27 Sep 2019 – AmritaVarsham 66 , Amritapuri
Excerpts from the message of Amma on the occasion of her 66th Birthday Celebrations
Children, seeing all of you gathered here today, united in love, Amma feels like she is looking at a garland made from many beautiful flowers of different colours. Although this is a time of celebration, when Amma thinks about the suffering people in the many parts of the world plagued by war, natural disasters, riots and violence, she feels a lot of pain. Extreme weather with severe summer heat and incessant rain, natural calamities and epidemics have affected Kerala and other states.
Human beings are like a child who looks at the sky through his window and says, “That is my sky.” We reduce Nature and life in general to something insignificant. If we could really understand life, we would appreciate its magnitude and see just how small we are in comparison.
Nature is our mother
Nature is our mother. We call her “Mother Nature.” The fisher folk, whose livelihood depends on the ocean, consider the ocean as their mother. For the forest-dweller, the forest is “Mother.” For the hill people, the hills and surrounding area are “Mother.” It is Nature that nurtures and raises not only humans but all beings in creation. If we really think about it, we will see that our existence is always dependent on Nature—even before our life was conceptualised as thought in the minds of our parents, even when we were born as an embryo within our mother’s womb, and even after the death of our body. Hence, Nature is mother and father to us; it is everything. We are the children of that revered Mother Nature. She only ever had love and compassion for us. We, on the other hand, have just stomped all over her and kicked her in the chest. Now that loving mother has fallen ill and is exhausted.
In society, we see four things spreading like epidemics:
1. Wealth becoming more important than values.
2. Beauty becoming more important than goodness.
3. Speed becoming more important than direction.
4. Machines becoming more important than people.
If we stop giving moral values the place they deserve, our life will rot away like a log infested with termites. We will lack the courage to face problems in life. This is why the ancient rishis considered dharma-bodham—the awareness of what should and should not be done—as all-important. It is vital that we have this awareness in order to ensure that all of our social transactions are equally beneficial to us as to others.
Awareness of Dharma
Parents need to cultivate awareness of dharma in their children from a very young age. Many parents today just put a smart phone in their child’s hand as soon as it starts crying. This may momentarily help stop the child’s tantrum. But if the parents fail to cultivate spiritual values in the child as well, it may end up spending its entire life in tears. It is spiritual values that give children the strength to face and overcome all sorrows and hardships in life.
Humankind’s misunderstandings, misplaced ideas and the indiscriminate actions that arise from poor priorities have made the earth and environment what they are today. What is surprising is that in spite of all the hardships we have undergone, there’s still no change in our perspective or behaviour.
We all need food, but most of us are too lazy to grow our own grains and vegetables. We all need water, but we do not strive to conserve water or to harvest rainwater. We all know how important oxygen is, but we are too lazy to plant more trees. We all want to be loved, but we forget to give our loved ones our time and attention. We want peace, but we are not ready to rid ourselves of fault-finding.
The Self—our true essence
This universe keeps flowing, following its own rhythm, harmony and tune. Thus, human beings need to chart the path of their lives according to the tune and rhythm of Nature. Otherwise, life will automatically become a battle. When we exclusively chase sense pleasure, we won’t be able to attune to our inner self. The human body is just a single aspect of our existence. The ultimate truth of life is the Self—our true essence. Its dwelling place is within. To realise this, we need to develop a spiritual perspective, do spiritual practices and perform good actions.
Because of our preconceived notions, we fail to view circumstances as they really are. We fail to understand the actual true motivations behind the people with whom we interact. As a result, we are unable to fully enjoy the present moment. When we develop an open mind that accepts every person and circumstance as they are, we begin to truly experience the sweetness of life.
Growing up is an inner process
There are two ways in which one can grow: old and up. Growing old happens naturally, without any effort. Human beings, animals and all living beings grow in this way. Growing up, however, is unique to human beings. Growing old is a journey towards death; growing up and gaining maturity is a journey towards immortality. It is an inner process. Spiritual knowledge illuminates the path of this journey.
The Law of Nature is selflessness
The more space we create for others within our heart, the more happiness we experience. The more our ego grows, the less happiness we experience. The law of Nature and of life is selflessness. This is why people who do not have control over their ego and selfishness cannot wholeheartedly enjoy life: they are trying to live against the law of Nature.
Festival are an occasion to awaken and instil values
What we need are not celebrations that disregard culture but celebrations that cultivate it. Every festival should become an occasion to awaken and instil values in society. On this occasion, Amma would like to mention a few things to my children from Kerala. How much liquor was consumed by the Malayali population this past Onam! Statistics show that alcohol worth approximately Rs. 500 crores was consumed in three or four days. There are numerous people in Kerala who are homeless. If this money had been used for building houses, more than 10,000 people would have had a place to live.
May my children’s eyes become tender with compassion. May your heads bow in humility. May your hands be ever engaged in selfless service. May your ears be ever willing to listen to the sorrows of the suffering. May your tongue speak words of truth and kindness. May your feet always walk the path of dharma. In this way, may the lives of my children become a blessing for the world. Amma offers this prayer to the Paramatman.