Mata Amritanandamayi Devi:
I bow down to everyone, who is embodiment of divine love and supreme self. I am immensely delighted to take part in this Mahasangam (grand conference). At the outset, I would like to express my happiness at being able to meet personally and spend some time with all of you, with utmost love, serve and worship Bharatamba – the cradle of the eternal Hindu dharma.
Bharat is a land of spiritual radiance. It is the sacred land in which the everlasting and sanctifying vibrations of the rishis’ austere penances and enormous sacrifices continue to reverberate. This is the sacred land of the universal Guru, who first taught the world that “All living beings, including humans, and this whole universe are pearls strung together on the thread of divine consciousness, like a necklace of pearls in myriad colours and forms.” Bharat is the universal mother, who intoned the all embracing mantra of love, Vasudaivakutumbakam—‘The universe is one family.’
The noble mantras of our spiritual culture have always emanated from this hallowed land. She is the inspiration and source of knowledge that can open the eyes of the world. When that blazing light enters and illumines the heart, Bharat will awaken. When Bharat awakens, the world will awaken. This is because Bharat is not merely a geographical entity. She has a unique consciousness, power and charisma that no other country can lay claim to. This soil has been anointed with the sankalpa (divine resolve) of the Rishis, who realised the universal power within themselves during mediation. When we act with faith in this sankalpa, the entire universe will help us all. No other power can debase or destroy the eternal truth. However, we mustn’t succumb to the sleep of carelessness. We must act with utmost vigilance.
We need the vigilance of cricket players, who, forgetting all else focuses wholly on winning the match, play with one mind and as one team.
Just as in the spiritual field, there was a time when Bharat was also highly developed materially. Way before the word ‘modern’ was invented, India and Indians were modernised. Today, parents send their children abroad for higher studies. However, in the past, even scholars from ancient Greece, Egypt and China, among other countries, came to Bharat to learn and acquire new knowledge. In order to establish commercial ties with India, the Spanish Queen spent a lot of money in trying to send Columbus to Bharat. Economics, mathematics, astrology, warfare, medicine, chemistry, physics, psychology, sociology, grammar…. there is no branch of knowledge that was not born here.
Three thousand years ago Bharat was as resplendent as a priceless jewel in the crown of the world, a jewel whose value the world could not reckon. How did we lose this position? The answer: back then, we gave priority to Atma Vidya (Spiritual Knowledge). It was on that foundation that we ventured forth into other spheres. The splendor of spiritual knowledge lent brilliance and clarity to our mind and intellect. That fortitude, keen intelligence and self-confidence also helped us progress materially. Once we conquer the mind, we can conquer anything in the material world.
So, long as Bharat acted while firmly rooted in Para Vidya (Spiritual Knowledge), she made great strides in Apara Vidya (Material Knowledge). From the moment we started living without paying heed to (living heedless of our) spiritual culture, our material life started declining.
Every atom of Bharat – the very atmosphere here – is surcharged with the pure vibrations of the universal vision that emerged from the rishis’ utterly self-sacrificing life and power of austerities. Not discerning this, today we scurry after material success and pleasures. Like the warmth of the Sun, the soothing light of the Moon, the flow of the river and the gentle breeze, spirituality is Bharat’s essence and nature. When we act in opposition to that culture and the nature of this nation, this land, every atom therein and its very environment will react. It will not allow us to move ahead. This is the reason for the troubles that we see here. The moment we understand and experience the spiritual quintessence of this land, and act accordingly, then Bharat will awaken once again; the lost glory, nobility and renown will be restored.
However, our actions must not be predicated on an understanding of the limitations of the body and mind. What fulfills any action is divine grace. In order to gain that grace, one must have faith in the infinite spiritual power. There are innumerable muscles and bones working behind every yawn. For them to work precisely, we need the help of a power that is beyond our control. If that power does not co-operate, the mouth that opens to yawn will remain open. Denying that power is like using our tongue to say, “I don’t have a tongue!” We must dedicate all our actions to the remembrance of that almighty power. Our ancestors – the Acharyas and Rishis – acted with this attitude, and thus set an example.
Lord Krishna is the best karma dhirah (most dexterous karma yogi) the world has ever seen. His life and actions were detached, like ‘butter on water’. A boat may be in water, but water must never enter the boat. In the battlefield, Lord Krishna counselled Arjuna to perform actions with this attitude.
Dharma is the universal law that cannot be corrected or revised. Dharmo rakshti rakshitah means saving oneself by adhering to dharma. No matter which country, the laws therein prevail only when people abide by them. The same is the case with dharma too.
The Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita all exhort us to uphold a glorious and noble life in all ways. By honouring dharma, we can awaken the eternal divine consciousness that is ever shining in us. Let us become enthusiastic workers, and forge ahead as one. The present moment is full of challenges. However, if we work in anticipation of a bright future, all obstacles will disappear of their own accord. Bharat will once again regain its glory and shine as brightly as the sun. I pray to the Supreme that my children gain the strength to work innovatively, understanding the need of the hour, thus attaining success.
The Sun does not need candlelight. The River does not need drainage water, whereas the drain needs river water. Likewise, God needs nothing from us. Those suffering in the world need our help. Most of them are in villages. We must spend time with them and go down to their level to ease their suffering in whatever ways we can. We must use the torch of divinity, i.e., the light of divine knowledge, to dispel the darkness in their lives. In Sanatana Dharma, the Creator and the creation are not two. The creation is the manifest form of the Creator. Just as there is no difference between the Ocean and its waves (because the substratum of both are one and the same; water), gold and ornaments made of gold (because gold is the substratum of all kinds of jewelry made of gold), there is no difference between the Creator, God and the created, the World. Everyone and everything is the embodiment of Supreme consciousness.
Our condition today is like that of fish in the ocean dying of thirst. We have countless sanyasis, but very few go down to the lower strata of society and work for their social development. The Bhagavad Gita gives utmost importance to karma yoga. The Lord has taught the attitude with which one should act. However, many believe that doing karma creates new vasanas (latent tendencies), which will be an obstruction to attaining moksha (spiritual liberation). Many sanyasis believe this and stay away from sewa.
The villages today are in the same condition that they were 300 years ago. Actually, some are in a much worse situation. Because of this, there are people who lure villagers with food and exploit them in turn. Therefore, it is crucial that we find more people to work in villages. With help from those who have the resources, we must pay these workers a monthly stipend.
It is said that among gifts, the greatest is that of knowledge. We should be equipped to give people the knowledge of our spiritual culture. Our religion, our culture is our mother. We must no longer allow others to call our mother a prostitute. We must give people the right knowledge about our scriptural texts and about spirituality. Only then can the situation change.
The places of worship of other religions teach religious texts. They also have schools, colleges and other institutions for this specific purpose. Those who receive training there then go out to propagate the teachings of their religion. In contrast, there is nothing of this sort in Hinduism.
There are many temples that receive a lot of donations. However, they don’t use even the smallest part of their earning to teach or propagate Hindu dharma. This situation must change. We must implement measures to ensure that a part of the temples’ earnings is used for propagating dharma.
For example, Diabetes cannot be cured through medicine alone. The patient must also watch his diet, avoiding fatty and sweet foods. He must also exercise. Only then he can bring his diabetes under control. In the same way, it is true that temples foster devotion and faith in the masses. At the same time, these will become fruitful only with knowledge and spiritual practice.
With the help of philanthropists, we must create special courses for teaching the Hindu scriptures and imparting spiritual knowledge. We must set up schools and colleges that teach yoga and meditation. Those who are trained in these institutions can then go out to teach others and propagate dharma.
When we talk about Bharatiya Samskar, what we really mean is eternal values. We must create opportunities for everyone to learn about and understand these values. It is ignorance of this Samskar that makes us cowardly and inept. Our ignorance makes us vulnerable to criticism by other people.
The Government has implemented various schemes for rural development. However, the beneficiaries do not receive sufficient help. Imagine pouring oil from one glass to another and from that glass to another and so on; the 100th glass will get barely one drop of oil. Likewise, suppose the government has set aside one lakh rupees. By the time the money trickles down, the beneficiaries will receive only 10 rupees. There is no point in blaming the Government. It has to pay salaries to thousands of employees and meet innumerable other expenses. However, if the attitude of the people involved in this process is selfless, the fruits thereof wholly reach the deserving. I am very happy that our honourable Prime Minister has taken steps to make sure that the funds reach the beneficiaries directly. Let us co-operate and work hand in hand to make sure that the measures taken by him are successfully implemented.
Every day, countless people in the world die from various diseases and accidents. Whether or not we act, our body will perish sooner or later. That being the case, isn’t it better to wear the body away by acting for the growth of Samskara? For people who live this way, there is no death, for they will continue to live through their good deeds. It is nobler to wear the body away, putting efforts to uplift our spiritual culture, than to rust away doing nothing for the uplift of dharma.
I pray to the Paramatman that your resolve to serve the nation gets stronger with each day. May Divine Grace protect all of you! Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavanthu.