Question: “It is said that in the spiritual path one needs to have a Guru? Who is Amma’s Guru?”
Amma: “As far as Amma is concerned, every object in the world is Her Guru. Guru and God are within every person. However as long as the ego is dominant, one fails to be aware of that. Ego is the veil that covers the Guru within us. Once you discover the Guru within you, you can perceive his presence in every object. When Amma realised the Guru within, even a speck of dust outside became Her Guru.
Amma looks upon even Her body as Her Guru, for when one ponders over the ephemeral nature of the body, one realises that the Self alone is the Eternal Truth. In Amma’s case everything around Her contributed to Her progress and lead Her to the Truth. Therefore Amma has only reverence towards everything in life.”
Question: “Does Amma mean that one doesn’t require a Guru in particular for realising the Self?”
Amma: “Amma doesn’t say that. A person who has an inborn gift for music may perform all the ragas without undergoing any special training. However if everyone else tries to do so, going by his example, what a mess it would be? Amma would not say that a Guru is not necessary. Amma only means that a precious few who are gifted with the right awareness have no need for an external Guru. Whenever one comes across anything, one should be able to observe it with awareness and discrimination. Amma will give you an example: A person was walking along a path, when a thorn pricked his foot. Thereafter he was careful with every step that he took, thus protecting himself from other thorns on the way, and also preventing his falling into a deep pit that lay a little farther along the path. Here the initial thorn prick became a Guru to the person, saving him from greater dangers.
One should not have attachment or aversion towards anything. If so, one can move forward learning lessons from everything. However how many amongst us have such awareness, dispassion and patience? A person who doesn’t have such qualities cannot attain God without the guidance of an external Guru. The real Guru is one who awakens the knowledge that is innate in us. Today our eyes are blinded by the cataract of ignorance. We are unable to perceive the Guru within us. We should perform surgery on our eyes and make them see the light of knowledge. It is the attitude of discipleship, the attitude of surrender, that aids us in achieving this end.
One should always have the attitude of a beginner, for only a beginner will have the patience to learn anything. The growth of the body doesn’t necessarily mean the growth of the mind. For our mind to become expansive and enfold the whole universe, we should have the attitude of a child. Only a child will be able to grow. Today we are egoistic. We are identified with our body, mind and intellect. Forgoing this, we should imbibe the attitude of a child. Then only can we attain the shraddha necessary to follow what is taught. Even if any amount of rain falls on the top of a mountain, nothing remains there; whereas a pond below will become filled with water. Likewise, if we have the attitude that “I am nothing,” then everything will come to us. Patience and shraddha are the most important wealth in our life. He who has gained this will be victorious everywhere. When we have patience and shraddha, the mirror within us through which we can see the blemishes in us will become clear. One becomes one’s own mirror. Then without any external help, one will be able to recognize one’s own faults and rectify them. Such a person will be able to behold the Guru in everything. He will not engage in unnecessary disputes and debates. Such a person does not resort to empty words; what he preaches can be found in his own life.”
Question: “Does it mean that there is no need to study the shastras (scriptures)?”
Amma: “It is necessary to study the scriptures. By studying Vedanta, the quickest path to realise God will become clear to us. We will be able to learn that God is closest to us, that God is within us. Today many people confine Vedanta to mere words. It is not reflected in their actions. Vedanta is not a burden to be carried on the head, but something to be brought into the heart, something to train the mind. Not realising this, many become egoistic. When a person properly understands Vedanta, naturally he becomes humble. Vedanta will help us to learn that our true nature is divine. However to bring it into our experience, we should be prepared to lead our lives according to Vedantic principles. If you write ‘sugar’ on a piece of paper and lick it, you will not be able to relish the sweetness. To experience sweetness, we have to taste the sugar. Mere reading or talking about Brahman will not give us the experience of Brahman. Our actions should reflect what we have learnt. It is only then that the knowledge becomes one’s own experience. Encouragement is necessary to inculcate enthusiasm. It is the lives of those who have imbibed Vedanta that become the inspiration for others to tread the same path. Some people sit idle saying, “I am Brahman.” If it had been enough to sit idle, there would have been no need for the body. Yet we are embodied, and we have to live those Vedantic principles in our lives. Once we understand this we will automatically become humble.
Amma has been talking about what She has learnt from Her life. Amma doesn’t insist that others should accept them as such. You can move according to your own experiences in life. Realise who you are. This is the only thing Amma wants to tell.”