Keep hope & use hardships to rise

27 September 2021, Amritapuri Ashram,

Amma’s 68th birthday celebration & message

Amma’s 68th birthday was celebrated on Monday as “A Day of Sadhana” at the Amritapuri. While normally hundreds of thousands of devotees from around the world attend, this year, due to the pandemic, Ashram officials decided to forgo any such celebrations and asked devotees around the world to engage in spiritual practices for the peace, welfare and health of all beings. To the same end, the Ashram conducted homas and yajnas. There was also Gurupaduka puja as well as Amma’s annual birthday address and meditation and prayers for world peace lead by Amma.

In her address, Amma spoke about the pandemic, encouraging people to maintain hope and to try to use the hardships they were undergoing to become stronger and more alert as well as to look within, become aware of their own faults and put in effort to rectify them. She also said that the tendency to finger point to certain groups or nations was not helpful.

“When a disaster or event impacts the world on a global scale, we should view it as the karmic consequence of the cumulative actions of the world as a whole,” Amma said. “There is no point in criticising or blaming one group of people or one country in particular. For global events—be they good or bad—each and every one of us bears a degree of responsibility. For example, if a person drowns near the shore or way out in the ocean, we simply say, ‘He drowned in the sea.’ We do not put the blame on a specific part of the ocean; the entire ocean is viewed as responsible. The present situation is similar. Each of us needs to shoulder our share of responsibility. Only if we think like this will we be able to begin building a better tomorrow.”

Amma also stressed the need for people to cultivate the sense of unity, compassion and service-mindedness prevalent in previous generations. “In the past, God was within and the forests were outside. But now, we have grown forests within and pushed God outside. This is because humanity is losing its divine qualities. These divine qualities have been replaced with demonic ones. People only want to destroy. Man has begun to live only to fulfil his selfish desires. It seems as though people are becoming more and more like separate islands. Earlier, they were like links of a chain. People showed each other respect. They had obedience and discipline. This is why their values were sustained from generation to generation and also why they felt self-secure.”

Amma encouraged people to use the hardships of the pandemic to awaken and improve themselves, pointing out that the greatest positive transformations often take place after failures. “Only when one gets a few blows in life does one learn to look within,” she said. “It is when we experience tragedy that the wish to learn how to transcend sorrow. Similarly, it is when someone rejects our love that we understand the value of love and we try to make changes in our life and behaviour to earn that love. Viewing things from this perspective, we will realise that the experiences we consider as negative are not really negative. We should turn these occasions into circumstances to awaken and grow.”

Amma said that it was the poor and needy who were been hit the worst by the pandemic, adding that she knew of many such people in villages who, out financial duress, had taken to reducing their prescribed doses of medicine. She encouraged this phenomenon to be studied and rectified through awareness campaigns. “During these corona times, the government has provided people with rice and other essential commodities. However, many people have illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and thyroid diseases. Many of them don’t realise that they need to take their prescription medicines daily, at the right time, in the right dose. Because they cannot afford their proper doses of medicine, they resort to reducing their medicines. This can lead to strokes. Due to lack of money to purchase their required medicine, many people have died during the pandemic from strokes or have become paralysed.”

Amma concluded her address by reminding everyone to keep hope alive in their hearts and to root their lives in the power of love: “Don’t lose hope and give up. Remember that even the biggest building is built brick by brick. In the same way, the house of our life is built with seconds, minutes and hours. This is why we have to take care to make every single moment meaningful.”

“There is no greater power than the power of love. There is no greater happiness than the happiness experienced through love. We experience love when the individual ego ends and hearts unite as one. Love is the ultimate realisation of seeing others as ourselves or as God. It is time for us to build bridges of love and friendship. In this way, may we be able to realise a world-family of unbounded love.”