A Pathway to Joy
Every human being in this world wants to live a life of joy without any difficulties. However, this is not possible for all. It does not matter how much one tries, some difficulty or the other will be encountered resulting in displeasure and unhappiness.
One may then ask…Is it not at all possible for man to lead a life without encountering difficulties and setbacks? Yes, it’s is certainly possible for man to lead a life without difficulty! How can this be accomplished? Only when man has full faith and there is total surrender to God, he is free from worries and difficulties.
Difficulties arise for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is man’s desire. What the mind desires- when it is not fulfilled - difficulties start to arise. We desire to have an article when it’s not within reach displeasure starts to set in. We desire to have a positive outcome from our actions, when this is not so, again displeasure descends into our minds. This way everyone has a wide variety of desires and an equal variety of reasons as to why difficulties /displeasure set in and all are unhappy. The root cause of all mental disquiet is because of desires. So what then is the way to lead a life without difficulties?
The only way is total devotion and faith in God. When there is unshakable faith, such a person can lead a life in Joy without difficulties. When the outcome does not happen in the expected /anticipated manner, the one who has firm belief in God would state that this is what I need and God knows what’s best for me, so saying; man accepts it and is happy with the result. When there is firm belief, these desires will not arise.
Full faith means total surrender to God. When one is in this state one does not need to pray for desires to be fulfilled. They have totally entrusted their lives in the hands of God, in such a state what should happen - would and what should not happen - would not .The outcome is in the hands of God. So for man to lead a life without difficulties, it is first necessary to cut down on desires. The less desires the more the joy. Desires leads to expectations and when an outcome falls short there is displeasure. The mind laments on this and more displeasure arises, and from this more desires will generate.
Entrust everything to God-- totally surrender and pray that you receive what God wishes to give to you; any outcome in this state will not cause displeasure. One would view everything as Gods gift and would accept it with joy. This is because we accept everything that happens to be good. We don’t need to ask for anything. Everything we need is satisfied. When there is so much trust and faith placed in God one does not need to cultivate desires. In a state of complete faith one can lead a life of total joy.
So in order to lead a life without difficulties it’s necessary to first surrender to God. As long as there is no surrender to God all that happens is experienced as my difficulty, my loss, and my pain. When there is surrender the word ‘my’ will disappear, it will all be attributed to God. When everything is God’s; how can one experience difficulties and suffering? Everything that happens must be good. When this is so, there will be no agitations in the mind and devotion and faith will become deeper.
Amma blesses all living forms on this earth to live a life of peace and joy and to follow the path of devotion through surrender.
What is Bhakti? Bhakti is Devotion. There are many ways of showing devotion to God i.e. Pujas (Prayers), Yagams (Offerings to the Fire), Bhajans (Singing praises to God) etc. What is the purpose of Bhakti? This is for our satisfaction and peace of mind to remove to worry and stress. There are always worry and stress and everyone has his share. The mind is always asking for something or needing something. Only when we get rid of these thoughts can we experience peace.
A new car nowadays is old in two years. Today we may own a small home. Soon we desire more children and when they come, we need a bigger home and our desires become more and more. There is no permanent peace. An unsteady mind leads to unending desires and we seek to accumulate more and more.
We have to look at people who are less fortunate than us and see how satisfied they are. We always want something the other person has, either because it is bigger or prettier. This unsteady mind makes us shift focus to several things, creating desires. If we don’t get what we want we may hate the other person who has it.
Prayer is a method of calming the mind. When praying, we turn our mind to good and more peaceful things. Sins first start as thoughts then become physical actions. We have to unwind the rope of sins and set ourselves free. When we pray we focus on God and doing Good deeds.
People go to Durga temple on Fridays. At least on that day they want to control and discipline their minds and focus on the Goddess. All rituals we do are for our self-satisfaction only and satisfaction brings peace to our minds. We don’t do prayers for God; we do it for our own benefit.
God always gives selflessly. In communist countries where worshiping God is not encouraged people still get everything like in any other part of the world. For our own self-discipline and attaining peace of mind we pray.
A vehicle stops with one depression of the brake. Similarly, we can instantly put an end to our flow of negative thoughts and begin to prayer. Bhakti has to come from deep down in us. Anything we do, we must do it with sincerity; especially prayers, which is effective only when it is done from the bottom of the heart.
It is very important that our prayers come from our inner depths. There is no big or small prayer. There is only one prayer, which has to be done with sincerity. The form that impresses each individual is the form he/she would choose to worship.
"Amma blesses you to pray, simply concentrating on the form of the image that is dear to you. May everyone be happy and blissful”.
Once upon a time, there was a king ruling a small kingdom. He was very pious and ruled his subjects honestly and truthfully. However, his neighboring kingdom’s hostile manner disturbed him. He cared for his subjects sincerely and was worried for their safety. Both his state and his army were very small. This made him consult a Mahatma. He paid his due respects and placed before the Mahatma his dilemma.
The Mahatma gave him a talisman advising him to wear it always around his wrist whenever he is forced to confront the invading army from the neighboring kingdoms. He further blessed him with strength and victory.
Soon enough his state was attacked and the king valiantly defended himself with his small army and successfully destroyed half of the intruding army. On the following day he went back to the battlefield and further damaged and crippled the opponents’ army. The intruding army was decimated and reduced to a very insignificant size.
Before the third day of the war, his curiosity compelled him to rip open the talisman and find out what it had in it. Hence, he opened it and found within ‘Om Namo Narayana’ inscribed. He said to himself, “Is that all, a small mantra which I hear and recite so often!". So he came to the conclusion that whatever had transpired in the war so far was due to his strategies and valor, and it had nothing to do with the mantra.
His strong success bloated his ego to the extent that he went to war the third day without the talisman. Within no time, his army was defeated and conquered. The king returned to the Mahatma distressed, and sadly reported what had happened. Mahatma told him that it was unwise of him to rip open the talisman. This amounted to lack of respect for the Guru and loss of faith. Hence he was made to face the humiliating defeat.
In material as well as spiritual life we have to have faith in whatever we do. Only then only we can achieve our goals. Science is by experiment first and experience later; whereas in ‘Gyana’ belief comes first and experience after. With absolute faith in God we will certainly achieve everything we need.
“Amma blesses one and all to have lots of faith, peace of mind and success”
Faith & Devotion
Hundreds of years ago there were hardly any temples, but people would make an attempt to go to those few temples with great devotion and would be contended and happy. Nowadays we have temples everywhere, almost one for a street, but people hardly go and they are also not experiencing peace and happiness. So what is the reason for this?
Earlier people believed that God existed everywhere. Some would believe that Amma existed in a “Neem” tree and would offer prayers to that tree, while some would believe that Amma exists in a particular “Stone” in their lands or fields and would pray to that Stone. Such was the extent of their devotion and this gave them happiness. Nowadays people hardly go to the temples saying that they have no time and they also lack faith and devotion and this leads to lack of peace and happiness. This shows that Amma is where faith is.
Faith is a form of God. In the present day there are temples according to caste and religion, but count how many actually go there. People go to temples only on occasions and other times ignore it. Those who believed that God existed everywhere and in everything experienced tremendous amount of peace and happiness. All this is due to their faith.
The belief that Amma exists only in big temples is false. Amma exists wherever there is faith. Stone or Tree worship, it doesn’t matter. Worshipping with faith and devotion is what matters and it is important to carry on this at all times. If you believe that Amma exists where you think Amma does, then Amma will definitely be there, be it a tree, stone or anything else for that matter. Amma can move from a big temple to a person praying to a tree depending on his faith and devotion. Prestige or grandeur is not important. It is faith and devotion that are of utmost importance.
The question is to how many items should I offer for abhishekam, what mantra should I recite, how many times should I recite are of no value at all if you have no faith and are doing it for the sake of doing it.
Offer what you can but only if you are offering it with faith and devotion. Each and everyone has a heart .So develop faith in it. Even offering mere turmeric water combined with faith is more important than those things offered without faith. Many would then ask why are so many huge yagas being performed here at the peedam. These yagas and homas are being performed for the benefit of mankind.
Amma has so many names and forms. So any form of devotion to any name and form is accepted when offered with faith and devotion. Many of you have some time to spare. Don’t waste it. Cultivate it to develop a habit or service that will be useful for survival the Mother in turn will serve the world. eg. Plant a tree, take care of it and when it flowers, offer the flowers to the temple. This itself, is sufficient and this paves way for other services which will benefit mankind at large.
“Amma blesses all to develop faith and devotion and pave the way for the service to mankind”.
Four Stages of Life
Discourse given after Kalyani or mass weddings
Four Stages in Human Life (discourse given after Kalyani – mass weddings)
In the human life there are four stages:
(1) GURUKULAM from birth to 25years
(2) GRIHASTASHRAM from 25-40 years
(3) VANARAPRASTHA from 40-60 years
(4) SANYASI from 60 years onwards
In the first stage a child undergoes education and learns values that help him to develop into an individual. In the second stage he is busy getting married and having family and settling down. In the third stage he is completing his responsibilities of his family. In the fourth stage he learns to detach himself from the materialistic world and turns his mind and thoughts on God.
Among all the stages, the most important one is the first stage, the stage of Gurukulam. This is because the education, the values, the situations, all develop him and pave way for the next three stages. In this Gurukulam stage, a child has no problems. Parents take care of everything, minor or major. A child must learn to follow the path shown by parents and he will be happy. This is the foundation stone and it has to be strong.
In stage two, Grihastashram, responsibilities set in. A man has to take on the responsibilities and complete them. All seem like problems. This leads to anger and to committing sins, and so on. It is his duty to complete these responsibilities without doing wrong things. If in the first stage, a child is taught God fearing and Bhakthi (devotion). In stage two, he will be able to bear these responsibilities with ease as the fear of God and the devotion will give him the strength and faith to face everything. Without this devotion and faith a man commits sin and when a sin is committed once, it is easy to do it again. So, stage one is very important and bhakthi is the foundation.
For each one of you gathered here today, Bhakthi is necessary. If one feels that there are no problems right now therefore no need for Bhakthi, then that is the wrong thought. Having Bhakthi and learning right and wrong is very important and this will pave the way for all the other three stages. You can face and bear all that arises in other three stages.
Everyday prayers are necessary. Light a lamp in the morning and evening and see God in that light. There are many names for Amma and Jyothi Swaroopini is one of them. Amma loves that name. We have given a lamp to all the newly married couples. Light the lamp everyday and start the day with prayers. Each one should say prayers and have Bhakthi. This will bring light into your house in the form of love, happiness and comfort. Having Bhakthi and offering prayers will also teach you to serve others.
"With this light, Amma blesses each and everyone to pray and have Bhakthi and to serve mankind".
Human life is Great life
Human life is a great life. Why? There are many other forms of life, why is the human life so great? The reason is that while all other life forms can have happiness, only humans can experience joy.
Animals only know how to get things for themselves. They are able to get food only for themselves and to find shelter only for themselves. On the other hand, humans have the ability to share. Because we know how to share things that brings us joy. That is why it is only possible for humans to know joy. Animals don’t have the urge or the desire to share.
What is the goal in our life? Our only goal is to go back to God. We can achieve this through kindness, love and generosity to other humans. We should share. That we should share is an easy thing to say; it is a difficult thing to do. How can we share? We can start by sharing our devotion, our love of God. When we share that, we will have the desire to share.
Most people think that devotion is to sit in a place of worship and ask God for things. This is not devotion. Devotion is to think about God. Thinking about God, even for a few minutes a day, will help us learn to share everything we acquire and this will bring us back to God.
Amma blesses you all.
Path of Prayer
For us human beings peace of mind is essential in order to function and to conduct our day to day activities normally and effectively. To attain peace we resort to different exercises like Yoga, Bhakthi, Dhyana (Meditation) etc. For the sake of our heart, for peace in our soul, we resort to different methods to consistently discipline our lives. Every method is good but which is the easiest way.
In the present day life, it is really difficult to allocate two hours for Sadhana. Bhakthi Marga (prayer path) is the best, easiest and the most convenient method. The only requirement is our heart and total faith. Amma might be doing four hours of prayers, but four minutes of prayer from the bottom of the heart is enough. What we do in our prayer and how many people we feed are not important. Our devotion is what’s important.
Yoga method requires strenuous discipline and one has to go from stage to stage. Only in the last stage does one realize the ultimate - God. Bhakthi Marga gives you results immediately. Dhyana Marga is like climbing a steep mountain as absolute concentration is a must in Meditation. One year, two years, it is difficult to estimate the required time. Set timings and set place to practice meditation is a must. A small irregularity will make us tumble backwards and will force us to start from the beginning all over again. Lots of patience, time, and discipline are absolutely necessary.
Since none of us have acquired peace in our minds we should practice at least one of these ancient methods. Of all the methods, Bhakthi (devotion) is the easiest. There are two types of Bhakthi, Para Bhakthi and Apara Bhakthi.
Para Bhakthi is always remembering God. This is easier said than done. A farmer cannot cultivate if he continuously worries about praying neither an Engineer. Activities like cultivation and engineering require meticulous attention to attain efficiency and optimum production.
Apara Bhakthi is deciding to pray and it is the first step towards praying. One can choose small and easy methods. Light a lamp in the morning before the altar or at a place assigned for prayer at your home.
Bhakthi leads to Gyana (knowledge). Gyana leads to the light of knowledge. By praying you remove Agyana (ignorance). Girls should light lamps everyday in their homes. Light or fire cleans and illumines everything.
Thus Amma as Jyothi Swaroopini (Amma as light) can be easily seen. Therefore the light should be lit consistently in our lives everyday without fail. Blessings from the Goddess of wealth (Lakshmi Kataksha) will be received along with strength and knowledge. One should recite at least a short prayer after the lamp is lit.
Siva Purana, Mahabaratha, Ramayana (epics from the Hindu faith) or any other holy book out of which at least a chapter should be read attentively assimilating the Dharma (righteousness) stated in them. A prayer should be said for the well being of all the living forms in nature’s creation. Before we retire in the night every one of us should think of the Lord and thank Him for the day. Therefore in Bhakthi, Amma should be held dear and close to everyone.
There are two ways of doing Bhakthi, one is cat like and the other monkey like. A mother cat worries for her kittens and keeps shifting them from place to place by grabbing them at the neck, concerned for their safety and feeds them regularly. Here kittens leave themselves at the mercy of the mother cat. Total surrender to God and he will look after us and grant us what we need and not necessarily everything we may desire.
The baby monkey puts a strangle hold on the mother monkey’s belly till such time it becomes strong and can cut loose. The Mother monkey cannot release the grip of its baby monkey. In a similar manner, we should hold on to God and trust whatever he puts us through in our existence.
“AMMA blesses each and everyone with peace of mind and happiness”.
Prayers, what does it mean?
There are different ways of praying. Usually when people pray they are in trouble. Another type is to pray when you need the divine to grant you things. There are different types of prayers. When you pray, you are usually not just asking for things; you are not just asking for help. Often there may be some rituals performed like chants or a song along with the prayers.
What is the point to all of this? What is the necessity? Why do you need to do these things? If you can get your grants fulfilled by the divine, if your wishes are fulfilled, why can’t you just ask the divine directly? Why do you need to go through the process of chanting and singing songs about the divine? If you can understand the meaning of the chants or the songs, you will see that the process is about praising the divine. It always praises. These rituals speak about how great the divine is; how grand and big and the best.
Typically, when something goes well or is fulfilled, or when something that is needed is given, then praise to God is given. Actually, praising the divine isn’t really like that. First, come to know about the divine; who is the divine? Who is Amma? What is the divine? First, come to know about that. Second, through the process of praising, you will have the confidence to know that you are in the right place and therefore you will definitely get help. When you praise the divine, you will get the confidence and the courage that, “Yes, I am in the right place.”
When you have a problem, when you are in trouble, and you seek help, you will go to the person who can satisfy your needs or who can solve your problems. If you have the confidence that, “Yes, I have this problem and this person can fix it”; you will only go there to fix it. It’s like this when you praise the divine.
First it will help you to realize the divine. You are not just asking for something from that which you cannot see and from that which you cannot hear. Just through praise, you come to know that there is a force that is beyond everything, which can help. In this way it will bring confidence. Each and every prayer contains praises to the divine. No matter what religion it may be; prayers always tell the divine: “You are the supreme. You are everything. You are nature”. This is to bring more confidence and faith.
Once you have faith you can succeed in everything. It does not matter if it is in business, in your job, in your spiritual life or in your personal life. It doesn’t matter what it is, you need faith. When you have faith, only then will it help you to have the necessary concentration for you to fulfill the things in your life. If there isn’t any faith then you cannot concentrate and if there isn’t any concentration then you cannot reach your goal.
To have concentration you need faith. If you need faith, you should know about: Who are you approaching? Who is that person? What kind of gift does he have to give to you? Knowing all of these things helps. That is why all of the chants end with Namostute, Namaha; words like that, which speak of surrender to the divine.
Before this, the chants always tell about the beauty of the divine, the mercy of the divine and the power of the divine. Then, at the end you have words such as, “I surrender to you so please take care of me.” This will create confidence. It will bring courage to you. Then it is easy to feel that you are in the right place and knowing definitely, that you will get what you need or definitely the problem will be solved.
This is the purpose of prayer. As Amma told, first there are several ways of praying. The best way is just offer your praises and not ask for anything. Does the elephant ask for its food? Does the mosquito ask for its food? No! All of creation is getting its food without asking, not aware of prayer to the divine but still receives everything it needs.
So in this way, it’s not really necessary to ask. It’s not bad to ask the divine; but the best is just your praise. Whatever you are experiencing is from your karmas and whatever you are going to experience is from your karmas. So when things are going to happen due to your karma means you need not worry about needing this or needing that.
The time that you have for prayers will probably be very short. It’s not possible for everyone to have a lot of time in their schedule, so utilize that time just to pray. It’s the Mother so you can ask. Gradually the faith must develop to the point of knowing that the divine can provide all that you need and it is really not necessary to ask the divine for anything. You need to come to that stage. This means that you have much more love for the divine. This is the purpose of prayers. Prayers are needed, not just to ask for things but to praise the divine and out of that you will have more strength, courage and confidence.
Amma blesses you all.
Prayer & Surrender
Devotion is important and essential for every being. It can be approached from two paths: through prayer or through surrender. What is the difference between prayer and surrender? Prayer is what we say or offer to God when we want something from God. Surrender is when we offer love to God, without expecting anything in return. A person should follow the second path and surrender to God.
If you take the first path, and pray daily, there will be no end to your prayers. You will never be able to pray for all the things you need in life because nothing is permanent. Even when one problem is solved or one desire fulfilled, new ones will appear.
In order to have peace and happiness one must surrender. To surrender is to hand over everything to God: your thoughts, words, deeds, everything you own. In this way, everything becomes and belongs to God. People have limited abilities in facing life and its challenges. Imagine how much easier it would be if we surrendered everything to God. The Divine Mother’s knowledge is unlimited. If you think everything you have is yours, then every aspect of life becomes a huge burden. On the other hand, if everything you have belongs to the Divine Mother, then you have absolutely no problems.
What is the benefit of prayer? It lasts as long as we have faith. We might get what we ask for when we pray, but will we get happiness? It all depends, at times we might and at times we might not. We might ask for something that we might not get; then, we are not happy. We are disappointed and every thing seems difficult. We do not have peace.
If we surrender, then whether we get what we want (or even whether we are happy or not) doesn’t matter because we are always at peace. This is because we accept that everything that happens, happens for the good. We don’t need to ask for anything. Everything we need is satisfied. In surrendering we get all we need, not necessarily all that we want. There is more peace and joy through surrendering.
In times of difficulty we pray to God and expect solutions to our problems. In contrast, when we surrender we offer love and, in return, we receive unlimited love and peace which in turn brings us joy. To experience this love and peace we must always surrender. Through prayers, you expect that all your desires will be satisfied. If they are not, then you are disappointed. When you surrender, the Divine Mother will take care of everything.
Amma blesses you to follow the path of devotion through surrender.
THAZHAM POO: RARE FLOWER
Among many flower plants in the world, there is in India an extremely and pleasantly fragrant flower and its plant called Thazham Poo. These plants grow naturally in the slushy and mucky areas. They have severe thorns as well; its fragrance attracts poisonous cobras, which sit coiled around the flower pod.
Irrespective of all the danger, the people in the area get the flowers, clean them and string them in garlands to adorn the Lords images in the temples and at home. The fragrance is celestial and anything extraordinary we always have the tendency to obtain and offer for prayer to the Lord Almighty. However bad a person is considered to be and however many bad habits he may have, just one good quality in him could slowly but surely help him to leave all the negative qualities behind.
Though the flower is surrounded by so much risky obstacles, its unmatched fragrance make it the most desirable among all flowers and compels us to get it, for honouring and adorning the Lord Almighty.
Same as no matter how bad a person is, if he has Bhakti, this good quality will help him grow out of all his misconceptions and ignorance with glory. Sincere Bhakti will take away all unwanted beliefs, like Kama, Krodha, Mada, Mathsarya etc. and make us pure with time, paving for us the grand highway for Mukthi or merging with the Lord.
It is difficult for everyone to assume that he or she is born perfect. We as human beings have several bad qualities. These qualities are visible only to those who move close with that person. We do not know whether we are good or not. Only Bhakti will take us away from all the bad and negative qualities.
The fragrant flower growing in the wild lost all its bad qualities and adores the Lord, forming a part of the garland around the neck of his image. Only the beautiful fragrance of that flower remains. Bhakti will eradicate all our bad qualities and give us Mukthi. Bhakti will eliminate mistakes we do knowingly or unknowingly. Mukthi is permanent happiness.
“Amma blesses everyone to keep the instrument of Bhakti in their hearts to attain peace”.
Wisdom can win over Destiny
What is destiny? It is very often said that based on the wrong past actions of man, man will have to endure pain and suffering as a result of these actions. This is termed as Destiny. There are many people who lead a normal and prosperous life and when they encounter a difficult situation or a mishap occurs; when asked they will say, it is so because of their destiny.
If destiny always has a powerful influence and governs one’s life, why then should man pray and worship God? If they were to worship God then, that act too would be under the control of destiny, is it not? So what then is the benefit in worship when every thing is shaped by destiny? What then is the use of going to places of worship?
‘Wisdom can win over destiny’. Wisdom is knowledge and devotion. When these two are present in man, it is possible to win over destiny. Take for example a person - a businessman, because of the nature of his business, he sails across the ocean often. It is destined that on a particular date the boat in which he sails will sink into the sea.
The sinking of the boat is destined to happen. If he were a person who says everything is determined by destiny hence there is no need to worship or pray, with such a mindset he embarks on the trip on that particular day as destiny has it -- the boat does sink.
Where does the boat sink? It happens far from the shore from where a drowning person will not be able swim back and save himself, nor can the collective efforts of people save him because the mishap has taken place mid sea. This then is destiny. How can this be changed with devotion and wisdom?
If that very same individual had faith in God and there is prayer in his mind and he has carried out righteous work in his life he will for sure earn God’s grace. Now, how does God’s grace help or protect him? As destined on that particular date the boat does sink but in this case it will happen at a place close to the shore where it's possible for him to save himself or could be easily rescued by people near the shore.
When there is no devotion and wisdom, destiny rules. But with devotion and wisdom it is possible to alter the impact of destiny. The Grace of God has that power to alter destiny. Every human being is bound to face difficulties and problems in life. There is no human being who is free from encountering these difficulties and problems for they arise as a result of one’s wrong actions in their past life.
One may ponder - how is it that even though I now do a lot of good deeds. I still encounter difficulties? This is a concern in every individual’s mind. Do not be disappointed; all the good actions will do you good in the future. With devotion one will gain the strength and enthusiasm to face the situations.
If one does not have faith in god they would be moving around getting their future forecasted, horoscope checked, palms being read etc: More than all this, it’s essential to have faith in God for it is the greatest power. Destiny can impact man in many ways, difficulties and problems, mental disquiet and so on.
Just as in the case when one has problems with health they visit a hospital to see a doctor.
So to, when man encounters difficulties, anxiety, depression it is very essential that man turn the mind towards God, for it is this, which will yield greatest benefit. It will help man win over destiny. If a person is destined to suffer let’s say for twenty days, God has the power to alter this to be limited to two days or even erase the suffering that this person has to endure.
On this auspicious day take that small step, develop faith in God and let you mind indulge in prayer, for God can give you the strength to face hardships and has the power to shape and alter your destiny.
Amma blesses all life forms on this earth with peace and happiness.