When Bhagavad Gita says that we should offer the fruits of our work to God, where is the motive do the best of our work?

Every action we are doing is sure to bring a fruit. Even though we may claim it to be a sacrifice to God (as per Karma Yoga), that fruit is sure to come back to us only, at some point of time, at some context, at some quantity and fashion. How and when cannot be exactly comprehended by us, because God is definitely going to give it back to us as per His will, with our welfare in mind. God is beyond needs and wants and He is not looking to retain the fruits of OUR labor with Himself!

My Guru Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) use to say that when Bhagavad Gita says work should be done by surrendering the results to God, it means we don’t have to break our head or worry about the fruits of Karma, which will in any case come back to us. It means we will be able to focus better on our work in hand by doing our best, without wasting our mental energy about what the results could be.

Since the results are sure to come back to us, it is always prudent to do our best, because we will get back the best fruits of it at some time, in some way, at some juncture (as schemed by God) for our betterment only!

Amma also used to point about two fruits in every action — one is drishta Phalam (visible result) and adrishta phalam (invisible fruit). Suppose a destitute boy who has not eaten for a couple of days knocks at our doors. Suppose we call the boy inside and offer him a sumptuous meal. As we watch the boy eating the food in a hurry and relishing every bit of it, it definitely gives us an instant joy. It is drishta Phalam. By feeding a poor boy, we acquire some punya to our credit. That is adrishta phalam.

If we had served the boy some stale food from the previous day’s remnants, he would have perhaps consumed it too to satiate his hunger. But by feeding him with fresh meals, we are offering our best. That satisfaction will be greater than offering him a stale food for sure. Giving the best definitely carries a bonus value!

 

If the self is already eternal, deathless, and one with Brahman, why do I have to make any spiritual effort in life?

Yes. All gurus, all scriptures say that my Self is already eternal, deathless and one with Brahman. Yes, I nod in agreement.

But I am worried about my debts; I get restless if my food is not served in time. I hate my neighbor for whatever omissions and commissions he does. I just cannot accept that he is also Brahman like me!

I am having pain on my left shoulders and I am deeply worried — is it the symptom for impending heart attack? What will I do if attack comes suddenly? Oh! I am scared of death. Who will look after my family if I die suddenly?

So, my theoretical knowledge that I am deathless and I am Brahman is absolutely useless to me, until I experience that state so that I remain in bliss always with no mundane worries.

Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) says that if you write ‘ honey’ in a piece of paper and lick it, it will not taste sweet. She further says that it is indeed true that a tree is contained in the seed. We are like seed now. For the seed to become a tree, it has to go into earth, its outer sheath should split so that the sprout comes. Conditions should be favourable too. A seed fallen on a rockey surface or in a desert is not likely to sprout. It should get water, nutrients etc to grow. Climate should be favorable. When all things are favorable, only then the seed will become a tree and bear fruits.

That’s why spiritual effort is needed “for the seed to become a tree”. Going into the earth indicates surrender (to guru). Outer sheath breaking indicates breaking of one’s ego. Ambience, climate etc becoming favorable indicates guru kripa.

Amma says “kalam, pryatnam , and Easwara kripa” (Time, effort and divine grace) are the 3 things essential for success.

Do people who undergo much suffering in life eventually attain happiness one day or other?

Let me share a funny story that Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) narrates:

A person was suffering from one hardship after another in life and got very much dejected. He went to consult an astrologer to know what he holds for the future.

The astrologer, after going through the horoscope said “ Your planetary positions are too unfavorable.You will have to go through sufferings till your age of 50”.

The man felt somewhat relieved. He asked eagerly, “It means I will lead a smooth and happy life after that, right?”

The astrologet said, “No. You will get used to facing troubles and managing them afterward!”.

Amma used to say that ‘parasthithi‘ (external circumstances) cannot be changed easily, but with effort, it is possible to change our ‘manasthithi‘ (state of mind). When, by spiritual effort, we manage to acquire mental strength and eaquanimity, we will be able to face joys and sorrows with lots of balance. We will not get over joyed in moments of fortune, nor get too disturbed and depressed against adversities.

When mindset changes, by divine grace, there is every chance that trials and tribulations too diminish in life.

Amma offering consolation to the sick

I have committed wrongs and caused suffering to many people in the past. When I think of it, I suffer from guilty complex. I think even God will not forgive for the evil acts that I have done. I am even afraid of praying to God. What is the way out for me?

To answer this question, here is the message from Satguru Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) appearing in Tamil Matruvani magazine Feb 2018 issue:

“My children,

Knowingly or unknowingly, we may have caused pain and anguish to other people; practically all of us would have done some such thing at some time or other in our lives. Some people come to Amma (me) and say “Mother, I have done numerous mistakes in life; will God ever forgive me? Do I have the qualification even to pray to God? When I think about the wrongs I have done, I become weak out of guilty feeling. What am I supposed to do?”

By nature bad thoughts rule people’s minds more powerfully than good thoughts. So, every one is bound to do mistakes. The real valor in ourselves lies in accepting our mistakes, feeling truly sorry about them and practicing the mind to start doing good deeds. Keeping on thinking about the evil deeds for ever is akin to embracing a corpse. If we keep on thinking “Alas! I have done mistake; I am a sinner; I am a sinner”, all our skills will only get wasted. Our progress in life will be hampered.

When there is a wound in the body, is it not better to apply medicine to it instead of looking at it and crying? If we have consciously done mental or physical hurting on somebody, we should get the mindset to seek apology from them. We should try to console them. We should take a firm resolve saying “Hereafter, I will do only good deeds”

Knowingly or unknowingly we might have committed wrongs in many ways. We might have forcefully grabbed something that truly belong to others; We might have attained high posts and positions by wrong means without having any merit for it; We might have frustrated others from getting their genuine promotions or benefits; Due to a vengeance or hatred on a family, we might have lied and stopped the marriage of a girl in the family; Or we might have intentionally lied about the character of a woman in our town to her husband working abroad causing their marital bond to be shattered. Likewise, there may be people who have been suffering life long on account of our selfish and egoistic acts; there may be people who had lost all that they had in life; there may be people who committed suicide on account of our acts.

We cannot rewind the wheel of time; the time wheel always rotates forward. What has happened in the past is like a cancelled cheque. We only have the present moment for our use. We cannot get back in time and set right our wrong doings. Learn lessons from them and try to progress. The moment we have understood our mistake, we should start following the right path. If we think “Let me change from tomorrow” the tomorrow may never come — like the marriage of Lord Ganapathy.

‘Let me think of God only when the sins committed are all exhausted” – if we think like that, it is similar to thinking “let me take bath in the sea after all the waves have subdued” . It will never happen. It is like saying “let the disease get cured; then I will take the medicines”.

The only way to get rid of all sins is to think of God. We cannot ‘remove’ darkness. When light comes, darkness automatically goes away. Likewise, when we think of God, the sins will get gradually washed away and the heart will get purity. The darkness of ignorance will vanish. When we say think of God, it does not just include prayers, visiting temples, chanting hymns and mantras etc., but also includes stopping our bad habits, doing good deeds, living with discrimination, not giving trouble to others etc and these too are parts and parcel of worshiping God.

The moment sense of guilt comes, we should resolve to do prayachitta (remedial actions); correct our mistakes. This way heart gets purified. as we keep adding more and more pure water to a salty water, the saltiness will reduce. Likewise, if we keep an doing good deeds, it will automatically bring a change in our character.

But one thing is very important. Once we have identified and accepted our mistake, we should never repeat it. We should not be like an elephant that smears mud over its head again after taking a bath. When we write with a pencil on a piece of paper and a mistake happens in writing, we can use the eraser, erase the mistake and re write. But if we keep making writing mistakes again and again, repeated erasing will tear the paper. Likewise, you should ensure that mistakes are not repeated after correcting it in life.

Through prayer, the dirt in our heart will get cleaned and the light of goodness will start shining. Our prayer should be “My dear God! Please bless me that I do not cause any problem to others through my thoughts, speech or actions”

– unquote –

I believe the above message contains the total guidance needed by you.

Words of Mahatmas are whole truths. What Amma has stated elaborately has been stated briefly by Sri Ramakrishna paramahamsa too: “One who says ‘I am a sinner; I am a sinner’ end up as sinner. We should have a firm conviction – ‘I am chanting God’s name. How can sin do anything with me?”

Why Amma always speaks high of her mother who had given her so much of hardship in her younger days?

 27th August 2013, Tuesday

Why does Amma always speak high of her mother who had given her so much of hardship in her younger days?” this was a question posed by a westerner to Amma on the Satsang.

The gist of Amma’s reply was as below:

Amma always believes that whatever happened has happened only for good. Dhamayantiamma had so many good principles and values that she practiced with extraordinary strictness and she was very particular that Amma too learned and practiced them.

She had so much awareness about so many things. If Amma spilled a few grains while cleaning the rice, Dhamayantiamma would say “Are you capable of creating one rice grain yourself? Then how can you carelessly waste it?”. Even a match stick should not be wasted unnecessarily. If Amma has to light up fire, she has to go approach a neighbor and if they have got fire at their kitchen or at their wick lamp, fire should be obtained from there.

If a piece of paper is left behind on the floor while sweeping, she would  shout for the lack of shraddha in doing a job perfectly. Moreover, a piece of paper is an aspect of Goddess of Learning, Saraswathi. If someone puts a foot over it, it amounts to showing disrespect to Goddess Saraswathi. Dhamayantiamma could not permit it.

While grinding ‘masala’ in the grinding stone, Amma would loudly chit chat. That was not an acceptable behavior. When you chit chat, there is a chance that your spittle may drop on the preparation and it was very unhygienic. Dhamayantiamma would give a beating or two if Sudhamani does not keep her mouth shut at that time.

Dhamayanti Amma (Amma’s mother)

If Dhamayantiamma says “You should not do it” Amma will say “I will”. If Dhamayantiamma shouts at her, Amma would shout back  louder than her! If Dhamayantiamma comes to beat her, Amma would grip her hands and  try to thwart her from hitting her! All these would naturally bring Dhamyanthiamma to boiling point and instead of getting one beating, Amma would end up getting 10 beatings!

Dhamayantiamma was very particular that her daughters should never get any bad name or reputation. Girls to be married off should have modesty, sound character, be soft spoken, be feminine,  be excellent in domestic chores and so on in her standards. But Amma those days had a Tom-boyish behavior that naturally did not fit into Dhamayanthiamma’s scheme of things. If Amma had received so much of beatings those days, it was more due to Amma’s egotism and adamant behavior at her young age.

In her young age, brimming with energy, Amma would not differentiate a work which are normally done by men. Once Amma was returning from Vallikkavu and came to the backwaters to take a rowing boat (‘kadatthu vallam’) to reach home. (There was no bridge those days and boat was the only mode of transport). Boatmen had retired for lunch time.Some elderly women and children were waiting for the boatman for a long time. One woman was lamenting that her children were hungry at home; she had just bought the provisions and only after returning home with that she could start cooking. If the wait had to be longer, the children had to suffer in hunger. She was feeling restless.

Amma could not just tolerate the woman’s mental anguish. She decided to row the boat herself even though she had no experience in rowing the large Kadatthu Vallam;. The bamboo stick was too heavy and too tall for her small stature! It was indeed a tough man’s job! But undaunted, Amma started pushing the boat using the stick
, keeping the women and children seated in it. Soon the boat was swaying this way and that way dangerously, but still started progressing towards the opposite shore!

Seeing what young Sudhamani (Amma) is doing, people started gathering at both the shores wondering as to what would happen. Will she end up capsizing the boat and sinking all into the backwaters? Or will she manage to reach the opposite shore? Dhamayanthiamma too rushed to the banks of the backwaters hearing the commotion going around!

Sudhamani somehow successfully managed to cross the backwaters and reach the bank! There was excitement all around and Dhamayantiamma was totally nonplussed! Oh what a shame this Sudhamani had brought to the family! Doing things that only males are supposed to do! If she is so rough and tough, who would ever come forward to marry her?! Needless to mention that Amam got her choicest beatings from her mother that day!

Guests would keep on coming to Dhamayantiamma’s home at all odd hours and whomsoever comes had to be served with tea. That’s the strict rule of hospitality of Dhamayantiamma. Firewood  would be constantly needed. If nothing is immediately available, Sudhamani would not hesitate to climb a coconut tree nearby to pull out a dry branch handing there! A girl climbing a tree? Oh no! Blasphemous! Sudhamani would end up with  a few beatings for her act of chivalry!

Dhamayantiamma truly treated guests as Gods. She would unhesitatingly sacrifice her food to feed a guest. She would give away a new cloth to a guest and she would wear an old one. Guests would get space to lie inside the house and Dhamayantiamma would not mind her sleeping at the courtyard. A beggar coming hungry knocking at her doors would never be turned away.

The sense of togetherness with neighbors that Dhamayantiamma displayed too was so striking. When Dhamayantiamma directed Amma to fetch fire from any neighboring house, she would instruct Amma that if the house she visited was untidy, she should sweep that house; if utensils were there uncleaned, she should clean them before coming back home with the fire.

Whether it is cleanliness, awareness in actions, faith and piety on God,  practicing austerities or undertaking fast with a vow, Dhamayantiamma was thorough. Amma had seen many times that when Dhamayantiama undertakes fast on a day, a tender coconut would fall on its own from the tree in the evening to enable her finish her fast!

It is for such possession of great qualities that Amma respects her mother.

Why Paramatma should turn to become Jivatma

26th February 2013 – Tuesday

One question posed to Amma in today’s satsang was “Why the nameless and formless God, the Paramatman should become a Jivatman (Individual soul)?  If Paramatman has no attributes, where from God’s love came?

The gist of Amma’s reply was as below:

It is indeed true that what exists in reality is Paramatman. Only the individuals feel they are separate because of their identification with ego. (Amma used to say frequently ‘everything is created by God, but ego is our own creation’).  Think of a pot that gets immersed into a ocean. What exists outside and inside the pot is nothing but the ocean water. (Ocean is akin to Brahman and the ocean water inside the pot is akin to jiva). It is the pot that seemingly creates a feeling that the water inside is different from the water outside. Our ego is like the pot.

Out true nature (Atman/Brahman) is like a sweet pudding. Just like mixing hot chilli or salt with sweet pudding (and spoiling its taste) our ego functions as the hot chilli or salt to prevent us to enjoy the bliss of our  true nature.

We all breathe the same air in the atmosphere. Whatever portion of air that one breaths cannot be claimed as one’s own.

Gold is same whether the ornament is a necklace, ear ring or bracelet. Wood is same whether the furniture is a table, chair or a cot. It is God who created the gold and wood. It is we who make ornaments and furniture and treat them as different.

With ego comes I and mine. When we are in deep sleep state (‘Shushupti’) we don’t have any knowledge of the existence of our body, mind or intellect. We have no feelings of mine — “my house”, “my watch” etc. But we do experience a state of bliss that is felt, but not expressive at that state. When we wake up our ego rises up with the feelings of “I” and “mine”. Thus the same person who existed as nameless and formless in the state of Sushupthi is the one now having a name and body at wake up state. (In a similar way, Brahman and jivan exist).

We have the feeling of mine to things — “My watch”, “My house”, “My car” etc. When we start discriminating: “This is my watch, am I the watch?”, the answer is no. “This is my house; am I the house?” – No. In the same trend, if we question “This is my body; Am I the body?”, the real answer is no. But unfortunately, we identify the body as “I”. That’s where the problem lies.

(We have to understand that our wakeful state is also like a dream).

In our dream, suppose we see a thief breaking open our vault and stealing our golden ornaments, we get grief and we start crying. But when we wake up, we grasp immediately that it was after all a dream and we have nothing to grieve about. Likewise, when the true spiritual  awakening happens in us, we understand that we are none other than the Brahman and all duality like pleasure and pain, love and hatred, happiness and anger vanish.

All of us know our real existence deep inside us. The knowledge of our oneness with Brahman is with us like a seed. Just as the seed is product of the tree and it contains the future tree in it, our Jivatma has the Brahman inside it.

All of us love ourselves. It is because our true nature is love.

Only in the outlook of a Gnyani, God is without name and form. For a devotee (Bhakta), the concept of Brahman is with name and form. A devotee (like we love ourselves) loves THAT God form.

As long as “I” and “you” exist, the feeling of “I love you” exists. Once true realization dawns and the unity is grasped, the feeling ends up as “I am love”.

It is only through sadhana, we can grasp our true divine nature. It is like a process of purification of sewage water into good water.

Will the Guru punish his disciple? Can’t he be saved by God?

25th December 2012 – Tuesday

In today’s Satsang, the following question was posed to Amma by a devotee:

“Amma, in Guru Gita, it is stated that Lord Siva explained to Parvati that if God became angry with a person, he can be saved by his Guru; but if Guru became angry with a person, no one including God can save the person. It is difficult to digest this. Even among worldly people, if a child does something wrong, the parents don’t reject the child. If that is the case with even non-spiritual persons, how can it be true that the Guru would get so angry with a disciple that none can save him?”

The gist of Amma’s replay was as below:

“Siva Purana glorifies lord Siva as the supreme lord who is the most powerful of all Gods. Vishnu Purana glorifies lord Vishnu as the ultimate God that Siva and Brahma worship; he is the greatest and most powerful of all. Same case with other puranas that glorify other Gods. It is this way that the puranas tend to strengthen the faiths of devotees of their chosen God forms.

“In a similar vain, Guru Gita is a scripture that explains the glories of the guru and it is intended for the disciples to understand the greatness of the Guru and develop full faith in him. Like God’s anger being too powerful to combat, it is stated of Guru’s anger too. But even Guru’s anger is only meant for the good of the devotee.

“Guru is great because to understand God correctly, Guru’s guidance is a must. To overcome negativity and egotism, Guru’s guidance is essential. Guru’s anger too could be one form of his ways of putting his disciple in the right path; Guru creates situations in such a way that the disciple faces problems in real life to overcome his weaknessess and advance in spiritual strength.

“Even a Guru’s explicit display of anger could be an act — his lila. A true master has transcended ego and  he lives in the plane of Atman. His anger is not ego-centric like normal persons.”

We think of God only in troubled times!

24th December 2012 – Monday

Amma narrated this incident to explain how most of us think of God seriously only in trouble times.

Once Amma was travelling in flight with all her troup (sometime while in US or Europe tour).   It was time to take food and food was being served. Suddenly the plane got into a turbulance and flight became shaky and bumpy. All got frightened and most of the people were shouting aloud “Amma, Amma….” Many were loudly chanting other God names; many were praying feverishly with folded palms.

After a while, the turbulance was crossed and the flight became normal again. As though a power was switched off, all the people stopped praying and chanting, smile returned to their faces and they started to eat their food as though nothing had happened!

“We think about existence of our head only when we get a headache!” quipped Amma and all of us laughed. “Amma loves to see her children laughing” said Amma laughing.

Killing rats – is it a sin?

Satsang with Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi)

11th December 2012 – Tuesday

Is is a sin to kill rats?

This question was posed by someone in today’s Satsang.

The gist of Amma’s reply was as follows:

“Amma does not want to say whether it is a sin or not a sin. When we breathe, there are millions of germs that get killed. When we walk, we tramp upon so many micro living beings and kill them.

“Rats pose lots of difficulties to human existence. They spread diseases, gobble up food produce and thus are a menace to human race.  Amma has heard that in some ancient civilization  cats were worshiped as Gods because cats could put an end to the manace of rats that caused so much trouble to that civilization.

“It is difficult to say black and white whether killing of rats is sinful. Amma does not want to say either. She would rather leave the matter to be decided by the questioner himself/ herself.”