Ever be a beginner, Life is a book from which we can constantly learn

3 Oct 2014, Amritapuri

Thousands gathered at Amritapuri today to celebrate Vijaya Dasami in Amma’s presence. Amma led the assembled crowd in a prayer for world peace, and then led everyone in the traditional writing and reciting aloud of each letter of the mantra, “Om Hari Sri Ganapataye Namah.” Afterward, she personally held the index finger of hundred of babies and initiated them into the alphabet, helping them to write the sacred mantra in a plate of rice as per the tradition.

Significance of Vidyarambham

“This mantra [ Om Hari Sri Ganapataye Namah] symbolizes all 51 devanagari letters that are the embodiment of the nada-rupini devi—the Goddess of Sound. In the mantra, Hari represents the Paramatma. Shri represents Parasakti. And Ganapati represents Om—the pranava mantra that arises from Parasakti. In essence, the mantra is a complete form of worship. Traditionally some people write Hari Shri on the tongues of infants with gold tipped with honey. The principle being “May what this child speaks become as valuable as gold.” Although knowledge in itself is invaluable, the tradition persists” Amma said.

Amma continued: “We should always remain a beginner, with alertness, patience and enthusiasm. It is the principle of having respect for everything, bowing down in humility to all, ever being a beginner. Life is a book from which we can constantly learn. It is like sitting in an examination hall. At any moment the bell may ring and you will have to turn in your test. So, it is what you are doing in this moment—now—that determines your success or failure. So, we should have the alertness in each and every action that we would have if we were standing before a blazing fire. If we can maintain that level of alertness, then we can learn a lesson from each and every thing.

“In the olden days, the disciple would sit facing the guru and the knowledge would be assimilated directly from the guru into the disciple’s heart. The disciple would verily install the guru’s teaching in his heart. The disciple’s attention and humility brought about the knowledge’s full bloom. The disciple never tired of learning. Nor did it ever feel like a burden to him.

“The disciple’s heart is the bud that blossoms in the sunlight of the guru’s love. It is filled with the nectar of the guru’s grace” Amma reminded all.

“For Vidyarambham, we mix raw rice with a pinch of turmeric on a tray and keep sandal paste and flowers. Then the teacher, holding the child’s hand, guides him in writing his first letters. The teacher represents the supreme principle of God. It is only when knowledge flows through the teacher that it bears fruit. Inherent in this practice is the principle of saranagati—surrender. When we point out the faults of others, we use the index finger. But we forget that in doing so three other fingers are pointing back at us. So, when we point out the faults of others, it is as if we are three times worse. Thus, the index finger represents the ego. It is this index finger that we give to the teacher and, holding which, he helps the child write his first letters, initiating him into knowledge. It’s the resolve, “I am nothing. You are everything.” If you become a zero, you can become a hero—that principle is there.

“When we see the underlying oneness in everything, compassion will arise in our hearts. When this feeling of oneness expresses itself, then we will have the conviction that no one should experience sorrow, no one should starve. That awareness of oneness is the Divine Mother” said Amma in her Vijaya Dasami message.