In one village, there was a businessman who was really devoted. Every day before he started his business he would go to the temple and do all of his prayers. Only then would he start all of his regular routines and business things. No matter how busy his schedule was, he never missed his prayers. So far, everything in his life was perfect.
One day, he needed to go on a business trip to another town, so, as usual, he visited the temple and asked for blessings that everything would be good for his new business venture. His business was selling salt. He would get salt from small business people and then make a deal selling the salt wholesale. When he traveled, he carried lots of salt in big bags on bull carts.
On this day, he left early, following his morning prayers, in order to avoid the hot sun. He almost crossed half way on his journey to the new town when it started to rain very heavily. The rain was never expected. There weren't any symptoms of the rain when he left his town but now, there was very heavy rain.
So, his business is selling salt. What will happen if the salt gets wet? At first he thought the rain would stop after an hour or two but it continued to rain. Because of the heavy downpour of rain, all of the salt that he was carrying to sell dissolved. Then his mind started to work. He started to hail on the divine, “What are you doing? I am praying so hard and you give me this? Why did you do it?”
So he went on and on throwing all of his words at the divine until he got tired. By that time it was almost evening and he then decided that it was a waste of time to pray, believing that all of his prayers did not come true. His business was now ruined because of the rain and the divine allowed the rain to dissolve all of his salts. The business man packed up all of his bags and turned his bull carts around and began to make his journey home.
He then realized that it was night and it would take too long to go to his small town so he decided that because he was nearly halfway to the new town he would stay in that town and go to his town in the morning. After crossing some distance, he saw some business people with lots of food and bull carts and things and it appeared that they had been beaten. It almost looked like they had fainted. When he saw them he was shocked. He got up from his vehicle and went over to them and asked, “What happened to you all?”
Then they asked him if he was safe. He replied that he was safe and that just his salts were dissolved because of the divine. After that the other people told him, ”Oh, you are so blessed. Just your salts are dissolved, but for us, we have come back from the town after selling all of our goods and on the way a group of robbers came and took all of our money, beat and injured us. So for you, you are better off. Just your salts are dissolved. You’re safe, but for us, we have lost our goods, are beaten and injured and we have lost all of our money. Everything is gone. You are blessed. The divine that you pray to has helped you.”
Then he realized what a stupid thing he had done. So actually, what happened to him was good. You may not know what is really going on when things happen to you. There will always be a reason behind it. Just know that and follow and accept that. When you lose faith it is very hard to get back to the same place that you were because of the guilt we feel.
If you lose faith and scold the divine it is harder to come back to the same place with the divine. It is better to be patient with whatever happens. Each and every thing will have a reason. It is not possible and not necessary to find what the meaning is for all occurrences. Just be patient when you are on the spiritual path. Be patient and accept whatever comes. The end point will always be good. Hope and have strong faith on this so that you don’t worry about all things in between. Leave it and accept it. This will allow you to have more peace and joy.
Sometimes when you expect ten, the divine may give 100. Don’t worry about things; be patient, be calm, just accept whatever comes. Wait. Wait so you don’t try to justify why it has happened. Don’t give the work to the mind. Just listen. It will help to have more peace and joy.
Amma blesses you all.
One must pray and be one with God in order to experience peace and joy. If one probes into this question, and searches within for the answers, one soon realizes the following: in life, one can experience moments of happiness from worldly things, but not inner peace, which is what the soul desires.
A person who desires inner peace must get rid of all bad thoughts and feelings. What bad thoughts and feelings? Anger, jealousy and greed in the material world; these kind of thoughts and feelings cause the mind to fret. So, redirect your mind to God and start to pray, you should also surrender to God. This, in itself, will get rid of all the bad feelings and thoughts. Hence, a person must devote him or herself to a greater being, an external source. The best external source is God.
Take a bull, f or example. You won’t be able to make a bull do anything you want if you allow it to roam about freely; it could cause a great deal of damage. Whereas, if you were to properly harness and restrain it, you could put the bull to good use. In the same manner, the harness of prayer must be used to regulate our thoughts and feelings.
In essence, a controlled bull will do a lot of good things compared to a bull that is left free to roam about doing damage. In a similar manner, every self-controlled human being is very important. If your life is out of control, you could harm yourself and the people around you; consequently, your community could also suffer.
When you harness a bull in order to control it, you can train it to do constructive work. In a similar manner, prayer can act as a harness for human beings, with ensuing positive results. In order for each and every one of us to attain peace and joy, self-control is essential. The control you seek now is prayer.
It’s only through prayer that you will find out how to do good things and how to improve your life. If we do not have any self- control, the mind will roam freely and it will determine all actions to be right. If one embarks on the path of prayer, one will realize what is right and what is wrong from within. One will not need to depend on another person to point this out.
So each and everyone here should adopt the path of prayer and surrender. Let God’s prayer flow through us. Let prayer control our actions and help grant us wisdom. Let prayer bring us a good life with joy and peace.
Amma blesses us all to allow prayer to control our actions and grant us wisdom, joy and peace.
Among the scriptures in the Hindu Religion, the Epic “Mahabharatha” is considered very important. The following were the main characters on which the whole Mahabharatha revolved around: Sri Krishna, Arjuna and Duryodhana.
Krishna was very helpful to Arjuna by doing several favours for him. Krishna as the Charioteer and mentor offered advice on anything and everything to Arjuna. This made Duryodhana very unhappy.
Duryodhana said to Krishna, that he is also related to Krishna yet Krishna always ignores him and takes Arjuna’s side only. Further he asked, “Why are you fighting a war against me, joining Arjuna”? He also claimed that he was the first to seek help from Krishna.
Krishna replied to Duryodhana, “Where there is absolute faith I am more there”. Krishna asked Duryodhana to come to the forest the following day to test his faith. Duryodhana agreed. The next morning, both Arjuna and Duryodhana meet Sri Krishna in the forest.
Krishna started asking Arjuna questions. There was a crow perched on top of a tree close by. Krishna tells Arjuna, “How beautiful is the parrot perched above”! Arjuna is looking at Krishna and answers instantly, “Yes my lord it is really beautiful, the parrot is really pretty”.
Next Krishna spots a monkey but tells Arjuna, “Look how beautiful the tiger is”! Arjuna replied, “Yes Lord, it is really majestic and beautiful”. Thereafter, Krishna spots a wild forest buffalo and tells Arjuna, “How big and beautiful the elephant is at a distance”. Arjuna agrees with him absolutely.
These replies from Arjuna confuses and angers Duryodhana. He asks Krishna: “How foolish a person could be? You are pointing to a crow, secondly to a monkey and finally to a wild Buffalo, but you are telling Arjuna how beautiful is the parrot instead of the crow and how majestic the monkey instead of the tiger. And, you are calling a Buffalo a beautiful elephant and Arjuna without any hesitation or effort agrees with you. Why is this?
Krishna turns towards Arjuna and asked, “Why would you give such answers”? Arjuna with great reverence replied, “I know you would change anything to something different at your own will, Oh! Lord in an instance. Also, I have no ability or strength to disagree with you.”
Krishna addresses Duryodhana explaining to him that this is the faith that Arjuna has for Krishna. Krishna further explained that anger and a big ego couldn't be appreciated by Krishna.
When we offer food and other things to the Lord as ‘Naivedhya’, we ask ourselves, would God really partake in our offering? We are doubtful. Such questions doubt faith. Faith with doubt is no faith at all. Temples have stone images that we pray to. We do not pray to the stone but to the God in the image. All the blessings are granted by God.
We look at a cow. One says, “Gho-Matha”, in a worshipful manner. Someone else sees the same cow and chases it. In the first instance, Gho-Matha, as the Holy Mother blesses and grants boons as asked. In the second instance, the cow runs away. Gho-Matha goes away!
In order to get anything from God, we must surrender ourselves and pray with total faith. We have to take hold of God with absolute and complete faith. The image of God can be of copper, silver or stone but only faith propels God. Prayer with faith to any form of God will grant us our wishes.
“Amma blesses you all to have complete faith in God”.
The Greatest Devotion is One With Love
There was once a town in India that had a very large temple. Many people went to this temple to pray and to do pujas. In particular, there were two men in this town who would go to the temple daily. They were so devoted and so spiritual that they had never missed a single day. Other people went to the temple once in a week, once a month or maybe only on special occasions. But these two men went to the temple every day. In fact, they would be at the temple, even before the doors opened in the mornings! They were so committed to their routine, that while they might forget to eat, they would never forget to go to the temple. Their devotion and connection to God was so strong that everyone in the town knew of them.
As in all of India, these men took gifts with them when they went to the temple. Throughout India, whenever you visit either God or children, you can’t go empty handed. There is a custom by which you need to bring a gift. It is considered a way in which to show your love. It does not matter what type of gift you bring, since it is really all about showing your love. So, when people go to temples to see God, they bring fruits and flowers to offer; and when they go to see a child, they may take them sweets. In India, there is even a saying which states that God and a child are one and the same. This is because there are many similarities between the two: Both God’s heart and a child’s heart are the same; both are full of unconditional love. Furthermore, you can never really understand either God or a child and, thirdly, you certainly don’t know what either will do next. You may think you have plans, but they might have some other plan for you. God and children are seen as similar for these reasons.
With respect to this custom of bringing offerings to the temple, the two men in this town were no exception. They also took gifts on their daily visits to the temple. As it happened, one of these men was a very rich man, a big businessman and the other man was a very poor person. So, whenever the very rich- man went to the temple he took a big garland, full of beautiful flowers. Because he was so wealthy, he could afford them. The poor man however, could not afford to buy a garland everyday, so he would just bring one flower to offer to God.
For many years, the wealthy man saw the poor man and the poor man saw the wealthy man. In this way, they recognized each other and knew that the other was attending the temple regularly. Over the years, they had never had occasion to talk to each other. But one day, an opportunity came up and they had a chance to meet each other. They introduced themselves and gradually started to chat about various things of a general nature. Gradually, they became very close friends.
Then, one day, after prayers, they were sitting outside the temple talking about God. The rich man posed a question to the poor man: “Do you think the Divine blesses us equally”? The poor man replied: “Of course, it would have to be equal.” The rich man disagreed, “I don’t think so, because everyday I offer a big garland and you offer only one small flower. So, I think that I get more blessings than you”. The poor man explained that from all his reading of spiritual texts and scriptures, he knew that God didn’t favour those who just came with expensive gifts. His understanding was that God always looked to the one who had the love for God.
The rich man was not satisfied with that answer and continued to argue. He claimed that because what he was offering was more than anything the poor man could offer, the rich man’s blessings would also be much bigger; otherwise, why should the rich man not also just bring one flower? This poor man was a very strong devotee with a great connection to God. For these reasons, he was very confident and very persuasive with his views. He maintained that God would see them as equals — that God would see their love, not just their offerings. So the men continued to argue all day.
This rich man also had a big ego and after awhile, he found himself getting upset and angry that this poor man could possibly think that God would bless them as equals. At last, at the end of the day, they agreed that they’d have to continue their discussion the next day. They shook hands and went home.
Later that night, God appeared to each of them in their dreams. God said to them both, “I know about your discussion and, if you want the answer to your question, be at the temple tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock. I will be there. After you make your offerings, you will know which man has offered the greater gift. Then the vision of God vanished.
When the rich man woke the next morning, he started to plan. He thought, “I normally bring a three foot garland to the temple, but since this is a special day, I’ll buy a much bigger garland. The poor man will surely only bring one flower, so when I bring my ten foot garland, he will learn why I should receive so many more blessings”. With these thoughts, the rich man arrived at the temple carrying a ten foot long garland. As usual, the poor man arrived with a single flower in his hands.
Both went and stood at the entrance to the temple. At precisely 9 o’clock, God appeared before them. Both men were very happy because they had wondered whether their dream would really come true. They also didn’t know what they would have done about their dispute if their dreams didn’t come true. So, when God appeared, they were both very happy. As God appeared in front of the two men, God said, “I am here. Now, both of you can make your offerings”.
The rich man spoke first. He said, “God, I must go first because I have a big garland.” It was obvious that this rich man’s ego was a problem. So the poor man simply waited for his turn. When the rich man approached God to put the garland around God’s neck, God grew to almost twice the size. Where God had been only about seven feet tall, now God stood fifteen feet tall. Because the garland was only ten feet long, the rich man had to think. He quickly decided that because he had lots of money, he would find a solution. He yelled at the crowd for someone to bring him a ladder. When it arrived, the rich man started to climb the ladder in order to put the garland around God’s neck.
However, by the time he reached God’s neck again, God grew even taller. This time God grew another 20 feet. Still, the rich man did not give up. He figured that he could arrange for another ladder and would just have to climb higher. Once again, by that time the rich man reached God’s neck, God grew another 20 feet. This cycle continued: each time the rich man got close to putting the garland around God’s neck, God would grow another 20 feet. Finally, the rich man was very tired from all the climbing and he stopped.
At that point, God asked, “Okay, is it time to give the poor man a chance to make his offering?” The rich man thought to himself: “Well, if I can’t make an offering with a 10 foot garland, that poor man will never be able to offer a single flower. I will wait to see what happens.” Out loud, he replied to God, “Oh, yes, God. Yes, it is now his turn, so I’ll let him make his offerings”. With that, God directed the poor man, “Okay it is now your turn, come and make your offering.” So, the poor man approached God with the flower and put it to rest on God’s feet.
This action reflects another custom in India. In India, it is considered good manners to bow to a person, as a way to show respect. The proper response of the one accepting this sign of respect is to reach down and lift the person who is bowing. So, the moment the poor man bowed to offer his flower to God, God reached down from a great height to lift the poor man. At the same time, God whispered: “I will take care”.
Then God spoke to both of them and asked, “Now do you understand who has the greatest devotion? The greatest devotion is the one with love, the devotion with surrender. To the rich man God said, “You wanted to see My head, but the poor man wanted to see My feet. This also demonstrates his willingness to surrender”. God continued, “It’s not possible to measure God with your wealth or with your power. You cannot ever know God through your wisdom or your knowledge. You can only surrender to God. You need nothing in order to surrender. You don’t even need to know how to surrender. In fact, this is the easiest way: for as long as you think, “I can surrender”, you can’t, because there is still an “I” in there. Only when you know that God can do it for you, then it will come easily. So the best kind of devotion is to surrender. To surrender you do not need material things. You just need love, unconditional love of God. This pleases God.
Really, if you think about it, what else could it be? Does it make sense to think that you could ever offer God something special? When in actuality, everything you have was created and given to you by God. You didn’t invent it. So, what would make you think that you can ever offer God anything, even a garland? When, the fact is, that garland — its flowers, its thread, even its fragrance all came from God? It would be like taking God’s things and then giving them back to God, and saying that it was your offering.
So you receive God’s blessings for the love that accompanies your offering, not for the gift itself. Since we now know that people aren’t blessed for offering God any of God’s own creations, we might ask, why would God bless people at all when they bring offerings? You might even wonder how anyone gets blessings when they make such offerings.
God is blessing people for their love, for the thoughts behind the offerings. When people bring offerings, it is because they created the thought of wanting to bring the offering. So, God blesses them for the thinking behind the deed, not for the offerings themselves. The thinking is the love. For example, let say that you had ten apples and, in looking them over, you chose the best one of the ten to offer to God. So the blessings you’ll receive are not for the apple, because God made that apple and gave it to you in the first place, but for the thought and your love. You must have been thinking something like this: “Because this is the best apple of the bunch, I will offer it to God”. You’ll be blessed for that love, for that devotion.
In India, whenever there is a “if you do this, then I’ll do that” type of deal, you need a contract. Not with God, once you understand the meaning of surrender, then your life will be very easy. You don’t even need a contract! You can’t measure God’s greatness with material things. You can only measure it with love. So great is God’s love that, once you surrender, you do not even need to search for God, God will come to you. This reminds Amma of a story that Amma told in Calgary:
It is another story about surrendering: it is about a mother and her child.
There is a mother who is always taking good care of her child. She feed him and bathes him and treats him very nicely. Then, one day, she decided to play a game of hide-and-seek with her child. They live in a very big home and so she leaves her child in the main hallway and she hides behind one of the walls. The child is doesn’t realize that the mother is watching. He is feeling pretty good, lots of strength, energy and power. So, the child starts to look around the house for his mother. First, he goes to the kitchen and asks the cook, “Where is my mother”?
The cook doesn’t know. Then, the child goes out to the garden and asks the gardeners, “Where is my mother?” They respond, “We haven’t seen her”. So, the child walks around to the garage and asks the driver, where is my mother”? The driver doesn’t know. Finally, the child goes back into the house and looks in the study. No one has seen his mother. By this time, the child is getting tired of looking. All the energy and strength he had initially has been spent. He’s looked everywhere for his mother and knows that there is no place left for him to search. So, what next? As with all children, this child starts to cry. He just stands in the middle of the hall and cries for his mother.
Meanwhile, the mother has been watching the child all along. She remained hidden, but watched him run from room to room, inside and outside, looking for her. She was happy to see him search for her. She enjoyed his excitement and energy. But finally, when her child started to cry, she came out from behind the wall and hugged her baby. In the same way, once the child started to cry, it is like us when we surrender. Like the child, when we realize that there is no where else to look and that we have no more energy to search, we surrender.
When we look for God with our ego and power, it is like the child running around the house with energy to burn. But once the child stops or when we let go of the ego, then the mother will come and hug the child. When you look for God with ego and power, it’s like the Child’s strength, like the child we run around. Like the mother, God just sits back and watches with amusement. But, when you surrender it’s like God gets your message and says, “Oh that one has had enough”. At that moment, God will come to you. So, you can decide what you want to do. To surrender, once you understand it will help you in many ways. It is a great blessing: it is having that faith.
Note too that it is impossible for other creations to surrender. If you take a dog, for example, maybe a dog can surrender to its owner. It will listen and do what it’s told. But, in general, faith and confidence is possible only for humans. Other creations can’t have faith or confidence. They have to worry, they have to live in fear, they have to live their life in sadness. While humans, once they surrender, can stop worrying, can stop being sad, can surrender everything. Other creations cannot do this. If you take a lion, an animal that we consider so powerful, even that lion, after he hunts, can it eat its food in a relaxed state? No, it must hurry, it has to eat fast because another lion or maybe even some people will come along and take his food. So there are no possibilities for other creations to relax and have peace in their lives. They cannot trust anyone. The lion can’t say, “Ok, I’m going to trust on so and so to watch my food for me”. It has to live it’s life with sorrow and sufferings, fear and sadness. It is only possible for humans, once they surrender, to get rid of all their suffering. Amma bless you all.
Amma: So what is the way to surrender?
Devotees: Om Namo Narayani
Amma blesses you all.