In Difficult Times, Kindle the Strength of Love
- Excerpts from Amma's satsang on the
27 September 2005
occasion of her 52nd Birthday
"Amma is very happy to see so many of her children gathered together here today. Children who have the attitude of service are the pride of their mother and the beauty of society. In Amma's world, there is no such thing as birth or death. So for her how can there be a birthday? Amma sees this event simply as an opportunity to love and serve her children. Amma isn't looking at the number of her children who have come together, but at the unity of their hearts."
"When Amma looks back upon the last year, so many tragedies come to her mind: the countless lives and belongings that were destroyed by the tsunami, the recent hurricanes that effected parts of the United States, the floods in Mumbai, the terrorist attacks that took place in different parts of the world. When Amma thinks about all these events, she feels that the whole world has fallen into the grip of an octopus of fear.
"When such difficult circumstances arise in life, there are two ways to respond. We can either run away in fear or kindle the love within and try to overcome them. If we choose the first option, all of our strength will be drained, and we will be blown about like dry leaves in the wind. It's impossible to escape one's own shadow. One who tries to run away from it will simply collapse due to exhaustion. This shadow of fear will only disappear with the dawning of the light of love. Love is our strength. Love is our refuge.
"When such harrowing situations arise, we should try to use them to gather mental strength, so that we can grow, rise up and move to action. We have been given this human birth in order to face challenges and overcome them—not to run away from them. When a ship is in the sea, it has to weather storms, rough seas and may even encounter whales or sharks, while the ship anchored in the harbour doesn't face any such challenges. However, who would make a ship just to moor it in the harbour? When obstacles appear in life, we need to kindle our inner strength and spread the fragrance of selflessness and love. We should be able to lift up others who are drowning in grief.
"Life may not always bring us good experiences. In fact, it may be that we have more bad experiences in store for us than good. Good and bad experiences are the nature of the world. However, we should learn to convert such challenging experiences into steppingstones towards success. For this we need a discriminating intellect rooted in the spiritual principles.
"When disasters take place, there is no point in blaming someone or the situation or Nature. We should try to go to the root cause. It is very easy to blame the government or a political party or even God. But we shouldn't forget that we also played a role in creating the problem.
"For example, when Weil's disease—or “rat fever”—breaks out in India , we typically blame the government. But if the people in each house keep their surroundings clean and regularly burn their waste, these epidemics can be avoided. Instead of pointing our finger at others, we should try to look to our own weaknesses. If we do so, we can avoid most problems in life altogether. Instead of using a magnifying glass to look at the faults of others, let us use a mirror to look at our own. Our efforts to remove hatred and indifference from the world should begin with trying to remove them from our own mind. If we can make our own mind clear and bright, the world will soon follow suit.
"If a nuclear war were to break out, we all know the amount of destruction that could come to pass. But right now there is a disaster taking place in the world that is much more destructive than any world war or tsunami or volcanic eruption—however, we are either unaware or are apathetic towards it. This is the decline of dharma [righteousness]. If we fail to restore dharma, all of our efforts to establish world peace will be in vain.
"Why are we not aware of this disaster? Because it is happening very gradually. If a pot falls down in our room while we are sleeping, we will definitely get up. However, someone who lives near the train tracks won't even wake up when a train blows past him. If you put a frog in a pot boiling water, it will immediately jump out. But if you put a frog into tepid water and slowly heat it, the frog will not make any effort to escape. It will simply die. In the same way, we are not able to feel the heat of adharma [unrighteousness] that is steadily on the rise. In order for us to realize the seriousness of this situation, we need to imbibe the principles of dharma right from childhood . Only when our educational system starts imparting values along with academic knowledge will we begin nurturing individuals to have enthusiastic and awakened minds. Only then will society attain real success.
"Skill alone is not enough for success. In addition to skill, we also need proper understanding and knowledge of the task at hand. We also need patience. If we sow a seed and then regularly dig it up to see if it has germinated, it will never grow. Initially, there may seem to be no hope, but if we are patient and persevere, then in the end the flower of life will blossom.
"Due to our impatience, most of the time, we aren't even aware of what we are doing or saying. Rather than feeling depressed about the opinions others may have about us, we should transcend our own limitations and try to do what we must with an optimistic attitude. Thus, patience, constant enthusiasm and firm determination to reach the goal are all necessary factors for success.
"We often consider our achievements to be the crowning moments of our life—for example, passing our college exams or receiving recognition in our field of expertise. Although these are significant, there are still greater accomplishments to be made in life. These are found in all the little things we do.
"Consoling a miserable soul, wiping the tears of a crying person, feeding the hungry, helping someone up who has fallen down—such seemingly trivial things are actually greater than mere worldly achievements.
"True service is the power that sustains the entire universe. When humanity serves Nature, Nature serves humanity. When we serve animals and plants, they too serve us in return. This attitude of mutual understanding and respect is what must be incorporated into society and into our family lives. Only when we serve others with the right understanding and with love and faith will we be happy and peaceful in life.
"When two lips come together, they emit one sound. Even though we have two eyes, our vision is one. Even when there are two lamps, light is one. Similarly, even though a husband and wife are two, they should live as one. The unity of hearts is the beauty of their house and the stability and foundation of the entire family. As neither the wife nor the husband has realized their completeness, their marriage should be a relationship wherein each partner compensates for the other's shortcomings—not one where they point them out and blame each other. Where there is true love, the attitude of sacrifice will automatically be there. True sacrifice is relinquishing one's likes and dislikes for another person. This should be the spirit behind each marriage.
"Praying that my children's hearts are filled with Divine Love, Amma offers herself to the Paramatman."