The Faith of an Innocent heart is what is needed to realise God

3 March, Mysore, Karnataka – Bharata Yatra 2017

After the short drive from Mananthavady {news}, Amma arrived in Mysore {news} to a crowd of joyous devotees. She made her way to the stage, served all those present prasad, and then asked if anyone had a story to share. One devotee raised her hand and related to Amma the events of one tour bus ride: It was around 6:30pm and, as is customary in the ashram, the devotees on the bus initiated the evening bhajans. At the conclusion of all their singing, an hour-or-so later, they began the Arati. One little girl from Spain, Tapasya, suddenly took out a phone and used the flashlight on it in lieu of the fire that would traditionally be offered to Amma’s portrait during Arati. She waived the flashlight in a circular motion and then passed it to everyone in the bus, so that they might take their blessings as they would from the sacred fire. The woman who related this story relayed how moved she was by this child’s spirit of love.

Innocence produces an enormous amount of faith

Amma smiled as the story was being translated to her. After she had heard the entire tale, she noted that this was an example of the innocence that comes from a child-like heart. That innocence, Amma said, produces an enormous amount of faith. She told the woman who had shared the story that the strong feelings she had experienced while witnessing this display spoke to the importance we should give to the company we keep. “Just as entering a coal factory will leave us covered in soot, even if we touch nothing, entering a perfume factory will leave us redolent as we exit. Each action, thought, and emotion has its own vibration,” Amma said. “Love, lust, hate, fear, compassion, are all different vibrations that have the capacity to affect the world around them.” This little girl’s faith and innocence were infectious, and this goes to show how our emotions can impact the world and those around us.

Reminding us of the need for faith, Amma then told the story of a country suffering from a drought that organized a yagna in hopes of producing rain. One family was preparing to the leave for the yagna when the little boy of the family grabbed an umbrella to take with him. The mother asked him why he was taking an umbrella–after all, she said, it was so hot and dry, there was no chance of rain. The little boy responded with perplexity, saying to his mother that she had told him this would be a yagna for rain, and so, shouldn’t they bring an umbrella seeing as it would rain after. In fact, it did rain at the conclusion of the yagna, and Amma said that though many thousand people attended this yagna, it was the faith of this boy alone that made the entire yagna efficacious. That is the power of a child’s faith, Amma said. Children’s prayers are more readily answered than adults because they have such innocence in their heart.

In order to explain the kind of faith many people have now, Amma told the story of a man who was in love with a woman that lived on the opposite side of a mountain. This man had heard the phrase, “true faith can move mountains,” and so he decided to pray that that God might move the mountain and unite him with his lover. After a few days of praying the man gave up, saying, “I always knew the mountain was never going to move.” Amma said that when prayer comes from such a superficial level, without any true degree of faith, it is certain to be inefficacious.

“Everything in the universe is constantly in a state of change,” Amma said. “Even today’s friend can become tomorrow’s enemy. Just as a pure man can become a wicked man in a short period, so too can a wicked man set out to become a pure man. Our world is changing all the time. As a result, we need to learn to focus on the changeless substratum, which is God alone, pure consciousness.”

Amrita Varshini narrating the story

After having finished her response, a little girl, 8 year old Amrita Varshini from Finland, wanted to share a story. The little girl began to narrate the story of a guru and his disciple:
An old man lived on a mountain. He was known to be a great sage. A young man, eager to learn his ways, decided to become his disciple. Every night he saw the old man reading from a book. One night, he asked the old man what the subject matter of this book was. The old man replied that the particular page he was currently reading concerned the secret of attaining peace. The young disciple begged to read it, but the old man was unmoved by his pleas, saying the young man was not ready to read this book. So filled with desire to read the book, the young man said he would do anything to prove his fitness. The old man instructed him to go to a tree at the bottom of the mountain that overlooked a lake. He told his disciple to climb the tree and sit at the top for ninety-nine days and nights. The young disciple rushed down the mountain and climbed the tree.
As the days passed, villagers began to gather around the tree in awe of the disciple.  On the ninety-sixth night, a great storm came. Despite rain, wind, lightening, and thunder, the disciple was unmoved.  The next day the villagers gathered around the tree and began to praise him as a great sage. Feeling prideful, he composed a poem:

Like a mountain of stone,
The most powerful wind,
The most thunderous noise,
Cannot move me.
Steadfast my mind.
Deliverance my gain.

The young man had this poem sent to the old sage on the mountain. Reading the poem, the old man flipped the poem over and wrote “Burp” on the back of it, and then sent it back to the disciple. When the disciple read this word on his poem, “Burp,” he was enraged with the old man, feeling immensely disrespected. Climbing down from the tree he headed up the mountain to confront him. When he arrived, he questioned the sage, asking why he had written “Burp” on his poem. The old man replied, “you said the most powerful wind and the loudest noise could not move you, but it took only one burp to bring you here.”

Amritavarshini narrating the story

Amma and the crowd enjoyed the story, finding it apt given the message that had been delivered only minutes before. It’s easy to master the world outside, but not our own mind. The story also encapsulated both the importance of a child-like heart, and infused the atmosphere with the joy that accompanies such an innocent tale. It was a perfect way to end the night and inspire contemplation in all the devotees, who would awaken the next day to a busy schedule of all the programs and festivities that surround Amma’s darshan.