I have no other arms than yours

17 May, 1998

(From Amma’s benedictory address at the Inauguration of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre (AIMS), May 17, 1998)

God is not on a golden throne somewhere beyond the sky. He is pure experience. He is beyond the reach of the intellect and the senses. Still, we can perceive Him and we can know Him if we have shradda (faith and alertness). God’s consciousness pervades everything. His consciousness is immanent in the cawing crow, the crying cuckoo, the roaring lion and the raging ocean.

God’s consciousness is the power that works through our hands, walks with our legs, speaks with our tongues, sees through our eyes and pulsates in our hearts.
In a village there was a statue of a saint with his arms outstretched. On a plaque beneath the statue these words were inscribed: “Come into my arms.” With the passage of time, the arms were damaged and broke off. The villagers gathered together and decided to replace the statue. But one among them said, “Why replace it? The arms could be repaired.” Then an old man came forward and said, “Let the statue remain as it is.” The villagers asked him, “What about the plaque underneath? It says, ‘Come into my arms.’” The old man replied, “That is not a problem. Just below the words ‘Come into my arms,’ simply add, ‘I have no other arms than yours.’”

Children, God doesn’t have any hands or feet of His own. He works through us, through our eyes, ears and hands. So we have to bring him into our hands, into our feet, into our tongue, our eyes and our hearts. We ourselves have to become God.

There are only two aspects of life: performing actions and reaping the fruits of those actions. If good actions bring good results, then bad actions bring bad results. My children need not be frightened when they hear this. Remember that if you take one step towards God, He will take 10 steps towards you. Students who come from remote villages, and who do not have the proper facilities to study, are often given special concessions during examinations. Those who have scored a certain minimum amount of marks are given moderation, so that they are able to pass the examinations. For example, if one has to have 40 marks to pass, these students can pass by getting only 25 marks. Similarly, if there is a minimum of effort on our part, God’s grace will descend upon us. More than our own effort, it is the grace of God that brings success in life. It is His grace that adds sweetness to the fruits of our efforts.

Even if we do make an effort, we should be alert and try to eliminate egoism within us. Only then will we be fit enough to receive God’s grace. If we are proud and egoistic, then, even if God does shower His grace upon us, it will all be in vain.

A lot of people apply for different jobs. After a written test, the successful candidates are called for an interview. A lot of these candidates are qualified in every aspect. Some of them may answer all the questions they are given exceedingly well, but not all of them are selected for the post. This is because they lack the grace that would melt the interviewer’s heart and make him pleased with them. If we are to receive that grace, we have to perform good, selfless actions. But most people try to gain things the easy way.

It is said that one coin in heaven is worth 10 million coins on earth, and that one second in heaven is equivalent to 10 million years on earth. There was once a devotee who prayed to God, “Oh Lord, you are so merciful. Won’t you bless me by giving me just one coin from Your treasure chest?” “Sure,” said the Lord. “Just wait a minute…”

In other words, God’s grace doesn’t come that easily. We cannot fool him in any way. He is not a dullard. God is the Supreme Intelligence — the source of all intelligence in the universe. We should always remember this and perform good actions, so that we will become worthy of receiving his grace. This is the easiest way to achieve success in life.

Whenever you perform an action, you should listen to the voice of your conscience. If you ignore that voice and act contrary to what it tells you, it will make you restless and troubled. It will only lead to your ruin.

Amma always says that meditation is as precious as gold. Meditation leads to material progress, abiding peace and ultimate liberation. Not even a moment devoted to meditation goes to waste, rather it beings 10-fold gain. And if, along with our meditation we develop compassion, it is like gold with a fragrance, something priceless and utterly unique. A smiling face, a kind word, a compassionate look — all these are different forms of meditation. Even the smallest word from us is of great importance. So we should utter each word with utmost attention. We shouldn’t say a single word that could hurt anyone. For what we give, we will receive. If we give sorrow to others, then we will also be given sorrow; and if we are loving towards others and make them happy, then we, in our turn, will receive love and happiness.

A group of people lost their way on a journey. They met a man on the road and asked him the way. But they asked him rudely, “Hey, you! Tell us the way to such and such place!” The man was offended by their rudeness and thought, “How arrogant they are! I will teach them a lesson.” And so he deliberately gave them the wrong directions.

If they had asked him politely, he would have tried to help them. And even if he didn’t know the way, he would have introduced them to someone else who knew the way. So it is our attitude that is responsible for the kind of response we get from others. If you speak to someone with love and humility, they will respond in the same way. So let your every word be spoken with utmost attention.

There was a man who was looking for a job. He went to a company and pleaded with the owner: “I am a poor man. I do not have any way to support myself. Please won’t you give me a job!” But the owner scolded him and threw him out. The man went to another place. But there he was also turned away. Suppose he meets with the same experience at 10 places. He will lose all interest in life and he may try to commit suicide. On the other hand, if just one person says, “Please forgive me. At present there is no work available. But as soon as anything comes up, I will certainly let you know,” it will make such a difference to him. Those loving words will save him from the jaws of death. So children, we should make it a point that our every thought, word and deed are filled with love. Then God’s grace will spontaneously flow to us. To pray with absolute sincerity, “O God, don’t let my thoughts, words or deeds hurt anyone” — that is true devotion and true knowledge, and it is our duty to God. Just as the sun doesn’t need the light of a candle, God doesn’t require anything from us. All He expects from us is a compassionate heart. We should be able to reach out to the suffering and do all we can to bring peace into their lives. That is what God wants from us. It is the love and compassion we extend to those who are suffering that makes us fit to receive God’s grace.

(Before concluding Her address, Amma again referred to Amrita Hospital. She said:)

Amma wouldn’t say that the institutions of the math have come into being because of any merit on Amma’s part. It is because of you, my children, that we are able to do a bit of service. Thousands of Amma’s children are toiling day and night, without receiving any remuneration for their work. Amma’s children contributed whatever little they were capable of doing. In the beginning they made some mistakes, but because of the encouragement they were given, instead of losing hope, they worked with renewed vigor and by the grace of the Divine everything came off very well. So let us extend the same encouragement to those who have failed in life, and let us give them a chance to make an effort with renewed hope and enthusiasm. Thus we can uplift then and lead them also to the world of the victorious.