Cat, Monkey and Eagle

2 January 2001, Amritapuri

As is customary, Amma came and joined the ashramites in meditation today. A great feeling of peace and silence filled the temple as Amma led Her children through meditation. When the meditation finished, Amma posed a question to all: “What attitude should a spiritual aspirant living at the ashram have?” Several good answers were given by those present. One brahmacharini said that more than anything else a deep sense of devotion was necessary to be successful in spiritual life. Shortly after this answer, one of Amma’s western children expressed her concern over a friend who felt she was lost because she lacked this devotion. At this point Amma was then asked to clarify, “What is real devotion?”

Amma gave a beautiful example to illustrate the attitude devotees should have towards God. She described the relationships kittens, baby monkeys and eagles have with their mothers.

Whenever a kitten finds itself in trouble, it will simply stop where it is and begin to cry out for its mother. It will not move from that place or stop crying until it is heard. The mother will then arrive and lovingly pick up her child with her mouth and take it to safety.

The baby monkey always clings to its mother. No matter how much the mother may seem to ignore her child or be busying herself with other things, the child will never let go. It hangs on regardless of how much attention it receives.

After the mother eagle hatches her chick she will fly off from the nest, seemingly leaving her baby all alone and helpless. Yet all the while the mother is soaring high above casting a watchful eye on all below. If anything threatens her chick she will immediately swoop down to protect it.