Amritapuri Ashram –1st January 2018
Now is the auspicious hour when the world enters a new year. Everyone dreams of a happy and fortuitous future; may 2018 be filled with happiness and peace and less war and conflict. But it’s not enough to pray and hope for a favourable future. We should also be ready to work with alertness, determination and self-confidence. Realising our past mistakes and learning from them, we should move forward and work with enthusiasm. If we truly put in the effort, we will definitely receive God’s grace. In this way, may we be able to create a world filled with goodness, peace and love. May this new year enable us to come closer to God, to nature and to our fellow beings.
All of us enjoy newness, but have my children ever thought about what it is that lends something that sense of freshness? It is when our heart has love and openness—then we are able to see goodness and beauty in everything. Each of us has a flower garden growing in our heart, but currently, its flowers are covered with the dead leaves of selfishness, anger and jealousy. This prevents us from being able to awaken our inner goodness. Let us clear away the mental dirt of hatred and jealousy and awaken positive thoughts. Let us nurture a mind that doesn’t harbour animosities of the past but welcomes everything anew. If we can do this, we will be able to see newness and beauty everywhere and discover joy in that.
Here, in this village, people set up small lemonade stands. With an initial investment of about 100 lemons, they will sell lemonade. At the end of each day, they will take time to calculate exactly how many lemons they used, how many glasses they were able to sell, how many lemons were wasted, and so on. If their sales were poor, they will think if there is something they could do differently. They are constantly thinking about ways to increase their profits. Similarly, each day, just before we go to bed, we should reflect: “Due to my selfishness, I became angry with these many people today. I hurt these many people today. O God, let me not do this tomorrow.”
Children, life is like a book from which we can learn every day. There is no book that we can learn more from than this inner diary. We should learn to contemplate on its teachings. This practice is even more important than meditation or prayer. Through it we are pursuing the ultimate profit—the True Self.
These are the prayers of a real devotee: “O God, may I gain the strength to see good in everything, to think good and to do good actions. Please give me a mind incapable of hurting anyone in thought, word or deed.” It is to rise to and become one with this state that we pray and study the scriptures.
The real dark days are not the cloudy ones but the days in which we do not think of God. Evil days are those during which we fail to work selflessly. Most people collapse when circumstances turn adverse. But the power to overcome challenges and emerge victorious is within us.
Life is short. Time lost can never be regained. So, my children should become like butterflies. A butterfly lives just a few days but spreads joy wherever it goes. We should give joy as well as be happy ourselves. Only such people are really alive. Others are dying, moment by moment.
This year let us nurture is a mind that doesn’t become proud with our achievements, a mind that doesn’t falter with failure, a mind that finds joy in giving and a mind that accepts criticism with love. Such a mind is what we should achieve. People with such a mind can never fail. Amma offers her children to the Supreme Self, praying that your smiles of selflessness and inner courage never fade or wither.
– Excerpts from Amma’s New Year’s Message