Sadguru Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma, the living saint recently was in Pune as part of the Bharat Yatra. The presence of Amma in Pune always creates a different kind of pious atmosphere. So imposing is her presence that, the saintly land of Pune completely dons a new avatar: becomes more saintly.
Polite, down to earth, simple, humane, Amma with her gesture and noble thoughts casts a lasting influence on citizens in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. And this time it was no different. The hugging saint, many feel, should set up home in a peaceloving and developing city like Pune whose status will be further enhanced by her presence.
Internationally renowned for her tireless service to mankind, Amma was in Pune for two days. Amma’s programme consisting of Pravachan, Bhajan and guided-meditation which was held on both the days. This was followed by darshan during which Amma meet everyone individually stated a press release.
“We live in an age of excessive speed. The very mantra of our time is speed. Today, we can only survive if we eat, drink, talk and act very fast. As everyone races through life, no one seems to have any time for anything– not even a moment to look around, see those around us, say a word to the person in front of us, or listen to what someone else is saying,” said Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi during her address at the Brahmasthanam Mahotsavam.
“As a result, emotions like anger, sadness, disappointment, anxiety, impatience, hatred and feelings of hopelessness continuously parade through our mind.
“Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What is happening around me?” None of these questions seem to bother people. Even when everything around us is being destroyed, human beings remain oblivious, immersed in the speed of their lives. Today, we give the most importance and respect to science and technology. These are certainly important, but we need to give equal importance to mother nature, culture and our fellow living beings. When we fail to give equal importance to all these factors, society becomes like a chair balancing with only three legs. It may look like there is no problem with the chair. But, what happens when we sit on it? It will immediately fall, unable to bear our weight. A song is not enjoyable when it is off beat and out of tune. Nature forms the fundamental rhythm and melody of life. We won’t be able to experience peace and happiness if our lives fail to adhere to the laws of nature. Just as we obey man made laws, we need to follow nature’s rules and regulations, perhaps even more attentively. What are nature’s laws? They are unity, sacrifice and selflessness.
“During the floods, several hundred students at the Amrita University worked together for days on end to help rescue people trapped in life-threatening situations. They established a Help Line and answered calls 24 hours a day, without thinking about food or sleep. During those days, they had no thoughts of “I” and “them.” The power of compassion raised them to the unified awareness of “we.” It was this awareness that guided them forward. If we can keep the flame of this miraculous force burning within us, our lives will flow as smoothly and beautifully as a river. This doesn’t mean there will be no obstacles, but those obstacles will not be able to stop us. Life will move forward like a river’s flow, going beyond everything and overcoming all obstacles.
“With his limited strength and intelligence, man cannot stop natural disasters from happening. However, we can extend a hand to help and heal those who have been plunged into misery by such catastrophes. At such times, we can spontaneously express our compassion and love through our words and deeds. This strength is inherent in us. That is why it awakens in crises such as this. Only that which is already inside the mind can be expressed outside.
“Though people feel the bright flame of compassion and strength to overcome any obstacle during such crises, they are unable to sustain this flame afterwards, and it soon flickers out. Before we know it, people begin reverting back to their religious, political and communal divisions. They start finding fault and clashing with each other again. How much time and energy is wasted in such useless conflicts!In order for a society to grow, there should be a healthy amount of questioning and criticism. We have the freedom for open dialog and certain rights to facts and information. However, we should be careful not to use these as weapons to hinder the progress of society. On the other hand, we should use them as tools to remove obstacles on our path and move forward.
“In each natural disaster, there always lies a message. The most important lesson is: It can take only a moment for Nature to take back everything she has so benevolently bestowed upon us. When we understand this truth, we cultivate humility in our thoughts, actions and perspective, and in our approach towards Nature. We realise that “Nature is not against human beings; she is a trusted friend who only desires the wellbeing of humanity.”
“There are no countries, places or institutions in the world without a set of laws and regulations. For a country to be strong, a robust system of law and order is essential. A nation’s progress, the discipline of its citizens, as well as the security of their lives and assets, are all dependent on how solid and well enforced the nation’s laws are. Just as each nation has a set code of laws, the universe too has a set code of conduct called dharma. It is this code that maintains the harmony of life. This code of conduct is equally applicable to all countries and people. For example, there is a set of traffic rules that we all must obey when driving. If we disobey them, saying, “I will drive however I like,” then we will only be endangering ourselves. Man’s desires and wants are increasing day by day. So much so, that to attain even a little happiness and comfort, he has to fulfil numerous desires. Without money, it is impossible to increase our comforts. Hence, we see a mad rush to fulfil this increasing need for money. One reason for this is our flawed perspective of seeing happiness as coming from external objects. We need to correct this and see that happiness comes not from the external world, but from within us. The path for achieving this is spirituality. External luxury and ostentation may bring some short-lived joy, but they will not provide mental peace and happiness.This is the age of the computer and Internet. Man’s excessive fascination for technology, and the many illusions he builds around it, is giving him a false sense of security. Recent natural disasters have taught us that however important science and technology may be, they will never be able to replace our basic humanity. Many people had houses equipped with all modern facilities, but could not stay in them. Many had cars, but could not drive them to safety. Many had ATM cards, but could not withdraw money. Many had mobile phones, but did not have the electricity to charge them. Man will never be able to achieve complete security by relying on machines. We have to find the real security within ourselves.
“Technology is a good servant but a dangerous master. For many people, relationships have become confined to the numbers in the phone. We no longer value seeing each other face to face. When our relationships with the world are defined solely through machines, we pawn our very consciousness to the unconscious machine. We should use machines and love people. We must never allow the hallmark of our society to become “Use people and love machines.” In life, anger is the only thing that can truly defeat us, and patience is the greatest victory. Each day, we face numerous situations that make us angry. But when we fall into the web of anger, we basically empower that particular situation or person to control our mind. It is like grabbing a piece of burning charcoal, to throw it at another person. Even if we succeed in burning the other person, we get burnt first. The inner turbulence created by anger darkens our body, mind, intellect and our aura as well. This darkness then obstructs the flow of God’s grace.
“Just as our body needs good, nutritious food every day, our mind also needs the nutrition of good thoughts every day. If we eat nothing but junk food, our body will become unhealthy and sick. Similarly, bad thoughts will make our mind sick and weak. Instead, we must uplift the mind by feeding it pure thoughts. Only then will we obtain peace in life.In the span of this brief human life, the amount we can learn about the external world will always be extremely limited. We cannot call this information true knowledge. Only through meditation can we grasp the depth, pervasiveness and fullness of life. We would never allow strangers to park their vehicles in our driveway. But do we exercise this same vigilance when it comes to the thoughts that park themselves in our mind? Using our discernment, we should be able to identify the thoughts worthy of a place in our mind, and discard the unworthy ones. The goal of meditation is to make the agitated mind peaceful and still. When thoughts cease through meditation, the mind becomes more pure and subtle. The mind becomes more tuned to the rhythm of the universe. In that stillness, the unknowable knowledge becomes knowable.
“The more space we create in our heart for others, the more happiness and contentment we feel. The law of the universe, and of life, is selflessness. This is why selfish and egoistic people are unable to enjoy life wholeheartedly and be happy: because their behaviour is out of tune with the law of the universe. Everything in this creation unfolds to the same tune and rhythm. Understanding this, when we align ourselves with this law, peace, happiness and prosperity automatically become ours.
“In many parts of the countries, women put rangoli in front of their homes every day. When we make a new design each morning, we wipe away the previous day’s rangoli without any sadness. Similarly, we should stop living in the past and make the best use of the present, without fear of the future. Then we will experience beauty in every aspect of life. May my children’s lives be filled with peace and happiness. May divine grace protect everyone.”