Do not allow ourselves to lose our self-confidence

3 Dec 2022 -Amritapuri Ashram

Exccerpts from Amma’s Gita Jayanti message

After the Gita jayanti celebrations, {news} Amma addressed the gathering.

“The Bhagavad-Gita advises the perfect path for success in every pursuit, whether material or spiritual. Generally, man only seeks material satisfaction for his endeavours. But when he performs actions with that attitude, there is no guarantee he will achieve happiness and contentment. On the other hand, he may even find himself losing the happiness and contentment he previously had. We can see many examples of this around us.

On the one hand, there are actions from the past and the present-day conflicts they created. On the other hand, there are wrong decisions taken in the present and their resulting actions, which will create significant future conflicts. These two groups of conflicts are the hallmarks of human existence. It is a real battlefield.

There are similar conflicts between the body and the mind. There is also a constant battle between the intellect and the mind—between discernment and emotion. Such internal and external battles are not new; they are as old as human history. The battle of Kurukshetra can be said to symbolise this human conflict.

We are always on a battlefield. Whatever we may set out to achieve, we have to overcome all the obstacles in its path. Overcoming them is also like a battle. For example, we want to score high marks on a test. When we are studying hard, a friend invites us to watch a movie. We may think, “Oh, he is calling me to go for this movie. Should I go or not? What is the right thing to do? If I go, maybe I will fail the test. But if I don’t go, won’t I disappoint my friend? Because of my attachment to my friend, shouldn’t I go when he calls me?” Here a war—a conflict—is going on. However, if we are to achieve our goal, we have to discriminate. “If I go with him, what will happen? I will lose my precious study time. Then I will sleep late. My memory will be affected. And I will not be able to score on the test!” This is a type of neti, neti—a systematic negation of all that is unhelpful. We can also call it a battle.

We will have to engage in a battle to move forward. The one who walks away, thinking he does not want to fight, is a failure. He has laid down his head for Death to take. In contrast, the other path leads one to immortality, and his steps will lead him higher and higher.

When this dharma awakens, we can bring harmony in society. When we change, we bring change in others. Hence, it is the mind that is the underlying reason for everything. Only when we understand the nature of the mind can we uplift the mind.

Indeed, we ourselves are the darkness and the light on our path. We ourselves are the flowers and thorns on our path. With wet clay, we can make an image of a god or of a devil. Both are our creations.

uddhared-ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam avasādayet |
ātmaiva hyātmano bandhurātmaiva ripurātmanaḥ || Gītā, 6.5
“One should uplift oneself by oneself; do not pull yourself down. You alone are your own friend; you alone are your own enemy.”

We should arise and ascend by ourselves. There are many things only we ourselves can do, which others cannot make us do. For example, when we are hungry, others can bring us food, but if our hunger is to be sated, I myself should eat the food. Otherwise, the hunger will remain. If, instead, our mother, father, sibling, or best friend eats the food, it will not satisfy our hunger.

We may have the capability. A vehicle may have enough fuel. However, if the battery is not charged, the vehicle will not start, and the fuel cannot be put to use. Similarly, it is the battery of self-confidence that takes one forward. It is the booster rocket that projects us up high.

Our mind is confused, as though at a crossroads, not knowing which way to turn. The Guru immediately directs us to the highway. Once we reach the highway, we can drive freely with ease. Certainly, the Guru is a constant source of inspiration. But the effort from our side is also vital. Setting aside “I” and “mine,” we should be ready to comply with the Guru’s will. We become open to the Guru’s grace when we develop this attitude. We become like an empty, clean vessel that can hold milk without spoiling it. Or it is like applying for a visa after receiving the passport. Here the passport can be compared to the openness of the disciple and the visa to the grace factor.
Atma-kripa—or our own grace—is like this. We should not put ourselves down. Nor should we have an inferiority complex. When we feel inferior, we become unhappy and angry and slide into negative behaviour patterns.

When we go through disappointments and hardships in life, we often run away from our commitments, duties and svadharma. We do not realise that instead, we should awaken ourselves in such situations and perform our duties with discernment. Awaken oneself, and perform one’s actions with awareness. This is the most important thing. This is the greatest responsibility given to us.

For spiritual seekers, there can be various challenges, internal as well as external—maybe even intense ones. Therefore when depression overpowers us, without any delay, we should try to elevate ourselves by contemplating upon the scriptural statements and thus maintain our self-confidence. We should not allow ourselves to lose our self-confidence at any cost.

We ourselves are the flowers and thorns on our path. With wet clay, we can make an image of a god or of a devil. Both are our creations.
We ourselves are our own friend and our own foe. There could be enemies, internal as well as external. But they are created by our own mind. If the mind helps us to tread the path of righteousness and Godliness, then it is our inner friend. If the mind takes us away from righteousness and Godliness, then it is our inner enemy.

The self-confidence is like a booster rocket. One should not compare oneself with others and develop an inferiority complex. Even people who are considered to be very strong, in certain circumstances they, can lose their self-confidence.”

Amma reminded all, the importance of Self belief and Self confidence in her hour-long speech after the Gita Jayanti celebrations {news}.