However, when we perform an action even for a short while without expecting anything in return, it purifies our mind. It is difficult to live selflessly. What makes us selfish are our desires. Amma does not say that it is wrong to have desires. Because many of us lack spiritual understanding, it is impossible to live without desires. We will desire food when hungry; there is nothing wrong in that. We may want money for our livelihood; that is not wrong. It is only when our desires become too many and we become ready to exploit others in order to satisfy them that desires become problematic.

If we incorporate the attitude “I am just an instrument in God’s hands,” then the burden of karma will fall away from us entirely. Only when a pen is in someone’s hands can it write letters. It does not write on its own. So too it is with a paintbrush. It does not paint on its own. Someone has to hold it to paint. We have to be like a pen or a brush in the hands of the Divine.

The Lord always wore a peacock feather on his head. What is its meaning? It means that the Lord carried all the world’s responsibilities and actions as if the were as light as a feather.

Krishna taught Arjuna that behind every action is God’s power. If we abandon the feeling of doership and surrender to being an instrument in God’s hands, that divine power will flow through us. If we become like a pipe attached to the tank, all the water in the tank can be used for the sake of many through us. When we become a zero, we truly become a hero. Whatever we want will become possible, and we will be freed from all anxiety and fear. The Lord called this capacity as karmasu kaushalam—“dexterity in action.” This is one of the most important teachings the Lord gave the world.

There are similarities and differences between the earth and Lord Krishna. The earth attracts everyone and so does Sri Krishna. However, while the earth pulls everyone down, Sri Krishna draws one and all up to the heavens. “Perform your duties wholeheartedly with an attitude of surrender and detachment. Be happy, smiling and enthusiastic in life like a child.” This was Sri Krishna’s message.

The birth of Sri Krishna

In reality baby Krishna should take birth in our hearts. It is not enough if we have faith in the doctor and take the medicines as prescribed by him. We need to follow the diet he prescribes as well. Only then will we fully regain our health. Similarly, to overcome the disease of birth and death, we have to follow certain yamas and niyamas—do’s and don’ts. Only then will the divine love or Sri Krishna take birth in our heart. May the light of the divine presence grow in your hearts, eliminating any darkness within. May this light overflow towards the whole of creation. May divine grace bless my children.

– Excerpts from Amma’s 2016 Krishna Jayanti Satsang

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Indelible Footprints in the Heart: Amma’s 2015 Christmas Message

December 25, 2015 – Amritapuri Ashram

Christmas awakens vibration of goodness, hope and compassion in the human heart, just as the birth anniversaries of other great incarnations and realized beings do. This day reminds us of what it is that that the human heart should be comprised—not with selfishness and hatred, but with devotion to God and love towards our fellow beings. Our thoughts and actions should become so permeated with goodness that they come to illuminate the divinity that resides within us. Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Buddha and Jesus Christ lived on this earth thousands of years ago, but they have left their indelible footprints in human hearts. If we wish to reach the shores of everlasting peace and happiness, all we have to do is follow the path they showed us.

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Footprints imprinted upon the earth are soon to fade and disappear, but footprints formed in the heart remain. This is why we remember the lives of mahatmas long after they leave their physical bodies. Their lives and teachings are very practical; they serve to remind us about the purpose of human life. Their lives were not for themselves, but for the good of the world. When we remember their lives, it awakens our own innate goodness. It helps us to become compassionate towards our fellow beings; it helps us to overcome selfishness and anger. We find ourselves aspiring to become more loving. It prompts us to repent when we become angry—to pray for the ability to forgive.

One may ask, “Don’t we also remember people those who did evil deeds?” Yes, but when we think of them, we are not uplifted as we are when we remember those who were embodiments of goodness. Thinking of the lives of mahatmas is like visiting a perfume factory. Your clothes become fragrant without any effort. Dwelling upon the lives of the wicked, on the other hand, is like visiting a charcoal factory; our clothes become sooty even if we don’t touch the charcoal directly.

Throughout his life Jesus Christ demonstrated deep compassion and humility. Normally people respect others only if they belong to a reputed family. Otherwise they will not give them much respect. We see others through the lens of our ego. However, in spirituality, we accept others with out any preconceived notions. Wherever there is goodness, we need to accept it. That is what great masters teach us.
Not only that, Jesus did not live like a king, as many expected him to, but as one among the people, as the servant of all. Therefore, he was easily accessible to the poor and deprived. However high our status in life is, we should have the expansiveness to see everyone as equal. That, in fact, is an exalted state. If we cannot attain it, then at least we should be able to be able to view them without anger and hatred. We live in times when mutual brotherhood is lost and everyone is thinking of what one can grab from the other. It may be hard to see everyone as equal, but when we understand spirituality, we will be able to achieve this vision.

Currently, we depend on others for our happiness. Because of that dependency, we are losing the experience of true freedom. We miss the experience of knowing our True Self because of this attachment to the ego. No matter how hard we row a boat that is tied to the shore, it will not move forward one inch. Similarly if we want to move forward in spirituality, we need to renounce the notions of “I” and “mine.” We need to understand that we are just instruments in the hands of the Divine, and that it is the Divine power that is allowing us to do things.

We can control things only to some extent. Beyond that it is Divine grace that makes things happen. We need to put in efforts with an attitude of surrender. Even when we win a competition, we need to bend our head and bow down to receive the medal. Humility is the key that opens the heart.

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The goal of every mahatma’s life is to guide others to find the heaven within themselves. They show us that good actions bring us closer to God. Through his life, Jesus Christ taught the world that society rewards a spiritual seeker only with a crown of thorns. All mahatmas have had to face many challenges throughout their life, but because they had the experience of the Truth, nothing could stop them.

If you are a smoker, give your family the present of quitting smoking this Christmas. With the money that you save by giving up this habit, you can help a needy person. It also protects your health. If you are an alcoholic, get help to stop in the name of love for your family. The family will be so happy and your health will not deteriorate as well. If you are an overeater, stop eating excess food and start the habit of eating lesser portions of more nutritious food. This will make us less dull and improve our health.

Such presents that come out of sacrifice bring unending joy. Amma does not say that we should not send greeting cards and gifts or do other such things. It may give our loved ones fond memories. But the real gifts are the actions we do that truly benefit others. This is the right way to celebrate Christmas.

Celebrations like Christmas are also a wake-up call to those who do not know the goal of human life. From the point of view of the ancient sages of India, all are children of God. The guru’s voice wakes up the disciple who is in deep winter hibernation. What does the voice say? “This is the birth of a new age! You should be its creators. Hence, awake, arise! Joyfully shoulder the bundle of sacrifice and surrender! This bundle is not a burden. Rather, it will give us wings to fly high into the world of the soul, the True Self.”

May the spirit of Christmas inspire my children to fly high into the world of peace and joy. May grace bless you always.

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External success is impermanent, we need inner victory

27 Sep 2015, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham, Amma’s 62nd Birthday celebrations

Early this morning the stage was filled with traditional Kerala dancers in full regalia as well as ladies dressed up in the traditional costumes from all 29 states of India to welcome Amma. The loud, Panchari Melam, traditional music of Kerala created festive mood and a celebration in the hearts of everyone.

Upon Amma’s arrival on the stage, Swami Amritaswarupananda performed the Pada Puja while everyone chanted the Guru Gita. He then garlanded Amma with a beautiful red, pink and white mala, and lead the archana on behalf of all the devotees. The hall was reverberating with the chanting of Aum Amriteswaryai Namah.

After the Pada Puja, Amma lead a prayer for peace and harmony; praying for the peace of the departed souls of those who lost their lives in the recent Haj stampede, and for everyone to open their hearts to the plight of the refugees who have fled their homelands due to war and crisis.

Amma then gave her birthday speech, saying that India was suffering from a split personality–success when it comes to technological advancement and failure in terms of poverty, illiteracy, health sanitation and crimes against women. However, she said the condition could be remedied if the nation overcame segregationist attitudes and worked in unity.

“A split personality is never a sign of sound health,” Amma said. “If we want to see India become powerful and healthy again, we need to merge these two faces into one beautiful face.”

“If we can bring our collective knowledge, compassion and talent together, it will not be so long before we see India rising and thriving with peace, harmony and prosperity,” she said. “When this dream of India burns in us so strongly that not even a single Indian wants to sleep until it’s realized, then it will become a reality.”

“External success is impermanent. Along with external success, we need inner victory- victory over our mind and senses.”

“It is said that 22,000 children are dying daily due to poverty. We hear about such deaths so regularly that our ears have become desensitized. We say, “So sad,” but we forget it later. Just words of sympathy are not what is needed for the world. What we need are hands that are ready to serve selflessly.”

Amma ended her talk by asking everyone to stand and chant Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu, once again praying for world peace.

With the help of several dignitaries on the dais, Amma then proceeded with the inauguration of numerous charitable initiatives for the poor in areas including healthcare and housing, as well as the provision of clothing, potable water and electricity.

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It is to make humankind understand truth that God incarnates in human form

6 September 2015 – Amritapuri
from Amma’s Sri Krishna Jayanthi message

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At the mere thought of Lord Sri Krishna, we feel an overwhelming joy arise within us. Even though it has been 5,000 years since the Lord incarnated on earth, his presence continues to shine in the culture and everyday life of the people of our land. The magnetism of the Lord’s leelas and the relevance of his teachings have not diminished with time. Through his life, Sri Krishna revealed the infinite power of the universe in all its completeness. This is the reason we hail him as a purna avatara—a full incarnation.

The literal meaning of the name Krishna is “he who ploughs.” The Lord is he who uproots the weeds of impurities from the human mind. Another meaning of for Krishna is “he who attracts all.” Krishna drew to himself not just the gopis, but all of humankind, as well as the birds, mammals, plants, trees, stones, thorns and everything else in nature.

In response to the maternal devotion of his mother Yashoda, the Lord became a mischievous child. In response to the romantic devotion of the gopis, the Lord became the divine dancer who played his flute and danced the ­rasa-leela. In response to the devoted friendship of Arjuna, the Lord took up a whip and became a charioteer. Even though Krishna knew he would be humiliated, he went to the Kaurava court as an emissary of peace.

At the sacred fire ritual of the Rajasuya Yajna, Lord Krishna—being the chosen deity—received the worship of all the assembled kings. Later, at the ensuing feast, he showed no hesitation in clearing the soiled leaf-plates of those who had eaten. Even when he was falsely accused by his own subjects of stealing the precious Syamantaka gemstone, he remained calm and eventually proved the truth. He alternated between different roles seamlessly, with the deftness of a seasoned actor, yet never lost site of his true nature.

Whatever was his dharma at the present moment he carried that out without letting personal pride, happiness, shyness or difficulty obstruct him.

The goal of any avatara is to lead humankind to its higher self. When we attain our essence, which is hidden within us, we become dear to the Lord. This is the symbolism behind the Lord’s love for butter—which is the essence of milk. When the higher love for the Lord takes us beyond our petty likes and dislikes, then our mind becomes pure, and we become dear to the Lord. This is how the Lord becomes chitta-chora—the stealer of the mind.

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Have vision, turn inward, Truth will shine within

In reality, we are not separate from the Lord. He is our own essential nature. We see the whole world with our eyes, yet we cannot see our own eyes. Such is our current state. If we can make our vision, which is currently focused on the external world, turn inward, then that Supreme Truth will shine forth within us. Otherwise, we will continue searching for happiness and peace in the external world like the musk deer that blindly pursues the smell of musk, not realizing that the fragrance is coming from its own body.

For the Vedantin, the Lord is the perfect role model. To understand practical Vedanta, one should study the life of Lord Krishna. He did not seek any anything for himself. Whatever others needed, he gave. He loved everyone, but was attached to no one.

Some may ask, “Why do we need to love the Lord, who is not attached to anyone?” The Lord did not see anyone as different from him. That is what he revealed to Arjuna through the vision of his cosmic form—that he is in everyone and everything and everyone is in him. Attachment comes only when you see the other person as different from you. The reason he was not attached to anything is because in his worldview there was nothing other than him.

Smile & Equanimity

The greatest message the Lord gave the world was his never-diminishing smile. Whether it was when the he incarnated on earth, when he taught the Gita, or when he watched his own Yadava clan fight and destroy themselves, his smile never wavered. His smile was the smile that rises from mental equanimity.

Equanimity of mind is being able to face opposite circumstances with the same attitude. External circumstances will keep changing. Fortune and hardship will also alternate. We should consciously cultivate the attitude of total acceptance with regards to everything. If we can do that, then peace and joy will always be there in our life.

The Mahabharata and the Bhagavatam present so many challenging incidents that took place in Krishna’s life. Regardless, the smile never faded from his face. Our lives are like the pendulum of a clock; they constantly swing from hardship to fortune, and fortune to hardship. When the pendulum swings to one side, it doesn’t remain there for long. It is just gaining enough momentum to swing back the other. Keeping this in mind, when we experience fortune or comfort in life, we must remember that it is only momentary. Hardships will soon return. We need to bring the pendulum of our lives to a standstill—a point of equilibrium. When we understand the scriptures, we will be able to keep ourselves in this point of equilibrium, like the needle of a balanced scale.

The Avatar

The manifestation of an avatara is like the full moon rising on a new-moon night. Their beauty and influence an avatara has upon the world is beyond comparison. All planes of human life are touched and nourished by their presence. We see this in all fullness in Lord Krishna. The avatara of Lord Krishna was ordinary, yet extraordinary. He was human, yet divine. He was completeness itself.

It is to make humankind understand this supreme truth that God incarnates in human form. Only if God incarnates in human form can we begin to grasp this truth. Just as a policeman disguises himself as a criminal to catch criminals, the Lord joyfully plays his divine leelas with us in order to uplift us. He comes down to each person’s individual level to uplift them.

From the moment that he was born into Kamsa’s prison, to the moment he was killed by the hunter’s arrow, every action Krishna performed was sweet, attractive and aimed at cleaning the human world of its impurities. The prison that the Lord was born into symbolizes the prison of desires that is currently binding our hearts. If we cultivate awareness of the Lord’s presence in our heart, we will be able to release ourselves from all the bonds that imprison us. May the baby Krishna forever play in our hearts. May the wisdom of his words continue to enlighten our path every day.

The above is extracted from Amma’s 2015 Krishna Jayanti message.

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Create an empire of happiness

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

August 28th 2015 — Amritapuri Ashram

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guru is the embodiment of the Scriptures

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31 July 2015, Amritapuri

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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Yoga helps us to reconnect with nature and God

Amma’s Message for the first-ever‎International YogaDay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpts form Amma’s Vishu message.

15 April 2015, Amritapuri

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, love for Nature can be awoken and cultivated.

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

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

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

 

 

2015 shivaratri

Keep the head cool, heart warm

18 Feb 2015, Amritapuri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Sakshi