“Pure, Selfless Love is only medicine for healing wounds of human trafficking”- Amma

Amma’s Speech on Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery
Delivered at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City, Rome

(click here for Malayalam)

Dec 2nd 2014


Amma bows down to everyone gathered here today, who are embodiments of Divine Love and the Supreme Self.

Your Holiness and honored guests… I would like to start by expressing my heartfelt appreciation for being able to participate in such a historic gathering. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the determination and social commitment of His Holiness and to the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Respected Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, who has worked very hard to make this assembly a reality.

Human trafficking is one of the worst curses plaguing society—not only in this century but since the beginning of time. The more we try to eradicate slavery and forced labor, the stronger it seems to rebound. It is like an evil ghost that keeps haunting us. As His Holiness has stated, “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society. It is a crime against humanity.”

It is the duty of each country to implement laws that address and work to eradicate this extremely cruel and immoral crime and to liberate and protect victims from such a fate. It is also the moral responsibility of every citizen committed to justice and social welfare. However, we are all aware of the bitter truth that this problem cannot easily be solved, for the wound of human trafficking is centuries old and extremely deep-rooted.


Human trafficking rips apart the lives of innocent and helpless children, who embrace life with a heart full of sweet dreams for the future, but are left, in the end, destroyed and discarded.

We have been granted the blessing of life through God’s compassion. This life is to be spent performing good deeds as an offering to God. To destroy another person’s life is a misuse of God’s gift. All living beings are instruments in the hands of the Divine.

The law of God’s court is righteousness, or dharma. Let us all strive to respect and follow this law. Human trafficking is unrighteous.

All religious leaders have the ability to help both the perpetrators—those who trap their fellow human beings in the net of human enslavement—as well as the victims who get caught in this net. They both need to be guided to the right path. Religious leaders should be prepared to fight this battle and uphold righteousness. This is not a war meant to kill. We need to be ready to fight a war to save the helpless from the grip of demonic minds. We don’t want a response born out of revenge due to perceived differences in caste, creed, religion, etc. Instead, we need to develop empathy, realizing the divinity within each person.


The human mind has created many divisions in the name of religion, caste, language and national boundaries. Let us try to create a bridge of all-encompassing pure love to break down these self-created walls. Any hardened heart will soften in love. Love can spread light through even the densest darkness. Selfless love transforms the mind from a demon that enslaves us into our own liberator. Those who traffic and enslave others have fallen prey to a negative mind. Religious leaders should, without ulterior motives, formulate an action plan of rehabilitation based on selfless love and spirituality, the essence of all faiths.

Remaining silent in the face of unrighteousness is unrighteous. Governments and political leaders have to establish laws without loopholes, so the guilty cannot escape, and these laws must be strictly enforced. In many countries, the government and various NGOs are fighting human trafficking, but we see no reduction in the power and massive financial gain of those who make a business out of treating living beings as mere objects to be used and eventually discarded. The number of victims of this business is rapidly increasing. Like the roots of an enormous tree, the roots of this tragedy are pervading deeper and deeper into society. If we fail to do something effective against this injustice, which is happening right in front of our eyes, it will constitute a travesty against future generations.

Human trafficking is one of the worst curses that plagues society

Victims of human trafficking lose their self-respect and fall into a pit of despair. They are often used by terrorists as drug mules, suicide bombers and for many other illegal activities. Some foods that we eat on a daily basis are produced by children who are forced to work day and night. Victim’s kidneys and other body parts become commodities sold in the marketplace. When these victims are no longer useful and have developed psychological problems as a result of abuse or have contracted incurable diseases such as AIDS, they are finally thrown out onto the streets.

I have personally seen and listened to thousands upon thousands of examples of human trafficking. Once, a woman came to me and burst into tears. She said, “Amma, I have AIDS. My only desire is to see my child before I die. Please help me.” When Amma asked what had happened, she said, “When I was nine years old, I was working as a domestic servant for a family. There I met an elderly man. He said he could give me a better salary and promised me many other benefits. Because my family had so many financial problems, I left with him. When we reached the new place, I saw that there were many other girls there. I wasn’t allowed to speak to any of them. Finally, I realized it was a brothel. Men started to rape me regularly. At first, I felt angry as well as guilty for what I was being made to do. But, as time went by, I lost all sense of dignity and even started to find pleasure in my work.

“After five years, I gave birth to a girl. They let me breastfeed my baby for the first month, then suddenly took her away from me. After a few more years, I was diagnosed with HIV. They stopped allowing me to see my child. When I became really sick, they said they were going to take me to a hospital, but instead they abandoned me. I begged them to let me see my child just one more time, but they never agreed. They didn’t even take me back to the brothel. Everyone I approached for help treated me with disgust and loathing. The only thing they didn’t do is throw stones at me. All doors close in my face. I cannot live in this world anymore. I just want to see my child once more before I die. Will they inject her with hormones to make her look older, use her like they used me and eventually throw her out?”

Hearing her pathetic story, I sent some people to go and try to find her daughter. It was a difficult task.


Some other women also narrated their horrifying story to Amma, “A man used to visit us regularly. He would help out with whatever was needed, and we became very comfortable with him. After a while, he offered to take our children abroad to work in his friend’s company. He promised to send back large amounts of money each month. He gave each of us an advance payment of Rs. 1,000. He took our children with him. We have not seen him or our children since. We are not sure where our children are, but we heard that they were taken to a brothel. When people went to search for the brothel, they were told that the children had already been trafficked from there.” Saying this, they burst into tears.

Today the value of everything has increased. Men sell their sperm and women their ova for a great deal of money, but ironically, in many countries, a child can be purchased for prostitution or forced labor for a pathetic sum of 10 to 20 dollars.

Human trafficking is a complex problem. The solution needs to be multifaceted. We must address the aspect of dharma, the compelling aspect of poverty, legal aspects, etc. Social service and awareness campaigns also have a huge role to play in this process. Considering all aspects, we will only be able to improve this situation with a collaborative approach.

In spite of taking regular medications, if a diabetic continues to eat sweet food, their blood sugar level will increase. Diet control and lifestyle modification are more important than medication. In the case of impoverished children who lack access to proper education because schools are scarce, resulting in many children only going to the fourth or eighth grade, money alone will not improve the situation. We need to provide the new generation as well as the victims of human trafficking with a practical education that will help create a greater awareness within them. We need to awaken their latent courage and self-confidence, to help them arise. They need to realize that they are not helpless and vulnerable like kittens; they are mighty and courageous lions. We have to help them elevate their minds.

There are two types of education: education for a living and education for life. When we study in college, striving to become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer—this is education for a living. On the other hand, education for life requires an understanding of the essential principles of spirituality. The real goal of education is not to create people who can understand only the language of machines. The main purpose of education should be to impart a culture of the heart—a culture based on enduring values.

When Amma’s devotees go to villages to give vocational training, women are also given sex education and life-enrichment education. As a result, many young women have been able to save themselves from people trying to sell them for prostitution, sometimes even their own parents. Amma has been able to help 80 percent of the women who were forced into prostitution and came to her for help, but the other 20 percent are continuing the same way of life. They do not want to change, and Amma has also not tried to force them to do anything.

Lust is a kind of hunger. Even if we feel hungry, we don’t devour everything we can get our hands on. If we go to a restaurant and order food, the people around us may have ordered a variety of different dishes. We may think, “I wish I had ordered that dish instead.” But even if we feel this way, we will exercise a certain amount of restraint. In this manner, we need to exercise restraint for everything in life, especially lust.

Spiritual values need to be inculcated at a young age. When Amma was a child, her mother would say, “Never urinate in the river. The river is the Divine Mother.” When we swam in the backwaters, even though the water was cold, remembering our mother’s words, we could restrain ourselves. When we develop a reverential attitude towards a river, we will never defile it. Our respect towards the river helped to keep it clean, and a clean river ultimately benefits everyone who uses it. It’s not important to debate whether God exists or not. What is important is that devotion and faith in God help to sustain good values and righteousness in society. These values are what bring balance to society and the entire creation.

Roads are meant for vehicles to drive on, but if we say, “I can drive however I wish,” we may get into an accident. Just as there are traffic rules, there are similar rules for everything in life. Spiritual values help us to live according to these rules.

Many people are working hard to put a stop to child labor, but just by banning it we will not be able to solve the problem. Once, a man brought a 10-year-old boy to Amma. He wanted me to raise the boy in the ashram and told me the story of how the boy became an orphan. His father had died two years before, so his mother and sister went to work in a matchbox factory near their home. His mother was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and was unable to work, as she was bedridden. Even though his sister was paid very little, it was just enough to make ends meet. After a while, laws were established that banned child labor. The owner of the matchbox factory was arrested, and his company was shut down. All the children working there were let go. Distraught at the loss of their only source of income, the mother sent her son to school in the morning and then she poisoned her daughter and herself.


It is justifiable to shut down such factories, but we often forget the families of the young children who depend on these factories in order to live. In our attempts to resolve a problem, if we only see one aspect and fail to see the other, it is the people who have no one to turn to who experience the repercussions. Before we push drastically to stop child labor and human trafficking, first we need to build a foundation to help these families become self-sufficient and ensure their future.

Spirituality begins and culminates in compassion. If we could transform compassion from a mere word into a path of action, we would be able to solve 90 percent of the world’s humanitarian problems. There are two types of poverty in the world. The first type is due to the lack of food, clothing and shelter. The second type is the poverty of love and compassion. We need to tackle the second type of poverty first. If we have love and compassion, we will wholeheartedly serve and help those who lack food, clothing and shelter.

According to the Bhagavad Gita, the Creator and creation are one, just as waves and the ocean are one and the same. Though we may see a thousand suns reflected in a thousand pots of water, there is only one sun. Likewise, the consciousness within all of us is the same. Just as one hand spontaneously reaches out to soothe the other hand when it is in pain, may we all console and support others as we would our own Self.

People from all nations and religions become victims to the ravaging effects of human enslavement and experience extreme abuse and suffering. Their physical and mental pain does not differentiate between language, race or skin color. These victims are just a single group of humans, struggling against the clutches of endless sorrow and emotional suppression.

There are antibiotic ointments that aid in the healing of external wounds. Similarly, there are many different kinds of medication available to treat diseases of our internal organs, but there is only one medicine that can heal the wounds of our mind. This medicine is pure love. In order to heal the mental and emotional wounds inflicted upon the victims of human trafficking, we need to care for them with selfless love. This will bring them into the light of a free life, away from the darkness forcefully imposed upon them in the past. We need to create a large taskforce of social servants to carry out this sacred mission. Only religious and spiritual leaders can bring together such a taskforce.

May the inherent compassion within all living beings awaken. May we all develop the discernment to love and respect life and those living around us. We are not isolated islands but interconnected links on the chain of God’s creation. May we realize this great truth. May we see others’ pain as our pain and their happiness as our happiness. May we forget all the pain and the suffering of the past and forgive all the hurt we have experienced. May we bow down in reverence to all that is good in the world and find eternal happiness.


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Balagokulam bestows Janmashtami Puraskaram upon Amma

4September 2014 – Amritapuri Ashram

Balagokulam, an organization promoting Hindu cultural education since the 1970s, bestowed its 18th annual Krishna Janmashtami Award upon Amma today. The award was presented by Shripad Yesso Naik, the Honorable Central Minister for Culture and Tourism during a function held at Amritapuri Ashram.

Addressing the gathering, Sri. Naik said, “It is a great honor and privilege for me today to confer the Janmashtami Puraskar to Amma, who is above all awards and puraskaram [honours]. But, still, as an expression of gratitude to Amma, in all humbleness, it is a privilege for the people here that Amma has accepted to be bestowed with this puraskaram only for their satisfaction.” Sri. Naik said that the award was being bestowed upon Amma for her never-ending “promotion of the cultural, spiritual and indigenous heritage of our nation through enlightenment as well as seva [selfless service].”

He then presented Amma with the award.

In her acceptance address, Amma stressed the importance of spreading India’s spiritual culture to its children. “Truth and compassion towards all beings, the twin peaks of human existence, are the hallmarks of Bharata samskara [Indian spiritual culture]. This culture is our mother. If we can imbibe this culture and take pride in it, it will lead us to great heights. If we lose touch with it, our society will become like a kite whose string has snapped.”

Devotion is not blind faith but a blindness-removing faith
Amma also said that it is important that cultural festivals, such as those held during Sri Krishna’s birthday, are conducted in a manner that awakens spiritual understanding, values and devotion in the younger generation. “Devotion is not blind faith but a blindness-removing faith, dispelling the darkness of the mind,” Amma said. “Where there is love, there is light. It is our negativities that create darkness in our mind and veil God’s true nature, which in reality is residing within us. Only the pure light of love for God can remove this veil.”

The Gita is the essence of the Vedas
Amma then praised the Bhagavad-Gita as one of India’s most precious gems and said that if we really want to bring about a resurgence in spiritual culture that we should try to bring its teachings to the public. “The Gita is the essence of the Vedas,” Amma said. “It reveals the path by which people belonging to all sections of society and walks of life can raise themselves up. Just as the footprints of all animals can fit within the footprint of an elephant, so too the essence of all scriptures is contained within the Gita. The best way to help our spiritual culture grow is by bringing Sri Krishna’s message to the hearts of the people and kindling their devotion.”

“Does God exist?” is not the relevant question
Amma also pointed out that people should focus on the practical benefits of spirituality instead of engaging in pointless debates: “Does God exist?” is not the relevant question. The relevant question is: “Are human beings suffering?” The practical science for removing suffering is devotion. Devotion not only helps us to unburden our heart but also helps us become more aware of dharma. It also helps us to become more compassionate towards suffering people. Devotion for the Lord and compassion for the world are two sides of the same coin.”

Amma also had a few concrete suggestions, including requesting mothers to spend time in prayer with their children during sunset. “Amma would also ask the mothers in each house to spend at least 10 minutes to a half an hour sitting with their children chanting prayers and singing bhajans every night,” she said. “This will give the children the kind of relaxation and concentration they require. Remember, the mother is the first guru; no one can give a child what its mother can. Some may say that there is no time for such things. But when a mother’s child falls sick and has to be hospitalized, won’t she spend days—even months—at the child’s side? It is important that we bring back the culture of the evening prayer.”

At the end of her address Amma said that she was accepting the award on behalf of all her devotees. “A mother never expects any award for the things she does for her children,” Amma said. “For the happiness of my children, in the name of all of my children, Amma is accepting this award. May the efforts of Balagokulam help transform every heart into a gokulam in which little Krishna will joyfully reside forever.”

Service to poor is best Birthday present says Amma

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life should flow incessantly like a melodious song

Amma’s Krishna Jayanti Message

15 September 2014 — Amritapuri Ashram

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Devotees dancing to the tune of Amma’s bhajan

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

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

– Excerpted from Amma’s Sri Krishna Jayanti satsang.

Onam connects us with eternity

7 September 2014 — Amritapuri Ashram

Extracted from Amma’s Onam satsang.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Build a bridge of love and universal brotherhood

27 July 2014, Amritapuri

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

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

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

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

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

– Tulasi

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.

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