Amma talks with medical students
14 August 2003, Amritapuri
100 medical students from Amrita University came to Amritapuri and received the blessing of a private group meeting with Amma today. Most were meeting Amma for the very first time, and had just completed their first 2 weeks of life in medical school. This batch of new students is the first since the school was conferred University status by the Government of India, and represented those chosen out of a pool of 2000 applicants from every state in India, and even countries abroad.
All sat before Amma in rapt attention as She lovingly talked and joked with them.
Amma began by discussing the value of the medical profession and how it should be viewed as a blessed career. She spoke of how doctors have a unique opportunity to relieve the pain and suffering of people, through both the treatment itself and through loving and compassionate care. Those who are suffering from illness or injury are the ones most in need of peace and relief. The doctor, who should learn how to identify with other’s pain, feeling it as their own, is in a position to bring happiness to those who need it most, mentally and emotionally as much as physically. In fact this is essentially the root of true compassion and spirituality itself: seeing all as oneself. This is one way that practicing medicine can be a sadhana.
Amma continued to say that all of the students should view the practice of medicine as a chance to serve God through humanity. She implored the children to, for Her sake, please accept the difficult school years ahead as an opportunity and a tapas (spiritual austerity), which will bear fruit later.
The students had all been living these past two weeks away from their families for the very first time. Indian families are very tight-knit and often live together in the same home all of their lives. And of course those students who moved here from overseas to attend over five years of medical college would surely be missing their homes terribly as well. All were experiencing the same longing for that family connection, and one student, speaking for the group, said to Amma, “We didn’t realize it would be this difficult leaving everyone we love behind. All of us have been so homesick and finding it hard to get used to being away from our families. But, this half-hour spent with Amma has been so full of smiles and happiness. How can we take this happiness with us?”
Visibly touched, Amma responded: “Amma knows you are sad and missing your families. But, after you finish school and get a job, you will have to leave them at that time as well. One must learn to adjust to new circumstances, and strength will come from this. Also, since you are all living and studying together, you should establish a family-like atmosphere among yourselves. Develop the attitude of sharing love. When that feeling of “connectedness” comes, love and happiness will be there. We are like links in a chain, and one’s words and actions have a direct impact on others. So always be humble and loving. This will in turn make you happy, as well as spread happiness to others. Happiness never lies in any object, but in our mental attitude.When that mental attitude is right, happiness will be there, regardless of the outer circumstances.”
Amma then gave the example of hot coffee. “The heat does not belong to the coffee, but was borrowed from the fire. Your mind is the fire,” Amma said.
One student, a younger girl meeting Amma for the first time, wanted to say something to Amma. She was called forward to speak, but when she arrived, she simply and innocently embraced Amma. A moment later, an older boy smiling in the very back of the group, and who was also meeting Amma for the very first time, raised his hand and said to Amma, “I would like to talk to you too!” When encouraged to do so, he responded with,
“No, I want to talk with you in private, Amma!” (a sentiment many of Amma’s devotees can sympathize with!). So, Amma waved him toward Her as well. Only when he reached Her, instead of talking he simply fell straight into Her lap, where he remained for the next few minutes! Then, a third made the journey to Her lap. And then a fourth. Such is the spontaneous attraction that pure love generates.
Happiness and gratitude radiated from the student’s faces, as everyone drank in Amma’s compassionate words and bathed in the blissful atmosphere. One had the sense that all were feeling profoundly fortunate to have a great World-Teacher such as Amma instructing and guiding them in these crucial early steps of their lives in the world. Indeed, if only we all had such a start in life!
Wanting to capture the moment, perhaps as a way of “taking their happiness with them,” they asked for a group photo to be taken with Amma. Amma of course happily agreed. However, as the meeting was taking place inside the enclosed stage of the new temple hall there wasn’t enough room to get the wide shot needed to include all 100 students!
Just as this was being realized, the large doors were flung open wide, revealing the eager faces of Amrita University’s Computer and Engineering students waiting outside in the huge hall for their turn with Amma.
So, smiling as always, Amma came forward into the door’s archway, surrounded by 100 future doctors, and had the photo snapped from the floor below, finding the wide shot that was needed. Fortunate students indeed, and it’s a fortunate world that will soon be receiving healers inspired by the greatest Healer of all.