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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Sri Krishna is Protector of Dharma and Jagat Guru

28 August, Amritapuri – Krishna Jayanthi Celebrations 2013

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 July 2013, Amritapuri

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hari Bol!!! Hari Bol!!!

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

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

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

-Sakshi

new year eve

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

New Year Celebration at Amritapuri

1 Jan 2013, Amritapuri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After Amma left the hall, Prasad was passed out.

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

-Kannadi

Prayer Message for Newtown

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma)

Transform this world into heaven

27 Sep 2012, Amritapuri

Amma’s 59th Birthday Celebrations

At 9:00 a.m., Amma arrived at the stage at Amrita University Campus, flanked by gracefully dancing students from Amrita University dressed in traditional Mohiniyattam finery, to the accompaniment of Panchavadyam.

The Sri Guru Pada Puja ceremony was conducted by Amma’s senior disciples and led by Swami Amritaswarupananda.

Addressing the huge gathering Amma said “Amma doesn’t see this as a day of celebration. This should be a day when the gaps between human hearts close a little. This should be a day when one person is able to remove the sorrows of another, a day when the hands of one person stretch out to help another. We shouldn’t reserve this attitude just for today; it should extend and come to pervade our entire life. Amma’s happiness is in seeing my children’s lives becoming the carriers of this message.”

“We live in an age wherein despite immense scientific and technological advancements, we are witnessing the disintegration of many other important aspects of our lives. Therefore our focus today should neither be on dependence nor non-dependence, but on interdependence. This is because humans, animals, plants, the earth, the sky, the atmosphere, the sun, the moon and all the planets are all interdependent.”
“Man is a part of nature. We have come from nature. The human body is comprised of the five natural elements. Forever forbearing and forgiving us, the earth remains as our constant support. The sun gives us light. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, which is poisonous to us, and release oxygen. Rivers and lakes give us fresh water to quench our thirst. Air provides us with our life-breath. In spite of all this, man, who has evolved from the five elements, fails to acknowledge their importance.

“Just having a respectful approach to everything can bring about a huge transformation in our society and in the world. To rise triumphantly in life, we should begin from the bottom. To build a tall tower that stretches to the sky, we should start by building a solid foundation down in the earth. It is humility that makes us rise high. It is respect that gives one real power.
“We should live our life in a manner that is helpful to both ourselves as well as to others. God has given lightening just a few moments of existence. So too a rainbow. Some flowers blossom just for a single day. The full moon lasts only till sunrise. A butterfly lives for only a few days. However during their short existence, they give so much beauty and happiness to the world. Amma prays that we learn from their example and try to use our lives to make this world an even more beautiful place. Let us color our lips with words of truth. Let us trace our eyes with the anjana (‘kajal’ or traditional eyeliner) of compassion. Let us adorn our hands with the henna of good deeds. Let us bless our minds with the sweetness of humility. Let us fill our hearts with the light of love for God and all of God’s creation. Like this, may we transform this world into heaven” Amma concluded.

Afterwards a series of charitable programs were launched by different dignitaries.

Let Krishna’s undying smile be an inspiration to us

“Speaking about Lord Krishna is a difficult because he transcends thought and word. Lord Krishna is that truth, unable to explain which, thoughts and words return defeated. He is pure knowledge, pure bliss, pure love and the embodiment of dharma—yet he is beyond all this as well.

“Lord Krishna lived 5,000 years ago, but his message and work have equal importance in the present and the future. The reason is that Lord Krishna’s life and words teach us practical things. Through his life, Bhagavan Krishna showed us how man can practice spiritual values in his daily life even while immersed in worldly actions. In Ambadi, in Vrindavan and in several other places, he performed many miracles. If we keep those aside, Lord Krishna’s life contains the same events as the life of an ordinary man. Yet there was a huge difference: Lord Krishna was able to face all the circumstances in his life with a smile. Whether the circumstances were favourable or unfavourable, his smile—the mark of complete contentment—never left his face. His smile proclaimed to the world that his birth and life were completely blissful. Since the day he was born, the smile never left his face—not even in the battlefield.

“Krishna’s form, his words, his plays and actions left devotees absorbed in bliss. There is no greater power, no greater miracle, than love. In fact, Krishna’s greatest miracle was not lifting the Govardhana mountain; it was the love he created in the hearts of the Gopis. Because, the Gopis were simple, illiterate, village girls who had no exposure to scriptural knowledge. All they had was their innocent love for Krishna. They thought of Krishna as being the only truth, the only eternal companion, their only true wealth, their everything. Their wealth was Krishna, their truth was Krishna, their sole relative was Krishna, their self was Krishna… When they abandoned their husbands and children to follow Krishna, he told them to return to their household duties. The Gopis asked him then, “We have reached you, to attain whom all the karmas (duties) of the world are performed. So, what significance do our duties have in our lives when we have attained you?” This is the attitude the Gopis had towards Bhagavan Krishna—the attitude of love for love’s own sake.

“Lord Krishna entered this world with a smile and left the world with a smile. As for us, we come into the world crying and leave it crying and making others cry. We should prepare to leave the world with a smile. Life should be like a hotel that we enter with a smile, enjoy the stay and exit with a smile. When a person living in a rented home builds a house, he leaves for his own home gladly. He will not leave unhappily; he will leave with a smile because he is leaving for his own house. Similarly, death is an unexpected guest who can arrive at any moment, beckoning us. We should be able to leave at any moment with a smile, with the awareness that we are going to our true home. The body is like a rented home that we will be asked to vacate at any moment. We should stay in it, but at the same time put efforts to build our real home. Then we can leave with a smile.

“Let Krishna’s undying smile be an inspiration to us all. May love for God flow from my children’s hearts like gentle moonlight. May that infant Krishna be born and play in all hearts at all times. Let us imagine a world like that. We see children laughing, running and playing around us. In the same way, let us imagine all the people of the world forgetting every care, laughing, running and playing like children. Let us pray for this and strive towards its fulfilment. Just as Krishna and the Gopis of Vrindavan laughed and played and lived merrily, forgetting everything else, may my children’s hearts be filled with playfulness, love and happiness. May grace bless my children.”
– Excerpt from Amma’s Krishna Jayanthi Message, 08 Sep 2012, Amritapuri

Be content with what you have and make each day an Onam

“Onam’s message is the quintessence of all imaginable goodness. The reason for this is that, in Onam, we see the picture of all material prosperity as well as lessons of dharmic values and kindness. It’s festive atmosphere is filled with enthusiasm, celebration, games and dances. It is a product of our bond with the culture of our ancestors, as well as of our bond with Nature. It is imbued with a love so strong that it brings together family members even when they are drifting apart. Most importantly, it contains teachings that reveal the most subtle secrets of life. Moreover, it is founded upon the legend of a great emperor who was able to live these ideals.

“There are two kinds of Onams. The first is the Onam born of prosperity and auspiciousness. The second is the Onam that comes from inner contentment despite lack of external affluence. That is the meaning behind the famous saying, “Be content with what you have and make each day an Onam.” This is the second Onam, the Onam of inner peace. The Mahabali that we know represents the first kind of Onam. The Mahabali who visits us every year represents the second kind of Onam.

“When Mahabali discovered that all the three worlds he had attained were insignificant before the three steps of Vamana, his ignorance dissolved and knowledge shone forth. He offered his head—representing the ego—at the feet of the Lord. Surrendering all his material possessions and attainments, Mahabali allowed himself to be filled with spiritual wealth. Mahabali represents human effort, and Vamana represents God’s grace. In losing all he had, the second Mahabali became a nobody. However he attained higher levels of fame and glory. Along with Vamana, he is also revered and worshiped on Onam.

“At times our ego might show up. We need to offer our ego to God. When we give up the notion, ’10 cents of land is mine’, the entire world becomes ours. We need to give up the notion of ‘I and mine’. We need to feel ‘I am thine!’. This is the attitude of surrender. We need to feel, ‘I am like an instrument in thy hands.’ This is the indicated meaning of Mahabali’s story.

“We see Onam as an auspicious resolve that marks the beginning of good times and the end of bad times. It also conveys the ideal of positive transformation. Just as the incomplete devotion of Mahabali transformed into complete surrender, similar should be the change within us.

“In these times, when corruption and unrighteousness prevail, Onam reminds us of our goal of returning to dharma and values” Amma reminded all those present for Onam celebrations at Amritapuri.

(Excerpt from Amma’s Onam message of 2012)