Let us all become the change we desire in the world

Amma throwing flower petals

13 Oct 2022, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 69

Amma’s 69th birthday was celebrated in a simple way at the Amritapuri Ashram.

The day began with several homas being performed in the main hall – Ganapati, Navagraha and Mrityunjaya homas.

Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri addressed the audience and shared several touching examples of Amma’s compassion in action.

After Swamiji’s talk, Amma arrived on the stage and greeted the packed Hall. Amma’s Paduka Puja was performed by Swamiji, while many of the ashram youth chanted Vedic hymns.

Swamiji performing Paduka Puja in the presence of Amma
Amma’s Paduka Puja
Swamiji performing Amma's Paduka Puja
Amma’s Paduka Puja
Swamiji performing Amma's Paduka Puja
Amma’s Paduka Puja
Ashram children and youth chanting Vedic mantras
Ashram youth chanting Vedic hymns

Speaking on the occasion, Amma addressed how it had been difficult during the pandemic for many devotees to come see Amma. “Amma knows that many of her children are sad that this year too, as for the past two years, they aren’t able to be with Amma,” she said. “Even so, Amma knows and experiences your love and devotion. And you are always in Amma’s thoughts—in my heart, in my remembrance, and in my prayers.”

Saying that she knew that many of them wanted to give Amma something on their own birthdays, Amma suggested they do three things: “Take a seed and put it in some soil with some manure and wrap it up in a piece of paper. Drop those seed balls in a place where they can sprout—either around your house or in some wooded area. The more saplings you can plant, the better. This would be the greatest gift you can give to Amma.

The second thing Amma requested was that everyone clean one kilometer of land on their birthday. “Sweep the area and clear away all the garbage,” she said. “Amma’s ashram children can teach you about waste management so you will understand what to do with the waste.”

The 3rd request was regarding carpooling. Amma said she has been requesting devotees to engage in the practice for 15 years now: “Try to take at least two other people in your vehicle when you travel to work. But please make sure that they are not strangers; you should make sure that you are safe. You can also do the same kind of carpooling when you travel to a temple or when coming here to the Ashram.” Amma pointed out that carpooling like this saves money, fuel, reduces environmental pollution and gradually reduces traffic and even road accidents.

Amma continued, “So many people do not have enough money to buy their own medications for diseases like diabetes and hypertension, especially those who have retired. If there are four people in a family, at least three have some kind of disease that requires medicine. During the COVID pandemic, many people didn’t have work. As a result, most families could not afford their regular medicines. Because of this, some even had strokes; some even died. Even missing a single day of medicine can lead to catastrophic events. Amma heard of so many incidents like this during this pandemic. The money saved by carpooling can be used to help buy medicines for such people as well.”

Amma pointed out that in foreign countries, many devotees have been able to use carpooling systems, but it has yet to really catch on among the devotees in India. “Let us all try to become examples for others to emulate,” she said. “Let us all become the change we desire in the world.”

Amma speaking to the devotees
“Everything is changing. In this changing world, embrace that which is unchanging.”

Amma then said, “Amma knows that all her children are trying to do selfless actions. They feed the poor how much ever they can. They try to keep their surroundings clean. But, Amma feels that we can still do more. We should try to use our birthdays as a day to serve the world.”

In her satsang, Amma also spoke about the importance of remembering just how dependent we are upon Nature and how it is through Nature that God blesses us. She said, “When we live in this world and enjoy the delights and bounties of Nature, there is one mistake humans, consciously or unconsciously, tend to make. They forget that they have received all these as a gift from that supreme power, God. They forget the truth of Nature, the reflection of God. We forget the invincible power of Nature. Over and above all, we forget the truth of love, which is the foundation of life. We may forget God and Nature in the hustle and bustle of daily life. But we should never forget love. Because only if we have true love will God and Nature shower their blessings upon us. But today, the entire human race is gripped with amnesia. Man has forgotten everything that makes life wholesome and beautiful.”

Amma also reminded everyone that it is impossible to get 100 per cent happiness from the world. “No object can give us permanent happiness,” she said. “All these depend upon the mind. Do not make your life dependent on the words of others. Reside in your own self. Today’s friend could be tomorrow’s foe. A man who is good today could turn evil tomorrow. Everything is changing. In this changing world, embrace that which is unchanging. You are not the person you see externally in the mirror. Look within and use the inner mirror to cleanse yourself of your impurities. This is what our philosophy teaches us.”

Amma continued, “Everyone wants to live a relatively happy and peaceful life. But to make that happen, we must follow God’s will and regulate our life in accordance with that will. If we do this, we can flow in harmony with that mighty current. If we ignore it, we can spend our lives sinking and rising in the waters. What we choose to make of our lives is our own decision.”

Amma also spoke about the importance of shraddha—alert awareness and attention to detail. She said, “Any action done with awareness will become a meditation. A flashlight turns on when the button is pressed. Similarly, by pressing the button of shraddha, we can turn on the light of awareness. The shraddha we know only means “being careful”; it doesn’t contain the element of awareness.”

Amma continued, “Once we understand the spiritual principles, we will accept that everything in the material world has its own nature, like day and night, rain and sunshine, winter and summer. If there is desire, sorrow will follow. Everyone has likes and dislikes, and hence such things will happen. When troubles come, we can think that they are the result of actions we did in our previous life, or that they are to warn us to be careful of some difficulty in the future, or that something bigger was providentially removed. We should learn to hold tighter to God.”

Amma also spoke about love and how we need to keep expanding and growing in love. “Most of us stand on the lowest rung of love,” she said. “Amma doesn’t say that this love is not love, but we should not remain there. We should climb up the rungs of love, step by step, and reach the highest peak of love. This is the purest love. This love is present within us even now. All we have to do is to put in the effort to awaken it. May this love awaken and spread out towards all humanity as universal love! This is the greatest blessing of life. We should become embodiments of love. When love awakens within, compassion, sacrifice and joy will awaken spontaneously. Love finds beauty in every ugliness. When love overflows from our heart, flowers of peace will blossom all around us. When we beautify our eyes with the eyeliner of unity, all differences will vanish.”

Amma concluded her satsang by saying, “Children, may your eyes melt with compassion. May your heads bow low with humility. May your hands be immersed in serving others. May your feet tread the path of dharma. May your ears be ready to hear the sorrows of the unfortunate. May your tongue ever speak kind words and the truth. Amma prays to the Paramatma that, in this way, the lives of my children become blessings for the world.”

Amma then led everyone in meditation and prayers for world peace. She then led everyone in a joyous singing of the bhajan Mata Rani.

Throughout the rest of the day until late into the night, thousands of people came to offer tributes to Amma and she gave darshan to one and all.

Swamiji offering flower petals at Amma's feet
Swamiji offering flower petals while chanting the 108 names of Amma
Amma's monastic disciples
Amma’s monastic disciples participating in the worship
Amma during Paduka Puja
“Aum Amriteshwaryai Namah”
Swamiji performing Amma's arati
Amma’s arati
Swami Turiyamritananda performing Amma's arati
Amma’s arati
Amma throwing flower petals
Amma blessing the devotees
Amma praying
Amma leading the prayer for world peace: “Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”
Amma speaking to those present
“Let us all become the change we desire in the world.”
Amma is speaking to the devotees
“No object can give us permanent happiness”
Amma singing the bhajan Mata Rani
“Mata Rani Ki…”
“… Jai!”